Judge Somoud al-Damiri: HERA fellow 25th – 30th June 2018 Gottingen

From Monday 25th of June until Saturday 30th of June, Judge Somoud al-Damiri spent one week in Göttingen, invited as a fellow to the Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies of Georg-August University by the Göttingen USPPIP team. Judge Damiri -one of the few female shari’a judges, working in the West Bank was invited, with the title of “HERA fellow”, to take part in some of the activities organized by Prof. Schneider and Dr. Edres within the framework of the USPPIP project. The detailed agenda of Judge al-Damiri included the following appointments:

Tuesday 26th June: Lecture “Palestinian Women between Sharia and Law. Shari’a Judge Samoud al-Damiri – Special Case”. The lecture took place at Göttingen University at the Department for Arabic and Islamic Studies, inside the framework of the Seminar on Islamic Law of Prof. Schneider. During the lecture Judge al-Damiri provided the students with information about the Judicial System in the West Bank and Gaza Strip (addressing the overlapping of different legislations and the difficulties related to it and presented her professional experience as Shari’a Judge and Public Prosecutor in Family Law.

Wednesday 27th June: Double Talk “Female Judges – Experiences, Successes and Challenges in Palestine and Germany”. This public lecture combined the talks of two experts on law and gender. Somoud al-Damiri and Professor Maria Wersig, a German Professor of law in social work at the University of Applied Science in Dortmund. Both assessed the role of female judges in their legal orders and the question of anti-discrimination for women.

Thursday 28th – Friday 29th June: Judge Damiri attended the Workshop “Uses of the Past: Islamic International Law and the Problem of Translation. Concepts and Applications”. This workshop, organized at Göttingen University dealt with Islamic legal narratives and practices of International law in the contemporary world and in the context of the complex political structures characterizing the Muslim world. In greater detail, the workshop addressed the question of the definition and the role of Islamic International Law in today’s global world; the working modalities of scholars discussing it and their reference to the past (siyar) in developing it; modalities of navigation of Muslim legal scholars and Muslim modern nation states between International Law and Muslim jurisprudential understandings regarding conflicts over territory, population, community and governance; strategies of “translation” of international conventions into Muslim legal discourses; reference to Islamic early and classical law when dealing with International Islamic law; main Muslim legal concepts re-defined to respond to a dominating, conflicting international order. The workshop project critically engaged and added to the increasing stream of scholarship committed to making visible the voices, interests, defeats and victories of non-Western Muslim international scholars. In this framework Judge al-Damiri participated actively, engaging with international scholars and providing the participants interesting insights into the Palestinian judicial framework.

During the above mentioned week, Judge al-Damiri also engaged directly with the students of Göttingen University, allowing them to sit with her for two interviews useful for the students to fulfill the requirements of a Seminar course on “Female Judges in the Muslim World”, held by Prof.  Schneider. She also had the opportunity to engage with the local and broader public in Göttingen through a radio interview.