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Conflict and Cooperation between the State and Religious Institutions in Contemporary Egypt

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2000
Abstract: 

Al-Azhar, traditionally Egypt’s most respected and influential center for Islamic study, adopted an increasingly bold platform opposing Egyptian government policy throughout the mid-1990s. Al-Azhar defied government policy on a variety of sensitive issues, including population control, the practice of clitoridectomy, and censorship rights. Moreover, al-Azhar directly challenged the government in high-profile forums such as the United Nations International Conference on Population and Development, held in Cairo in September of 1994. This open opposition was remarkable in light of the tremendous capacity that the Egyptian government has shown in the past to manipulate and control al-Azhar. Over the past century, and particularly since the 1952 Free Oficers’ coup, the Egyptian government virtually incorporated al-Azhar as an arm of the state through purges and control over Azhar finances, and by gaining the power to appoint al-Azhar’s key leadership. Presidents Gamal Abdel Nasser, Anwar Sadat, and Husni Mubarak all benefited from this dominance over al-Azhar by securing fatwas legitimating their policies. Given this overwhelming leverage, what can explain al-Azhar’s increased opposition to the government throughout the mid-1990s?

Document type: 
Article
File(s): 

Liberal Rights versus Islamic Law? The Construction of a Binary in Malaysian Politics

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2013
Abstract: 

Why are liberal rights and Islamic law understood in binary and exclusivist terms at some moments, but not others? In this study, I trace when, why, and how an Islamic law versus liberal rights binary emerged in Malaysian political discourse and popular legal consciousness. I find that Malaysian legal institutions were hardwired to produce vexing legal questions, which competing groups of activists transformed into compelling narratives of injustice. By tracing the development of this spectacle in the courtroom and beyond, I show how the dueling binaries of liberal rights versus Islamic law, individual rights versus collective rights, and secularism versus religion were contingent on institutional design and political agency, rather than irreconcilable tensions between liberal rights and the Islamic legal tradition in some intrinsic sense. More broadly, the research contributes to our understanding of how popular legal consciousness is shaped by legal mobilization and countermobilization beyond the court of law.

Document type: 
Article
File(s): 

Law versus the State: The Judicialization of Politics in Egypt

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2003
Abstract: 

This study seeks to explain the paradoxical expansion of constitutional power in Egypt over the past two decades, despite that country’s authoritarian political system. I find that the Egyptian regime established an independent constitutional court, capable of providing institutional guarantees on the security of property rights, in order to attract desperately needed private investment after the failure of its socialist-oriented development strategy.The court continued to expand its authority, fundamentally transforming the mode of interaction between state and society by supporting regime efforts to liberalize the economy while simultaneously providing new avenues for opposition activists and human rights groups to challenge the state. The Egyptian case challenges some of our basic assumptions about the conditions under which we are likely to see a judicialization of politics, and it invites scholars to explore the dynamics of judicial politics in other authoritarian political systems.

Document type: 
Article
File(s): 

Law and Courts in Authoritarian Regimes

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2014
Abstract: 

"Once regarded as mere pawns of their regimes, courts in authoraitarian states are now the subject of considerable attention within the field of comparative judicial politics.  New research examines the ways in which law and courts are deployed as instruments of governance, how they structure state-society contention, and the circumstances in which courts are transformed into sites of active resistance.  This new body of research constitutes an emergent field of inquiry, while simultaneously contributing to a number of related research agendas, including authoritarian durability and regime transition, human rights, transitional justice, law and development, and rule-of-law promotion.  Moreover, this research offers important insights into the erosion of rights and liberties in "consolidated democracies."

Document type: 
Article
File(s): 

The Rule of Law in Egypt: Prospects and Challenges

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2012
Abstract: 

With the fall of the Mubarak government in February 2011, Egyptians have a historic opportunity to rebuild their legal and political system from the ground up. Egyptians will elect a new government and draft a new constitution that will go before voters in a national referendum. Myriad other laws and legal institutions will be reshaped over the next several years; indeed they are already being rewritten. The moment is appropriate, therefore, to take stock of the positive trends and challenges in strengthening the rule of law in Egypt.  http://www.hiil.org/publication/country-quick-scan-egypt

 

With a population of 83 million, Egypt is by far the most populous country in the Arab World and arguably the most important in terms of regional politics, commerce, and security. This fact alone makes Egypt worthy of our sustained attention. But in the area of law and legal institutions, in particular, Egypt has served as a model of sorts. Egyptian legal professionals work throughout the Arab World and a number of Arab countries that have mimicked Egyptian legal institutions and practices. As a result of this influence, prospects for the rule of law in Egypt have regional and not only domestic implications.

Document type: 
Technical Report

After Abduction: Exploring Access to Reintegration Programs and Mental Health Status among Young Female Abductees in Northern Uganda

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2014
Abstract: 

Background

Reintegration programs are commonly offered to former combatants and abductees to acquire civilian status and support services to reintegrate into post-conflict society. Among a group of young female abductees in northern Uganda, this study examined access to post-abduction reintegration programming and tested for between group differences in mental health status among young women who had accessed reintegration programming compared to those who self-reintegrated.

Methods

This cross-sectional study analysed interviews from 129 young women who had previously been abducted by the Lords Resistance Army (LRA). Data was collected between June 2011-January 2012. Interviews collected information on abduction-related experiences including age and year of abduction, manner of departure, and reintegration status. Participants were coded as ‘reintegrated’ if they reported ≥1 of the following reintegration programs: traditional cleansing ceremony, received an amnesty certificate, reinsertion package, or had gone to a reception centre. A t-test was used to measure mean differences in depression and anxiety measured by the Acholi Psychosocial Assessment Instrument (APAI) to determine if abductees who participated in a reintegration program had different mental status from those who self-reintegrated.

Results

From 129 young abductees, 56 (43.4%) had participated in a reintegration program. Participants had been abducted between 1988–2010 for an average length of one year, the median age of abduction was 13 years (IQR:11–14) with escaping (76.6%), being released (15.6%), and rescued (7.0%) being the most common manner of departure from the LRA. Traditional cleansing ceremonies (67.8%) were the most commonly accessed support followed by receiving amnesty (37.5%), going to a reception centre (28.6%) or receiving a reinsertion package (12.5%). Between group comparisons indicated that the mental health status of abductees who accessed ≥1 reintegration program were not significantly different from those who self-reintegrated (p > 0.05).

Conclusions

Over 40% of female abductees in this sample had accessed a reintegration program, however significant differences in mental health were not observed between those who accessed a reintegration program and those who self-reintegrated. The successful reintegration of combatants and abductees into their recipient community is a complex process and these results support the need for gender-specific services and ongoing evaluation of reintegration programming.

Document type: 
Article
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