German Judge and Legal Orientalism (originally posted March 29, 2007)

Jul 14

I originally posted this on March 29, 2007 on, and it was subsequently re-posted on  Both sites are no longer operational, so I thought I would repost on for those who might find it of interest.

The Friday New York Times reported that a German judge denied a Moroccan woman’s request for an expedited divorce from her Moroccan husband – despite the apparently undisputed evidence that the husband had repeatedly abused her – on the grounds that such conduct is “common” in Morocco and that the “Koran . . . sanctions such physical abuse.”

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“Is Historicism a Viable Strategy for Islamic Law Reform?”

Jun 24

Islamic Law & Society has just published a recent article of mine with the title “Is Historicism a Viable Strategy for Islamic Law Reform? The Case of “Never Shall a People Prosper Who Have Appointed a Woman to Rule Them.” This article is both methodological and substantive, insofar as it proposes both a methodology for reformist arguments within Islamic law, and a substantive critique of other progressive arguments on the specific issue of how to interpret the infamous hadith in which the Prophet Muhammad is reported as having said, “Never shall a people prosper who have appointed a woman to rule them.”

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