Postconflict Justice & Islam Workshop 2010

Nov. 5, 2010 | Washington, DC


Postconflict Justice Workshop 2010


The goal of this workshop was to begin identifying the most pressing issues at the intersection of Islamic jurisprudence and international humanitarian law (IHL) and to consider how the shared concerns of both sets of laws may prompt creativity in addressing troubling gaps—notably, the lack of standards for dealing with the rise of irregular armies, or the inability to accommodate asymmetric warfare waged by non-state entities against sovereign states.

The bodies of law under consideration are “living traditions”—to paraphrase the 8th century jurist al-Awzai’s view of Islamic law—the uninterrupted, intergenerational practice of adapting approved legal precepts to contemporary circumstances.

This view rebuts the tendency to reduce Western and Islamic legal traditions to static or monolithic constructs by recognizing each as complex, dynamic, and plural (i.e., made up of sub-traditions). Given the inherent complexity of this subject—ranging across traditional disciplines and practice areas (i.e., international humanitarian, military, legal, and policy communities)—an interdisciplinary approach and sustained collaboration is necessary.


  • The role of culturally and religiously-based legal norm.
  • Authoritative sources for limiting armed conflict’s effects on victims.
  • The meaning of asymmetry from the perspective of the weaker party.
  • Conflicting/incompatible notions of legitimacy and defense in military actions.
  • The role of universal human rights standards in relation to culture and conflict.


Background Readings


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