British muslims and transformative processes of the Islamic legal traditions : negotiating law, culture and religion with specific reference to Islamic family law and faith based alternative dispute resolution
Akhtar, Rajnaara C.
KD_Religious_Systems | KD
This cross disciplinary socio-legal research study provides a unique\ud contribution to the study of British Muslims, faith based ADR mechanisms and\ud the state. The existence of informal religio-centric dispute resolution forums\ud exemplifies a form of legal pluralism in action.\ud The study investigated the approach to Islamic family law and dispute\ud resolution of a sample of 250 British Muslims aged 18-45, primarily Britishborn,\ud university educated and practicing their faith or understanding their\ud religious obligations. Empirical research was undertaken using both\ud quantitative and qualitative research methods, and conclusions were drawn by\ud assessing the findings using Grounded Theory methodology.\ud Empirical research focussing on younger generations of British Muslims and the\ud transformative processes of the Islamic legal traditions impacting on the\ud application of religious laws are absent. The present study is unique in a\ud number of regards, with a focus on the subject group’s interaction with, and\ud perception of, dispute resolution forums available for resolving Islamic family\ud law disputes.\ud This thesis argues that British Muslims from within the socio-demographic\ud profile of the subject group: 1) believe faith based ADR mechanisms such as\ud Shariah Councils are necessary for providing expertise on Islamic family law\ud issues, however in their present form they are imperfect; 2) believe Shariah\ud Councils are more competent than national courts in dealing with Islamic law\ud issues; 3) have plural approaches to negotiating law, culture and religion; and\ud 4) believe there should not be a separate legal system for Muslims in Britain, as\ud this is separatist and divergent from their identities as ‘British Muslims’ which\ud is an evolving self-identification.\ud Participants displayed numerous perceptions about the manner and form of\ud interaction between British Muslims, faith based ADR mechanisms and the\ud British legal system. Six categories are coined in the research findings exploring\ud these opinions, the most popular being a ‘rights-based evaluation promoting\ud Interlegality’ and ‘necessity for validation of religious beliefs’.
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