Do Constitutions Requiring Adherence to Sharia Threaten Human Rights?: How Egypt's Constitutional Court Reconciles Islamic Law with the Liberal Rule of Law

57 Pages Posted: 22 Jun 2006  

Clark B. Lombardi

University of Washington School of Law; University of Washington - Henry. M. Jackson School of International Studies

Nathan J. Brown

George Washington University - Department of Political Science

Abstract

Over the last thirty years, a number of Muslim countries, including most recently Afghanistan and Iraq, have adopted constitutions that require the law of the state to respect fundamental Islamic legal norms. What happens when countries with a secular legal system adopt these "constitutional Islamization" provisions? How do courts interpret them? This article will present a case study of constitutional Islamization in one important and influential country, Egypt. In interpreting Egypt's constitutional Islamization provision, the Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt has interpreted Shari'a norms to be consistent with international human rights norms and with liberal economic policies. The experience of Egypt does not tell us how constitutional Islamization will necessarily unfold in every country. It does demonstrate that, in a world where Islamic norms are contested, a progressive court can effectively develop and apply a theory that interprets Islamic legal norms to be consistent with democracy, international human rights and economic liberalism.

Keywords: Islam, Islamic Law, International Law, Human Rights, Constitutional Law

JEL Classification: K1, K19, K3, K33, K39, K4, P2

Suggested Citation

Lombardi, Clark B. and Brown, Nathan J., Do Constitutions Requiring Adherence to Sharia Threaten Human Rights?: How Egypt's Constitutional Court Reconciles Islamic Law with the Liberal Rule of Law. American University International Law Review, Vol. 21, pp. 379-435, 2006. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=910426

Clark B. Lombardi (Contact Author)

University of Washington School of Law ( email )

William H. Gates Hall
Box 353020
Seattle, WA 98105-3020
United States
(206) 543-4939 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.washington.edu/Faculty/Lombardi

University of Washington - Henry. M. Jackson School of International Studies ( email )

Seattle, WA
United States

Nathan J. Brown

George Washington University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Washington, DC 20052
United States

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