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date: 18 July 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article explores the question of whether Islamic law and universal human rights are compatible. It begins with an overview of human rights discourse after the Second World War before discussing Islamic human rights declarations and the claims of Muslim apologists regarding human rights, along with challenges to Muslim apologetics in human rights discourse. It then considers the issues of gender and gender equality, feminism, and freedom of religion in relation to human rights. It also examines four basic scholarly orientations to the topic of Islam and human rights since the end of the Second World War: a model that privileges a secular (non-religious) paradigm for rights; a Muslim apologist model, which privileges a purely “Islamic” conception of rights over secular models; a Marxist/postcolonial critique of rights as a western imposition of power; and a Muslim reformist paradigm of rights that highlights points of continuity between western legal and Muslim legal traditions.

Keywords: Islamic law, universal human rights, Muslim apologetics, gender, gender equality, feminism, freedom of religion, Muslims

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