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Comparing Islamic and International Laws of War - Lena Salaymeh

Ruined side-street in Shingal (Sinjar)

Location:

Moot Court Room
Edinburgh Law School
Old College
Edinburgh
EH8 9YL

Date/time

Tue 24 May 2022
14:00-16:00

The Edinburgh Centre for International and Global Law and the Edinburgh Centre for Legal Theory present

Comparing Islamic and International Laws of War

Prof Lena Salaymeh, British Academy Global Professor in the Oxford School of Global and Area Studies (University of Oxford) and Professor in the Section des Sciences Religieuses of the École Pratique des Hautes Études (Paris Sciences et Lettres).

About the seminar
This talk is based on an article that investigates how contemporary laws of war rationalize civilian deaths. I concentrate on two specific legal constructions in war- fare: the definition of civilian/combatant and the principle of distinction. (The categories of civilian and combatant should be understood as dialogically constitutive and not entirely distinct. In addition, the cate- gory of “civilian” is a modern one and premodern legal sources often do not use one term to refer to noncombatants.) I focus on two significant parties in contemporary warfare: al-Qāʿidah (aka Al-Qaeda) and theU.S. military. Al-Qāʿidah diverges from orthodox Islamic law on these two legal issues, while remaining within the Islamic legal tradition. To scrutinize the nature of this divergence, I compare al-Qāʿidah’s legal reasoning to the legal reasoning of the U.S. military. I demonstrate that the U.S. military diverges from orthodox international law in ways that parallel how al-Qāʿidah diverges from orthodox Islamiclaw. Specifically, both the U.S. military and al-Qāʿidah elide orthodox categories of civilians and expand the category of combatant, primarily by rendering civilians as probable combatants. Based on this comparative analysis, I argue that the legal reasoning of al-Qāʿidah (and other militant Islamist groups) is as secular as it is Islamic; I call this fusion secularislamized law.
Salaymeh, Lena. "Comparing Islamic and International Laws of War: Orthodoxy, Heresy, and Secularization in the Category of Civilians." American Journal of Comparative Law 69, no. 1 (2021): 136-67.

Read the article on the Amercian Journal of Comparative Law

 

About the speaker
Lena Salaymeh is British Academy Global Professor in the Oxford School of Global and Area Studies (University of Oxford) and Professor in the Section des Sciences Religieuses of the École Pratique des Hautes Études (Paris Sciences et Lettres). She is also Co-Organizer of the Decolonial Comparative Law Project at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and Private International Law (Hamburg). Salaymeh is a scholar of law and history, with specializations in Islamic jurisprudence, Jewish jurisprudence, and critical theory. Her scholarship on law and religion brings together legal history and critiques of secularism. She received a Guggenheim fellowship and her first book, *The Beginnings of Islamic Law: Late Antique Islamicate Legal Traditions*, received the American Academy of Religion Award for Excellence in the Study of Religion in the category of Textual Studies.

 

This event is free and open to all. This event will take place IN PERSON at Edinburgh Law School.

Places are limited and registration is required (link below).

 

 

 

Image credit: Photo by Levi Meir Clancy on Unsplash

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