TITLE

Muslim Reformists, Female Citizenship, and the Public Accommodation of Islam in Liberal Democracy

AUTHOR(S)
Fadel, Mohammad
PUB. DATE
April 2012
SOURCE
Politics & Religion;Apr2012, Vol. 5 Issue 1, p2
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), in a trilogy of cases involving Muslim claimants, has granted state parties to the European Convention on Human Rights a wide margin of appreciation with respect to the regulation of public manifestations of Islam. The ECHR has justified its decisions in these cases on the grounds that Islamic symbols, such as the ḥijāb, or Muslim commitments to the shari‘a — Islamic law — are inconsistent with the democratic order of Europe. This article raises the question of what kinds of commitments to gender equality and democratic decision-making are sufficient for a democratic order, and whether modernist Islamic teachings manifest a satisfactory normative commitment in this regard. It uses the arguments of two modern Muslim reformist scholars — Yūsuf al-Qaraḍāwī and ‘Abd al-Ḥalīm Abū Shuqqa — as evidence to argue that if the relevant degree of commitment to gender equality is understood from the perspective of political rather than comprehensive liberalism, doctrines such as those elaborated by these two religious scholars evidence sufficient commitment to the value of political equality between men and women. This makes less plausible the ECHR's arguments justifying a different treatment of Muslims on account of alleged Islamic commitments to gender hierarchy. It also argues that in light of Muslim modernist conceptions of the shari‘a, there is no normative justification to conclude that faithfulness to the shari‘a entails a categorical rejection of democracy as the ECHR suggested.
ACCESSION #
73900769

 

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