Our mission is to
- help organize and label Muslim religious and cultural laws and interpretations,
- make them universally accessible and useful; as well as to
- supplement them with relevant advocacy and context documents in orderto
- empower citizens in such societies to challenge fundamentalism.
Laws don’t exist in a vacuum, and they should be framed by a universal rights framework. Today, in transitioning societies, as Egyptians, Tunisians, and Libyans, and others in and outside the Middle East and North Africa region, set about the task of framing or reforming their constitutions, criminal codes, financial laws and family laws, the Corpus can aid reformers by putting the diversity of the Muslim world’s laws at their fingertips.
Indeed, one of the most important debates today is the debate within Muslim-majority societies about the meaning of Islam and of Islamic law. Women are challenging narrow construction of their roles in historically patriarchal societies. In making their arguments, reformers are increasingly drawing upon precedents from across the world, especially the Islamic world, offering more liberal interpretations of Islam.
There exist some collections of laws in Muslim-majority societies available online (constitutions, some family laws). The bigger challenge is in presenting them in a manner that is accessible for non-legal experts. By categorizing documents by issue (and country), we make it easier for an interested user to find relevant documents. In addition, the Corpus will house documents that provide context and could serve as advocacy tools. The information contained in The Corpus will be available for all to see online.
The primary targeted audience are constitutional scholars, activists in transitioning societies interested in democracy building, women’s rights activists, as well as citizens who want to inform themselves and engage in the dialog on reform.