Washington International Law Journal


This book grew out of conversations among the three guest editors, Mark Cammack, Michael Feener, and Clark Lombardi, in the summer of 2008 about the general lack of attention among scholars of Southeast Asian Islam on important questions about the foundations of the region’s Islamic legal structures. First, despite its evident importance, there has been little research on the process by which legislators and judges decide which interpretation of Islamic law will be formally applied by the state apparatus. Another important question that has been largely ignored by scholars concerns the qualifications of Islamic legal professionals. The three Southeast Asian states treated in this volume—Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore—have separate systems of Islamic courts. Although the educational background of those who staff these courts will clearly inform the way they understand, interpret, and apply the law, to date little research has been done on the educational processes by which judges who serve on Islamic courts are trained to think about Islamic law. Studies on the means by which judges are appointed and regulated have also been lacking—even though the decision to favor one type of candidate surely affects the interpretation and application of Islamic law in the courts. Finally, lawyers who practice before Islamic courts play a crucial role in framing and presenting the issues for decision and in mediating between the courts that apply Islamic law and the public who have recourse to the state’s official Islamic legal institutions, but research on the professional training and governance of these lawyers is almost entirely lacking

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