Knut S. Vikør, “Islamic Law in the Modern World: States, Laws and Constitutions”, in Léon Buskens and Annemarie van Sandwijk (eds.), Islamic Studies in the Twenty-First Century. Transformations and Continuities, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press 2016, 205-22.


Nijmi Edres, “Minority Groups in Modern Israel: the Debate on Gender”, paper to be presented at the International Conference “Gender and History: New Research perspectives. VII Congress of the Italian Society of Women Historians (SIS)”, Pisa, February 2-4, 2017.

  • Abstract: The paper aims at contributing to the debate on sexuality and gender in modern Israel. It analyzes how non-normative forms of sex, gender and sexuality are dealt with and how these categories relate to concepts such as ethnicity and national belonging, shaping the identity boundaries of minority groups. In particular it focuses on the Muslim Palestinian minority living inside the Israeli borders and its relations with the Jewish majority. Judaism, Islam and Christianity (the three main religions in Israel) developed moral codes covering the issue of sexuality. The Israeli juridical system grants religious courts wide spaces of authority and jurisdiction over matters of personal status and family law. Such jurisdiction is exclusive in cases of marriage and divorce. Nevertheless, and quite interesting, religious codes and individual adherence to them seem not to stay at the core of the debate on sexuality. Indeed, the Palestinian-Israeli debate on gender and sexuality has been shaped during the last decades along dichotomous lines of national belonging and identity politics rather than on religious morality and religious legal normativity. In particular, that comes to light when considering the discourse developed by Palestinian LGBTQ associations such as Aṣwāt (Palestinian Lesbian Women), al-Qaws (al-Qaws for Sexual & Gender Diversity in Palestinian Society) and the Palestinian Queers for BDS. The paper aims at analyzing the Palestinian position within this debate and the main factors behind it, looking at the relations between majority and minority groups as part of a complex and entangled framework involving public institutions and institutional bodies (including Shari’a Courts and other religious tribunals) as well as NGOs and informal networks.

Nijmi Edres, “Fiqh al-aqalliyyāt in Israel: wasaṭiyyah and use of the past by Muslim judges”, Journal of Arabic and Islamic Studies, forthcoming.

  • Abstract: The context of the Muslim Palestinian minority in Israel poses important puzzles as for the application of the doctrine of fiqh al-aqalliyyāt. Despite of this, the development of fiqh al-aqalliyyāt in the Israeli context provides important insights into the changes facing the Palestinian minority as well as to changing relations between Palestinians in Israel and the State of Israel as a whole. The first part of the article discusses the limitations of applying fiqh al-aqalliyyāt in the context of the Muslim community in Israel. In particular, it focuses on the status of the Palestinian minority as an indigenous and national minority and not as a minority of Muslim immigrants. The second part considers the reference made by šarīʿah courts’ judges to fiqh al-aqalliyyāt and to the principles of wasaṭiyyah to find “balancing” solutions useful to address the needs of the contemporary Muslim public and to reject accusations of “Israelization” of šarīʿah law.

Mahmood Kooria “Afro-Asia-Arab Triangle in the Indian Ocean: Still Another View of Islamic Law”

  • Abstract: Within a hundred years after the death of the Prophet Muhammad, the size of Islamic world had tripled the size of its Arab lands and the new abode of Islam from the shorelines of the Atlantic to the eastern Indian Ocean had taken a vast majority of non-Arab population under its tutelage who have contributed to the fundamental formulation of Islam ever since. Yet their contributions remain largely unacknowledged in the existing literature, and the scholarship on Islamic law is emblematic of this trend. Against this background, this paper sets ground for a larger enquiry about the ways in which “the Indian Ocean Muslims” (predominantly Indians, Malays and Swahilis) contributed to the making of Islamic law historically. In this paper, I pay a special attention to the African scholars who contributed to the making of the Indian Ocean Islamic law by working at the Asian maritime littoral in premodern centuries. Their histories stand in sharp contrast to the existing literature that portrays Islamic law as an exclusive Arab export to the “peripheries”. I try to explore the trajectories of East (and North) African scholars who worked in Asia as jurists, teachers and religious leaders between the eleventh and fifteenth centuries. I also explore partly the implications of their interactions with other Indian Ocean Muslims on the Islamic legal history, taking matrilineal system as an example, as it represents a rich culture of Muslims in Malabar, Sumatra and Zanzibar, and has been constantly brought as a classical example of un-Islamic/syncretic practices of the peripheral Muslims against the “pure” Islamic law.