The Unfamiliar Abode: Islamic Law in the United States and Britain

The Unfamiliar Abode: Islamic Law in the United States and Britain

The Unfamiliar Abode: Islamic Law in the United States and Britain

The Unfamiliar Abode: Islamic Law in the United States and Britain

Synopsis

Today there are more Muslims living in diaspora than at any time in history. This situation was not envisioned by Islamic law, which makes no provision for permanent as opposed to transient diasporic communities. Western Muslims are therefore faced with the necessity of developing an Islamic law for Muslim communities living in non-Muslim societies. In this book, Kathleen Moore explores the development of new forms of Islamic law and legal reasoning in the US and Great Britain, aswell the Muslims encountering Anglo-American common law and its unfamiliar commitments to pluralism and participation, and to gender, family, and identity. The underlying context is the aftermath of 9/11 and 7/7, the two attacks that arguably recast the way the West views Muslims and Islam. Islamicjurisprudence, Moore notes, contains a number of references to various 'abodes' and a number of interpretations of how Muslims should conduct themselves within those worlds. These include the dar al harb (house of war), dar al kufr (house of unbelievers), and dar al salam (house of peace). How Islamic law interprets these determines the debates that take shape in and around Islamic legality in these spaces. Moore's analysis emphasizes the multiplicities of law, the tensions between secularismand religiosity. She is the first to offer a close examination of the emergence of a contingent legal consciousness shaped by the exceptional circumstances of being Muslim in the U.S and Britain in the 1990s and the first decade of the 21st century

Excerpt

After the events of 9/11, the technologies for security in the midst of civil uncertainties became abundant not only in the United States but around the world. Terror reframed old debates about immigration, civil rights, limits on state surveillance, the need to protect minorities from hate crimes, and the due process rights of those detained by state security forces in light of supposedly new security needs. All these debates were propagated in (at times hyperbolic) discourses of nationalism that extended various representations of “risk” beyond the boundaries of the liberal state, to circulate in transnational media. In these circulations, both America and Britain stood as signifiers of many diverse meanings, not the least of which were of sites of multiculturalism, along with the many global ties and interactions that a multicultural society involves. However, the signification of multicultural can be volatile. The effort to build a successful national consensus within the United States and Britain in favor of a securitized state has relied on the capacity to morph the ideal of multiculturalism as a source of strength that enriches us (e.g., a “community of communities”) into its opposite, namely, the fear of local minorities linking across borders into a global majority.

The presence of Muslims in Europe and North America and the discourse on citizenship in the context of globalization have become more visible in the 21st century around the events of 9/11, with its “fractal ripples” well beyond Ground Zero. The everyday lives of Muslim Americans and Muslim Britons have been affected considerably by the heightened attention paid to them. Sharing some of the normative . . .

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