Connections Quarterly Winter 2019 - Restorative Practices - Page 27

L I TE RATU RE I N RE V I E W and negotiation, and to a penitent, not pu- nitive, view of judgment. As the chapter’s author says, “there is much support for the theory and method of Restorative Justice in the Sikh tradition... In the pluralistic and multicultural societies of the postmodern world... Sikh ideals are thoroughly... conge- nial to the developing values of society.” It’s surely not coincidental that Canada, one of the pioneers in the use of Restorative Justice, has the largest percentage of Sikhs of any country outside India. Far more than Sikhism, Islam has been con- sidered a militant faith, with perhaps the harshest judicial system. This is especially true in today’s “clash of civilizations,” during which, the author agrees, “Islamic criminal law has turned to its most punitive methods.” Yet he can also maintain that “In actual fact, the Qur’an is a message of mercy and for- giveness.” A triad of forgiveness, compensa- tion, and reconciliation, which includes vic- tim, offender, and community, is a common alternative to judicial punishment. Strikingly, “there is great disagreement about whether Islam views prisons as legal,” since they did not exist in Mohammed’s time. Unfortunately, the Islamic chapter does not discuss Sulha, the pre-Islamic method of resolving conflicts practiced in many Arab countries, in which community leaders work to assuage the victim or their family, and heal the community by negotiation, non- violent settlement, and public reconcilia- tion. In many Conflict Resolution programs, ”Although Sikhism had to adopt a militant posture as a response to persecu- tion, at its heart it remains committed to conciliation and negotiation, and to a penitent, not punitive, view of judgment.” Sulha is included as an example of a historic restorative process still in use today. Finally we come to the perhaps artificial con- cept of the “Judeo-Christian” tradition. Juda- ism, as one might expect, plumbs the Torah and the commentaries and finds them “too diverse to be characterized unambiguously as a restorative system.” After all, even the Hebrew language contains paradox, since a mitzvah can be both a “good deed” and a “duty” or “commandment,” and the tzdk root of “justice” is indistinguishable from the root of tzedakah, or charity/mercy. The Christian chapter is, by a small margin, the longest of the faith-based ones, and the most heavily annotated. It admits “It is per- fectly clear that the persecuted church quick- ly became the persecutor,” and works to dis- tinguish the church’s adoption of the harshly retributive Greco-Roman justice system from the more spiritual tendencies of, say, the Sermon on the Mount, which Gandhi Continues on page 26 CSEE Connections Winter 2019 Page 25