RELIGION AND GENDER VIOLENCE
AT AN INFORMAL GATHERING AT A FACULTY residence we engaged in a discussion with visiting Professors Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian and Reema Hammami, of Hebrew University and Birzeit University, both of whom were in New York for a project on “Religion and the Global Framing of Gender Violence” organized by Lila Abu-Lughod at the CU Center for the Study of Social Difference (CSSD).
Both Nadera and Reema reside in East Jerusalem, and out of our discussion with them came an idea for a new CPS initiative on the city. This idea soon gelled in a successful proposal to the CU Institute for Religion and Culture in Public Life (IRCPL) for a Spring 2017 CPS Workshop on “Palestinian Jerusalem: Religion Under Occupation.” In its initial composition, our research group brings together university faculty from different disciplinary backgrounds: writer Nathalie Handal (CSER), architect Nora Akawi (GSAPP), archaeologist Brian Boyd (Center for Archaeology), historian Rashid Khalidi (History), historical sociologist Salim Tamari (Visiting Arcapita Professor, Spring 2017), and anthropologists Nadia Abu El-Haj, Lila Abu-Lughod and Brinkley Messick.
In its workshop formulation, the “Palestinian Jerusalem” project emphasizes a number of legal dimensions. Related concerns are longstanding at CPS, where, for example, a major Spring 2011 Conference on “Locating Tolerance” offered analyses of the extended conflict over the building of a new Museum of Tolerance (Simon Wiesenthal Center) on part of the Muslim community property of the Mamilla Cemetery.
A recent report on East Jerusalem describes the everyday mechanisms of Israeli control of space in East Jerusalem as extending to arrests and detention, searches without reasonable suspicion, relaxation of live fire regulations, obstruction of movement in and access to Palestinian neighborhoods, punitive house demolitions, revocation of permanent residency rights and attacks on hospitals (See also, on home demolitions).
Our IRCPL proposal highlights certain legal-religious aspects of the city, which pertain to Muslim and Christian Palestinians, including the past and present role in urban real estate of religiously endowed properties (awqāf, sing. waqf) and the activities of religious courts, with the current situation of the Islamic sharīʿa court system one of divided jurisdictions between East and West Jerusalem.