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Islam and Human Rights: The Search for an Overlapping Consensus


Islam and Human Rights: The Search for an Overlapping Consensus

Houshmand, Hossein (2010) Islam and Human Rights: The Search for an Overlapping Consensus. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Houshmand_PhD_S2011.pdf - Accepted Version


This dissertation begins by emphasizing a distinction between demands of justice and requirements of human rights. In order to clarify this distinction, I explain two predominant views on human rights: humanitarianism (minimalist) and cosmopolitan egalitarianism (maximalist) as unsound and unreasonable views. As an alternative and proper view, I examine the moral and political ideas that constitute a conception of human rights that John Rawls presents in The Law of Peoples. I interpret and defend a conception of human rights which is less extensive than the rights that maximalists support and more expansive than minimalists embrace. I show how Rawls conceives the idea of human rights, which rights he counts as human rights and why. The first part of this dissertation followed with three reasons to support Rawls‟ conception of human rights: the principle of collective self-determination, the normative standards of political obligation, and the value of toleration. The essential idea of Rawls‟ conception of human rights is as follows: in order to gain support from different ethical and religious traditions, a freestanding conception of human rights should be presented. In the second part, I examine possibilities within Islamic doctrine to include an overlapping consensus on a freestanding conception of human rights. The requirement of an Islamic affirmation of a conception of human rights identified in three ideas: a distinction between the law of God and human interpretation, the compatibility of God‟s sovereignty and human responsibility, and diversity of religious communities as a will of God. I explore and justify these ideas by referring to contemporary Muslim intellectuals‟ works that are associated with the idea of human rights.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Religions and Cultures
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Houshmand, Hossein
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Date:16 December 2010
Thesis Supervisor(s):Bird, Frederick
Keywords:Free-standing Conception of Human Rights, John Rawls, The Law of Peoples, Global Normative Order, Overlapping Consensus,Muslim Intellectuals
ID Code:7196
Deposited On:13 Jun 2011 15:08
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:30
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