Comparative Law at the Intersection of Religion and Gender
Title: Comparative Law at the Intersection of Religion and Gender
Author: FOURNIER, Pascale
Series/Number: EUI RSCAS; 2009/50; Mediterranean Programme Series
The articles seeks to understand the politics of transnational Islamic family law in Canada, the United States, France and Germany, through the migration of one particular legal institution: Mahr, “the gift which the bridegroom has to give to the bride when the contract of marriage is made and which becomes the property of the wife.” The issue of Mahr typically presents itself in a crisis-like fashion: married Muslim women, engaged in religiously structured marriages, and living in Western liberal states, reach out to the secular court upon the dissolution of their marriage to claim the enforcement of Mahr, presumably because their husbands have previously refused to give them the amount of deferred Mahr. Through an analysis of the case law, I will explore the ways in which legal pluralism, formal equality and substantive equality are being used by courts to accept or root out Islamic law from the family of institutions that are deemed appropriate in Western countries. How do the diverse and contradictory conceptual themes around Islamic law and Islamic theory get received or brought to Western liberal courts? What are the modes of influence in the selection and imposition processes of Mahr as a legal transplant? Does the reification of religion by courts simultaneously fragment it as rules move across borders? Does the way Mahr travels affect subjectivity, in both productive and reactive terms?
Subject: Comparative law; Islamic family law; Mahr; Legal Transplants; Gender
Type of Access: openAccess