The Judicialization of Religion

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Throughout the second half of the twentieth century, one Muslim-majority country after another adopted constitutional provisions meant to incorporate Islam into the legal order. In what is now a familiar pattern, leaders sought to harness the legitimating power of Islamic symbolism. But rather than shore up state legitimacy, these provisions opened new avenues of contestation.In countries where judicial institutions are robust, religion of the state clauses have helped to catalyze a “judicialization of religion,” wherein courts were made to authorize an “official” religion and/or render judgment on the appropriate place for religion in the political order. This study theorizes one aspect of the judicialization of religion through the illustrative case study of Malaysia. The study examines how shifting political context provided opportunities for activist lawyers to advance sweeping new interpretations of Malaysia’s Religion of the Federation clause and, with it, a new vision for state and society.
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The Judicialization of Religion” Law & Society Review, vol. 52 (2018) 685-708. DOI: 10.1111/lasr.12350
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Law & Society Review
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The Judicialization of Religion
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