The possibility that Muslims might use private arbitration as a forum in which their family law disputes could be settled according to the principles of Islamic law has generated substantial controversy, with one liberal democracy, Canada, even taking affirmative steps to insure that religious-based arbitration of family law disputes are denied legal recognition. This paper argues that such moves are ill-considered. From the perspective of political liberalism, the arbitration of family law disputes within a framework of religious law, provided that the arbitration is subject to review by a public court for conformity with public policy, is an ideal tool for deepening and broadening liberal political values such as religious freedom and gender equality within an overall recognition of the legitimacy of a limited amount of pluralism in family life.
Mohammad H. Fadel,
Religious Law, Family Law and Arbitration: Shari'a and Halakha in America,
Chi.-Kent L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.kentlaw.iit.edu/cklawreview/vol90/iss1/8