By Dr. Matthew Wilkinson
Wednesday, 5 July 2017. Dr. Matthew Wilkinson delivered a lecture entitled ‘Islamic Sharia’ and English Law: complementary partners or competing alternatives in cases of Serious Crime?’ to students on the Mst in Applied Criminology at the Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge. These students were prison officers and governors undergoing a reflective programme of study on their practice convened by Dr. Ben Crewe. The talk showed how some of the Serious Crimes popularly associated with Islam and Muslims, such as ‘honour’ killings and terrorist offences, also represent serious crimes in Islam and how an interaction of ‘noxious absences’ and ‘malign presences’ in the lives of a small minority of young Muslims generate serious criminality. It ended by suggesting that there was nothing procedural about the English legal process that should prevent Muslims from facilitating and participating fully in the course of justice or that made it, in principle, incommensurate with the principles of Islamic law. The talk was described as a real ‘eye-opener’ by one student and generated a different perspective on how Islam and Muslims can tap into an ancient tradition of Islamic lawfulness in a country such as Britain.