2015 Noel Coulson Memorial Lecture, SOAS School of Law

Mar 26

It was my distinct honor to have been invited to give the 2015 Noel Coulson Memorial Lecture at the SOAS School of Law.  Noel Coulson was one of the most prominent British scholars of Islamic law in the 20th century, and he was a canonical author for those of us who studied Islamic law in the west.  As I mentioned in the introduction to my lecture, much of my own work in Islamic law — despite my numerous differences with Coulson in specifics — is motivated by similar concerns: how to reconcile fidelity to revealed law with the legitimate needs of human society, without giving in to either utopian textualism or secular absolutism.  The topic of my talk was “Islamic Reform: Democracy or Reinterpretation?

Read More

University of Illinois Rescinds Offer to Professor for his Anti-Israeli Tweets

Aug 06

This morning, I read this disturbing report that the University of Illinois rescinded an offer it made to a professor to join its faculty on account of his anti-Israel tweets. It is important that we write to the University of Illinois protesting this decision.  Please consider sending an e-mail the University Chancellor, Phyllis Wise, explaining why this decision is not consistent with the values central to a university in a democracy.  Her e-mail address is chancellor@illinois.edu (or in the alternative, pmischo@illinois.edu).  Here is the note that I sent her:

Read More

Sign Amnesty International’s Petition Against Mass Death Sentences in Egypt

May 02

Please take a few minutes and sign this petition (http://bit.ly/Egypt528) expressing your opposition to the mass death sentences recently pronounced in Egypt. This petition is sponsored by, among others, Amnesty International, which is especially eager to garner Arab-American and Muslim-American signatures for the petition to present to the Egyptian government:

Dear friends and family,
Please join me and take a stand against the Egyptian government’s human rights crackdown!
Sign the statement:
http://bit.ly/Egypt528
The Egyptian government is engaging in a massive crackdown on its critics. Thousands of people have been jailed from across the political spectrum. Now, a total of 1,211 people have been sentenced to death or life in prison in two mass trials that were fundamentally unfair.
Please join me in signing this statement opposing the mass sentences: http://bit.ly/Egypt528
During this difficult time, Arab Americans and Muslim Americans must stand in support of human rights in Egypt. These death sentences are the latest horrifying development.
Right now, the U.S. and other governments are debating how to respond. We need to be heard.
Please sign the statement here: http://bit.ly/Egypt528
Thank you.

Read More