Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD)


Appropriate legal accommodations for religious minorities can support their integration into American society. Historically, the teachings and practices of many religious communities that have otherwise conflicted with state or federal law have been successfully preserved through legal accommodations. A brief comparison with the experiences of such groups as the Hasidic Jewish community will provide a context for religiously based legal accommodations for various religious communities within the United States.

This dissertation examines the particular situation of a Tablighi Jamaat community, a Muslim missionary movement, as a means to explore how legal accommodations facilitate the successful, stable integration of such groups. This community, in Arabi, Louisiana, adheres to a strict interpretation of Islamic law prohibiting them from purchasing casualty and property commercial insurance, and, as a result, they suffered extraordinary losses in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. This community's situation illustrates a much larger need for religious accommodations in state insurance regulations.

The focus of this dissertation will be on the unique perspectives of the Tablighi Jamaat community and how their experiences reflect the necessity and desirability of religious accommodations in general. In light of the unfortunate outcomes of the Tablighi community's decision to opt-out of insurance coverage, this dissertation recommends that changes be made to state insurance regulations. Specifically, for the Tablighi community, Shari'ah-compliant policies should be developed. State Insurance commissioners may find it both necessary and desirable to provide greater legal accommodations for religiously based mutual insurance companies to address concerns about commercial insurance that groups like the Tablighis may otherwise have. These recommendations will be further supported by providing a statutory and constitutional basis for such religious-based accommodations.