The Beginning of the Sharpness: Loyalty, Citizenship and Muslim Divorce Practice
International Journal of Law in Context, 9,3 pp. 1–23 (2013) © Cambridge University Press 2013 doi:10.1017/S1744552313000141
23 Pages Posted: 10 Oct 2013
Date Written: October 9, 2013
Muslim divorce practice is a feminist issue, insofar as it often departs from core principles of Anglo-American divorce law. When legal feminists have examined the reception of Muslim divorce practice in common-law courts, they have tended to measure those departures in terms of financial outcome. There is a danger that, in consequence, our theory of Muslim women’s legal agency is reduced to pragmatic matters of choice, money and advantage-taking. That theory seems hugely impoverished when read against the political background in Britain, where Muslims‘ legal agency upon divorce is bound up with deeper questions of belonging and allegiance. Feminist work ought to be able to advance a theory of citizens’ commitment to civil law in litigation which can give a complex account even of the unsettling litigation of Muslim divorce disputes in civil courts. This article draws on existing work in feminist multiculturalism to sketch the beginnings of that theory.
Keywords: law, religion, Muslim, divorce, sharia, political theory, citizenship, feminist legal studies
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