Islam and Human Rights

Islam and Human Rights is an attempt to establish whether Islamic Law, Sharia, is compatible with universal human rights as they are defined in the International Bill of Human Rights. After briefly describing the history of universal human rights, the concept of cultural relativism and introducing the early history of Islam as well as the concept of Sharia, the analyze focuses on a selection of human rights documents produced in an Islamic environment. Some of the documents are created on an intergovernmental level, such as the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights and the Arab Charter on Human Rights, while some are simply created by private institution, but has had a prominent position in the doctrine. The aim is to highlight in what parts these documents have difficulties reaching up to international human rights standards, due to clashing religious or cultural values. The emphasis will be on the equality between sexes, the rights of religious minorities and freedom of religion, since these are the three main areas in which differences traditionally arises…


I. Introduction
II Method and disposition
1. Universal Human Rights
1.1 The idea of universal human rights
1.2 Human Rights in theory
1.3 Human Rights in practice
2. Cultural relativism
2.1 Universality versus relativism
2.2 Cultural Diversity in a Western perspective
2.3 Islam and Cultural diversity
3. Islam and Sharia
3.1 The history of Islam
3.1.1 The Prophet
3.1.2 The ”Rightly Guided” caliphs
3.2 Islamic law
3.2.1 Primary sources The Qur’an The Sunna
3.2.2 Secondary Sources of Law
4. Regional Human Rights development in theory
4.1 The Theocentric versus the Anthropocentric difference
4.2 Problem areas in Islamic Human Rights Documents
4.2.1 Unequality between the sexes
4.2.2 Rights of non-Muslim minorities
4.2.3 Freedom of religion
4.3 Islamic documents on Human Rights
4.3.1 Human Rights in Islam – A. A. Mawdudi 1975 General human right The rights of citizens in an Islamic state
4.3.2 The Universal Islamic Declaration of Human Rights (UIDHR)
4.3.3 The Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam 1990
4.3.4 Arab Charter of Human Rights 1994
5. Regional Human Rights development in practice
5.1 Limitation
5.2 Development on the governmental level
5.2.1 Commitment to the International documents on Human Right
5.2.2 Governmental ”human rights departments”
5.2.3 “Governmental” human rights NGOs
5.3 The local Human Rights movements in the Arab countries
5.3.1 Independent Human Rights NGOs
5.3.2 The problems of Arab human rights NGOs
5.4 Islamic Fundamentalism and Human Rights
6. Conclusion

Author: Delling, Malin

Source: Goteborg University

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