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Debatting Islamic family law in Palestine: Citizenship, gender and ‘Islamic’ idioms

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Contribution to book (peer-reviewed)
Publication date 2011
Author Shehada Nahda,
Project The practice of Islamic Family Law in Palestine and Israel: Text and Context
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Contribution to book (peer-reviewed)

Book Legal Reforms and Women's Empowerment
Editor , Sharwani & Mulki
Publisher Zed Publications, London
Page(s) 1 - 28
Title of proceedings Legal Reforms and Women's Empowerment


The paper sheds light on the family law debate in Palestine following the establishment of the Palestinian Authority (1994). It elaborates on the public debate and political contestation over attempts to reform the ‘Islamic’ family law during the second half of the 1990s. It describes and analyzes the various positions, articulations and styles of argumentation adopted by many actors involved in the debate. In Palestine, as in other Muslim-majority countries, diverging assumptions about the role of the shar‘ia, Islam and gender were put forward as expressions of the ‘social will’ that each group claimed to represent. The paper analyzes the deep divisions that split Palestinians over conceptualizing the desired gender relations organized by the reformed family law, including its procedures and institutional organization.