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This chapter looks at the abuse and regulation of schools. It begins with a brief history of religion and education law before examining the Trojan Horse Affair which began in 2014 and reverberates today. An extraordinary volume of disinformation encrusts this series of events, which is here related via an outline of the salient facts as drawn from official reports and court cases, with minimal reference to newspaper articles and academic commentary. The related issues of illegal schools and unregulated madrassas are touched on. The theoretical discussion illustrates that liberal individualism views education as a means to emancipate the individual into secularism, while multiculturalism treats it as a means to preserve and perpetuate minority cultures. It concludes that these perspectives fail to take schools seriously as institutions whose primary purpose is to provide as many British children as possible with a good education. The pluralist response points to what the Trojan Horse Affair and education law are really about: ensuring that every school, regardless of classification, is properly regulated, well-governed and capable of rebuffing any threat to its good functioning.
This chapter examines the link between election fraud and British Muslim populations. It begins with a brief history of electoral fraud from the earliest times to draw out the recurring challenges and past attempts to meet them. This is followed by an overview of the workings of modern election fraud encompassing systemic vulnerabilities, opportunities and mechanisms as well as the attendant statistical difficulties. This sets the phenomenon in context and explains the nature of its association with South Asian Muslims. The chapter proceeds with a theoretical discussion of the ways in which election fraud can be interpreted and addressed through law. It notes that a liberal individualistic approach can justify strong safeguards against individual wrongdoing but struggles to account for the collective dimensions of elections, while multiculturalism pays greater heed to the importance of groups but suffers from an indiscriminate understanding of the various types. The chapter concludes with a pluralist response which systematises the individual and group elements of the democratic process before developing an historically informed programme for practical reform.
The general introduction sets out how the book differs from standard studies of the titular subjects, its objectives, methods and structure. It sets out three main ways in which the concept of religion is defined: normative political religion, descriptive sociological religion and evaluative legal religion. It notes that English law tends to be blind to the forms that religion, and especially Islam, takes and this can cause problems both for the faithful and for wider society. It identifies the theoretical models that shape the book – liberal individualism, multiculturalism and classical pluralism – and how these will be deployed and to what end. It identifies the institutions that will be discussed in relation to British Islam – banks, charities, schools, elections, clans – and sets out the hopes of the book as a whole.
This chapter introduces the thought of Bhikhu Parekh and Tariq Modood. It outlines the abstract and applied components of their multicultural theory and how this conceptualises group phenomena including religion. It notes how English law, despite the dominance of liberal individualism, has adopted many aspects of multiculturalism, highlights its deficiencies as regards the regulation of religion, and traces its declining influence from 2005. It argues that multiculturalism is a suboptimal model on which to base the law of religion because it relies on too crude an understanding of groups and collective phenomena.
This chapter introduces the thought of Otto von Gierke. It outlines the philosophical tenets of classical pluralism and its rich vocabulary of group entities. It traces the rise of pluralism in nineteenth-century Germany, through its short golden age in early twentieth-century England, to its eclipse and afterlife following World War I. It argues that classical pluralism offers the most comprehensive and convincing theoretical model on which to regulate the relationship among individual, state and civil society in general, and between English law and British Islam in particular.
This chapter analyses the nature, functioning and regulation of Muslim clans. It begins wih a history of the regulation of endogamy in England, as clans are held together through consanguineous marriage and the prohibited degrees of relationship are the most relevant branch of law. Then it analyses the clan as a group unit with negative implications for public health and the nation’s social and political fabric. The point is to demonstrate that clannish behaviours, which present most prominently among British Muslim populations, are the product of a set of institutional norms rather than manifestations of any supposedly inherent ethnic, cultural or religious characteristics. The chapter’s theoretical discussion observes that liberal individualistic approaches tend to focus on rights and demographic statistics while ignoring the clan phenomenon itself, while multiculturalism tends to insist on the integrity of minority cultural forms, over-emphasising the positives and evading difficult questions about the place of clans in the UK. The pluralist response focuses squarely on clans as group entities and constructs the legal argument for their dissolution through marriage law reform.
This chapter addresses the growth of Islamic banks and finance in the UK. It begins with a brief historical overview of the informal institutions that were forerunners to Islamic banks and their development into a thriving global industry in which the UK is a leading player. It proceeds to survey the distinguishing features of Islamic banking and typical financial products before charting the innovative regulatory reforms that permitted the industry to expand. A section on the small volume of English case law highlights the standard but manageable issues arising from its continuing organic growth. The subsequent section models the two conventional theoretical approaches to the rise of Islamic banks and the regulatory means used to achieve it, as well as the problems with these interpretations. The final section sets out a pluralist response offering the best explanation and justification for these developments. It concludes with an appraisal of the problem of informal financial instruments and an optimistic assessment of the industry and the new formal institutions created, falling as they do within the general regulatory framework of the UK’s financial system.
The conclusion summarises the theoretical contribution of Otto von Gierke’s classical pluralism and restates the recommendations made throughout the practical chapters. It emphasises the importance of groups for legal thought, the value of a sophisticated vocabulary of group entities, and the need to guard against institutional entropy. It finishes with an optimistic outlook on the future relationship between British Islam and English law.
This chapter addresses the abuse of charitable religion. It begins with a brief history of the abuse of religious charities. This draws out the entrenched legal requirements for charities to guard against administrative and purposive abuse, and highlights the resourcing and remit issues that the Charity Commission has faced since its inception. It notes the general success of Muslim or Muslim-led charities to contextualise five pressing contemporary concerns: Charity Commission effectiveness, unregulated domestic fundraising, terrorist financing, foreign funding and extremist exploitation. Taking these in order of difficulty, it acknowledges the ‘faith factor’ where relevant and notes the need for theory when addressing unresolved policy questions about potentially dangerous foreign and non-state influence over important domestic institutions. The penultimate section models the two conventional theoretical interpretations of these issues and their attendant problems. The final section offers a pluralist response and details the most sensible reforms.
This chapter introduces the jurisprudence of Ronald Dworkin. It outlines the various components of his liberal individualistic theory and how this conceptualises group phenomena including religion. It notes how English law is largely based on this model, highlights its deficiencies as regards the regulation of religion, and traces its declining influence from 2016. It argues that liberal individualism is a suboptimal model on which to base the law of religion because it takes insufficient account of groups and civil society.