Sometimes, context is everything. For much of the twentieth century, at least since the 1920s in Egypt and the 1900s in Iran, activists advanced Islam as an alternative to existing government in Muslim-majority countries. Actually existing government was identified with secularism—first in the colonial and then in the independence period—and “Islam” specifically with its operationalization in Shari’a. As comprehensive guidance to right conduct from ritual to social and business relations, Shari’a is more than law, to which it is sometimes reduced when positioned as alternative to secular, civil codes and more ambitiously deployed to preclude legislation on such matters.[...]Read the rest of Liberating shari’a.
Jon W. Anderson
Jon W. Anderson is Professor and Chair of the Anthropology Department at The Catholic University of America. He is the author of Reformatting Politics: Information Technology and Global Civil Society (co-edited with Jodi Dean and Geert Lovink, 2006) and is currently doing research on the communications and information revolution in the Arab world, transnational cultures and the social organization of international "cyberspaces."