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Books and Documents

Islam and Human Rights

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

 

Human Rights and Terrorism, the Image of Balance
Dr Fawad Kaiser

When it comes to the fight against terrorism, most democratic governments presume that they cannot be effective against the threat unless they sacrifice some of their democratic substance. Constitutional guarantees are believed to impede the implementation of efficient counterterrorism policies and are restricted in order to protect the security of individuals....

 

Undoubtedly the world where its people are not hostages to perceptions and where faiths and ideologies are not prejudged and the human mind is free of bias and takes voluntary and informed action based on knowledge and truth should be the goal. The free will of humans will be exercised only when this happens....

 

The Prophet replied: “The nations that lived before you were destroyed by God because they punished the common man for their offenses and let their dignitaries go unpunished for their crimes. I swear by Him Who hold my life in His had that even if Fatima, the daughter of Muhammad, had committed this crime, I would have amputated her hand.”….

 

Ahmadis were stopped from offering Friday prayers and police asked them to produce a No Objection Certificate (no such thing exists) for offering prayers. When Ahmadis went to a senior police official for help, he instead instructed Ahmadis not to observe their Friday prayers until he had spoken to the Mullahs, the Muslim fundamentalists. The authorities do not allow Ahmadis to build a place for worship, nor do they allow them to pray at home. This is the freedom to worship – Punjab style....

Human Rights in Islam
Aiman Reyaz, New Age Islam

Human Rights in Islam
Aiman Reyaz, New Age Islam

The best thing one can say about human rights is the right of humans to live, no other right is bigger or better than the right to life and this is what the Quran emphatically says twice in just one verse: first constructed negatively and then positively, doubly reminding us all, especially the Muslims, that every human life is precious. The Quran says: “If anyone kills any human being (whether Muslim or non-Muslim)- unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land- it would be as if he has killed the whole of humanity. And if anyone saves any human being (whether Muslim or non-Muslim)- it would be as if he has saved the whole of humanity.” (5:32)....

 

Islam and Human Rights: Beyond the Zero-Sum Game
Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im

Profound political and theological differences have divided Muslims from the beginning in the Arabia of the seventh century, leading to civil wars over issues of political power within a few decades of the Prophet's death. What came to be known as Shari'a gradually evolved during the first three centuries of Islam through human interpretations of the Qur'an and Sunna of the Prophet….

 

Beyond the Zero-Sum Game: A significant range of views about human rights in Islamic societies
Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im

...the realistic prospects of such constant mediation will depend on the credibility and moral authority of the human rights itself, as reflected in the practice of all states, especially the major powers. If the human rights project is to collapse, I believe, that would be as much the result of the failure of Western major powers to uphold these rights in their own domestic practice and international relations behaviour...

The document shows that the authorities have ordered the release of such hardened criminals on the condition that they will join the subversive activities in Syria. The practice also constitutes gross violation of Geneva Convention of wartime rights of civilians and prisoners. This could even pave the way for the prosecution of the Saudi government at the International Criminal Court in The Hague....

 

Notes on Various Aspects of the Question of Compatibility between Islam and Human Rights

-Abu Hanifa and his followers advanced the cause of universal human rights – universally and unconditionally granted to all by birth, on a permanent and equal basis, by virtue of being a human - which cannot be taken away by any authority. Abu Hanifa established an unbreakable relationship between the concept of âdamiyyah (personhood, humanity) and the concept of ‘ismah (inviolability). Based on this relationship, he argued that being a child of Adam or a human, whether Muslim or not, serves as the legal ground for possessing basic rights....

Muslim States and the Protection of Fundamental Rights
Asma Uddin

The explicit assertion of the freedom to “change” one’s religion in Article 18 of the UDHR has been especially controversial. While the inclusion of Article 18 did not prevent Syria, Iran, Turkey and Pakistan from voting for the UDHR, the Saudi Arabian delegation objected to it and therefore abstained. Similarly, the reservations of some majority-Muslim states...

“The uncertainties of freedom are no reason to revert to the enforced predictability of authoritarian rule,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. “The path ahead may be treacherous, but the alternative is to consign entire countries to a grim future of oppression.”...

 

Unable to witness horrific abuses, intelligence officer flees to hometown to teach Islam to children instead. Anti-government protesters were frequently arrested and tortured there before they were tucked into narrow and dark dungeons, he said. "They stepped on his beard," he said. "They humiliated him and continued to insult him and his religion....

 

Islam, many Islamists claim, professes freedoms and human rights for its citizens but ironically it is the Islamic countries that have been lagging behind in providing its citizens the basic freedoms and liberties. According to a recent survey, titled Freedom of the World 2013, published by the Freedom House, an NGO based in America, the Islamic countries have disappointed those who boast of the human principles of Islam based on the Quran and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

Though the report also shows that there has been a decline in the overall freedom in the world due to the political, religious and social crises, it prominently comes out in the report that the Muslim majority countries or Islamic countries have fared badly in terms of political and civil liberties to their citizens. ...

When Pakistan was formed, Jinnah wanted Pakistan to be a secular country like India but the ambitious and narrow-minded mullahs of the country gradually turned it into a Islamic country saying that Pakistan will be an Islamic republic. … It’s time Muslims and the rulers of Islamic countries shun violent approach to religion and the problems of their collective life in the broader context of multicultural necessities of the modern world.

Cruelty and Injustice in the Arab World
Irfan Husain

SRI LANKANS aren’t as prone to street protests as their other South Asian cousins. But when Rizana Nafeek, a young Sri Lankan Muslim girl, was beheaded in Saudi Arabia a fortnight ago, anti-Saudi demonstrations broke out in Colombo as well as in other cities. This case drew worldwide condemnation because of the sheer injustice that led to Rizana’s execution....

Reflections On Rizana’s Public Beheading In Saudi Arabia After Friday Prayers And Spectators Allowed To Enjoy Thoroughly
Rizana Nafeek
It seems to be a widespread notion that however tragic and horrifying Rizana Nafeek’s fate might be, we cannot in the last resort object to the Saudis having their own laws and applying them in the manner they think fit. That view seems sound on the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of states. But it carries a large assumption. It is that the Saudi manner of applying its laws will be consistent with internationally accepted standards. No one has any business to assume anything of the sort considering Saudi Arabia’s horrendous record in human rights.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights must publicly denounce this monstrous abuse of a person and the unlawful death inflicted on an innocent fellow human by the custodians of a sordid system. High Commissioner Navanethem Pillay should speak out boldly against this abomination for her to have any credibility among fair-minded people around the world, and if she wishes to demonstrate that her Commission has a conscience.

“Perhaps a good place to start would be to lift the ban on the book co-authored by Dr Hassan Saeed – the current Special Advisor to President Waheed – which argues that there is no apostasy in Islam. This is a position that is upheld by a growing number of reputable scholars in the Islamic world and elsewhere.”

 
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