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Islamic family law in U.S. courts is topic of free, public lecture at UT

A national expert on Islamic and U.S. constitutional law will present the annual Cannon Lecture at The University of Toledo College of Law at noon Thursday, Sept. 27 in the Law Center McQuade Auditorium.

Dr. Asifa Quraishi-Landes, professor of law at the University of Wisconsin Law School, will give a talk titled “Islamic Family Law in the United States: Islamophobia, American Secularism, and American Muslims.”

As state court judges wrestle with how and whether to accommodate religious-based claims in divorce litigation, “anti-Sharia” law bills have proliferated in states across the country. Quraishi-Landes will summarize the legal landscape of Islamic family law cases in the U.S. over the years and will discuss what the future might mean for American secularism and for American Muslims living here.

“In an increasingly pluralistic society, our legal institutions have sometimes stumbled in handling diverse religious traditions,” said Geoffrey Rapp, associate dean for academic affairs in the UT College of Law. “This year’s Cannon Lecturer, Professor Quraishi-Landes, will offer insights into the treatment of Islamic family law in American courts.”

Quraishi-Landes, who focuses on modern Islamic constitutional theory, teaches in the areas of constitutional law and Islamic law.

She is president of the National Association of Muslim Lawyers and serves on the governing board of the Association of America Law Schools (AALS) Section on Islamic Law. She is working on a book manuscript, “Islamic Reconstitutionalism,” in which she proposes a new model of Islamic constitutionalism for today’s Muslim-majority countries.

Quraishi-Landes is a 2009 Carnegie Scholar and 2012 Guggenheim Fellow. Previously, she served as a public delegate on the U.S. Delegation to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women; president and board member of KARAMAH: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights; fellow with the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding; and advisor to the Pew Task Force on Religion and Public Life.

Quraishi-Landes received a bachelor of arts degree from the University of California-Berkeley, a juris doctor from the University of California-Davis, a doctor of juridical science from Harvard Law School, and a master of laws degree from Columbia Law School.

This free, public event is part of the Cannon Lecture Series that was established in 1980 to honor former Toledo attorney Joseph A. Cannon. The series hosts nationally known individuals who explore both the humanistic dimensions and limitations of the legal system.

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