It was a routine morning in the Israeli shari‘a court in West Jerusalem, a few months before I completed my fieldwork there. I was sitting in Qadi Muhammad Rashid Zibdi’s courtroom,1 observing how he calmly manages one case after another, when all of the sudden a burst of loud, threatening jumble of Arabic and Hebrew words disrupted the tranquility of the court. All the heads in the room turned toward the door: the loud voice seemed to be coming from the nearby waiting room, where some sort of incident was apparently developing. Qadi Zibdi announced an immediate break and left the courtroom to see what was going on outside. I followed him. It turned out that a few minutes earlier a young prisoner had been brought to the court by two guards of the Israeli Prison Authorities. As we entered, the guards were making desperate efforts to prevent a large crowd of family and friends from approaching, touching, and hugging the prisoner.