ARTICLE: SHARIA AND ANTI-SHARIA: ETHICAL CHALLENGES FOR THE CROSS-CULTURAL LAWYER REPRESENTING MUSLIM WOMEN Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 2016 South Texas Law Review, Inc.
South Texas Law Review

ARTICLE: SHARIA AND ANTI-SHARIA: ETHICAL CHALLENGES FOR THE CROSS-CULTURAL LAWYER REPRESENTING MUSLIM WOMEN

Summer, 2016

South Texas Law Review

57 S. Tex. L. Rev. 449

Author

Andrew L. Milne +

Excerpt



I. Introduction
 

Almost all representation can be called cross-cultural. Few people have the same cultural experience, and the distance between their respective experiences may be especially wide when one person is an attorney and member of a relatively exclusive social bracket. 1 I will focus in particular on ethical challenges that non-Muslim attorneys may face when representing Muslim women in divorce cases. Ethical challenges are especially salient in the cross-cultural representation of Muslim women in divorce for several reasons.

The number of Muslim Americans in the United States is growing, likely expanding the demand for legal services on behalf of Muslim clients. 2 This demand is especially visible in family law, not only because it is a common area of law for Americans to participate in, but also because differences between some Muslim and non-Muslim cultural practices lend themselves easily to controversy. The latter tendency is not helped by the content of family law cases - marriage and divorce, custody of children, disparities of wealth and power, relations of control and abuse - which are at once intimately personal and subject to deep-seated cultural norms. And this cross-cultural divide excites especially fierce passions in post-9/11 America. 3

Adding another layer of complication in this fraught dynamic is the tendency of the rhetoric around it to make Muslim women an object of special concern. For example, the anti-Sharia movement has relied on the narrative of Muslim women victimized by their culture to support legislation purporting to ban "ZYXWVU ...
 
 
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