Recently, I met a Syrian Salafist while speaking to Leaders of Democracy Fellows about Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Islam and human rights violations in Syria.
The individual who lives in Syria, and who seems to sympathize with Jubhat Al- Nusrah (Al-Nusrah Front) drew several distinctions between Islamic objectives of the global Jihad movement, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, and Jubhat Al-Nusrah.
The argument was that these powerful movements in Syria and beyond attempt to create an Islamic state anchored in Shari’a law, the teachings of Islam, Muhammad, and Allah. But the difference between Jubhat Al-Nusrah and ISIL, according to the person, was that the mission of the Jubhat Al-Nusrah aims at only establishing Islamic social order and an Islamic state in Syria. Whether this mission spreads to other countries is not a part of their objectives, though other countries can adopt this political Islamic platform if they desire.
On the other hand, the objectives and mission of ISIL is a return to the Caliphate system and establishment of an Islamic state throughout the region. In other words, creating an Islamic state and Shari’a law-based government in Syria or in Iraq is not sufficient and will not fulfill the desire of God, Muhammad, and Islamic teachings.
Currently, we can contend that Syrian oppositional groups are functionally dominated by Jihadists from around the world, other Islamist groups, and external groups attempting to create an Islamic order and pursue their own ideological goals.
Regarding these Islamic movements, my major question is on where human rights stand for them, regardless of the minor or significant differences between these Islamist oppositional groups?
Recently, a seven-year-old boy died because fighters believed him to be an apostate. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a 15-year-old Syrian boy was also killed in the northern city of Aleppo in front of his parents because the Islamist groups believed what the boy said was heretical.
Some of the proponents of Islam and Islamic laws would point out that the ideology and religion of Islam sit at the heart of human rights standards and are totally compatible with the modern notion of human rights.
But when I delve into the issue, and going into the nuances and details of the question, they seem to dodge answering. How can Islam be compatible with a modern notion of human rights and gender equality, when social and legal laws of Allah’s words in Quran, depict women as inferior to men in every aspect?
Article three of the universal declaration of human rights, states that ” Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person”. But in Islamic countries, a person who rejects and abandons Islam has no right to life. According to Islam, unbelievers commit the gravest sin in Islam.
While article four of the universal declaration of human rights says “one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms”, slavery is officially recognized and accepted in Quran.
Article five states that “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” Cases of stoning, lashings, and other violent acts, are rampant in Islamic countries.
How can Islam be compatible with human rights when, according to Muslims and the Quran, Allah specifically states in the Quran that a woman’s testimony in a court of law is considered half the value to that of a man?
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