HOME
        TheInfoList






Governments of several predominantly Muslim countries have criticized the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) for its perceived failure to take into account the cultural and religious context of non-Western countries. Iran declared in the UN assembly that UDHR was "a secular understanding of the Judeo-Christian tradition", which could not be implemented by Muslims without trespassing the Islamic law.[212] Islamic scholars and Islamist political parties consider 'universal human rights' arguments as imposition of a non-Muslim culture on Muslim people, a disrespect of customary cultural practices and of Islam.[213][214] In 1990, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, a group representing all Muslim-majority nations, met in Cairo to respond to the UDH


Governments of several predominantly Muslim countries have criticized the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) for its perceived failure to take into account the cultural and religious context of non-Western countries. Iran declared in the UN assembly that UDHR was "a secular understanding of the Judeo-Christian tradition", which could not be implemented by Muslims without trespassing the Islamic law.[212] Islamic scholars and Islamist political parties consider 'universal human rights' arguments as imposition of a non-Muslim culture on Muslim people, a disrespect of customary cultural practices and of Islam.[213][214] In 1990, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, a group representing all Muslim-majority nations, met in Cairo to respond to the UDHR, then adopted the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam.[215][216]

Ann Elizabeth Mayer points to notable absences from the Cairo Declaration: provisions for democratic principles, protection for religious freedom, freedom of association and freedom of the press, as well as equality in rights and equal protection under the law. Article 24 of the Cairo declaration states that "all the rights and freedoms stipulated in this Declaration are subject to the Islamic shari'a".[217]

In 2009, the journal Free Inquiry summarized the criticism of the Cairo Declaration in an editorial: "We are deeply concerned with the changes to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by a coalition of Islamic states within the United Nations that wishes to prohibit any criticism of religion and would thus protect Islam's limited view of human rights. In view of the conditions inside the Islamic Republic of Iran, Egypt, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the Sudan, Syria, Bangladesh, Iraq, and Afghanistan, we should expect that at the top of their human rights agenda would be to rectify the legal inequality of women, the suppression of political dissent, the curtailment of free expression, the persecution of ethnic minorities and religious dissenters – in short, protecting their citi

Ann Elizabeth Mayer points to notable absences from the Cairo Declaration: provisions for democratic principles, protection for religious freedom, freedom of association and freedom of the press, as well as equality in rights and equal protection under the law. Article 24 of the Cairo declaration states that "all the rights and freedoms stipulated in this Declaration are subject to the Islamic shari'a".[217]

In 2009, the journal Free Inquiry summarized the criticism of the Cairo Declaration in an editorial: "We are deeply concerned with the changes to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by a coalition of Islamic states within the United Nations that wishes to prohibit any criticism of religion and would thus protect Islam's limited view of human rights. In view of the conditions inside the Islamic Republic of Iran, Egypt, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the Sudan, Syria, Bangladesh, Iraq, and Afghanistan, we should expect that at the top of their human rights agenda would be to rectify the legal inequality of women, the suppression of political dissent, the curtailment of free expression, the persecution of ethnic minorities and religious dissenters – in short, protecting their citizens from egregious human rights violations. Instead, they are worrying about protecting Islam."[218]

H. Patrick Glenn states that Sharia is structured around the concept of mutual obligations of a collective, and it considers individual human rights as potentially disruptive and unnecessary to its revealed code of mutual obligations. In giving priority to this religious collective rather than individual liberty, the Islamic law justifies the formal inequality of individuals (women, non-Islamic people).[219] Bassam Tibi states that Sharia framework and human rights are incompatible.[220] Abdel al-Hakeem Carney, in contrast, states that Sharia is misunderstood from a failure to distinguish Sharia from siyasah (politics).[221]

In classical fiqh, blasphemy refers to any form of cursing, questioning or annoying God, Muhammad or anything considered sacred in Islam,[222][223][224][225] including denying one of the Islamic prophets or scriptures, insulting an angel or refusing to accept a religious commandment.[226] Jurists of different schools prescribed different punishment for blasphemy against Islam, by Muslims and non-Muslims, ranging from imprisonment or fines to the death penalty.[222][227][228][229] In some cases, sharia allows non-Muslims to escape death by converting and becoming a devout follower of Islam.[230] In the modern Muslim world, the laws pertaining to blasphemy vary by country, and some countries prescribe punishments consisting of fines, imprisonment, flogging, hanging, or beheading.[231]

Blasphemy laws were rarely enforced in pre-modern Islamic societies, but in the modern era some states and radical groups have used charges of blasphemy in an effort to burnish their religious credentials and gain popular support at the expense of liberal Muslim intellectuals and religious minorities.[232]

Blasphemy, as interpreted under Sharia, is controversial.[233] Representatives of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation have petitioned the United Nations to condemn "defamation of religions" because "Unrestricted and disrespectful freedom of opinion creates hatred and is contrary to the spirit of peaceful dialogue".[234] The Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam subjects free speech to unspecified Sharia restrictions: Article 22(a) of the Declaration states that "Everyone shall have the right to express his opinion freely in such manner as would not be contrary to the principles of the Shariah."[235] Others, in contrast, consider blasphemy laws to violate freedom of speech,[236] stating that freedom of expression is essential to empowering both Muslims and non-Muslims, and point to the abuse of blasphemy laws in prosecuting members of religious minorities, political opponents, and settling personal scores.[237][238][239] In Pakistan, blasphemy laws have been used to convict more than a thousand people, about half of them [232]

Blasphemy, as interpreted under Sharia, is controversial.[233] Representatives of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation have petitioned the United Nations to condemn "defamation of religions" because "Unrestricted and disrespectful freedom of opinion creates hatred and is contrary to the spirit of peaceful dialogue".[234] The Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam subjects free speech to unspecified Sharia restrictions: Article 22(a) of the Declaration states that "Everyone shall have the right to express his opinion freely in such manner as would not be contrary to the principles of the Shariah."[235] Others, in contrast, consider blasphemy laws to violate freedom of speech,[236] stating that freedom of expression is essential to empowering both Muslims and non-Muslims, and point to the abuse of blasphemy laws in prosecuting members of religious minorities, political opponents, and settling personal scores.[237][238][239] In Pakistan, blasphemy laws have been used to convict more than a thousand people, about half of them Ahmadis and Christians.[240][239] While none have been legally executed,[240] two Pakistani politicians, Shahbaz Bhatti and Salmaan Taseer, have been assassinated over their criticism of the blasphemy laws. Although the laws were inherited from British colonial legislation and then expanded and "Islamized" in the 1980s, many Pakistanis believe that they are taken directly from the Quran.[239]

According to the classical doctrine, apostasy from Islam is a crime as well as a sin, punishable with the death penalty,[242][243] typically after a waiting period to allow the apostate time to repent and to return to Islam.[242][244][245][246] Wael Hallaq writes that "[in] a culture whose lynchpin is religion, religious principles and religious morality, apostasy is in some way equivalent to high treason in the modern nation-state".[247] Early Islamic jurists set the standard for apostasy from Islam so high that practically no apostasy verdict could be passed before the 11th century,[248] but later jurists lowered the bar for applying the death penalty, allowing judges to interpret the apostasy law in different ways,[248] which they did sometimes leniently and sometimes strictly.[249] In the late 19th century, the use of criminal penalties for apostasy fell into disuse, although civil penalties were still applied.[242]

According to Abdul Rashied Omar, the majority of modern Islamic jurists continue to regard apostasy as a crime deserving the death penalty.[244] This view is dominant in conservative societies like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. A number of liberal and progressive Islamic scholars have argued that apostasy should not be viewed as a crime.[250] [251][242][252] Others argue that the death penalty is an inappropriate punishment,[253][254] inconsistent with the Qur'anic verses such as "no compulsion in religion";[250] and/or that it was a man-made rule enacte