Muslim Legal Norms and the Integration of European Muslims
This paper examines the potential for accommodating Muslim legal and ethical norms within European liberal democracies. It focuses on areas of personal life such as family norms and ethics. The main argument of the paper is that in some areas - such as divorce or contract law - there is potential for accommodating Muslim legal and ethical norms within mainstream political and legal institutions. The advantage of this strategy is that it can encourage Muslims to identify with national political and legal institutions. This strategy can, in turn, encourage the integration of Muslims into mainstream European institutions and promote the goals of social cohesion. However, the accommodation of some relgious and cultural norms in this way can create a risk of harm to women. Therefore, there need to be special processes to ensure that Muslim women's autonomy is safeguarded. The paper includes a case study and discussion of Muslim family law arbitration, and the use of 'sharia tribunals', in Great Britain.
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