Edited by
Gad Barzilai
University of Washington, USA

Last: Is 11 September 2001 a Final word?

Especially since the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, we should not be misled by liberal expectations of separating the state from religion, nor should we be captives of illusions concerning an all-encompassing globalization of secular values and an inevitable cultural war between them and religious fundamentalism. The centrality of religion in modernity will continue to prevail as a major challenge that exceeds issues of violence and terrorism. The various essays in this volume show and argue for the interplay between religion as a comprehensive and dynamic transnational phenomenon and modernity that is both resisted by, constituted and generated through religion. Law is a major feld in which these dialectical interactions have been transhistorically constituted.

Can we reconcile between legal texts of religions, even those that are practised by nonliberal religious communities and the aspiration for a universal code of human rights? This is a challenge for law and society scholars that the essays in this volume pose. The abstraction of basic human rights from the diversity of religions should and can be a component in the aspiration for a universal minimal legal code. That code should admit cultural relativity and the need to sanctify the plurality of religions in law. It should also acknowledge the importance of political spaces in which different religious communities may be included as legitimate components in traditions of legality. This volume proves that religions should be subjected to a careful deconstruction process through which we should better understand religion as a feld of power, faith, legality and hermeneutics, which cannot escape diverse contextualization in different localities .