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Islam, Gender, and Democracy in Comparative Perspective$
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Jocelyne Cesari and José Casanova

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198788553

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198788553.001.0001

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Reforming Muslim Family Laws in Non-Muslim Democracies

Reforming Muslim Family Laws in Non-Muslim Democracies

Chapter:
(p.160) 7 Reforming Muslim Family Laws in Non-Muslim Democracies
Source:
Islam, Gender, and Democracy in Comparative Perspective
Author(s):

Yüksel Sezgin

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198788553.003.0008

Israel and Greece belong to a small group of countries that formally recognize and apply Muslim Family Laws (MFLs) within their legal systems. Although state-enforced MFLs affect human and women’s rights negatively, both Greek and Israeli governments have refrained from direct legislative interventions into substantive MFLs under their jurisdictions. Instead, they allowed civil courts to play the role of “reformer.” In this respect, the chapter asks whether civil courts in these two non-Muslim countries have been able to effect any substantive or procedural changes in MFLs. By analyzing the Israeli and Greek civil courts’ Shari‘a jurisprudence, the chapter shows that the effect of civil courts on MFLs has been mostly indirect, through pressure on religious courts/authorities to undertake self-reform.

Keywords:   civil courts, Greece, Israel, Muslim Family Law, reform, Shari‘a, women’s rights

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