The first mistaken conception is this. Some Muslim theorists argue that only God can proclaim what justice, right, and rights are; hence parliaments and other state institutions lack the sovereignty to create laws and to proclaim rights. They presume that Western states in their legislation and the UN in their Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 claim such sovereignty. Many Western theorists share their view, differing only in the evaluation. But human rights imply that states must follow them and lack the sovereignty for legislation incompatible with them. The German constitution is explicit on this lack of human sovereignty. It declares in Art.1: “The following basic rights shall bind the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary as directly applicable law.” Hence, the idea of human rights implies that human rights and basic principles of legislation are valid not because states have declared them but because of their inherent qualities. It also implies that states are legitimate only if they conform to such basic principles and excludes the idea that the principles are legitimate because states or mankind have accepted them. Therefore, Western and Islam conceptions of law and sovereignty are less different than they seem. Second, it is generally accepted in Islam and the West that there is a right and even the duty of every human being to fight for justice and the protection of human rights. But there are two conceptions of such a fight both in Islam and the West. The model of the fight for human rights in the centralist conception is a bureaucracy that imposes its rules on the cases it administers. The model in the autonomous conception is a scientific community that solves its differences by principles developed in the community itself.
Universal human rights suffer from a lack of consensus on the question: what kind of internal state organisation can actually take these fundamental rights adequately into account? The main intent of this article is to present a critical assessment of various modes of state–religion affiliation and their effects on the state’s scope for human rights compliance. A special focus will be on the right to freedom of religion or belief since this fundamental right is within this context most profoundly at stake. It will be contended that states which are organised in accordance with the principle of state neutrality can in principle fully comply with human rights norms; while states which identify themselves either positively with a single religious denomination or excessively negatively with religion have to be considered poorly equipped for both democratisation as well as optimal human rights compliance. The crucial issue of ‘multivocality’ of religions will be addressed as a contribution to the reform debate. Ultimately a case will be made for ‘the right to neutral governance’.
Developing an approach to integrate religious legal traditions within modern universal values, as expressed through international human rights norms, is an important priority. The paper provides a study on Muslim Legal Traditions of Apostasy (MLTA) and the international human rights norms relevant to them. The study distinguishes among the three different phenomena of MLTA, which can be listed as conversion, heresy and sabb (blasphemy). While in practice these three concepts appear differently, for Muslim jurists the term irtidad (ridda) is generally used to describe the act of a convert, a blasphemer or a heretic. The study also makes a distinction between the public aspects of these traditions and their personal aspects. Public rules of MLTA include prohibition and punishment of the three different alleged offences, conversion, blasphemy and heresy, along with the civil consequences of these offences, such as confiscation of the property of the offender. With regard to personal aspects of MLTA, it should be noted that, whether the punishment is imposed on an apostate or not, the act of apostasy automatically leads to some family law consequences, such as dissolving the marriage of the apostate, and depriving him/her of the custody of his/her children.
Many contemporary authors fear that the proliferation of rights-claims may cause human rights to fall victim to their own popularity. If every good that is desired by one or another group of people is cloaked in the venerable garbs of a human right, and there is no way to tell ‘real’ from ‘supposed’ human rights, this may generate scepticism towards the concept of human rights in general. However deplorable this situation may be, for moral philosophers it may be thought to involve an opportunity to reaffirm the importance of their discipline. After all, how else could we distinguish genuine from imaginary human rights than by building a theory about the subject? The aim of my paper is to show that this idea is exactly wrong — that the proliferation of human rights claims cannot be stopped even in theory. It is a mistake to think that the proliferation of rights claims results from a lack of awareness of the proper theoretical foundation of human rights. On the contrary, I will argue that the proliferation of rights mirrors a deep problem in secular theories of human rights, that these theories do not have the conceptual resources to limit ever larger rights claims. I will suggest that to understand the present situation, we need to look into the religious presuppositions of the culture in which natural rights to subsistence were first proclaimed. Specifically, I will argue that contemporary theories of human rights are secularized versions of a religious precursor.
The legitimacy debate between ‘universal’ human rights and its apparent conflict with the Islamic value system (broadly characterized as the ‘relativist’ challenge to ‘universal’ human rights) is still far from settled. My paper will reflect on this debate in terms of the current international treaty law. <br />The paper will consider this conflict in the light of the interaction of Islamic states with multilateral human rights regimes, starting from United Nations Charter, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the two covenants (International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights) and the stream of other international and regional human rights regimes. It will analyze through the ‘reservations’ clause of human rights regimes, the interaction between ‘universal’ human rights and Islamic law. <br />In particular, it will focus on how Islamic states have put forward what has come to be known as the “Islamic reservations”, and it will attempt to outline to what extent these reservations are contradictory to universal human rights, as noted in the objections to these reservations by various states parties to the treaties. An assessment will also be made of the extent to which the human rights to which the ‘Islamic reservations’ have been made, may actually be incorporated into the legal systems of the reserving Islamic countries. <br /><strong> </strong>
There is an urgent need for methods by which people and communities of faith peacebuilding and human rights development. This paper argues for a holistic understanding of peacebuilding that includes security of life, a guarantee of subsistence, and the pursuit of other fundamental human rights. This need is especially acute in countries of rising instability or post-conflict rebuilding. More and more countries face a downward spiral of instability even though many leaders and bodies seek to reverse this trend. Sadly, even among those countries that emerge from conflict, one-half revert to conflict within five years. Hence the question this paper addresses is, “How shall people and communities of religious conviction be effectively engaged in a peacebuilding and human rights process?” <br />This people factor is too little understood, even though the role of citizens in transitional states has long been acknowledged as essential for just and sustainable change. For peace accords and international conventions, in and of themselves, do not make peace or deliver human rights. Neither does the arrival of international peacekeepers nor the speeches of clerics and political leaders. While these developments are helpful stimuli, real human peace and security derives from community-based initiatives that create a “positive deviance” for peaceable, rights-oriented living vis-à-vis governments and other forces. <br />Thus this paper will hypothesize a methodology whereby citizens engage religious institutions, governments (local and national), and international change agents to transform conflict into promising peace and rights. It will identify common peacebuilding principles operating across sectors of human development, security, and rights-oriented work. These sectors may include at least the following: health, conservation, education, security, labor, spirituality, and corporate social responsibility. <br />This paper also seeks to hone a typology of human rights and peacebuilding challenges facing countries of instability and post-conflict rebuilding. Categories may include at least the following: stages and types of conflict, fragile and failed states, overlooked populations, ethnic and racial discrimination, transnational politics and justice, natural resource and wealth distribution, and social capital.