tehranbureau An independent source of news on Iran and the Iranian diaspora

Audio | Kadri on Sharia Law, Its History, and Its Place in the Modern World


09 Jun 2012 22:03Comments
ScreenShot044.jpg"Human-rights-compatible interpretations of the sharia are not only possible, but desirable."

[ books ] Sharia law has been at the forefront of considerable controversy in the West of late -- U.S. lawmakers, for instance, have moved to ban its use in over a dozen states. But the 1,400-year-old code of Islamic law is still used in many places around the world, and millions of Muslims adhere to it.

What is sharia law all about, and why does it stir so much debate? Tehran Bureau spoke with human rights lawyer and author Sadakat Kadri for some answers. A barrister in the United Kingdom and a qualified New York attorney, he is the author of the 2005 book The Trial: A History, from Socrates to O.J. Simpson, which chronicles the Western legal tradition.

Now, he has come out with a new book, Heaven on Earth: A Journey through Shari'a Law, about the Islamic tradition of jurisprudence in many different times and countries. In this interview, he talks about how sharia law works in a secular country, and what happens when it clashes with the law of the land in the West. He explains why some aspects of sharia, like amputating a thief's hand, cannot be "revised" to reflect today's values. He also explores why the Shia approach to sharia is sometimes considered "more liberal" than that of the Sunni schools of jurisprudence.

In the accompanying excerpt from the interview, Kadri draws a comparison between how sharia and halakhah -- Jewish religious law -- are viewed in the United Kingdom and the United States.

Copyright © 2012 Tehran Bureau

SHAREtwitterfacebookSTUMBLEUPONbalatarin reddit digg del.icio.us
blog comments powered by Disqus

In order to foster a civil and literate discussion that respects all participants, FRONTLINE has the following guidelines for commentary. By submitting comments here, you are consenting to these rules:

Readers' comments that include profanity, obscenity, personal attacks, harassment, or are defamatory, sexist, racist, violate a third party's right to privacy, or are otherwise inappropriate, will be removed. Entries that are unsigned or are "signed" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. We reserve the right to not post comments that are more than 400 words. We will take steps to block users who repeatedly violate our commenting rules, terms of use, or privacy policies. You are fully responsible for your comments.