Shari’a, Inshallah: Searching for the Rule of Law in Somalia’s Islamic State with Mark Fathi Massoud

Event Date: 

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Religion is commonly asserted to be antithetical to the rule of law, and the rule of law an antidote to religious strife. But to what extent can religion and religious law instead serve as a foundation for the rule of law, especially after periods of colonialism, civil war, or political violence? Using his field research in Somalia, Mark Massoud uncovers how colonial administrations, postcolonial governments, international aid agencies, and activists use shari‘a (roughly translated as Islamic law) to achieve their political, economic, or social objectives. Massoud traces Somalia’s dramatic moments of political and legal change, collapse, and reconstruction, demonstrating how religion has come to matter for political elites reaching for the rule of law.