Islam, Europe and Emerging Legal Issues

Islam, Europe and Emerging Legal Issues
Edited by W. Cole Durham Jr., Rik Torfs, David M. Kirkham, and Christine Scott
Ashgate 2012

Islam, Europe and Emerging Legal Issues brings together vital analysis of the challenges that Europe poses for an expanding Islam and that Islam poses for Europe, within their ever-evolving religious, legal, and social environments. This book gathers some of the best thinking on Islam and the law affecting current and contested issues that can no longer be ignored, particularly as they have found their way before the European Court of Human Rights. Contributors include leading authorities who are working at the heart of this generation’s law and religion questions in Europe and across the world. This book outlines implications for all those who look to Europe-from both within and without-for models of human rights implementation and multi-cultural accommodation.


Introduction, W. Cole Durham Jr and David M. Kirkham

Part I Islam, Human Rights and Secularism in Europe: an Overview: Islam in Strasbourg: can politics substitute for law? Javier Martínez-Torrón; The European Court of Human Rights: between fundamentalist and liberal secularism, Ingvill Thorson Plesner; Wearing the hijab: some reflections from a Muslim woman’s perspective, Amal Idrissi; International human rights law and the Islamic headscarf: a short note on the positions of the European Court of Human Rights and the Human Rights Committee, Martin Scheinen.

Part II European Approaches to the Islamic Headscarf Controversy: The hijab in Strasbourg: clear conclusions, unclear reasoning, Njål Høstmœlingen; Religious symbols in public schools: the Islamic headscarf and the European Court of Human Rights decision in Sahin v. Turkey, T. Jeremy Gunn; The Strasbourg court dealing with Turkey and the human right to freedom of religion or belief: an assessment in light of Leyla Sahin v. Turkey, Tore Lindholm; The religious headscarf (hijab) and access to employment under Norwegian antidiscrimination laws, Ronald Craig; The headscarf issue: a German perspective, Richard Puza.

Part III The European Court and the Limits of Pluralism: the Welfare Party Case: The dubious foundations of the Refah decision, Ann Elizabeth Mayer; Refah revisited: Strasbourg’s construction of Islam, Christian Moe; The principle of legal pluralism and militant democracy, Javid Gadirov; The European Court’s freedom of association cases and the implications for Islam, Lance Lehnhof



About the Editors:

W. Cole Durham, Jr. is the director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies and the Susa Young Gates University Professor of Law at the J. Reuben Clark Law School, Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. Internationally respected for his expertise in law and religion, Professor Durham has received multiple honours, including appointment as co-chair of the OSCE Advisory Panel of Experts on Freedom of Religion or Belief, and service as vice president of the International Academy for Freedom of Religion and Belief. He was also the recipient of the Freedom Center’s International First Freedom Award in 2009 (whose previous recipients include Tony Blair and Vaclav Havel). A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, Professor Durham has been heavily involved in comparative constitutional law and church-state relations throughout his career. He has published widely on comparative law, currently serves as the chair of both the Comparative Law Section and the Law and Religion Section of the American Association of Law Schools, and is a member of several U.S. and international advisory boards dealing with religious freedom and church-state relations. 

Rik Torfs is a member of the Belgian Senate and a professor at the Catholic University of Leuven, where he was Dean of the Faculty of Canon Law. He has also been a visiting professor at both the University of Strasbourg in France and the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa. In 2009 he became a member of the Commission for Intercultural Dialogue (Assises de l’Interculturalité) of the Belgian government. Professor Torfs is the author of nearly 350 articles and numerous books dealing with canon law, law, and Church and State relationships. He is also the editor of the European Journal for Church and State Research, is a member of the Board of Directors of the European Consortium for State-Church Research, and is a newspaper columnist and host of his own television program. 

David Kirkham, Ph.D., J.D., is Senior Fellow for Comparative Law and International Policy at the BYU International Center for Law and Religion Studies and senior advisor on Europe. Prior to 2007, David served as Associate Dean and Professor of International Politics and Democratic Studies at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. He has also served as Director of International History and Associate Professor of History at the United States Air Force Academy, as a Senior Humanitarian Affairs Officer at the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Geneva, and as an international negotiator for the US government in Europe and Africa. His teaching and previous publications address international human rights, international ethics, constitutionalism, democratic revolutions, the United Nations, international humanitarian relief, and the global challenges posed by ideological extremism. 

Christine Scott is a practicing attorney, an experienced editor, and former Director of Publications for the BYU International Center for Law and Religion Studies. She writes on international religion and law issues, and assists with consultations on legislation affecting international church-state relations and religious freedom. Christine holds a juris doctor degree from the J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University, where she graduated cum laude and served as Managing Editor of the BYU Journal of Public Law. 

Review: ‘Religious pluralism is one of the unintended and unanticipated societal consequences of immigration with which European states have yet to come to terms. The European Court of Human Rights has emerged as an important and controversial arbitrator of the meaning of toleration: when are states justified in imposing restrictions on minority churches and non-conforming religious practices? This excellent collection of essays by estimable scholars reviews critically important decisions before the Strasbourg Court. Legal scholars, students, and policymakers will find the book an indispensable help in sorting through the maze of judicial opinion on what states may and may not do with respect to placing restrictions on Muslim faith groups and other religious minorities.’ — Jytte Klausen, Brandeis University USA, and author of The Islamic Challenge: Politics and Religion in Western Europe and The Cartoons That Shook the World