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The family is where legal rules presented as part of the Islamic sharia are most widely applied in the Muslim world. This book explores the present-day realities of Islamic family law, focusing on the rights of women. It draws on three contrasting country case studies: Egypt, the most populous Arab state which recognises 'principles of the sharia' as the principal source of legislation; the West Bank and Gaza, where family law is a contested site between different visions of national identity in the process of trying to build a Palestinian state; and the United States of America, where some in the minority Muslim communities seek to regulate their family relations in accordance with 'principles of the sharia' within the context of a non-Muslim state applying civil law requirements to all family matters.
A concluding study ranges further afield to explore the challenges and potential of 'principles of sharia' in advocacy on issues of violence against women.