The Unfamiliar Abode: Islamic Law in the United States and Britain

ISBN : 9780195387810

Kathleen Moore
208 Pages
164 x 241 mm
Pub date
Apr 2010
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Today there are more Muslims living in diaspora than at any time in history. This situation was not envisioned by Islamic law, which makes no provision for permanent as opposed to transient diasporic communities. Western Muslims are therefore faced with the necessity of developing an Islamic law for Muslim communities living in non-Muslim societies. In this book, Kathleen Moore explores the development of new forms of Islamic law and legal reasoning in the US and Great Britain, as well the Muslims encountering Anglo-American common law and its unfamiliar commitments to pluralism and participation, and to gender, family, and identity. The underlying context is the aftermath of 9/11 and 7/7, the two attacks that arguably recast the way the West views Muslims and Islam. Islamic jurisprudence, Moore notes, contains a number of references to various 'abodes' and a number of interpretations of how Muslims should conduct themselves within those worlds. These include the dar al harb (house of war), dar al kufr (house of unbelievers), and dar al salam (house of peace). How Islamic law interprets these determines the debates that take shape in and around Islamic legality in these spaces. Moore's analysis emphasizes the multiplicities of law, the tensions between secularism and religiosity. She is the first to offer a close examination of the emergence of a contingent legal consciousness shaped by the exceptional circumstances of being Muslim in the U.S and Britain in the 1990s and the first decade of the 21st century


1. Muslims in the United States: Pluralism Under Exceptional Circumstances
2. Jurisprudence as Mirror
3. The Qur'an and American Politics
4. Britain's Shariacracy
5. Si(gh)ting Muslim Women on the U.S. Legal Landscape
6. The Unfamiliar Abode

About the author: 

Kathleen Moore, Director, Center for Middle-East Studies, University of California Santa Barbara

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