Singh on Polygamy Law in India

Suraj Singh (University of Study and Research in Law) has posted Polygamy in India – With Special Reference to the Bulkiest Constitution in the World. The abstract follows.

The research work analyzes the issue of Polygamy with reference to the bulkiest constitution in the world. Most of the debaters argue that the Indian polygamy law only prohibits polygamy among one religious group. Thus, current Indian law poses a constitutional paradox because permitting polygamy among Muslim men but prohibiting it among Hindus under the freedom of religion provisions violates the equal protection provisions of the Indian Constitution. The author takes a departure from this standpoint and argues that there are several reasons why Polygamy was not made punishable under the muslim personal law. The reasons are umpteen, i.e., historical reasons, political reasons, etc. which are further elucidated in the report. Relevant constitutional provisions and judicial pronouncements are being articulated and discussed with reference to the issue of Polygamy.Hence, the legislation in India, prohibiting polygamy among Hindus yet allowing polygamy among Muslims, is not unconstitutional and it doesn’t violate the provisions of Articles 13, 14 and 15 of the Indian Constitution.

The Muslim Brotherhood in Europe

In May, Columbia University Press will publish The Muslim Brotherhood in Europe, edited by Edwin Bakker, Professor of Terrorism and Counterterrorism at Leiden University in Holland, and Roel Meijer of the Netherlands Institute of International Relations.  The volume collects articles presenting different views on the Muslim Brotherhood‘s activities in Europe.  The articles explore the extent to which these activities mirror the Brotherhood’s activities in the Middle East and whether their presence in Europe promotes a positive rallying force for Europe’s Muslim communities or the dangerous potential of national and international destabilization by fomenting inter-communal and inter-religious conflict.

Please see the publisher’s description after the jump. Read more

What is the object of “human rights”?

To ban works of literature, of course.  Dante’s Divine Comedy is on the chopping block, even at universities.  From the story:

The classic work should be removed from school curricula, according to Gherush 92, a human rights organisation which acts as a consultant to UN bodies on racism and discrimination.

Dante’s epic is “offensive and discriminatory” and has no place in a modern classroom, said Valentina Sereni, the group’s president . . . .

It represents Islam as a heresy and Mohammed as a schismatic and refers to Jews as greedy, scheming moneylenders and traitors, Miss Sereni told the Adnkronos news agency.

“The Prophet Mohammed was subjected to a horrific punishment – his body was split from end to end so that his entrails dangled out, an image that offends Islamic culture,” she said.

Homosexuals are damned by the work as being “against nature” and condemned to an eternal rain of fire in Hell.

“We do not advocate censorship or the burning of books, but we would like it acknowledged, clearly and unambiguously, that in the Divine Comedy there is racist, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic content. Art cannot be above criticism,” Miss Sereni said.

The concession about not burning books is truly magnanimous.  Perhaps the woman may have missed the exquisite pain previewed for Popes Clement V and Boniface VIII in the Eighth Circle.  But the latter probably deserved a bit of hell, given his pretensions to temporal power.  Perhaps Dante and Ms. Sereni agree on the issue of simony. 

No matter –Dante was banished in his own time, so it is fitting that some right-thinking folks wish to banish him today.  Still, if I could offer a little lawyerly advice to Messrs. Cervantes, Chaucer, and Shakespeare — keep your heads down.

Krivenko on the Islamic Veil and Gender Equality

Ekaterina Yahyaoui Krivenko (University of Montreal – Faculty of Law) has posted The Islamic Veil and its Discontents: How Do they Undermine Gender Equality. The abstract follows.

The article addresses the use of notions of gender equality and non-discrimination in the discussions concerning the practice of Islamic veiling by the European Court of Human Rights as well as by French authorities in relation to the recent adoption of the law banning full face veils in public spaces in France. The author argues that the use of the rhetoric of gender equality without the required knowledge and understanding of the justifications for and discussions about this practice existing within Islam is in both cases very inadequate and leads to results opposite to those they intended to promote. Based on insights into the discussions of Muslims about the practice of veiling the author makes some proposals for a more adequate approach to this practice both from the point of view of women’s status as well as from the point of view of relationship between Islam and the West.


Churches Protest Lending Practices

On March 9, Samuel G. Freedman reported in the New York Times on the growing trend of Christian congregations’ closing their bank accounts at financial institutions implicated in the abuses that led to the mortgage crisis.  PICO National Network (People Improving Communities through Organizing) leads the campaign, which PICO estimates has motivated dozens of congregational organizations and their individual members to withdraw some $31 million from particularly complicit institutions, such as JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America, and deposit those funds in other institutions.  For more on this movement, please follow the jump. Read more

Movsesian at Fordham Law School: “Sharing Sacred Space In Jerusalem”

My colleague Mark will give a presentation at Fordham Law School on March 27, at 6:00 pm, as part of a panel on the subject, “Sharing Sacred Space in Jerusalem.”  Details here.  And for some of Mark’s reflections on this subject, see this post.

Michael McConnell at St. John’s Law School

The Center for Law and Religion is delighted to announce that Professor Michael McConnell (Stanford) will visit us at St. John’s Law School next Monday, March 19, at 5:30 pm.  His is the fourth session in our ongoing seminar, Colloquium in Law: Law and Religion.  Professor McConnell will reconsider Employment Division v. Smith in light of Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC, and he will offer us his always illuminating thoughts about the future of free exercise (those who have not read Professor McConnell’s two 1990 pieces on free exercise — one on the historical origins of free exercise and one in response to Smith — will profit from them greatly).

Academics in the New York area and beyond are welcome to attend.  Please let me know.

Prélot on France’s Full Veil Prohibition

Pierre-Henri Prélot (University of Cergy-Pontoise) has posted Religious Symbols and the Law of 1905: Reflections on the Prohibition of the Full Veil in Light of the French Law on Religious Practice. The abstract follows.

There is a recurrent debate in France on the conflict between the principle of secularism and the expression of religious convictions in public places. The liberal approach, which is open to all forms of public expression including the religious convictions of individuals, is opposed to a much more restrictive conception, which understands secularism as limiting religious convictions to the private sphere, with the corollary of the interdiction, or at least a strict restriction, of their public manifestation, whether they be individual or collective. In today’s highly secularized French society, which feels itself undermined by religious factors deriving from international conflicts and internal tensions, the sometimes radical affirmation of identities tends to weaken the liberal interpretation which is at the basis of the law of 1905, in favor of a much more restrictive vision of the principle of secularism. That is revealed by the law of October 11, 2010, on the prohibition of the covering of the face in public places, which falls within the very old royal tradition, derived from Gallicanism, of the public regulation of religious practices. Although it carefully avoids any reference to religious practices or convictions, the law of October 11, 2010 must be understood as a law implementing a religious policy.

Read more