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BARAZA! 3 - Islam and Human Rights: Conflicting or Complementary?
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baraza31.jpgIran's chief of judiciary, Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroud, recently lauded the idea of setting up an Islamic International Court focusing on "Islamic human rights". He compared this idea with that of existing European Union mechanisms to address human rights issues. However, the precise implications of using the term "Islamic human rights" are yet to be discussed. Borrowing Shahroud's analogy to the European Union, would the concept of "Islamic human rights" be entirely dissimiliar to "European" or "Western" human rights?

There is little doubt that this suggestion will probably be met with ridicule by the many Western governments and organisations that have long accused Iran of state-led human rights violation. Indeed, one of the most problematic areas of discussions post-9/11 has related directly to the state of human rights in Muslim societies.

Tired arguments from either side of the debate have been resurrected, over and over again. Anti-Muslim voices, especially in the West, conclude that Muslims will remain incapable of understanding, let alone upholding, human rights as long as they cling on to Islam. Anti-West Muslims, have, predictably, taken the bait and responded either by hurling ad hominems against George W. Bush, Tony Blair, John Howard and the "War of Terror", or by reiterating that the divinely-inspired Shariah is in fact superior to the "Western", "man-made" concept of human rights. And from this point onwards, the debate usually degenerates into either meaningless apologetics or name-calling and even violence.

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