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Human Rights in Islam and West Coursework

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Updated: Jun 11th, 2022

The greatest threat to human rights is war. That is the challenge of today, “to prevent the tragic violations committed in the course of conflict and reconstruct the societies which conflict has destroyed.

When the U.N. first met, in 1946, one of its first resolutions declared that the Commission had no power to look into communications about individual human rights abuses. Instead, it would stick to drafting standards and stay out of the actual developments and problems of the Stalinist Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and its colonies, and the segregationist United States and other powers as well. Much has changed since that time: inch by inch a structure of legally binding treaties, special investigators, and mechanisms has been built up to hold countries to commitments to respect the human rights of their citizens, and be accountable for their actions.

Human rights depend, as Hannah Arendt pointed out, on national rights – that is, rights constitute, protect, and punish one as the citizen of a nation-state. This also means that the state has the power to use human rights discourse to coerce its own citizens—just as colonial rulers had the power to use it against its own subjects. In defending its own citizens’ human rights it is only the state that can legally threaten to punish violators.

There is an unresolved tension here between the moral invocation of” universal humanity” and the power of the state to identify, apply, and maintain the law. For not only does the Declaration equate law with justice, it also privileges the state’s norm-defining function, thereby encouraging the thought that the authority of norms corresponds to the political force that supports them as law. Ironically, it was the moral revulsion against the legal atrocities of the Nazi state that led, after World War II, to a renewed interest in the old natural law tradition, and that contributed in a major way to the framing of The Declaration. (It was the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal that retrospectively introduced the notion of crimes against humanity into international law.)

But the condemnation of a particular state’s system of law and of its behavior in terms of norms entirely external to them led not to recognition that nonstate norms have authority as such. They led instead to the formulation of sacred laws that must ultimately depend, as laws, on their recognition by states.

Human rights flow from the intrinsic sacred dignity of the person in his/her vocation to serve the community and to be recognized by communities and governments. Human rights flow from the respect of human dignity. Each person has a right to those things required for human decency starting with food, shelter, clothing, employment, health care, and education. Also includes freedom of speech, religion, association, migration, and participation in full society.

Since property is an important link to human development then everyone has a right to private property – but this is not an absolute right. Private property must serve the needs and development of the whole community. It is the responsibility of each to respect and protect the human rights of all.

It is the role of government to regulate those organizations that play a role and assure that the common good will be enhanced. Government must not do for those that can do for themselves – but it must also help those who cannot do for themselves toward the work of serving the common good.

We are all part of a social context that is essential for community living and individual development. We must realize any set of social and cultural structural contexts. Liberation from oppressive social political and economic situations and struc-tures is an important mission of the church but it must also include spiritual and religious dimensions as well. People have the right to democratic participation in decision making opportunities in order to achieve the common good as presented by govern ment. A minimum level of participation in the community is a fundamental demand of justice and requirement for human dignity. Church recognizes the inequities that exist but does not provide any solutions.

We are all part of the human family and have a mutual obligation to promote the rights and development of all people across communities, nations, and the world, irrespective of national boundaries. Peace is the fruit of justice and is dependent upon solidarity and right order among humans and among nations. Progressive disarmament is essential for future security – peacemaking: pacifism or non-violence and just war theory.

However, in the book “Philosophy of Human Rights by Ayatullah Javadi Amuli, he believes in the difference in the principle of human rights seen in Islam and by the West. He believes that defining human rights depends on people’s world-vision. According to them, human rights are the manifestations of the rebellious self-centered man of the modern century. In his eyes, modern man has turned into a creature that regards himself the viceroy of God in the universe and organized himself by adapting himself to physical pleasures.

That man finds himself in the position to create rights based on desires and reject whatever God has commanded, is an unpleasant event in the age of humanism. This great perversion in the thoughts of man as the symbol of rebellion against the Almighty is manifested in the modern humanitarian thoughts. Than human rights cannot be formulated through agreements or traditions and customs

However, beyond that it seems that there are deeper sets of questions. If we want a world which has more human rights and more global responsibility, the world has to have people who are free to exercise those rights, who have a genuine opportunity to realize them, who recognize their responsibility to make the most of them, and who are parts of global community that supports the development of those rights, a community that does not make exclusive claims to the truth, but instead is rooted in our common humanity and the obligations that flow from that. That means that we have an obligation, those who come from wealthier countries, to increase the benefits and reduce the burdens of the 21st century world.

In an interdependent modern world, “traditional cultures” do not spontaneously grow or develop into “modern cultures.” People are pushed, seduced, coerced, or persuaded into trying to change themselves into something else, something that allows them to be redeemed.

The book also discussed how boundaries are established between the human and the nonhuman. That animals have an interest in living free from human cruelty has long been recognized. However, animals cannot have rights because they literally cannot claim their rights in the court of law.

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IvyPanda. 2022. "Human Rights in Islam and West." June 11, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/human-rights-in-islam-and-west/.


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