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Abdullah Saeed

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Abdullah Saeed

What are human rights? This chapter answers this fundamental question, then provides a synopsis of the development of the international human rights discourse, from its inception in the context of natural law theories to its codification in the aftermath of the Second World War.

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Abdullah Saeed

In recent years there have been several clashes over the extent to which free speech can be used to publically discuss, criticise or mock another religions tradition. This chapter explores the issue of freedom of expression in Islam and under international law and considers when free speech should be curtailed to protect the rights of others. As a case study, it focuses on the Danish cartoon controversy.

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Human Rights and Islam

An Introduction to Key Debates between Islamic Law and International Human Rights Law

Abdullah Saeed

Is there a basis for human rights in Islam? Beginning with an exploration of what rights are and how the human rights discourse developed, Abdullah Saeed explores the resources that exist within Islamic tradition. He looks at those that are compatible with international human rights law and can be garnered to promote and protect human rights in Muslim-majority states. A number of rights are given specific focus, including the rights of women and children, freedom of expression and religion, as well as jihad and the laws of war. Human Rights and Islam emphasises the need for Muslims to rethink problematic areas of Islamic thought that are difficult to reconcile with contemporary conceptions of human rights.
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Abdullah Saeed

Those who argue for an Islamic conception of human rights agree that it is essential for a connection to be made between international human rights law and Islamic values if human rights are to gain widespread acceptance among Muslims. This chapter outlines the most important Islamic textual sources of authority and legal tools that can be used in this endeavour.

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Abdullah Saeed

In 1993, Samuel Huntington proposed that differences between “civilisations” would be a fundamental source of conflict in the future. The idea of a “clash of civilisations” has also permeated the human rights discourse, with some arguing that Islamic conceptions of rights are essentially different to international conceptions. This chapter examines this thesis and explores Islamic notions of rights.

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Abdullah Saeed

One of the most well-known Islamic legal terms today might well be “jihad”. This chapter focuses on the Islamic rules that govern the use of violence in war or other contexts. It considers how the doctrine of jihad emerged and was influenced by various contextual factors and the commonalities and tensions between this body of legal rulings and international humanitarian law, which governs armed conflict globally today.

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Abdullah Saeed

Is there a basis for human rights in Islam? Beginning with an exploration of what rights are and how the human rights discourse developed, Abdullah Saeed explores the resources that exist within Islamic tradition that are compatible with international human rights law and that can be garnered to promote and protect human rights in Muslim-majority states. A number of rights are given specific focus, including the rights of women and children, freedom of expression and religion and jihad and the laws of war. He concludes that there is a need for Muslims to rethink problematic areas of Islamic thought that are difficult to reconcile with contemporary conceptions of human rights.

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Abdullah Saeed

This chapter focuses on one of the most important human rights today — freedom of religion. It looks at the scope of this right under Islamic law and international law and identifies one of the greatest areas of tension: the law of apostasy and its punishment with the death penalty.

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Abdullah Saeed

There are various models of government in the world today, but is one model preferable when it comes to the promotion of human rights? This chapter considers whether Islamic models of governance can be conducive for upholding human rights, the benefits of democracy as a system of governance for protecting human rights and whether Islamic norms for governance is compatible with democracy.