Human rights, gender, and the state

Islamic perspectives

Authored by: Shannon Dunn

The Routledge Handbook of Islam and Gender

Print publication date:  November  2020
Online publication date:  November  2020

Print ISBN: 9780815367772
eBook ISBN: 9781351256568
Adobe ISBN:


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The relationship between modern Islamic tradition legal and political traditions and universal human rights is frequently misunderstood. This chapter clarifies some of the historical background of Islamic human rights discourse. It further identifies a tension between those who embrace the more universal aspects of human rights discourse and those who combine human rights with questions of Muslim political self-determination. Women’s rights, in particular, are implicated in this deep tension on account of colonial interventions and postcolonial anxiety about political power, masculinity, and authority. Paying close attention to the reasons people provide for their arguments about gender, the family, and human rights can provide the reader with critical information for assessing what is at stake in human rights debates.

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