Mar 02

Spring Law Journal Symposium discusses “Islamic Law and Constitutional Liberty”

Published on: Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Monday, April 12 the University of St. Thomas School of Law will host the spring University of St. Thomas Law Journal Symposium.  Held in the Schulze Grand Atrium at the School of Law in downtown Minneapolis, the symposium will discuss the intersection of constitutional liberty and Islamic law. Panelists will discuss a range of topics related to two broad themes: First, what challenges and opportunities face democracies in Muslim-majority nations as they seek to integrate Islamic law with the rights typically accorded in constitutional democracies? Second, what tensions exist between adherence to Islamic law and the norms of liberal democracies in nations with growing Muslim minorities? Within this framework, participants will discuss Islam and religious liberties; privatization of law issues, such as those being considered in Canada; and notions of patriotism, assimilation, and pluralism as they pertain to Islam. They will also explore the unique features of Islamic law and its integration into modern legal systems.

     The keynote speaker for the symposium is Noah Feldmann, adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and professor at Harvard Law School.  Feldman’s books include After Jihad, What we Owe Iraq, and The Fall and Rise of the Islamic State.  Feldman is an expert who has written for popular publications like the New York Times on the future of democracy in the Middle East.
Other presenters will include:

• John Bowen, the Dunbar-Van Cleve Professor in Arts & Sciences, Sociocultural Anthropology at Washington University.  Bowen is the author most recently of, Can Islam Be French? Pluralism and Pragmatism in a Secularist State.  His current research focuses on comparative social studies of Islam across the world.

• Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, Chairman/Founder of the Cordoba Initiative.  Feisal has appeared regularly at the Council on Foreign Relations and the World Economic Forum (Davos). He has been interviewed by and quoted in leading print media, including BBC, CNN, New York Times, Washington Post, Frontline, and Foreign Policy. His publications include the books: Islam: A Search for Meaning, Islam: A Sacred Law (What every Muslim Should Know About the Shariah), and What's Right With Islam: A New Vision for Muslims and the West.

• L. Ali Khan, Professor of Law at the Washburn University School of Law. Khan has authored three academic books published in the prestigious series Developments in International Law. Over the years, he has written numerous law review articles on the U.S. Constitution, comparative constitutional law, legal education, human rights, international disputes, and terrorism.

• Haider ala Hamoudi, Assistant Professor of Law at University of Pittsburgh Law School.   Hamoudi is currently spending his time in Baghdad advising the Constitutional Review Committee of the Iraqi legislature, responsible for developing critical amendments to the Iraq Constitution deemed necessary for Iraqi national reconciliation, on behalf of the United States Embassy in Baghdad.  Hamoudi’s scholarship focuses on Middle Eastern and Islamic Law, particularly, but not exclusively, as it pertains to matters of commerce.

• Faisal Kutty, Assistant Professor of Law at Valparaiso University School of Law.  He is currently a Ph.D. candidate at Osgoode Hall Law School. His dissertation examines the impact of anti-terrorism legislation and policies on the rule of law. He is also currently completing his Diploma in Islamic Banking from the International Institute of Islamic Banking and Insurance (London, U.K.).

• Russell Powell, Assistant Professor of Law at Seattle University School of Law.  Powell previously taught at the Univeristy of Jordan and his areas of expertise are business law (especially corporate law), jurisprudence (with particular interests in Catholic social thought and Islamic legal theory), and comparative law.

     Practicing lawyers, legal scholars, and the public are all encouraged to register for this event.  CLE credits are being applied for.  For more information and registration information contact: Bethany Moeller at 651-962-4830 or R.S.V.P. at.

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