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May 10, 2013 (REVISED May 15, 2013)

Islamic Law in Transitioning Arab Spring Countries Subject of June 4 Program

In December 2010, a series of revolutionary uprisings rocked the Arab world. Beginning in Tunisia, "Arab Spring"—as the movement came to be known—spread to various countries in North Africa and the Middle East.

The Law Library of Congress and the Library’s African and Middle Eastern Division will host a panel discussion on the role and impact of Islamic law in the developing constitutions and laws of transitioning countries in the Middle East/North Africa region.

With sponsorship from Friends of the Law Library, the program will be held from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday, June 4, in the Mumford Room, located on the sixth floor of the James Madison Building at 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. The event is free and open to the public; reservations are not required.

The discussion will focus on the role of Shari’a law in the recent and ongoing constitutional drafting processes of Egypt, Tunisia and Libya. Shari’a is a religious system of law in Islam, which is derived from the Quran and the sayings and example set by the Prophet Muhammad.

The discussion will also concentrate on the broader impact of Islamic law on the legal systems of Arab Spring states, looking particularly at personal status issues. Other points of discussion include the compatibility of Shari’a law and human rights and some of the challenges facing women and minorities in transitioning Arab Spring countries.

Panelist will include Nathan J. Brown, professor of political science and international affairs at the Elliot School of International Affairs at the George Washington University; Lama Abu-Odeh, professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center; and Issam Saliba, senior foreign legal specialist at the Law Library of Congress. Mary Jane Deeb, chief of the African and Middle Eastern Division, will moderate the panel.

The Law Library was founded in 1832 with the mission to make its resources available to members of Congress, the Supreme Court, other branches of the U.S. Government and the global legal community, and to sustain and preserve a universal collection of law for future generations. With more than 2.8 million volumes, the Law Library contains the world’s largest collection of law books and other resources from all countries and provides online databases and guides to legal information worldwide through its website at www.loc.gov/law/.

Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. The Library seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs, publications and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at www.loc.gov.

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PR 13-091
05/10/13
ISSN 0731-3527

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