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Islamic Studies Fiqh Al-Aqalliyyat
by
Alexandre Caeiro

Introduction

The Muslim jurisprudence of minorities (fiqh al-aqalliyyat or minority fiqh) has emerged as a distinctive field of research in the wake of the post–World War II establishment of sizable Muslim populations in western Europe and North America. Although Muslims have lived as minorities throughout history, the minority condition itself was not considered worthy of systematic reflection on the part of premodern Muslim jurists. The current debate on whether Muslims should devise a new understanding of Islamic law for minorities is therefore a thoroughly modern one, engaging a wide number of contemporary Muslim scholars and intellectuals. The task at hand is to understand what is precisely at stake in this debate from a religious perspective; how the different opinions held by Muslim actors may relate to the positions they occupy in the global Islamic religious field; how these Muslim debates are shaped by conditions in the secular societies of Europe and North America; and what understandings of “Islam” and of the “West” they presuppose.

General Overviews

Scholars have debated and disagreed on whether the Muslim communities living in the West today are unprecedented and if so, what the bases for this novelty are. Abou El Fadl 1994 provides an authoritative account of the diversity and nuances of classical Muslim discourses on the minority condition. Masud 1989 and Roy 1999 elaborate models for the minority condition in Islam. Van Koningsveld 2006 and Waardenburg 2000 seek to redirect research on Muslim minorities toward the study of normative Islam. March 2009 considers a broad range of contemporary Islamic discourses on the minority status and their implications for liberal political theory. Rohe 2007 discusses the idea of a European Sharia in its legal and ethical dimensions, while Hellyer 2009 relates Muslim discussions on minority fiqh to ongoing redefinitions of Europeanness. Césari 2004 provides a panorama of the sociological transformations of Muslim minorities in the West. The overviews noted here should ideally be read in conjunction with the wider literature on Muslim minorities (see the Oxford Bibliographies articles Islam in Europe and Islam in North America).

  • Abou El Fadl, Khaled. “Islamic Law and Muslim Minorities: The Juristic Discourse on Muslim Minorities from the Second/Eighth to the Eleventh/Seventeenth Centuries.” Islamic Law and Society 1.2 (1994): 141–187.

    DOI: 10.1163/156851994X00011Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Erudite account of the diversity of opinions in the Islamic legal tradition regarding the status and religious obligations of Muslims living as minorities. Abou El Fadl shows that these discussions are much older and nuanced than often assumed in the literature.

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  • Césari, Jocelyne. When Islam and Democracy Meet: Muslims in Europe and the United States. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004.

    DOI: 10.1057/9781403978561Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A sociological account of the ongoing transformations of Islam in Europe and North America. Discusses the place of Islamic Law in the West and the efforts to reform Sharia by old and new leadership figures alike.

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  • Hellyer, H. A. Muslims of Europe: The “Other” Europeans. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2009.

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    Looks at Muslim attempts to redefine the role of Islamic law in Europe, placing them in relation to broader struggles to construct a European identity inclusive of its Muslim populations.

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  • March, Andrew. Islam and Liberal Citizenship: The Search for an Overlapping Consensus. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.

    DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195330960.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An important study of the range of contemporary Islamic discourses on the minority condition. Provides a stimulating discussion of theoretical fiqh debates on residence outside the realm of Islam, loyalty to a non-Muslim polity, and relations with non-Muslims. Informed by liberal political theory.

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  • Masud, Khalid. “Being Muslim in a non-Muslim Polity: Three Alternate Models.” Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs 10 (1989): 118–128.

    DOI: 10.1080/02666958908716109Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A pioneering account of the various ways in which classical Islamic legal theory allowed Muslim minorities to live in non-Muslim countries. Distinguishes between the pre-hijrah Mecca, the post-hijrah Mecca, and the Abyssinia/Hudaybiyya models and discusses the implications of each for the contemporary situation.

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  • Rohe, Mathias. Muslim Minorities and the Law in Europe: Chances and Challenges. New Delhi: Global Media, 2007.

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    Provides an overview of the different dimensions of Islamic law in Europe, from international private law arrangements to the production of nonbinding fatwas. Written from a legal perspective with an emphasis on the German context.

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  • Roy, Olivier. Vers un islam européen. Paris: Éditions Esprit, 1999.

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    By a French political scientist who has shaped the academic debate on Islam in the West. It focuses on the sociological transformations of Islam in the European context. Unlike his translated works, this book includes a useful discussion of paradigms related to the application of Islamic law in minority contexts. Out of print.

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  • van Koningsveld, P. S. “The Significance of Fatwas for Muslims in Europe: Some Suggestions for Future Research.” Nederlandsch theologisch tijdschrift 60.3 (2006): 208–221.

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    A programmatic article that seeks to redirect research on European Islam toward the study of fatwas. Predicts that fiqh al-aqalliyyat will influence discussions on Islam in the West as well as developments in Muslim majority countries.

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  • Waardenburg, Jacques. “Normative Islam in Europe.” In Paroles d’islam: Individus, sociétés et discours dans l’islam européen contemporain. Edited by Felice Dassetto, 49–68. Paris: Maisonneuve et Larose, 2000.

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    Pioneering text alerting to the importance of studying normative (as opposed to practiced) Islam in Europe. Provides a typology of approaches to normative Islam among Muslims in Europe and how they relate to specific figures of religious authority.

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Journals

The most relevant periodical in the field is al-Majalla al-‘Ilmiyya li-l-Majlis al-Urubbi li-l-Ifta’ wa-l-Buhuth, edited by the European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR), which publishes articles by members and nonmembers on fiqh issues relevant to Muslims in the West. Among all the academic journals in social science and in Islamic Studies that have published important articles, three are mentioned here that have recently run special issues on topics directly relevant to fiqh al-aqalliyyat (Die Welt des Islams, Journal of Islamic Law and Culture, and The Muslim World), in addition to three interdisciplinary journals that regularly carry articles on Muslim minorities and Islamic law (Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations, Islamic Law & Society, and the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs). Reference is also made to a leading Internet portal that has posted many articles and fatwas on the subject (IslamOnLine) and to an Arabic periodical that for a decade carried a wealth of relevant information and analysis (Al-Urubbiyya).

Theoretical Debates

Islamic scholars and others have been debating since the 1980s how best to protect the religious identity of Muslims living in the West and whether this requires a new understanding of Islamic normativity to account for the fact that they live under a secular regime in a largely non-Muslim society. Although many of the interventions arguing for or against minority fiqh start off as responses to particular fiqh issues (regarding political participation, economic transactions, or other social practices), they are also debates about how to understand the viability of the Islamic legal tradition (what continuities and changes are necessary for it to remain a living and coherent tradition?) and how to conceptualize the contemporary secular West and the kinds of freedoms and constraints that it places upon Muslims. The borders between the following subsections must be understood to be porous and interacting.

Primary Sources

The first major contribution in print to the project of fiqh al-aqalliyyat was arguably al-Qaradawi 2001, where minority fiqh was carefully placed within the discursive tradition of the Sharia. Alwani 2003, by contrast, links minority fiqh to a global project of reform underpinned by particular ideas about the relationship between the Qurʾan and the Sunna. Bin Bayyah 2007 and Sultan 2008 provide guidelines for issuing fatwas relevant to Muslim minorities. Atiya 2007 seeks to resituate discussions on fiqh al-aqalliyyat in the context of the larger institutionalization of (Muslim and non-Muslim) minority rights under the international human rights regime. Mawlawi 2008 and Najjar 2009 shift the focus from the minority status to the condition of citizenship. Contributions by these and other authors are found in various issues of al-Majalla al-‘Ilmiyya li-l-Majlis al-Urubii li-l-lIfta’ wa-l-Buhuth. While all of these authors share a commitment to the Islamic legal tradition and an understanding of the minority condition as posing a particular challenge to that tradition, they nevertheless differ widely in the way they approach the issue, in the solutions they advocate, in their geographical location, and in the position they occupy in the global Islamic religious field.

  • Al-Majalla al-‘Ilmiyya li-l-Majlis al-Urubbi li-l-Ifta’ wa-l-Buhuth.

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    The biannual publication of the European Council for Fatwa and Research. It includes the fatwas issued by the council as well as the research papers presented during its sessions. Papers arguing for or against minority fiqh have been published in issues 1, 3, 4–5, 7, and 10–11.

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  • Alwani, Taha Jabir. Towards a Fiqh for Minorities: Some Basic Reflections. London and Washington, DC: International Institute of Islamic Thought, 2003.

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    The revised version in English of a text initially published in Arabic and available online. It provides an understanding of minority fiqh that differs significantly from al-Qaradawi 2001 insofar as it links the fiqh for minorities to a global project of reform underpinned by particular ideas about the relationship between the Qurʾan and the Sunna. Influenced by the Islamization of social science project.

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  • Atiya, Jamal al-Din. Nahu Fiqh Jadid li-l-Aqalliyyat. Cairo: Dar al-Salam, 2007.

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    (Towards a new jurisprudence for minorities.) Arabic text that attempts to link discussions around fiqh al-aqalliyyat to the ongoing process of institutionalization of minority rights at a global level through human rights mechanisms.

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  • Bin Bayyah, ‘Abd Allah. Sinā‘at al-fatwā wa-fiqh al-aqalliyyāt. Jedda, Saudi Arabia: Dār al-Minhāj, 2007.

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    A learned discussion of the craft of issuing fatwas and the guidelines for engaging the issues of Muslim minorities, followed by a detailed discussion of a number of fatwas issued by the European Council for Fatwa and Research. Written by a Saudi-based Mauritanian scholar from the Maliki school who is a prominent religious authority in contemporary Islam.

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  • Mawlawi, Faysal. Al-Muslim Muwatinan fi Urubba. Cairo: Al-Ittihad al-‘Alami l-Ulama al Muslimin, 2008.

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    (The Muslim, a citizen in Europe.) An Arabic book written by a Lebanese scholar who lived in France in the 1980s. It develops a theory of the rights and duties of Muslims in Europe through discussions of naturalization procedures, political participation, military service, etc.

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  • Najjar, ‘Abd-al Majid al-. Fiqh al Muwatana li-l-Muslimin fi Urubba. 2009.

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    (The fiqh of citizenship for Muslims in Europe.) Provides a discussion of fiqh al-aqalliyyat and fatwa-giving in Europe from a “civilizational” perspective.

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  • al-Qaradawi, Yusuf. Fi Fiqh al-Aqalliyyat al-Islamiyyah: Hayat al-Muslimin wast al-Mujtam’at al-’Ukhra. Cairo: Dar al-Shuruq, 2001.

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    The first and most famous book-length attempt to theorize a Muslim jurisprudence for minorities from within the Islamic legal tradition. Written by a major actor in global Islam with a particular interest in Western Muslims. Includes discussions of issues ranging from interfaith dialogue and marriage to interest-based transactions. A partial English translation was published in 2003 in Cairo under the title Fiqh of Muslim Minorities: Contentious Issues and Recommended Solutions (Cairo: al-Falah Foundation for Translation).

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  • Sultan, Salah. Methodological Regulations for the Fiqh of Muslim Minorities. 2008.

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    An English translation of an Arabic text published by the author in the United States. Contains a set of guidelines for addressing the questions of Muslim minorities through emphases on engaging in collective ijtihad, being aware of the local realities, and attaining the objectives (maqasid) of Islamic law.

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Muslim Engagements

The call for developing a fiqh for minorities has been received in Muslim circles in widely different ways. This section provides links and references to some of the most important critical Muslim voices in the debate. Ali’s In Defense of Minority Fiqh engages fiqh al-aqalliyyat from the standpoint of the North American Muslim experience. Oubrou 2004 constructs a system of Islamic normativity that differs from approaches to minority fiqh in its attempt to reconcile Islamic norms with European cultural practices rather than laws. Ramadan 2004 criticizes the emphasis on minority at the expense of citizenship. Murad 1998 presents a neo-traditionalist response to the minority fiqh project. Al-Buti 2007, Khan 2004, and Safi 2004 place in different ways their engagements with minority fiqh in a larger critique of Western modernity. These voices often have been in dialogue with the advocates of minority fiqh, and reshaped the way the latter subsequently engage the topic.

Academic Scholarship

Albrecht 2010 looks in detail into Qaradawi’s treatise on minority fiqh, Fishman 2006 discusses Qaradawi and Alwani’s engagements with fiqh al-aqalliyyat, and March 2009 explores a broader range of Muslim positions regarding moral obligation to non-Muslims. Caeiro 2010 conceptualizes the project of fiqh al-aqalliyyat in terms of an Islamic counterpublic, while Karman 2008 approaches minority fiqh from the perspective of muftis and fatwa bodies in Europe, North America, and Egypt. Rohe 2007 places the discussion in the legal context of Europe, and Peter 2006 situates the discourse on minority fiqh in the French context.

  • Albrecht, Sarah. Islamisches Minderheitenrecht: Yusuf al-Qaradawis Konzept des fiqh al-aqalliyat. Würzburg, Germany: ERGON-Verlag, 2010.

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    (The Islamic jurisprudence of minorities: Yusuf al-Qaradawi’s concept of fiqh al-aqalliyyat.) The result of a German master’s thesis that focuses on Qaradawi’s efforts to design a fiqh for Muslim minorities.

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  • Caeiro, Alexandre. “The Power of European Fatwas: The Minority Fiqh Project and the Making of an Islamic Counterpublic.” International Journal of Middle East Studies 42.3 (2010): 435–449.

    DOI: 10.1017/S0020743810000437Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Approaches fiqh al-aqalliyyat though the work of the European Council for Fatwa and Research. It tries to conceptualize the ECFR’s production of fatwas as a mode of interpellation that brings about a distinctive public of “European Muslims.”

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  • Fishman, Shammai. Fiqh al-Aqalliyyat: A Legal Theory for Muslim Minorities. Washington, DC: Center on Islam, Democracy and the Future of the Muslim World, Hudson Institute, 2006.

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    Briefly discusses Alwani and Qaradawi’s contribution to minority fiqh.

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  • Karman, Karen-Lise Johansen. “Rethinking Islamic Jurisprudence for Muslim Minorities: The Politics, and the Work of Contemporary Fatwa Councils.” PhD diss., University of Aarhus, 2008.

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    A comparative study of the work of the European Council for Fatwa and Research and the Fiqh Council of North America. Includes a discussion of the views of al-Azhar scholars on fiqh al-aqalliyyat based on interviews with the author.

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  • March, Andrew. “Sources of Moral Obligation to non-Muslims in the ‘Jurisprudence of Muslim Minorities’ (Fiqh al-aqalliyyat) Discourse.” Islamic Law and Society 16.1 (February 2009): 34–94.

    DOI: 10.1163/156851908X413757Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Skillfully describes a range of Muslim positions on obligation to non-Muslims. Includes an innovative discussion of the concept of daʾwa in minority fiqh discourse. To be read in conjunction with March’s other work.

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  • Peter, Frank. “Islamism, Islamic Reformism, and the Public Stigmatization of Muslims: A Study of Muslim Discourses in France.” Oriente Moderno 25.3 (2006): 443–460.

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    Studies fiqh al-aqalliyyat in France as part of a broader constellation of discourses developed by members of the Union des organizations islamiques de France in their engagement with conditions of French secularism. To be read in conjunction with Peter’s “Leading the Community of the Middle Way: A Study of the Muslim Field in France,” The Muslim World 96.4 (2006): 707–736.

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  • Rohe, Mathias. Muslim Minorities and the Law in Europe: Chances and Challenges. New Delhi: Global Media, 2007.

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    Provides a comprehensive overview of the different dimensions of Islamic law in Europe, from international private law arrangements to the production of nonbinding fatwas. Written from a legal perspective with an emphasis on the German context. One chapter deals specifically with fiqh al-aqalliyyat.

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The Role of Fatwas

Fatwas have been privileged tools for thinking and engaging fiqh al-aqalliyyat. Leaving aside the normative debate on whether Western Muslims require or not a new fiqh to deal with their religious questions (see Theoretical Debates), instances of minority fiqh occur whenever Muslims living as minorities seek guidance under the Sharia. The problems they have faced, and the juristic opinions these problems have elicited, constitute fiqh al-aqalliyyat in a descriptive sense. We distinguish here between contemporary fatwa collections designed specifically for Western Muslims, and reflections on the role and functions of fatwas in the context of Europe and North America.

Fatwa Collections

There are today a number of collections of fatwas and other materials specifically designed for Muslims living as minorities in the West. Darsh 1997, European Council for Fatwa and Research 1999, Al-Shari‘a wa-l-Hayat, and IslamOnline can be seen as different media forms of the minority fiqh project. Abdul-Qadir’s Jurisprudence for Muslim Minorities, Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America, al-Hakim 1999, and Ibn Baz and Uthaymeen 1998 represent a heterogeneous group of scholars committed to more universalistic approaches to Islamic normativity. Taken together these materials provide a broad panorama of both the daily concerns of Muslim populations in the West and of the range of contemporary Islamic legal opinions on the issues these minorities face.

Studies on Fatwas in the West

The role of fatwas for Muslims in the West has recently become a topic of considerable scholarly attention. Black and Hosen 2009, Caeiro 2006, De Lorenzo 2000, and van Koningsveld 2006 consider in different ways the functions of fatwas in the diasporic contexts of the West. Karman 2008 and Rohe 2003 provide two accounts of the major fatwa bodies operating in Europe and North America, while Debus 1984 and Zaman 2008 examine two different types of media fatwas.

  • Black, Ann, and Nadirsyah Hosen. “Fatwas: Their Role in Contemporary Secular Australia.” Griffith Law Review 18 (2009): 405–427.

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    Looks at the functions of fatwas in the context of Australia and argues that the relevance of the fatwa increases rather than decreases in this postmigratory and culturally heterogeneous Muslim minority community.

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  • Caeiro, Alexandre. “The Shifting Moral Universes of the Islamic Tradition of Iftā: A Diachronic Study of Four Adab al-Fatwā Manuals.” The Muslim World 96.4 (2006): 661–685.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1478-1913.2006.00152.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Places recent articulations of the adab al-mufti genre in the West in historical perspective and considers the functions of fatwas in European contexts where Islam is disconnected from state and dominant society.

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  • Debus, Esther. Die islamisch-rechtlichen Auskünfte des Milli Gazete im Rahmen des “Fetwa-Wesen” der Türkischen Republik. Berlin: Klaus Schwarz Verlag, 1984.

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    A unique if somewhat dated study in German on the fatwas published in the magazine of the Turkish Islamist group Milli Görüs.

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  • De Lorenzo, Yusuf Talal. “Fiqh Councilor in North America.” In Muslims on the Americanization Path? Edited by Yvonne Yazbeck Haddad and John L. Esposito. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.

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    An account of the task and challenges facing muftis practicing in the United States written by a former secretary-general of the Fiqh Council of North America.

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  • Karman, Karen-Lise Johansen. “Rethinking Islamic Jurisprudence for Muslim Minorities: The Politics, and the Work of Contemporary Fatwa Councils.” PhD diss., University of Aarhus, 2008.

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    A comparative study of the work of the European Council for Fatwa and Research and the Fiqh Council of North America. It includes a discussion of the views of Al-Azhar scholars on fiqh al-aqalliyyat based on interviews with the author.

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  • Rohe, Mathias. “Iftā’ in Europa.” In Beiträge zum Islamischen Recht III. Edited by Hans-Georg Ebert, 33–53. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2003.

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    (Fatwa-giving in Europe.) Discusses the practice of issuing fatwas in western Europe focusing mainly (but not exclusively) on the European Council for Fatwa and Research. It also includes an interesting discussion of the interplay between fatwas and legal court decisions in the German context.

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  • van Koningsveld, P. S. “The Significance of Fatwas for Muslims in Europe: Some Suggestions for Future Research.” Nederlandsch theologisch tijdschrift 60.3 (2006): 208–221.

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    A programmatic article that seeks to redirect research on European Islam toward the study of fatwas. Predicts that fiqh al-aqalliyyat will influence discussions on Islam in the West as well as developments in Muslim majority countries.

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  • Zaman, Saminaz. “From Imam to Cyber-Mufti: Consuming Identity in Muslim America.” Muslim World 98.4 (2008): 465–474.

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    Looks at the impact of the Internet in the construction of Islamic religious authority in the North American context.

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Practical Applications

Although many of the interventions arguing for or against minority fiqh are debates about how to understand the viability of the Islamic legal tradition (what continuities and changes are necessary for it to remain a living and coherent tradition?) and how to conceptualize the contemporary secular West and the kinds of freedoms and constraints that it places upon Muslims, they often take as their starting point particular fiqh issues such as those related to political participation, legal constraints, and social practices.

Politics

Studies listed in this subsection look at the way minority fiqh advocates and others view politics, understood mostly in the narrow sense, in relation to Muslims living in Western societies. Hussain 2004 and Saeed 2008 look at the range of Muslim approaches to political participation in Europe. Shadid and van Koningsveld 1996 studies contemporary fiqh discussions on issues of loyalty, and Shadid and van Koningsveld 2002 studies political participation in non-Muslim polities. Klausen 2005 and Shakir 2007 are less interested in fiqh discussions than in the experiences and challenges of Muslim politicians and activists in Europe. Benhenda 2009 and March 2009 approach issues of political participation of Muslim minorities from the standpoint of the liberal political tradition and the Rawlsian search for an overlapping consensus. Finally, Ramadan 2004 provides an influential vision of the ethos of Muslim political participation in the West.

  • Benhenda, Mostapha. “For Muslim Minorities, It Is Possible to Endorse Political Liberalism, but This Is Not Enough.” Journal of Islamic Law and Culture 11.2 (2009): 71–87.

    DOI: 10.1080/15288170903272989Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The author provides a discussion of Islamic legal and political theory in light of liberal-Rawlsian requirements.

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  • Hussain, Dilwar. “Muslim Political Participation and the ‘Europeanisation’ of Fiqh.” Die Welt des Islams 44.3 (2004): 376–401.

    DOI: 10.1163/1570060042562525Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Establishes a useful typology of Muslim approaches to political participation in Europe from the standpoint of the British experience.

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  • Klausen, Jytte. The Islamic Challenge: Politics and Religion in Western Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.

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    Based on numerous interviews with Muslim politicians and activists in a range of European countries, this book provides a discussion of the challenges and opportunities for Muslim political participation in Europe.

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  • March, Andrew. Islam and Liberal Citizenship: The Search for an Overlapping Consensus. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.

    DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195330960.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Brilliant study of the range of Islamic discourses on the minority condition and the varying gap between these discourses and the requirements of citizenship articulated by liberal political theory.

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  • Ramadan, Tariq. Western Muslims and the Future of Islam. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.

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    Chapter 7 of this book discusses the ethos of Muslim political participation as envisaged by one of the most prominent and influential European Muslim intellectuals.

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  • Saeed, Abdullah. “Muslims in the West and Their Attitude to Full Participation in Western Societies: Some Reflections.” In Secularism, Religion and Multicultural Citizenship. Edited by G. B. Levey and T. Modood, 200–215. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2008.

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    Proposes a typology of Western Muslim approaches to citizenship by taking into account their emphasis on tradition, ideology, national frame, and attitudes toward the West.

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  • Shadid, W. A. R., and P. S. van Koningsveld. “Loyalty to a Non-Muslim Government: An Analysis of Islamic Normative Discussion and of the Views of Some Contemporary Islamicists.” In Political Participation and Identities of Muslims in Non-Muslim States. Edited by W. A. R. Shadid and P. S. van Koningsveld, 84–114. Kampen, The Netherlands: Kok Pharos, 1996.

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    Provides an account of the range of fiqh positions on the issue of loyalty to a non-Muslim polity.

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  • Shadid, W. A. R., and P. S. van Koningsveld. “Religious Authorities of Muslims in the West: Their Views on Political Participation.” In Intercultural Relations and Religious Authorities: Muslims in the European Union. Edited by W. A. R. Shadid and P. S. van Koningsveld, 149–168. Louvain, Belgium: Peeters, 2002.

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    The authors provide an account for the range of fiqh positions on the issue of political participation in the West.

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  • Shakir, Hussam. Muslimu Urubba wa-l-musharaka al-siyasiyya. Dublin, Ireland: Al-Majlis Al-Urubbi li-Ifta’ wa-l-Buhuth, 2007.

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    (European Muslims and political participation.) A study of the challenges and opportunities for Muslims in Europe. Written in Arabic, it also includes a summary in English of the main argument.

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Law

The legal dimensions of the encounter between Islam and the West have provided ample material for research directly relevant to discussions on fiqh al-aqalliyyat. The various contributions to Nielsen and Christofferson 2010 provide a broad overview of this encounter. Studies informed by the methodology of legal pluralism such as Pearl and Menski 1998 and Yilmaz 2005 have looked at the spaces and forms of “unofficial application” of Muslim laws in the West. Works from more positivist scholars, such as Rohe 2004, have explored the (official) applicability of Islamic law under international private law and other arrangements. Examples of both approaches can be found in Grillo, et al. 2009 and Kahn 2001. Malik 2009 and Shah-Kazemi 2001 consider how these legal dilemmas impact specifically on Muslim women and how local Sharia councils attempt to resolve them. In the rapidly growing literature on the Islamic headscarf in Europe, Shadid and van Konginsveld 2005 considers how both Western law and Islamic legal practitioners in the West approach the question of female Muslim dress.

  • Grillo, Ralph, Roger Ballard, Alessandro Ferrari, André J. Hoekema, Marcel Maussen, and Prakash Shah, eds. Legal Practice and Cultural Diversity. Farnham, UK: Ashgate, 2009.

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    A rich collection that deals with various dimensions of the legal treatment of minorities in Europe and North America. Includes a number of chapters dealing specifically with issues of Islamic law and the recent controversies around the so-called Sharia courts in Britain and Canada.

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  • Kahn, Philippe, ed. L‘étranger et le droit de la famille: Pluralité ethnique, pluralisme juridique. Paris: La Documentation Française, 2001.

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    (The foreigner and family law: Ethnic plurality, juridical pluralism.) Includes contributions from some of the leading European experts in the field and provides an overview of the dilemmas of various immigrant communities subject to multiple normativities in issues such as marriage, divorce, and parenting. A rare study of the realities of legal pluralism in the French Republican context.

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  • Malik, Maleiha. Muslim Legal Norms and the Integration of European Muslims. EUI Working Paper RSCAS 2009/29. San Domenico di Fiesole, Italy: Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, 2009.

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    Discusses areas where Muslim legal and ethical norms can be accommodated in European democracies and the measures that can be taken to ensure that these accommodations do not harm Muslim women.

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  • Nielsen, Jorgen, and Lisbet Christofferson, eds. Shari‘a as Discourse: Legal Traditions and the Encounter with Europe. Farnham, UK: Ashgate, 2010.

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    Starts with a discussion of current contestations over the proper meaning and place of Islamic law, followed by a number of local case studies on how Muslim communities in Europe and the Arab world approach the Sharia.

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  • Pearl, David, and Werner Menski. Muslim Family Law. London: Sweet and Maxwell, 1998.

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    A classic textbook written by two leading scholars who introduced the term “angrezi shariat” (English Sharia, in Urdu) in academic discourse to denote the processes of adaptation of Islamic law to local contexts.

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  • Rohe, Mathias. “The Formation of a European Sharī‘a.” In Muslims in Europe: From the Margin to the Centre. Edited by Jamal Malik, 161–184. Münster, Germany: Lit Verlag, 2004.

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    Discusses the extent to which Sharia can be implemented in Europe. It deals with the range of possible legal application of Islamic provisions and considers processes of adaptation of Islamic law through the work of Sharia councils in the United Kingdom and through the fatwas issued by the European Council for Fatwa and Research.

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  • Shadid, W. A. R., and P. S. van Koningsveld. “Muslim Dress in Europe: Debates on the Headscarf.” Journal of Islamic Studies 16.1 (2005): 35–61.

    DOI: 10.1093/jis/16.1.35Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Discusses ongoing contestations over the meaning and place of the Muslim headscarf in Europe. Refers to the understandings of the hijab promoted by Muslim bodies such as the European Council for Fatwa and Research and to the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

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  • Shah-Kazemi, Sonia. “Untying the Knot: Muslim Women, Divorce, and the Shariah.” London: Nuffield Foundation, 2001.

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    A rare and sensitive study of the workings of a Sharia council in the United Kingdom. The author analyzes the phenomenon of “limping marriages” of Muslim women officially divorced but not granted an Islamic talaq by the husband and describes the efforts of Muslim scholars to provide solutions within the Islamic legal tradition to their predicament.

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  • Yilmaz, Ihsan. Muslim Laws, Politics, and Society in Modern Nation States: Dynamic Legal Pluralisms in England, Turkey, and Pakistan. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2005.

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    Looks at how Muslim communities construct their own laws and regulations outside the state domain in a non-Muslim setting, a secular Muslim-majority state, and an Islamic state committed to the application of Sharia. Informed by a legal pluralist methodology.

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Society

Included here are various texts that deal with social facets of minority fiqh. Family life is a crucial dimension of fiqh al-aqalliyyat. Amrani 2001 provides a comprehensive account of traditional fiqh positions on issues facing Muslim families in the West, while Shah-Kazemi 2001 deals with matters of marriage and divorce in an English Sharia council. Pearl and Menski 1998, Kahn 2001, and Zaman 2008 provide various studies on facets of immigrant family life in Europe and North America. Roald 2001 discusses transformations of gender roles among (post-) Islamists in Europe. Bowen 2010 analyzes ongoing processes of adaptation of Islamic norms to France in a broad range of issues. Maurer 2006 focuses on the attempts by American Muslims to construct financial alternatives to interest-bearing mortgages, a topic of considerable concern for Muslim minorities. Ghaly 2010 describes international fiqh discussions on cloning and their impact upon Muslims in the West.

  • Amrani, Muhammad K. Fiqh al-Usra al-Muslima fi-l-Muhajar. 2 vols. Beirut: Dar al Kutub al Ilmiyya, 2001.

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    (The fiqh of the emigrant Muslim family.) A comprehensive study of fiqh regulations concerning Muslim family life in the West based on a PhD dissertation. Written in Arabic with an original focus on the Netherlands.

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  • Bowen, John. Can Islam Be French? Knowledge, Norms, and Sacrifice in a Secularist State. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2010.

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    An ethnography of Islamic public reasoning that masterfully discusses processes of adaptation of Islamic norms and institutions to social conditions in France. Includes a discussion on civil and Islamic marriages and divorces.

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  • Ghaly, Mohammed. “Human Cloning through the Eyes of Muslim Scholars: The New Phenomenon of the Islamic International Religioscientific Institutions.” Zygon 45.1 (2010): 7–35.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2010.01056.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Presents a detailed account of international fiqh discussions on cloning and how they travel to the West, notably through the work of the European Council for Fatwa and Research and the Assembly of Muslim Jurists in America.

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  • Kahn, Philippe, ed. L’étranger et le droit de la famille: Pluralité ethnique, pluralisme juridique. Paris: La Documentation Française, 2001.

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    (The foreigner and family law: Ethnic plurality, juridical pluralism.) Some of the leading European experts in the field provide an overview of the dilemmas of various immigrant communities subject to multiple normativities in issues such as marriage, divorce, and parenting. A rare study of the realities of legal pluralism in the French Republican context.

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  • Maurer, Bill. Pious Property: Islamic Mortgages in the United States. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2006.

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    Anthropological book discusses the efforts of American Muslims to devise alternatives to interest banking. To be read alongside the rest of Maurer’s highly original work.

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  • Pearl, David, and Werner Menski. Muslim Family Law. London: Sweet and Maxwell, 1998.

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    A classic textbook written by two leading scholars who introduced the term “angrezi shariat” (English Sharia, in Urdu) in academic discourse to denote the processes of adaptation of Islamic law to local contexts.

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  • Roald, Anne-Sofie. Women in Islam: The Western Experience. London: Routledge, 2001.

    DOI: 10.4324/9780203278369Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A study that discusses transformations of gender representations among Islamists living in Europe. Helps in understanding the profiles and trajectories of the Muslim Brotherhood leaders in Europe who have been at the vanguard of the minority fiqh project.

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  • Shah-Kazemi, Sonia. “Untying the Knot: Muslim Women, Divorce and the Shariah.” London: Nuffield Foundation, 2001.

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    A rare and sensitive study of the workings of a Sharia council in the United Kingdom. The author analyzes the phenomenon of “limping marriages” of Muslim women officially divorced but not granted an Islamic talaq by the husbands and describes the efforts of Muslim scholars to provide solutions within the Islamic legal tradition to their predicament.

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  • Zaman, Saminaz. “Amrikan Shari‘a: The Reconstruction of Islamic Family Law in the United States.” South Asia Research 28.2 (2008): 185–202.

    DOI: 10.1177/026272800802800204Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Addresses transformations of Muslim family life in North America.

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Social Scientific Perspectives

The elaboration of fiqh al-aqalliyyat must be placed in the contexts of Europe and North America where it is being developed, as well as in relation to the transnational spaces and exchanges that enable it. The texts in this section allow us to contextualize the discourse on fiqh al-aqalliyyat by positioning the relevant actors in relation to other authority figures, situating the social need for fiqh in diasporic situations, by relating the minority fiqh project to state policies and discourses on Islam in the West and by highlighting the transnational exchanges that sustain it.

Religious Authorities

Religious authority has once again become an important topic of research. Frégosi 2004 and Lewis 2004 provide accounts of the roles of religious authorities in the French and British contexts. Their typologies are complemented by the larger European and Western focuses of van Bruinessen 2003 and Césari 2004. Gräf and Skovgaard-Petersen 2009 helps to understand the work of one of the most important voices in the minority fiqh project, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, while Bunt 2003 examines how new media are transforming structures of authority among Muslims in the West. An important contextualization and critique of this body of work is provided by Peter 2006.

Social Processes

This subsection includes both the transnational linkages of Islam in the West and its local and sociological dynamics. The former are represented in Bowen 2004, which is an account of Islam as a distinctively transnational public space; in Caeiro 2010, which is a study of the making of a European Islamic counterpublic; and in Mandaville 2001, an exploration of the impact of travel and migration upon Muslim identity. The importance of the Western contexts and traditions where Muslim communities have settled are discussed in Babès 2004, which helps to explain sociologically why the Islamic normative tradition remains relevant in secular France (and perhaps beyond), and in Parekh 2006, which examines some of the reasons why this Islamic normative tradition is often thought of as problematic in Europe. Allievi and Nielsen 2003 and Haddad and Esposito 2000 are two rich collections that study both transnational linkages and the local and sociological dynamics of Muslim communities in Europe and North America.

  • Allievi, Stefano, and Jorgen Nielsen, eds. Muslim Networks and Transnational Communities in and across Europe. Leiden, The Netherlands: E. J. Brill, 2003.

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    This collection of articles helps to understand some of the transnational linkages that constitute European Islam. The chapter by Amir-Moazami and Salvatore is particularly helpful in order to contextualize the attempts by Western Muslims to construct a minority fiqh.

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  • Babès, Leila. “Norme et autorité religieuse chez les jeunes musulmans de France.” In Les transformations de l’autorité religieuse. Edited by Martin Cohen, Jean Joncheray, and Pierre-Jean Luizard, 199–214. Paris: L’Harmattan, 2004.

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    Situates the social demand for religious norms in relation to the intergenerational dynamics of French Islam and helps the reader understand sociologically the continuing relevance of fiqh for European Muslims.

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  • Bowen, John. “Beyond Migration: Islam as a Transnational Public Space.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 30.5 (2004): 879–894.

    DOI: 10.1080/1369183042000245598Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An article that usefully distinguishes between three different meanings of transnational Islam. To be read in conjunction with Bowen 2010 (cited under Society).

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  • Caeiro, Alexandre. “The Power of European Fatwas: The Minority Fiqh Project and the Making of an Islamic Counterpublic.” International Journal of Middle East Studies 42.3 (2010): 435–449.

    DOI: 10.1017/S0020743810000437Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Analyzes fiqh al-aqalliyyat as a mode of articulating the ethos of the Islamic Revival with the problematics of European integration.

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  • Haddad, Yvonne, and John Esposito, eds. Muslims on the Americanization Path? Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.

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    A collection of essays that traces transformations of Islam in the United States.

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  • Mandaville, Peter. Transnational Muslim Politics: Reimagining the Umma. London: Routledge, 2001.

    DOI: 10.4324/9780203453155Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A sophisticated account of the impact of travel and migration upon Muslim identity and politics.

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  • Parekh, Bhikhu. “Europe, Liberalism, and the ‘Muslim Question.’” In Multiculturalism, Muslims, and Citizenship: A European Approach. Edited by Tariq Modood, Anna Triandafyllidou, and Ricard Zapata-Barrero, 179–203. London: Routledge, 2006.

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    Asks why Muslim theological forms of reasoning (such as those that underlie the minority fiqh project) give rise to deep anxieties within European liberal intellectuals.

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LAST MODIFIED: 07/27/2011

DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780195390155-0027

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