Although Muslims in all parts of the world face issues of pluralism, one sees these issues posed most sharply in societies outside of the Arabo-Persian “heartland” of Islam. At the very least, perceptions of differences between an Arab-world legacy and very different local cultural values, everyday social practices and legal traditions are heightened and highlighted in South and Southeast Asia, in Europe and in North America. This presentation will focus on one particular issue, what one could call the inevitable trans-locality of Muslim reflections on culture and law, the condition of reference both to local values and norms, and to those of other places — places perceived by some Muslims as more central to the historical or contemporary experience of being a Muslim. The presentation will then point to the possibilities of practical convergence on norms, taking as examples some issues in family law.
Zulfikar Hirji is an Anthropologist and Social Historian of Muslim Societies and Cultures. He is currently Associate Professor of Anthropology at York University, Toronto. He was formerly a Research Associate at The Institute of Ismaili Studies, London, and Junior Research Fellow at Wolfson College, Oxford.