Human Rights and Islam: Muslim and Non-Muslim Perspectives

Tue, 19 Jan 2010 18:45 in Discussion Forums
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Where: Dialogue Society, London

Panellists

  • Prof Steven Greer, University of Bristol
  • Prof Mashood Baderin, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)

Index

Abstract

In the 21st century 'human rights' are fundamentally about 'international human rights law' and that this is largely a product of three main processes:
(1) the liberalization, secularization and democratization of western states from the 18th to 20th centuries;
(2) the post-2nd World War attempt to extend this experiment to the rest of the world through the processes of modernization, internationalization and globalization, and
(3) the attempt to find human-rights-sensitive interpretations of non-western value systems which would make this a more inclusive project than would otherwise have been the case if the second process alone applied.

One consequence of all this is that, although the 'Muslim world' was not fully involved in this project at its inception, it has increasingly felt obliged to engage with it as international human rights law has evolved to become the world's only viable value system. This panel will explore the challenges and opportunities that this process faces.

Amongst other things this raises the question of the scope there might be for a distinctively Islamic, but nonetheless authentic, conception of human rights seeking to apply global values in a self-consciously Islamic manner.

The greatest friction in this field is not between Islam as a faith on the one hand, and international human rights law as a global value system on the other, but between international human rights law and conservative Islamic republics. States with Muslim majorities will find it easier to reach an appropriate accommodation with international human rights law the more democratic, law-governed and constitutionalized they are and these processes need not be identical to those experienced by the west.

Biography of Prof. Steven Greer

Steven Greer, Professor of Human Rights at the School of Law, University of Bristol, studied Law at the University of Oxford, and Sociology at the London School of Economics, before obtaining a PhD from the Queen's University of Belfast. In addition to the University of Bristol, he has taught at Queen's Belfast, and at the Universities of Sussex, Hannover, and Wollongong. He is consultant editor (Human Rights) for Amicus Curiae and has acted as consultant to various organisations, including the Council of Europe. His many publications - particularly in the fields of criminal justice, law and terrorism, and human rights - include The European Convention on Human Rights: Achievements, Problems and Prospects (Cambridge University Press, 2006), short-listed with two other titles for the Hart Socio-Legal Book Prize 2008.

Biography of Prof Mashood Baderin

Prof. Mashood Baderin, holds a 1st Class LLB (Hons) Combined Degree in English Common Law and Islamic Law from Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, Nigeria, an LLM Degree in Public International Law and a PhD Degree in International Human Rights and Islamic Law both from the University of Nottingham. He is currently Professor of Law and Head of the School of Law at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. He researches and publishes in the areas of Human Rights, International Law and Islamic Law, with particular reference on the interaction between International Law, International Human Rights Law and Islamic Law in Muslim States. Amongst his many publications is International Human Rights and Islamic Law, OUP, 2003, 2005 (UK Catalogue ), which is a leading text on the subject of human rights and Islamic law. He is a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, and co-founding editor of the Muslim World Journal of Human Rights (Bepress). He speaks English, Arabic and 3 other African languages.

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