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The Non-Muslim 'Other': Gender and Contestations of Hierarchy of Rights

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This paper argues that religious affiliation (and not just gender) influences the hierarchy of rights attainable through Personal Status Legislation. While the context of this study is Egypt, the issue is relevant to all Arab countries in which sharia is a guiding framework for Personal Status legislation. The paper examines the way in which there has been a dichotomization of engaging with Personal Status issues for Muslims and non-Muslims with implications on the “othering” of the non-Muslim vis-a-vis Muslim Personal Status legislation. This is followed by an examination of legal cases involving Muslims and non-Muslims. The conceptual and theoretical implications of a failure to take these cases into account are explored, and in the final part of the paper, there is an analysis of the jurisprudence bases for legitimizing such a hierarchy of rights.

Affiliations: 1: University of Sussex;, Email:


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