An-Na'im Website Solicits Input on Secularism and Human Rights

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By April L. Bogle

Emory law professor Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im is posting chapters of his latest book, Islam and the Secular State: Negotiating the Future of Shari`a, online to generate debate, clarify his thesis, and to provide feedback to translators.

“The book celebrates and seeks to contribute to the struggle of Islamic societies to define themselves in the context of the local and global conditions under which they live,” said An-Na’im, Charles Howard Candler Professor of Law and senior fellow in the Center for the Study of Law and Religion (CSLR). “A key aspect of this process is the constitutional and legal dimensions of the post-colonial experiences of Islamic societies, especially the relationship among Islam, state and society.”

The book is being written in English and translated into several of the languages of present Islamic societies: Bahasa Indonesia, Bengali, Persian, Russian, Turkish, and Urdu. An-Na`im is finalizing an Arabic version of the manuscript. Six chapters currently can be downloaded from the website. When the translations are available, they will be posted on the website.

Site visitors are encouraged to send comments, suggestions, and queries in the language of their choice through e-mail. The address is Content on the website is provided free solely for scholarly responses and public debate purposes. Since all the contents are in draft form, An-Na’im requests that the materials should not be cited as academic sources.

An-Na'im is undertaking the project in his capacity as a CSLR senior fellow. The project is sponsored by The Ford Foundation.

An-Na'im also has recently released the book, Islam and Human Rights: Advocacy for Social Change in Local Contexts (Global Media Publications). It reflects the outcome of the Islam and Human Rights Fellowship Program, a three-year CSLR research project sponsored by The Ford Foundation. The program brought 10 scholars and activists together to explore the relationship between human rights and Islam, with the objective of helping people within Islamic societies promote and protect human rights from an Islamic perspective. (See related story.)


The CSLR is home to world class scholars and forums on the religious foundations of law, politics, and society. It offers expertise on how the teachings and practices of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam have shaped and continue to transform the fundamental ideas and institutions of our public and private lives. The scholarship of CSLR faculty provides the latest perspectives, while its conferences and public forums foster reasoned and robust public debate.

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  • "The Incremental Success of African Constitutionalism and the Challenges of Consolidation and Maturity" in Derechos Humanos, Relaciones Internacionales y Globalizacion
  • "Shari'a in the Secular State: A Paradox of Separation and Conflation" in The Law Applied: Contextualizing the Islamic Shari'a

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