Islam and Human Rights: Tradition and Politics / Edition 5

Paperback (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $18.19
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 52%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (14) from $18.19   
  • New (8) from $18.42   
  • Used (6) from $18.19   


Islam and Human Rights is a probing examination of how the Islamic tradition has been exploited for political ends by regimes and institutions seeking to legitimize policies inimical to human rights. Ann Elizabeth Mayer critically appraises Islamic human rights schemes that dilute the human rights afforded by international law, comparing them with the complex Islamic legal heritage and international human rights law. Challenging stereotypes about a supposedly monolithic Islam inherently incompatible with human rights, Mayer dissects the political motives behind the selective deployment of elements of the Islamic tradition by conservative forces seeking to delegitimize demands for democracy and human rights.

The fifth edition provides an updated consideration of government policies on Islam and human rights activism and how they are affecting developments in several Middle Eastern countries, and features a new chapter on the resistance of human rights for sexual minorities by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) project to co-opt international human rights law to criminalize “defamation of Islam” occurring in the West. The new edition also analyzes the other most recent and important issues of the region, including:

The burgeoning pressures in the Middle East for human rights leading up to the Arab Spring;
The ambitious campaign of the (OIC) to influence the UN human rights system by forging alliances with non-Muslim states hostile to human rights;
The concerted efforts by this cross-cultural alliance to subvert international human rights law under pretenses of supporting human rights;
The intensifying controversies over issues of sexual orientation and gender identity in the Middle East;
The Danish Cartoons controversy and the OIC project to co-opt international human rights law to criminalize “defamation of Islam” occurring in the West.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"In this fifth edition of what has become a classic book, Mayer provides an early look at the human rights implications of the Arab Spring, and by substantially expanding coverage of new movements (particularly among women) and the newly emerging issues of gender and sexual orientation, offers considerably more than a simple update. Islam and Human Rights belongs in the library of any scholar seriously interested in its important topics. Highly recommended."

"A unique contribution to the discourse and practice of human rights.”
Reza Afshari, Pace University

"A winning reference for any discussion on Islam and human rights issues.”
The Midwest Book Review 

Praise for Prior Editions: 

“Highly recommended to all scholars and students of human rights in the Muslim world…Particularly useful for its incisive deconstructions of government-sponsored ‘alternative’ human rights frameworks, and the political calculations at their heart.”
Anthony Chase, Occidental College 

"Essential reading for anyone seeking to understand and assess tensions between Islamic political thinking and the modern idea of human rights. For readers new to the question, a cogent new chapter o the politics of cultural relativism provides essential context and will quickly introduce them to surrounding controversy. Mayer doesn’t hesitate to explore the diversity of thinking within the Islamic tradition or flinch from questioning the motivations of governments that appeal to Islam to legitimate political repression…A brilliant work by a seasoned scholar.”
Susan Waltz, University of Michigan  

"A ‘must read’ for anyone interested in the interplay between religion, politics, and individual rights in our turbulent times…Articulate and well reasoned work…A unique contribution to the field of women’s human rights and especially valuable for students and activists working toward improving the status of women in Muslim majority societies."
Mahnaz Afkhami   

“A brave and intelligent book.”
Middle Eastern Studies  

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813344676
  • Publisher: Westview Press
  • Publication date: 7/31/2012
  • Edition description: Fifth Edition
  • Edition number: 5
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 1,483,751
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Ann Elizabeth Mayer is associate professor of legal studies and business ethics at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. She holds a PhD in Middle Eastern History from the University of Michigan, a JD from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and a Certificate in Islamic and Comparative Law from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. She has conducted research in countries ranging from Morocco to Pakistan and has published extensively on Islamic law in the contemporary Middle East and on international human rights law, especially women’s international human rights.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents



1 Assimilating Human Rights in the Middle East

Background: Legal Hybridity in the Middle East
Misperceptions About Applying International Human Rights
Law as Serving Imperialism
Cultural Relativism
Muslims Challenge Cultural Relativism
Actual Human Rights Concerns in the Middle East
The Emergence of International Human Rights Law
Muslims’ Responses to and Involvement in the UN Human Rights System

2 Human Rights in International and Middle Eastern Systems: Sources and Contexts

International Human Rights: Background
Islamic Human Rights: Sources
The Impact of Islamization on Constitutions and Justice
The Taliban Takeover of Afghanistan and Its Aftermath
Saudi Arabia Confronts Pressures for Reforms and Liberalization

3 Islamic Tradition and Muslim Reactions to Human Rights

The Premodern Islamic Heritage
Muslim Reactions to Western Constitutionalism
The Persistence of Traditional Priorities and Values
Consequences of Insecure Philosophical Foundations
Islamic Human Rights and Cultural Nationalism
Ambivalent Attitudes on Human Rights

4 Islamic Restrictions on Human Rights

Permissible Qualifications of Rights in International Law
Islamic Formulas Limiting Rights
Restrictions in the Iranian Constitution
Restrictions in the UIDHR
Restrictions in Other Islamic Human Rights Schemes
Islam and Human Rights in the New Constitutions of Afghanistan and Iraq

5 Discrimination Against Women and Non-Muslims

Equality in the Islamic Legal Tradition
Equality in Islamic Human Rights Schemes
Equal Protection in US and International Law
Equal Protection in Islamic Human Rights Schemes
Equality in the New Afghan and Iraqi Constitutions

6 Restrictions on the Rights of Women

Islamic Law and Women’s Rights
Muslim Countries’ Reactions to the Women’s Convention
Tabandeh’s Ideas
Mawdudi’s Ideas
Islamization in Iran and the Iranian Constitution
The al-Azhar Draft Constitution
The Cairo Declaration and the Saudi Basic Law
Women’s Rights in Pakistan
The New Afghan and Iraqi Constitutions
The Influence of Sex Stereotyping

7 Islamic Human Rights Schemes and Religious Minorities

The Historical Background of Current Issues Facing Religious Minorities
International Standards Prohibiting Religious Discrimination
Shari‘a Law and the Rights of Non-Muslims
Tabandeh’s Ideas
The Iranian Constitution
Mawdudi and Pakistan’s Ahmadi Minority
The Cairo Declaration, the Saudi Basic Law, and the al-Azhar Draft Constitution
US Policies on Religious Minorities and Developments in Afghanistan and Iraq

8 The Organization of Islamic Cooperation and Muslim States Resist Human Rights for Sexual Minorities

Sexual Minorities in the Middle East
Contested Islamic Authority
Tensions with the West over the Treatment of Sexual Minorities
Muslim States’ Objections to New UN Initiatives

9 Freedom of Religion in Islamic Human Rights Schemes

Controversies Regarding the Shari‘a Rule on Apostasy
Muslim Countries Confront Freedom of Religion
The Contemporary Significance of Apostasy
Tabandeh’s Ideas
The al-Azhar Draft Constitution
The Iranian Constitution
Sudan Under Islamization
Mawdudi and Pakistani Law Affecting Religious Freedom
The Cairo Declaration and the Saudi Basic Law
The Afghan and Iraqi Constitutions
US Interventions in the Domain of Religious Freedom
Expanding the Reach of Laws Criminalizing Insults to Islam: From the Rushdie Affair to the Danish Cartoons Controversy

10 An Assessment of Islamic Human Rights Schemes

Appendix A: Excerpts from the Iranian Constitution
Appendix B: The Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam
Appendix C: 2009 Resolution on Combating Defamation of Religions

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 1 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)