"Should shari'a law be introduced into the British legal system? Elham Manea explores this question as a human rights activist and Arab scholar who identifies herself as Muslim. In response to recent media controversy and public debate about legal pluralism and multiculturalism, Manea argues against what she identifies as the growing tendency for people to be treated as 'homogenous groups' in Western academic discourse, rather than as individuals with authentic voices. Building on her knowledge of the situation for women in Middle Eastern and Islamic countries, she undertakes first-hand analysis of the Islamic shari'a councils and Muslim arbitration tribunals in various British cities. Based on meeting with the leading sheiks (including the only woman on their panels), as well as interviews with experts on extremism, lawyers and activists in civil society and women's rights groups, Manea offers an impassioned critique of legal pluralism, connecting it with political Islam and detailing the lived experiences of women in Muslim countries."--
Includes bibliographical references (pages 272-284) and index.
Introduction : the debate -- A critical review of the essentialist paradigm -- Islamic law in the West: the case of Britain -- Legal pluralism in practice -- Islamic law and human rights between theory and reality : Britain as a showcase -- Islamism and Islamic law in the West : stating the obvious? Britain as an example -- Contextualising the debate in women's reality : Shari'a law contested -- Conclusion : time for a paradigm shift