A unique academic conference was held yesterday at the University of Rome with the purpose of comparing Roman Law with Islamic Law.
Roman Law constitutes the original basis for most Western legal systems today and is seen as a basis for future unified EU level legislation. The French Code Civil is based on Roman law. South Africa still expressly uses Roman-Dutch Law.
The conference, organized at the Law faculty of the University of Rome 'La Sapienza', was entitled: "Roman Law and Islamic Law: religious and judicial foundations - common elaboration of a judicial system for current globalising trends'' . Legal experts from Europe and many Arab countries were in attendance.
Speakers included the general secretary of the League of Islamic Universities, Gaafar Abd el- Sala, the representative of the Italian Institute for Africa and the East, Gianluigi Rossi; the rector of the University of Islamic Sciences of Jordan, Abd el-Nasser Abulbasal; the deputy rector of Al-Azhar University, Ismail Shahin; and the director of the department of history and theory of law at Rome's Tor Vergata University, Riccardo Cardilli.
The basis of the conference is that dialogue between distinct judicial systems can strengthen dialogue between cultures.
Participants concluded that Roman law is by no means incompatible with Islamic judicial traditions: on the contrary, they have many shared points in common. And it is on these common elements - or principles - shared by Roman and Sharia law that these two apparently very distinct codes can base answers to the daily challenges of a globalised world.
''Some of the principles that link our two codes are those of equity, justice and peace,'' said Professor Jaafar Abd el-Salam, General Secretary of the Islamic Universities, an umbrella organisation for 150 institutions.
''Our two codes can and must converge for the benefit of the peoples of the Mediterranean''.
Sharia is by no means incompatible with the modern world, on the contrary. And it is on its foundation ''that our future constitution will also be based'' Abd el-Salam told ANSA, speaking on the sidelines of the conference.
He was referring to a provision in Article 2 of the Constitutional Charter of Egypt. However, many analysts predict it will probably be discarded by a majority of the Constitutional Congress meeting in Cairo on 24 March to draw up the country's new legal charter.
When asked what contribution Al Azhar will make to drafting the new constitution, Abd el-Salam, a p[rofessor at al-Azhar, said: "Our contribution will concentrate above all on defending Islamic values, in protecting and consolidating the Muslim family'. Of course, there will have to be a reference to tolerance and to respecting all non-Islamic religions", he stressed.
"Islam: Conference on Roman and Sharia law - dialogue" ANSAmed March 16, 2012
"Islam: Rome, conference on "Roman and Islamic law"" ANSAmed March 14, 2012
Reproduced with permission from Islam Today