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PUBLIC POLICY AND ISLAMIC LAW: THE MODERN DHIMMĪ IN CONTEMPORARY EGYPTIAN FAMILY LAW

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Egyptian law has maintained the Islamic system of interreligious law in which the Muslim, Christian and Jewish communities are governed by their own courts and their own laws. In the course of the twentieth century, however, these separate courts were abolished and the application of non-Muslim laws was restricted to matters of marriage and divorce, and then only if the non-Muslim spouses share the rite and sect of the same religion. In all other cases Islamic law applies. In addition, non-Muslim laws may not be applied if they violate Egyptian "public policy", a European concept which refers to the fundamentals of a national legal order. Egyptian public policy can be defined as those principles which are essential in Islamic law. In this article I analyse the status of the non-Muslim Egyptian in contemporary personal status law, based on Egyptian case law and legal literature. The concept of public policy plays a key role in understanding the mechanics of interreligious law in Egypt. I will argue that public policy serves as a legal barometer of the coexistence between Muslim and non-Muslim communities in Egypt.

10.1163/156851901753129683
/content/journals/10.1163/156851901753129683
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/content/journals/10.1163/156851901753129683
2001-02-01
2016-12-11

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