What is the Place of Sharia Law in European Legal Systems?
Lorenzo Zucca, A Secular Europe. Law and Religion in the European Constitutional Landscape, Oxford: OUP, 2012
25 Pages Posted: 12 Aug 2012
Date Written: 2012
The place of Sharia law in European political societies varies. It is incorrect to believe that we can simply turn a blind eye to religious laws or to treat them as irrelevant. They are very relevant for a growing number of people, and secular states want to be able to monitor the way in which religious norms affect the lives of people. The fundamental point is that the practice of religious norms has to be compatible with the general framework of law set by ordinary norms.
This paper is divided in two parts: the first part analyzes the asymmetry between secular law and shari’a law and illustrates the fact that they are necessarily imbricated in a more or less explicit way. The second part focuses on the official recognition of Sharia law in European legal systems. I discuss several options on a spectrum that ranges from separation to accommodation to engagement to end up with disengagement between secular and religious laws. The conclusion suggests the most desirable ways of engagement between secular and shari’a law and delineates the place of shari’a law in Europe.
Keywords: secular law, sharia law, accommodation, separation church and state, tolerance, legal systems, freedom, religious norms, legal norms
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