Shariʿa Councils and Muslim Women in Britain

Rethinking the Role of Power and Authority


The public debate on Shariʿa councils in Britain has been heavily influenced by the assumption that the councils exist as religious authorities and that those who use them exercise their right to religious freedom. In Shariʿa Councils and Muslim Women in Britain Tanya Walker draws on extensive fieldwork from over 100 cases to argue for a radically different understanding of the setting and dynamics of the Shariʿa councils. The analysis highlights the pragmatic manoeuvrings of Muslim women, in pursuit of defined objectives, within limited space – holding in tension both the constraints of particular frameworks of power, and the realities of women’s agency. Despite this needed nuance in a polarised debate however, important questions about the rights of Muslim women remain.

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Tanya Walker Ph.D. (2012, SOAS) is a political scientist and public speaker. Born in Tehran, she was educated at the Universities of Oxford and London. Her fieldwork provides the most extensive review of the Shariʿa councils in Britain to date.
“This is a well-written, carefully researched and very readable monograph […]”.
Sophie Gilliat-Ray in Islam and Christian–Muslim Relations, 29:1 (2018), 115-116, DOI: 10.1080/09596410.2017.1395238
List of Abbreviations
List of Figures
Chapter One: The Shariʿa Councils, the Women, and Some Methodological Concerns
Chapter Two: The Question of Authority
Chapter Three: The Women in Context: the Web of Power
Chapter Four: Tactics of Power
Academics, students, politicians, legal practitioners and educated laymen interested in issues surrounding Shariʿa councils, multiculturalism and the Muslim presence in Britain, women’s rights and the themes of power and authority.