Cash for Sharia

The Yale Daily News:

Abdallah Kamel, chief executive of a banking and real estate company based in Saudi Arabia, donated $10 million to the Yale Law School to create a center for the study of Islamic Law and Civilization, YLS Dean Robert Post and University President Peter Salovey announced Thursday.

Why does Yale Law School want a a center for the study of Islamic Law? I could see a history or sociology department being interested in that, but why a law school? Does Yale teach Christian law?

Also…based in Saudi Arabia. I don’t consider Saudi Arabia a very useful paradigm for the study of law. They behead people for “insulting Islam.” They want to give Raif Badawi 1000 lashes for “insulting Islam.”

Also…Saudi Arabia has been lavishing oil money in secular democracies to set up Wahhabi madrassas which will churn out a new generation of Islamist fanatics. Has Yale looked under the cover at all?

Maybe Abdallah Kamel is an anomaly in Saudia Arabia, a liberal secular intellectual with an open mind. Except if he were that, why would he be funding a center for Islamic law? Religious law is not a good and benign thing, it’s something to fear.

NBC News has more:

For two decades, Harvard Law School has had its own Islamic legal studies program, established with support from the Saudi king.

Abdullahi An-Na’im, who teaches Islamic law at Emory Law School, said he considers the Islamic legal studies program at Harvard a disappointment because few faculty members took an interest and it has been treated as an isolated entity at the law school. He said it remains to be seen how seriously the Yale faculty will take Islamic law as a field of human jurisprudence.

It’s a field of theocratic jurisprudence. Secular democracies have secular law, not religious law. History departments and political science departments have an interest in religious systems of law, but it’s not clear to me why a secular law school should.

Kronman said Yale aims to have the best program of its kind in the United States, if not the world, and one objective is to ensure the center’s work is integrated into the life of the law school.

Islamic law, or Shariah, carries weight in the legal code of most Muslim countries. Movements to expand its influence, including in areas of the West, have been controversial in part because some interpretations have been used to justify intolerance and harsh punishments.

Kronman said Islamic law is all the more deserving of intellectual attention because many people have views of the subject that are not very well informed.

“It’s the responsibility of universities to teach and instruct and that obligation applies with particular force where an issue or a subject tends to be viewed in an incomplete or inadequate or even caricatured way,” Kronman said. “There the responsibility to teach and enlighten is even stronger.”

So Sharia is actually a completely benign system of laws? Then why is Saudi Arabia the way it is?

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