The place of Islam in the Republic has emerged as one of the most important questions facing France as it moves into the twenty-first century. This can be seen clearly in the 2012 presidential campaign, where Islamic dress, hallal food, marriage practices, and, most recently, terrorism have dominated political discussions. Jean-Philippe Bras, a leading specialist of Islamic law, will show how the French republican model places Islam in a public debate. In particular French principles of secularism, known as laïcité, invite suspicion of an emerging religion like Islam and lead secularists to call for legal intervention whenever signs of Islam emerge. These reoccurring polemics illustrate a profound crisis in the republican model.
Dr. Jean-Philippe Bras is a former director of the Institut d'Etudes de l'Islam et des Sociétés du Monde Musulman (IISMM) at the EHESS, and a specialist of Islamic law.
April 27, 2012