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Lena Salaymeh


Propaganda, Politics, and Profiteering: Islamic Law in the Contemporary United States

[Image of a billboard by the United American Committee. Image from Matt57/Wikimedia Commons.]

The recent announcement of the establishment of a “caliphate” by the “Islamic State”—also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)—has put Islamic law back in the headlines. In the ensuing, polarizing debates, images of violence and extremism are countered with defensive posturing about the “true” nature of Islamic law. This endless tug-of-war between delegitimizing and legitimizing “Islamic law” confuses and ...

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Lena Salaymeh


Lena Salaymeh is Robbins Postdoctoral Fellow at UC Berkeley’s School of Law. She researches and teaches Islamic and Jewish jurisprudence and legal history, as well as law in the contemporary Middle East and North Africa. She also writes and speaks on the politics of knowledge production in Islamic studies. She has published pieces in Law and History Review, Journal of Legal Education, the UC Irvine Law Review, Islam and Christian—Muslim Relations, and The Immanent Frame. She is currently finishing her book, Islamic legal beginnings, as well as several articles and book chapters. She earned her PhD in Legal and Middle Eastern History from UC Berkeley and her JD from Harvard Law School.