Saudi Arabian students lead discussion on Islamic Law

Photo of presentation on Islamic Law

Three Wake Forest University School of Law Saudi Arabian students led a presentation on Islamic Law to the law school community on Nov. 17, 2010. Mohamad Basam, an LL.M. graduate and Wake Law’s first S.J.D. candidate, Ahmed Alqurashi, a second-year LL.M. student, and Hadia Balkhyoor, WFU Law’s first female Saudi Arabian student, discussed Islamic law and how it differs from U.S. law. The student-lawyers highlighted areas American lawyers interested in international law should know about Islamic law.

Basam, a Lecturer and Coordinator of the Legal Programs at the Institute of Public Administration in Riyadh, created a PowerPoint presentation to discuss the key aspects of Islamic law.  He explained that American law students should be aware of Islamic law because there are $700 billion worth of transactions made with Islamic law countries each year and that these countries are major trade partners with the U.S.  As a result, students interested in pursuing a career in international law will likely deal with lawyers and companies that follow Islamic law.

Alqurashi, who serves as Legal Counsel for the Committee for the Resolution of Securities Disputes for the Capital Markets Authority of Saudi Arabia, did an excellent job discussing investments and loans and how corporations operate under Islamic law.

After Basam’s and Alqurashi’s presentations, the audience was given the opportunity to ask questions of the presenters.  Balkhyoor was able to provide a unique perspective on Islamic law as a woman.  Hadia, who was a member of the first graduating class of female law students at King Abdulaziz University, answered questions about the role of female lawyers in Islamic corporations and banks.

The event, co-sponsored by the WFU International Law Society and the Master of Laws (LL.M.) in American Law Program, was well attended.  About eighty students, faculty, and other members of the wider University community attended the noon time event.  The audience provided uniformly positive comments on the program.  Robb Abb, president of the International Law Society, praised the presenters, stating that the presentations and questions and answers after were “informative, thoughtful and interesting.”  Balkhyoor was happy to be a part of the Islamic law  presentation, explaining “introducing a foreign legal system among Wake Forest Faculty and students is a wonderful thing, and this is the goal of us as LL.M students.”