Islamic conceptions of human rights

Authored by: Irene Oh

Handbook of Human Rights

Print publication date:  September  2011
Online publication date:  February  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415480239
eBook ISBN: 9780203887035
Adobe ISBN: 9781134019083

10.4324/9780203887035.ch23

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Abstract

Events following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in the United States, including bombings in London and Madrid, contribute to negative Western perceptions of Islam as a religion of violent extremists who hold little respect for innocent human life. Militant attacks claimed by al-Qaeda, Muslim suicide bombers, and Islamic political groups such as Hamas lead many Westerners to understand Islam as a tradition incapable of promoting justice, peace, or human rights. Such acts of violence dominate Western perspectives of Islam. According to the 2005 Pew Global Attitudes Project, Islamic extremism concerns the majority of the public in Russia (84 percent very or somewhat concerned), India (82 percent), Germany (78 percent), Spain (77 percent), the Netherlands (76 percent), Great Britain (70 percent), the United States (70 percent), France (63 percent), and Canada (56 percent). Although the citizens of Muslim-majority nations are also worried about Islamic extremism, they understand Islam as a multidimensional tradition capable of both violating and supporting human rights.

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