Islam – Human Rights

A common accusation against Muslim countries is that of not upholding human rights. Their citizens are characterized by the Western media as victims of horrendous transgressions against human decency and the basic universal guarantees. What is often not mentioned is that these human rights violations are not in any way related to the Qur’an but to the greed and human flaws of the people committing them. In the same way as the atrocities of other governments against their own citizens are not in any way related to the religions practiced by those in power, so it stands to reason that there is no relationship between the human right’s violations and the basic tenets of Islam.

The main argument Muslims make against these characterizations is not that the violations of human rights are not there but that there is almost no effort being made by the Western media to make the distinction between Islam and these kinds of violations. By this same logic, the apartheid is a direct result of the beliefs of those that follow the Church of England, Southern Baptism is to blame for the history of racism in the United States, and the Catholic Church is directly to blame for the political murder of thousands of Argentinians. Human rights violations exist in Muslim countries, but they are not in any way advocated in the Qur’an.

The Qur’an defends the most important human right of all, the right to be alive. Above all other human rights, this is repeatedly mentioned in the Qur’an. The life of each individual, Muslim or not, is precious and can only be taken by God. It is well documented in the Qur’an that the right to life is a basic element of society. It is also important to note that the Qur’an advocates respect for all people and all human beings. Even though Islam advocates submission to God in all aspects of one’s life, the Qur’an firmly bestows on each human being a dignity that comes from the mere fact that they human beings with free will and the capacity to make decisions. Submission then is not the same as humiliation. Due to God’s love for humanity and respect for the great capacity that human beings have for good, the Qur’an advocates submission only to God and never to another human being or earthly entity.

Then it is clear that the Qur’an does not condone authoritative governments that enslave their people and violate their rights. If one thing is clear in the Qur’an is that no person can demand obedience from another, since this capacity only lies in God. One of the most central and basic concepts of Islam is that of the one and only God. Idolatry can take many forms and is not necessarily restricted to the cartoonish adoration of little stone statues. The governments of countries with a Muslim population that are ruled by cruel dictatorships or monarchies are violating the rule of Islam and those principles that are listed in the Qur’an. As we have seen in the recent uprisings in the Middle East, people are not willing to stand up for those kinds of transgressions any longer.

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