The German Oriental
Morgenländische Gesellschaft, DMG) has organized the 30th German Congress
of Oriental Studies (Deutscher
Orientalistentag), to be held on 24-28th of September 2007 in Freiburg. The Orientalistentag is organized every three
years by the DMG and was last hosted by the University of Freiburg
The city of Freiburg and University have been
selected as the host of DOT 2007 Congress to honor the 550th anniversary of Freiburg university as well.
There are roughly 20 sections representing the various disciplines in Oriental studies. The motto of the conference is "Oriental Studies in the 21st Century: Which Past - Which Future".
In this Congress and within the Forum Law I will give a presentation on „Islamization of Criminal Justice in Iran: Underlying Assumptions and Basic Challenges.
Further, on Thursday, 27. Sept. and as an Evening Lecture, Prof. Dr. Mohammed Mojtahed Shabestray (b. 1936 Iran), a leading Islamic-Iranian intellectual and critical reformist theologian, will also give a lecture on Islam, Democracy and Human Rights. Prof. M. Mojtahed Shabestari although advocates a human rights based Islam in the modern world, he says that human rights standards should be accepted as they are now in international law and they cannot be extracted from Islamic religious texts. In another words, to Shabestari, human rights and democracy are products of human
reason that have developed during the course of time and continue to
evolve. As such, they are not already prescribed in the Koran and Sunna. See an interesting English and German account of Shabestari's thought on Islam, Freedom and Human Rights here!
Below is an abstract of my presentation. To find a detailed program of the Congress see here! Tagungsprogramm_DOT2007.pdf !
The Iranian Islamic Revolution of 1979, with its idea of maximizing the Islamization of the criminal justice system through reviving Islamic law (Shari‘a ), might be considered an anomalous event in an increasingly secular world. However, its influence on reviving political Islam in the Islamic world and its impact on raising interest in Islamic Law in the west is undeniable. In post revolutionary Iran, the structure and legitimacy of criminal policy changed drastically after 1979. According to the Islamic Republic Constitution of 1980 the creation and application of new criminal policies at both judicial and legislative levels are based on official readings of Shia jurisprudence. Under the Islamic government, rule over the criminal justice system is in principle an exclusive right of Muslim jurists. Although there have been different sub-schools of jurisprudence in Shia Islam, the main jurisprudential book of ayatollah Khomeini (called Tahrir- Al-Vasileh) and his revolutionary decrees have been functioning as guidelines for most criminal policies in Iran for the last 27 years. The Islamization agenda under Khomeini’s theory of the Islamic State has not only placed criminal justice in Iran in continuous conflict with international human rights norms, but with traditional Islamic law as well. The clash of the over-Islamization of the criminal justice system in Iran with political, social, cultural and economic developments in Iran and the world has been so intensified, particularly since the emergence of Khatami’s reformist state in 1997, that it is now common-sense among Iranian legal and social scientific scholars that the Islamization of the criminal justice system created deep legal and political crises in Iran. In this paper, I will elaborate the main underlying assumptions of the Islamization process in Iran and discuss its nearly three decades of development from the perspective of a freedom based reading of Shari'a justice. Finally, I will introduce some general conceptions of an ideal freedom-based criminal justice that can exist in harmony with the rule of Shari'a law.