Galadari on Islamic Finance

Abdulla Galadari (Higher College of Technology; American University in Dubai) has posted Inner Meanings of Islamic Finance: Understanding the Theory Behind All Theories. The abstract follows. –JKH

For many centuries, there have been many interpretations of the rules in Islamic Finance. With the modern banking system, more challenges have arisen throughout the world, especially with globalization. Reasons behind Islamic Finance have been studied within the disciplines of philosophy and ethics of the financial system. However this paper looks into deeper mysteries of Islamic Finance and shows how Islamic Shari‘ah for commerce mirrors how Allah deals with humanity. The longest verse in the Qur’an is known as the verse of the loan (āyat al-dayn) [Qur’an 2:282]. This verse is analyzed to understand how commercial contracts permitted between people is mirroring the commercial contract Allah makes with humanity, according to the Qur’an.

Conference: October 19 — Bellah’s “Religion in Human Evolution” at Chicago

For those who will be in Chicago next Wednesday at 4:00, renowned sociologist of religion Robert Bellah will be speaking about his new book, Religion in Human Evolution (HUP 2011 — noted here on CLR Forum) at the University of Chicago in Swift Lecture Hall.  — MOD

Brandes on Human Dignity and Constitutional Rights Jurisprudence in Israel

Tamar Hostovsky Brandes (Ono Academic College – Faculty of Law) has posted Human Dignity as a Central Pillar in Constitutional Rights Jurisprudence in Israel: Definitions and Parameters. The abstract follows.  –JKH

This paper examines the role the concept of Human Dignity has played in constitutional rights jurisprudence in Israel since the enactment of Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty, in particular with regard to the recognition of rights not explicitly included in the Basic Law.

The right to Human Dignity has served as the primary source of recognition of unenumerated rights in Israel. This paper examines the methods employed by the Supreme Court in determining which unenumerated rights fall within the scope of the Basic Law. It examines the theories of interpretation applied by the Court when recognizing unenumerated rights and the judicial rhetoric used throughout the years to justify recognition of unenumerated rights.

Religion and (Capital) Punishment

Here’s a post by David Gibson which links to a piece by Christopher Hitchens, which in turn claims (in his usual free-wheeling style) that the reason that the United States continues to permit capital punishment is because of the country’s religiosity.  Gibson disputes the assertion by citing some numbers from other countries that aren’t particularly religious, but his point seems to be that whether religion and capital punishment are linked will depend on which religion one is talking about.

I suppose that’s true, but I think it may miss something much larger.  The most fundamental reason (historically, at least, though not only that) to punish people is retributivist — that those who commit crimes are morally culpable and so deserve punishment.  The contemporary rarification of punishment theory tends to obscure the fact that ideas of retribution are ancient and have at least a large part of their historical root in religious traditions and concepts — especially the monotheistic religious traditions which, again historically, have been most prominent.  So it should not be surprising that there is a connection between religious traditions and capital punishment, since there is a much broader and deeper connection between religion and the prototypical justification of punishment.   — MOD

Christian Persecution — September 2011

This is an illuminating report on a number of fronts, not the least of which is its discussion of the State Department’s judgment.  — MOD

Liveblogging Forum 2000: Religion, Ethics, and Law

This morning, I participated in Forum 2000’s second law-and-religion panel, “Religion, Ethics, and Law.” The panel (below) addressed the growing “divorce” between law and moral principles and the influence of secularization on law and ethics. The panel was chaired by Jiří Pehe, Director of NYU-Prague. Tomáš Halík, a sociologist and President of the Czech Christian Academy, opened the panel by discussing the different concepts of law in Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. The first two religions, Halík said, are essentially about law, unlike Christianity, which is essentially about faith; the first two emphasize orthopraxy, while Christianity emphasizes orthodoxy. He noted that Western law has been influenced both by Christian roots and by the secularizing effect of the Enlightenment, which was itself “the unwanted child of Christianity.” I followed with a discussion of the distinction between moral and legal advice in American lawyers’ ethics. Over time, I showed, American legal ethics have minimized the lawyer’s role as moral counselor; although 100 years ago a lawyer had a duty to impress upon his client the need for “strict compliance” with “moral law,” nowadays a lawyer’s duty is to provide legal, not moral advice. I argued that the change could be understood, in part, as an effect of secularization. William Cook, Professor of History and Religion at SUNY, discussed Tocqueville’s insights into private associations and their role in promoting democracy.  Günther Virt, Professor of Theology at the University of Vienna, spoke about translating faith commitments into public policy arguments, specifically, his experience working on bioethics committees in the Council of Europe and the European Union. (A great line: the increasing number of ethics committees in the West today is evidence of an ethical crisis). He also discussed human rights; although human rights can be justified intellectually without religion, he argued, religion provides the necessary motivation for honoring human rights in particular circumstances. Vartan Gregorian, President of the Carnegie Corporation, ended the panel with a discussion of the dialectic between faith and reason in all three Abrahamic religions. He argued that the key concept in all these religions is not conflict, but synthesis, between faith and reason. – MLM

*UPDATE: You can now watch the video from the “Religion, Ethics and Law” Panel here. -ARH[vodpod id=Video.15541931&w=425&h=350&fv=bufferlength%3D5%26amp%3Brepeat%3Dalway]