The Weekly Five

We are delighted to introduce a new feature to the Forum–“The Weekly Five.” Each week, we will select five new law and religion articles that are particularly important, well-written, thoughtful, provocative, insightful, or otherwise deserving of your attention. Our selection of these articles is not meant to indicate that we endorse the positions espoused or the arguments made by the authors, only that we find the pieces of interest. We hope that The Weekly Five will bring some attention to pieces in our area that sometimes go under the radar.

All of these pieces are accessible to our readers via the links provided. So get reading! The Weekly Five for this week is below. –MOD & MLM

1. Rethinking the ‘Religious Question’ Doctrine by Christopher C. Lund (Wayne State University School of Law).

2. Religious Liberty: Between Strategy and Telos by Kristine Kalanges (Notre Dame Law School).

3. The Contraception Mandate Debate: Achieving a Sensible Balance by Alan E. Garfield (Widener University- School of Law).

4. Corporate Religious Liberty: Why Corporations Are Not Entitled to Religious Exemptions by Caroline Mala Corbin (University of Miami School of Law).

5. Public Morals and the ECHR by Roberto Perrone (University of Ferrara).

Muasher, “The Second Arab Awakening”

This January, Yale University Press published The Second Arab Awakening: And The Battle For Pluralism by Marwan Muasher.  The publisher’s description The Second Arab Awakeningfollows.

This important book is not about immediate events or policies or responses to the Arab Spring. Instead, it takes a long, judicious view of political change in the Arab world, beginning with the first Awakening in the nineteenth century and extending into future decades when—if the dream is realized—a new Arab world defined by pluralism and tolerance will emerge.   Marwan Muasher, former foreign minister of Jordan, asserts that all sides—the United States, Europe, Israel, and Arab governments alike—were deeply misguided in their thinking about Arab politics and society when the turmoil of the Arab Spring erupted. He explains the causes of the unrest, tracing them back to the first Arab Awakening, and warns of the forces today that threaten the success of the Second Arab Awakening, ignited in December 2010. Hope rests with the new generation and its commitment to tolerance, diversity, the peaceful rotation of power, and inclusive economic growth, Muasher maintains. He calls on the West to rethink political Islam and the Arab-Israeli conflict, and he discusses steps all parties can take to encourage positive state-building in the freshly unsettled Arab world.

Terem, “Old Texts, New Practices: Islamic Reform in Modern Morocco”

Next month, Stanford University Press will publish Old Texts, New Practices: Islamic Reform in Modern Moroccby Etty Terem (Rhodes College).  The publisher’s Old Texts, New Practicesdescription follows.

In 1910, al-Mahdi al-Wazzani, a prominent Moroccan Islamic scholar completed his massive compilation of Maliki fatwas. An eleven-volume set, it is the most extensive collection of fatwas written and published in the Arab Middle East during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Al-Wazzani’s legal opinions addressed practical concerns and questions: What are the ethical and legal duties of Muslims residing under European rule? Is emigration from non-Muslim territory an absolute duty? Is it ethical for Muslim merchants to travel to Europe? Is it legal to consume European-manufactured goods? It was his expectation that these fatwas would help the Muslim community navigate the modern world.

In considering al-Wazzani’s work, this book explores the creative process of transforming Islamic law to guarantee the survival of a Muslim community in a changing world. It is the first study to treat Islamic revival and reform from discourses informed by the sociolegal concerns that shaped the daily lives of ordinary people. Etty Terem challenges conventional scholarship that presents Islamic tradition as inimical to modernity and, in so doing, provides a new framework for conceptualizing modern Islamic reform. Her innovative and insightful reorientation constructs the origins of modern Islam as firmly rooted in the messy complexity of everyday life.