When sacred and secular collide


Image: Mr.TinDC

How accommodating is a liberal, secular society like Australia of faith adherents who attempt to practice their religious laws alongside state laws? What should be done in situations where there is conflict between the two?

The Muslim community is one example of a faith group brought under scrutiny for its subscription to dual rule systems. Shariah law is regularly in the limelight, most recently in the event of an underage marriage in NSW. Coverage of lashings of a Sydney man and a legal dispute over Islamic inheritance in the ACT similarly stirred controversy in the past couple of years.

Tasnim Saeid talks to Griffith University’s associate professor Dr Mohamad Abdalla about Islam’s juristic stance on Muslims who apply shariah law in situations where they are a minority. Dr Abdalla addresses questions of whether Muslims face an inherent conflict and what the potential is for a harmonious approach to navigating the secular and the sacred.


For deeper analysis, Dr Abdalla has written comprehensively on the topic in the Griffith Law Review. The relevant journal article is referenced below:

Abdalla, M. (2012). Sacred Law in Secular Land: To What extent Should Sharia Law be followed in Australia? The Griffith Law Review. Volume (21) Issue (3) (2012).


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