The governance of religion and law: Insights from the prohibition of usury
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Religion and law are often portrayed as belonging to different, isolated spheres and as conflicting with each other, especially with regard to the process of governing today's global economic and political affairs. The portrayal and handling of such conflicts are especially reflected in media reports and are ultimately part of the public debates that precede legislative action dealing with a great variety of legal issues, including, but not limited to, sumptuary laws, the wearing of the headscarf and other apparel in public, the acceptance and application of a cultural defense in criminal law, and the exclusion of various cultural products, such as food, beverages, or motion pictures, from international trade. This article argues against this dominant perception, positing that religion and law are instead complementary and merely operate at different levels of perception, effectively pursuing the same purpose. Therefore, it is advocated that greater caution or a so-called “precautionary principle of incomplete information” should be applied to various legislative proposals that are aimed at sanctioning various issues of religious relevance by strict positive laws. This argument is further supported by a brief reference to the prohibition of riba (usury and interest) in Islamic banking and its relevance in the world today.
- International Review of Law [67 items ]