June 5, 2009 (REVISED June 8, 2009) Judaic and Islamic Laws in Foreign Policy Is Subject of June 17 Program

Press Contact: Audrey Fisher (202) 707-0022
Public Contact: Leon Scioscia (202) 707-1496

Judaic and Islamic legal systems (based on Halakah and Sharia', respectively) have endured for centuries despite the rapid changes and challenges of the modern world—from exploration of outer space to human cloning. They serve as a testimony to the relevance and universality of their underlying values and principles.

The potential application of these legal systems to the development of foreign policy is the subject of a 90-minute program titled “The Approach of the Halakah and Sharia' to Contemporary Legal Issues,” which will be held at the Library of Congress at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 17, in the Mumford Room, located on the sixth floor of the Library’s James Madison Building at 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C.

Sponsored jointly by the Law Library of Congress and the African and Middle Eastern Division, the event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited.

In addition to explaining the historical development of Judaic and Islamic law, the program will explore adaptations of these laws that could benefit policymakers in their legislative work on foreign policy and other areas affecting religiously oriented communities.

The program will be moderated by Don Wallace, chairman of the International Law Institute and professor of law at the Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C. Panelists include Rabbi Shlomo Yaffe and Issam Michael Saliba.

Yaffe, dean of the Institute of American and Talmudic Law and rabbi of Congregation Agudas Achim of West Hartford, Conn., will discuss and present his views on Judaic law and its approach to contemporary legal issues such as organ transplants and stem cell research.

Saliba, the legal expert on Islamic law and the laws of the Middle Eastern and North African countries in the Law Library of Congress and a member and associate member of the Washington, D.C., and Beirut bars, will discuss and present his views on Sharia' law and its approach to contemporary legal issues such as women's rights, judiciary independence and democratic governance.

Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. The Library seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its Web site at www.loc.gov and via interactive exhibitions on a new, personalized Web site at myLOC.gov.

The African and Middle Eastern Division is the Library’s center for the study of some 77 countries and regions from Southern Africa to the Maghreb and from the Middle East to Central Asia. For more information on the division and its holdings, visit www.loc.gov/rr/amed/.

Founded in 1832, the mission of the Law Library is to make its resources available to members of Congress, the Supreme Court, other branches of the U.S. Government and the global legal community, and to sustain and preserve a universal collection of law for future generations. With more than 2.6 million volumes, the Law Library contains the world’s largest collection of law books and other resources from all countries and provides online databases and guides to legal information worldwide through its Web site at www.loc.gov/law/.


PR 09-113
ISSN 0731-3527