Customary law, commonly referred to as (Urfi Law), is a set of rules and procedures used by local arbitrators, for reconciliation and conflict resolution.
Urfi law is resorted to by local communities in mostly non-metropolitan areas where it is held that the
judicial system is not an effective mechanism by which to arbitrate between conflicting parties. Urfi law
has its deep origins in traditions, customs, and –of course- religion.
We earlier described the reconciliation processes in Egypt in a project we carried out in 2008 in
cooperation with ZIVIK, a German organization supporting civil conflict resolution. For more information
visit the pages on conflict resolution in Egypt on the website of the Center for Arab-West Understanding.
On 8, 9 and 10 July 2015 we visited with Matthew Anderson, a PhD student at Georgetown University on
Muslim-Christian relations, this region to investigate tensions between Muslims and Christians in Kafr
Darwish, a village in the Governorate of Beni Suef that is located on the border with the governorate of
Minya. We met with Salafi arbitrator Sheikh Hamdi Abdelfattah from al-Qufada, a village not far from
Kafr Darwish, who provided us with a handwritten document specifying the rules of arbitration. Khaled
H. Zakaria typed this handwritten document which was translated by Catherine Volkmann, a translation
intern at the Center for Arab-West Understanding, from Arabic to English.
This undated document on arbitration is based several meetings of arbitrators in districts in northern
part of Minya Governorate, lastly on 1.12. 2014. We did not ask the sheikh for incidents/instances
where the articles of this document were put into practice.
@ Arab-West Report
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