Friday, October 12, 2007

Saudi Arabia: Law of God versus law of man

from The Economist

The reforms do not touch on how judges are chosen. While most Saudis are proud of their faith and believe in the justice of Islamic law, many would like their legal system to accept currents other than Wahhabism in interpreting it. Some 10% of the 24 miliion Saudis are Shias and many of the rest adhere to less rigid Sunni schools. Liberal Saudis even suggest that judges should be trained not only in sacred texts but also in other aspects of life. The changes do not meet another demand often voiced by lawyers, which is for laws to be codified. This is no easy task, since sharia consists of only a limited number of specific injunctions, with the bulk of accepted texts being instead traditions of exemplary behaviour by the Prophet Muhammad and his companions.

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