ROLE OF ISLAM IN INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW


With generous support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and as part of the Mellon CNY Humanities Corridor, Syracuse University’s Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism (INSCT) held its first event in the Islam-International Humanitarian Law Initiative with an April 17, 2009 workshop on the “Role of Islam in International Humanitarian Law.” The goal of the work- shop was for scholars and practitioners to identify the most pressing issues at the intersection of Islamic jurisprudence and humanitarian law and to prompt creativity in addressing new troubling forms of conflict and warfare, together with gaps in international law. Issues discussed included: the failure of prior attempts to harmonize these traditions; religious norms in both western and non-western legal traditions; the threat of Islamic militant traditions to humanitarian and Islamic law; the instrumentalist use of laws to increase political authority over populations; and the role of cross-cultural collaborative analysis in building new solutions.

Workshop participants included international legal scholars, specialists in Islamic laws of war, anthropologists specializing in colonialism, practitioner-scholars from NGOs, scholars of Muslim culture and writing, comparative specialists in the history of religion and war, and security and international relations scholars. Project Directors, William Banks, Director of INSCT, and Corri Zoli, research fellow at INSCT, developed an innovative format to prioritize dialogue with the help of several SU faculty moderators, Mehrzad Boroujerdi, Renee De Nevers, and Miriam Elman. The initiative also includes institutional partnerships with the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), Harvard’s International Humanitarian Law Research Initiative (IHLRI), the International Peace Academy, and the Rule of Law Program at West Point. The initiative’s long-term objectives include building an international network of scholars, legal analysts, policymakers, and humanitarian prac- titioners to direct a global dialogue on law in armed conflicts in the Muslim world.