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Between naiveté and intellectual dishonesty: debating Shari‘a in the UK

Recently in the UK the debate, started by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s comments on the so-called Shari‘a Law, has seen a new wave of discussion following the publication of Sharia Law or ‘One Law For All by the controversy-seeking  conservative think tank Civitas. The author of the report, Dr Denis MacEoin, is not new to readers of my blog and also quite well known for his questionable (if not creative) social scientific skills and methodologies in a previous publication byPolicy Exchange.However, Dr Denis MacEoin has this time honestly admitted that his methodology has been based on what I can only call ‘analogical induction’. Continue reading

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Open letter to Dr Denis MacEoin

Dear Denis,

First of all, thank you very much for taking the time to read my post and for your comment as well as for summarising your Islamicist and Arabist credentials which, of course, I never challenged or questioned. For the benefit of the readers, I will recopy below your comment to my post :

Before I bother to read your full comment, let me put you right. If you had actually taken the trouble to read my details on the report, you’d have seen that I have an MA in Persian, Arabic and Islamic Studies from Edinburgh, a PhD in Persian Studies (focussing on Shi’ite Islam) from Cambridge, have written several books and a great many articles on Islamic subjects, contributed to The Encyclopedia of Islam, the Encyclopedia Iranica, the Oxford Encyclopedia of Islam in the Modern World, and many other reference books. taught Islamic civilization and Arabic-English translation at the University of Fez, taught Arabic and Islamic Studies at Newcastle University, and some Persian at Durham. The fact that I’m also a novelist doesn’t figure in this at all. It’s totally irrelevant, but because you seem determined to attack the messenger instead of the message, you focus on the wrong thing. I’ll read your remarks in more detail later. But I already see denial writ large on what is there. Read the texts, then add to the 100 mosques we visited the estimated 1600 mosques in this country, and you may accept that we have a problem. And that the Muslims we worked with agreed it was a problem for them too.

As you can see, I faithfully reported your expertise in classic Islamic studies in my post. I thought also that it was relevant to highlight that at the present your main interest, as you have mentioned on your own webpage, is not researching and teaching sociological aspects of Islam.

Continue reading