State courts of civil law and common law jurisdictions alike are used to applying the rules of direct and indirect tort liability to Christian churches in different ways and with different results. But recent court decisions have put the issue of the civil liability of religious groups for acts of sex abuse by clergy in a different context, that of Islam. A common denominator in the reasoning of courts worldwide is the relevance of religious authority – authority to appoint and supervise clergy or authority vested in clergy – as an important factor in the attribution of civil liability. But Islam is a religion whose organizational structure and ministers are simply too different from those of the various Christian churches, so that state courts run the risk of wrongly applying to Islamic communities and Muslim entities the same categories and legal principles they usually apply in other, more common, cases of sex abuse.
Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights protects the right to freedom of religion and conscience. The language of Article 9(1) has been interpreted by the European Court of Human Rights as including protections for acts of proselytism, when properly committed and respectful of the rights and freedoms of others. This was the view taken in the foundational Article 9 case of the Court, Kokkinakis v. Greece. In the decades since Kokkinakis, however, the view of the Court on proselytism appears to have shifted, in particular in Article 9 cases involving religious garments. This article seeks to determine whether the Court is consistent in its views on proselytism between these religious garment cases and earlier examples of Article 9 case law.
Legal regulation of religious conversion has become one of the central human rights issues worldwide. Numerous countries, especially in South Asia, have enacted laws that prohibit proselytizating on the grounds of force, allurement, and misrepresentation. Critics have consistently relied on freedom of religion to oppose these laws, but courts in these jurisdictions have upheld them on the very grounds of religious freedom. The present Article explains the historical and ideological bases of this counterintuitive approach to religious freedom by focusing on the case of India. It argues that this approach is based on a historically evolving conception of religion associated with modern Hinduism, according to which all religions have an equal claim to spiritual truth. This precept of religious equality has come to constitute the political and judicial approach to religious freedom and religious conversion laws. The Article uses this interpretive insight to renew the normative critique of such laws.
This article defends an analytical framework based on systems theory, reflexive law, and Teubner’s regulatory trilemma. J v B exemplifies the numerous overlapping social relations, and forms a case study on the relationship between the State, community, and minority religious individuals, and on how this relationship can break down from the systems theoretical perspective. The article uses this case as a testing ground for a modified systems theoretical approach, treating this conflict between family law and religion as a regulatory problem. Although it centers on English family law, the article should be read as a piece of normative legal theory of general application. In the final section, it explores reflexive secularity and how this may apply in cases where law and religion interact, such as J v B.
This article presents the Lebanese parliament as a form of institutionalized hybridity that offers a modicum of popular participation through highly regulated and moderated channels. It argues that the procedural nature of Lebanon’s electoral system is one that is largely, if not entirely, underscored by a closed elite bargaining process and is driven by elite preferences. This dynamic is a by-product of a power-sharing arrangement that ostensibly balances sectarian concerns, but in reality creates a disparity between political elites and the individuals within those sects which the consociational arrangement purports to include. However, this system has also created and reinforced challenges to its rule, particularly from below. With that in mind, this article highlights the evolving interactions between the entrenched, elite dominated, political system and popular protest movement and outlines how recent patterns of popular unrest present more fundamental critiques of the parliament and its central role in Lebanese politics.
The Imami Shiʿa are usually treated as a community defined by belief. By analysing a letter attributed to the ninth Imami Imam, Muḥammad al-Jawād dated to the year of his death in 220/835, I show that the Imami Shiʿa were defined also by institutional structures that tied them to their Imam in his capacity as community leader. Details of transmission, form and content suggest that the letter may well be authentic, giving us a unique window onto the Imamic administration. The letter is a tax demand, encouraging payment of the khums levy upon the spoils of war and other items. My analysis suggests that the understanding of khums and ghanīma among Imamis at this time continued to be fluid, subject to the Imam’s adjustment, and that implementation influenced the elaboration of the law. Subsequently, hadith scholars and jurists were thus forced to interpret how such ad hoc, pragmatic acts fit into Islamic law, which is conceived as eternal and divine.