Saranno Rispettati Come Per il Passato. Italian Colonial Policy towards Libyan Religious Endowments
Title: Saranno Rispettati Come Per il Passato. Italian Colonial Policy towards Libyan Religious Endowments
Author: GAZZINI, Claudia
Series/Report no.: EUI MWP; 2010/10
This paper offers a survey of Italian colonial policy towards Muslim religious endowments (waqf, pl. awqaf) in Libya from 1911 to 1943. Through an analysis of 41 lawsuits presented to the colonial Court of Appeals and a detailed survey of the laws promulgated to reform the administration of the awqaf in Libya, this study reveals the legal mechanisms adopted by Italian jurists to regulate awqaf matters in their only North African colony. It demonstrates that, unlike other colonial powers in the region, the Italians did not set out to confiscate real estate that had been immobilized as religious endowments, nor did they seek to delegitimize the principles of Islamic law on which awqaf were founded. When confiscation of endowed property did occur, it was to retaliate against those Muslim brotherhoods, such as the Sanusiyya, which had taken up arms against colonial rule. With few exceptions, Italians respected the legal validity of the awqaf, and limited themselves to exercising more direct control over their administration by removing them from the jurisdiction of the qadi (Islamic judge) and placing them under the judicial oversight of state courts.
Subject: Italy; Libya; Colonial Law; Islam; North Africa
Type of Access: openAccess