Annicchino & Marzouki on Emotions, Politics and Religious Freedom in US Mosque Controversies

Pasquale Annicchino and Nadia Marzouki (both at the European University Institute – Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies) have posted Mosques Controversies in the United States: Emotions, Politics and the Right to Religious Freedom. The abstract follows.

In the last decade the number of mosques in the United States has considerably grown from 1209 to 1925. As shown by sociologist Akbar Ahmed, there is an important diversity among American mosques, in terms of size, ethnic background, theological teaching, proselytizing strategy. While most mosques and Islamic centres are built without encountering any opposition from local community, a few controversies have recently attracted a lot of media and public opinion attention. Rather than an exhaustive survey of all the mosque debates, this article analyses the most important specific type of arguments that were made by participants in such controversies. In particular, it examines the extent to which the relevance and the legitimacy of the liberal language of rights seems challenged by a growing part of the American public, that puts forward notions of appropriateness, sensitivity, and nationalism.

Osanloo on Gender, Honor, and Compensation in Iranian Criminal Sanctioning

Arzoo Osanloo (U. of Washington) has posted When Blood Has Spilled: Gender, Honor, and Compensation in Iranian Criminal Sanctioning. The abstract follows. NB: The full article is behind a pay wall.

This article explores the gender implications of retributive punishment in Iran’s criminal justice system with specific attention to the Islamic mandate of forgiveness. Iranian penal codes allow victims’ families to forgive an offender through forbearance of their right of retribution. To mitigate or even cancel the retributive component of punishment in numerous crimes, including murder, defendants usually offer compensation. Through a study of the gendered logics of criminal sanctioning, forbearance, and compensation, this article brings to light some of the issues victims’ families and defendants face. In doing so, this article explores the debates around one of the formal gender gaps in Iranian laws, unequal compensation in sanctioning, where the amount of reparation for the loss a woman’s life is legally half that of a man’s. Because of this, some accounts of Islamic criminal processes suggest that female family members are helpless victims or nonactors in legal negotiations. By studying how gendered social relations operate in Iran’s criminal legal process, this article finds women playing key roles in family decisions to forgive or not. The examination of judicial processes, moreover, reveals some of the complexity of gender relations, which are not fixed, as static legal texts might suggest.