This paper addresses and critiques the case for state-level legislative bans on courts citing “Islamic law” or the law of Muslim-majority countries. In particular, the paper reviews the most substantive evidence adduced by the bans’ supporters, in the form of a set of state court cases published by the Center for Security Policy (CSP). Very few of these cases, in fact, show courts actually applying Islamic or foreign law, and in none of these cases would the various forms of proposed legislation have been likely to alter the result. Thus even this report does not suggest a need for the state laws purporting to ban sharīʿa. The paper thus argues that even if these bans are not unconstitutionally discriminatory in their effect, they are ineffective at achieving their claimed purpose.
Ibn Ḥārith al-Khushanī recorded the following case as a ḥikāya, an anonymous report: A Christian appeared before the judge Aslam b. ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz, petitioning to be executed. The anecdote offers insight into the historical role of judges during a period of religious dissent in the Umayyad Caliphate, while the author's narrative voice demonstrates past judicial approaches to rationality, humor, and violent penalization.
This text is part of Maribel Fierro, The Judges of al-Andalus, forthcoming.
In November 2009, Switzerland passed a popular referendum prohibiting the construction of minarets. In response, Mr. Quardiri, a Muslim living in Switzerland, challenged the legality of the ban in the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). Mr. Quardiri alleged that the ban violated his rights under Article 9 of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR), which guarantees religious freedom, as well as Article 14, providing that no one can be discriminated on the grounds of religion. The Court declined to rule on the merits of the case, holding that Mr. Quardiri neither qualified as a direct, indirect nor potential victim of the minaret ban.