Public Lecture by Prof Maleiha Malik

Can Muslims Follow Sharia in the West?

Minorities, Pluralism and Law - CPD accredited​

Public Lecture by Prof Maleiha Malik (King's College London) on Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Recent legal controversies in the UK, Germany and Canada have raised the question of Muslims in the West following their religious law, especially in the context of marriage and divorce. The rise of an 'anti-sharia movement' with links to far right racist parties have racialised the discourse.

This lecture examines Minority legal orders - the systemic, distinct, religious or cultural norms of groups such as Jews, Christians, Muslims, and others - are often misleadingly described as ‘parallel legal systems’. Since 9/11 and 7/7 they have been mainly discussed in the context of Islam and sharia law, and more often than not as an ominous threat to UK liberal democracy.

I argue that a liberal democracy such as the UK has a responsibility to consider the rights and needs of those from minority groups who want to make legal decisions in tune with their culture and beliefs; it also has a responsibility to protect those ‘minorities within minorities’ who are vulnerable to pressure to comply with the norms of their social group. The lecture discusses the origins of minority legal orders in the UK and defines what constitutes a minority legal order in a liberal democracy.

Finally, it explores the advantages and disadvantages of the practical ways in which the state can respond to and work with minority legal orders in the UK and other liberal democracies.

Maleiha Malik is Professor of Law at King's College, University of London. Her research focuses on the theory and practice of European and domestic discrimination law, minority protection and feminist theory. Her recent relevant publications include a leading text titled Discrimination Law: Theory and Context published in 2008, as well as Anti-Muslim Prejudice in the West - Past and Present (2010) and Minority Legal Orders in the UK (2012)

The lecture will take place in room 2.3, Level 2 (13.00-14.00).

No registration necessary.

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