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Books and Documents

Islam and Human Rights

Human Rights as State of Grace: Against Terrorism and Secular Nationalism
Khaled Abou El Fadl

Very much like in the Christian tradition, in the Islamic intellectual tradition there was an earlier intellectual battle between those who believed that the notion of right and wrong exists in a primordial and transcendent essence, and that it was not dependent upon a divine command, and those who made the locus of the existence of natural right - what they used to call al-Husn (beauty) versus al-Qubh (ugliness), very much like the idea of dark and light - to be the divine command and not anything beyond the divine command. These two factions battle it out throughout Islamic history and, as often happens, eventually both factions are completely swept up by the political trends of the day……

The Sufis asked for the return of two of their imprisoned members, Farshid Yadollahi and Reza Entesari, who has been summarily removed from Evin to Rajai-Shahr. They further demanded that Saeed Madani, an Iranian sociologist and member of the dissident Nationalist-Religious Front, be brought back from Rajai-Shahr, where he too had been shifted. Madani has been in jail since 2000. The Sufis also appealed for improvements in medical care for prisoners……

 

According to AP, the case stems from an email sent to the United Nations and The Sunday Times of London, which published a story saying two daughters of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia — Princesses Sahar, 42, and Jawaher, 38 — had appealed for help claiming they and their sisters have been held for 13 years in the royal compound…..

 

Human Rights Situation in Iran Has Not Improved Substantially 8 Months after the Election of a Moderate President, Speakers Point Out at a Side-Event in UNHRC at Geneva
Milica Javdan Chairwoman,IWA in Norway

Ms. Milica Javdan:  The theocratic dictatorship ruling Iran is misogynist to its very core and relies on oppression in order to stay in power. What we consider subordination of woman, they consider the divine order of things and any claims to the contrary is severely punished as heresy.  So it is not enough to put the finger on the escalating number of executions and street arrest to warn of the treat the mullahs pose to humanity. If the mullahs were to abandon misogyny, the ruling theocracy would surely collapse. So, what do they do? They resort to misinformation instead. In order to present themselves as moderates while at the same time curbing the will of the people in their iron fist, they hide behind cultural and religious differences as a means of escape. When criticized for inequality and injustice in the Iranian penal code, they claim Iranian Islamic culture and society has a different view on these issues.

 

Indonesia and the Act of Forgetting
Andreas Harsono

The Islamic People’s Forum, the Islamic Defenders Front and other Islamic groups are at the forefront of this intolerance. These groups have attacked the places of worship of Shiite and Ahmadiyah Muslims as well as some Christian churches. Although government officials and security forces have played a passive, or even active, role in such violence, Mr. Yudhoyono’s government has failed to confront those responsible or to obtain any redress for the victims…..

 

The Saudi Blogger Raif Badawi: 600 Lashes for Expressing Opinions

He was, however, critical of the Wahhabi religious establishment, its medieval control of society and its religious police, who instil fear in Saudi citizens. He also warned of the dangers of the extremism generated in Saudi universities, stating – and quite rightly one should add – that Imam Mohamed ibn Saud University had become a "den for terrorists" and asked simple questions, such as why Valentine's Day is banned in Saudi Arabia…..

Hamas: Teaching Human Rights is Against Palestinian, Islamic Culture
Khaled Abu Toameh

Hamas' real problem with the UNRWA curriculum is that it could spoil the Islamist movement's ongoing efforts to stir the hearts and minds of Palestinian children to wage jihad against the "enemies" of Islam. Hamas wants Palestinian children to be taught how to become suicide bombers and seek the death of Jews and "infidels."….

What If The Arab World Committed To Human Rights?
Jamal Khashoggi

Dozens of Arab commentators and authors have rationalised their statements by referring to a quote attributed to British Prime Minister David Cameron: “Don’t [talk] to me about human rights when my country’s national security is under threat.” This is how they justified human rights’ violations in their countries. None of them bothered to apologize after it was confirmed that Cameron did not say that. And perhaps they even have the audacity to say: “It may be false but its meaning is true.”….

Deported To a War Zone on the Altar of Saudisation
Laura Moth

“There is the Philippines room, the Ethiopia room, the Sudan room, the Somalia room. You don't want to go to the Somalia room.” These words of welcome were from the sole English-speaking guard at the Riyadh detention centre where I was held before being deported in 2012. If the place had a name it would have been the King Khalid International Airport Ladies Detention Centre…..

 

The new constitution has a provision that makes the state “the protector of religion” and requires it to prohibit “offenses to the sacred.” However, Tunisia should not negate the clear right in article 31 to “freedom of opinion, thought, expression, information and publication.” Article 49 states that authorities may restrict public freedoms only if those restrictions are allowed by law and are “necessary to a civil and democratic state and with the aim of protecting the rights of others….

 

Contract Slavery: Dependent On Remittance Payments From Gulf, Ethiopia Has Remained Mute To The Vicious Mistreatment Of Its Citizens In Saudi Arabia
Vijay Prashad

With its economy dependent on remittance payments from the Gulf region, Ethiopia has remained mute to the vicious mistreatment of its citizens in Saudi Arabia, which is cynically targeting migrant labourers in order to quell growing unrest among its poor citizens....

 

Abolition of Slavery, Including Sex Slavery in Islam (The Qur’an)
Muhammad Yunus, New Age Islam

The Qur’an was revealed at a time, the early seventh century of the Christian era, when the world at large was in a state of Jahiliya - an Arabic word that denotes a state of darkness and gloom (Zulumat) when the notion of universal justice had not evolved, punishments were arbitrary, the common man was bullied, oppressed and exploited, slavery was normative and, women were treated like chattel and brutalized, to cite the major vices of the era. The Qur’an came to bring humanity out of darkness into light (2:257, 14:1, 57:9), and to lift the burden that was on them from before (7:157). Since slavery was at the root of many of societal evils, it had to be eradicated to pave the way for its quantum reforms....

Human Responsibilities and Human Rights
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

Muslims must adopt a two-point formula: of education and Sabr, or patience. Education is the source of intellectual awakening and enlightenment. Sabr means realistic planning. When you save yourself from reaction, when you are able to exercise patience in the face of difficult situations, when you are awakened intellectually, you are able to assess the situation objectively, and you can then chalk-out your approach and strategy on positive lines.....

Caught In the Cross-Fire
Ramzy Baroud

A worst-case scenario is unfolding in Syria, and Palestinian refugees, particularly in the Yarmouk refugee camp, are paying a heavy price for Syria’s cruelest war. They are starving, although there can be no justification, nor logistical explanation for why they are dying from hunger….

Locked In Winter in Kabul
Kathy Kelly

As many as 35,000 displaced persons are now living in the slum areas in Kabul alone. “Conflict affects more Afghans now than at any point in the last decade,” according to Amnesty International's 2012 report, Fleeing War, Finding Misery. “The conflict has intensified in many areas, and fighting has spread to parts of the country previously deemed relatively peaceful. The surge in hostilities has many obvious consequences, among them that families and even entire communities flee their homes in search of greater security….

 

The Human Right to Live Without Terror
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

Religious ideology is based on the relationship between man and God. On the other hand, the ideology behind present terrorist movements is based on what can be called a ‘man-versus-man’ concept. It is this ‘man-versus-man’ activism that results in violence and terror. Contrary to this, activism based on the relationship between Man and God produces love and peace in society. This is not a passive attitude. Rather, it is activism in the complete sense of the word…..

 

Silently hanging over our civilised debate was violence like the murder of Theo van Gogh, maker of the film Submission, and the attack on schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai. Salman Rushdie, on whom a mortal fatwa was imposed in 1989, was mentioned in the introduction by the chair, Simon Longstaff. Badar queried whether the Western world was really in a position to lecture others about violence, citing the killing of little girls in Afghanistan by drones bombing their homes on top of them…..

 

Death to the Blasphemer, Death to Human Rights
Nasir Saeed

Federal Shariat Court (FSC) ordered the Pakistan government to remove the option of life imprisonment for blasphemy. This means that crimes of blasphemy will be punished exclusively by the death sentence. The court, which has the power to determine whether any law is un-Islamic, reasons that any punishment other than death for blasphemy is not lawful....

 

Resist the Arab Merchants of Darkness
Rami G. Khouri

Every other democratic practice in society – free media, voting, civil society activism – relies on the foundation of freedom of expression. One of the reasons the Arab world has endured a steady cycle of public incompetence, corruption, waste and stagnation since the 1950s is that it has denied itself the power and creativity of its several hundred million citizens…..

No Respect For The Rights Of Religious Minorities In Pakistan: No check on misuse of blasphemy laws, no punishment to offenders against Christianity or Hinduism or Shias or Ahmadis
I.A. Rehman

PAKISTAN continues to offer evidence of its lack of respect for the rights of religious minorities. This approach has been inviting censure at international forums. A fortnight ago, the European Parliament adopted a resolution condemning Pakistan for violence against its Christian citizens. While the main provocation was the Sept 22 church massacre in Peshawar, reference was also made to the sack of Lahore’s Joseph Colony. The resolution recalled that the Christians “suffer from prejudice and sporadic bouts of mob violence” and that a “majority of Pakistani Christians lead a precarious existence, often fearful of allegations of blasphemy”.....

 

Family, State and Labour
Farooq Sulehria

Families cannot and should not be held responsible for taking care of the old, sick and invalid. It should be the state’s responsibility. Only when the state takes care of its old citizens can the dream of a happy family as a social unit be realised. All else is sheer hypocrisy the ruling elite want the working class and middle class families to practise, so that they can exploit the unpaid labour.....

 

Despite longstanding reform promises, the government of Saudi Arabia has failed to make substantive changes, Human Rights Watch said. In particular, it should improve its arbitrary criminal justice system, abolish the system of male guardianship over women, and throw out discriminatory aspects of its sponsorship system for foreign workers, which leave workers vulnerable to abuses including forced labor…….

In reality however it is freedom of expression and religion that is facing a clear threat from hardliners within the government as well from right wing organisations such as Perkasa. The ‘Allah’ case is just one out of numerous other cases over the last year where we have seen an overzealous regime and their religious apparatus clampdown on various forms of writings, religious beliefs and practices, in violation of their international human rights obligations....

Moses and his people, opperesed by the Pharaoh of Egypt tracked to the Levant, ‘the promised land’; and left behind a legacy of oppression and strife till today. The early Muslim too have done their bit to this process. The Americas have seen the largest migration of Europeans in modern history. From religious strife torn Europe, in boat loads. Followed by the conquistadores and colonisers.....

“Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here”: Muslim Artists Battle Fundamentalism
Karima Bennoune

It was Faizan’s second experience of such an attack that year. Some seven months earlier, in April 2008, the restaurant at Rafi Peer’s main offices was blown up, after their International Mystic Music Sufi Festival. The Peerzadas did not surrender then, either: “The next day we had a performance.” This persistence elicited more threats. “They said, ‘You still haven’t learned your lesson.’ I said, ‘Well, I think lessons have to be learned by you.’ ” Nor did the audience give up. “Did people come? Yeah. The restaurant was filled....

 

Related Article:

Sharia’s Rise in Nigeria Incited Stoning Sentences

 

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