Accommodating Islam within the framework of Western Legal Thinking. An Impossible Mission?

Ringvorlesung "Normenkonflikte in pluralistischen Gesellschaften" des Exzellenzclusters "Die Herausbildung normativer Ordnungen"

Prof. Dr. Marie-Claire Foblets (Max-Planck-Institut für ethnologische Forschung, Halle (Saale))

16. Dezember 2015, 18.15 Uhr
Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main
Campus Westend, Hörsaalzentrum, HZ 10

Abstract
For some years now in Europe, Islam and above all those legal systems that transpose it into the positive law of a given State have been increasingly problematized. The grounds adduced are generally that the values underlying Islam are on several points incompatible with those dictated by human rights as interpreted in the domestic law of European democratic States.
In this exposé, I will seek to nuance this view of the situation, not because I consider that there are no problems of compatibility between, on the one hand, certain values presented as specific to legal systems inspired by Islam, and on the other, the foundations of the domestic law of most European countries; rather, I would argue that such a reading risks being too narrowly focused on confl ctsituations alone.
My presentation will therefore not limit itself to a discussion of conflicts, i.e. incompatibilities, but will take a more constructive view, showing how Islam and
the legal systems it informs can for certain specifi c problems offer solutions that have no equivalent in the domestic positive law of European countries. By the same token, I will suggest that it would be a shame to allow the problematic aspects to dominate, and thus obscure, the encounter between Islam and European domestic legal orders. Case law indicates that it is possible to accommodate the different normativities without this being to the detriment of respect for the constitutional principles of the European countries concerned. I will provide several illustrations.

CV
Marie-Claire Foblets, Lic. Iur., Lic. Phil., Ph. D. Anthrop. (Belgium) was for many years professor of Anthropology and of Law at the Universities of Leuven (Louvain) and Antwerp. She has held various visiting professorships both within and outside Europe. From 2005 to 2008 she served as Head of the ‘Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology’ at the Catholic University of Leuven, and from 2009 to 2012 she chaired the ‘Institute for Migration Law and Legal Anthropology’ at the Law Faculty in Leuven. In 2012 she joined the German Max Planck Society, to become Director of the newly established Department of Law and Anthropology, within the Institute of Social Anthropology in Halle a/d Saale. She has done extensive research and published widely on issues of migration law, including the elaboration of European migration law after the Treaty of Amsterdam (multi-layered governance), citizenship/nationality laws, compulsory integration policies, anti-racism and nondiscrimination. In the field of anthropology of law, her research focuses on cultural diversity and legal practice, with special interest in the application of Islamic family law in Europe, and more recently in the accommodation of cultural and religious diversity under State law.
In 2001 she was elected member of the Royal Academy of Sciences and Arts (Flanders/Belgium). She is also an honorary member of the Brussels bar. In 2004 she received the Francqui Prize, the most distinguished scientifi c award in the humanities in Belgium.

 

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  • Prof. Dr. Marie-Claire Foblets (Max-Planck-Institut für ethnologische Forschung, Halle (Saale))
  • Prof. Dr. Susanne Schröter, Professorin für Ethnologie an der Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main und Principal Investigator des Exzellenzclusters "Die Herausbildung normativer Ordnungen"


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