Friday 7 October 2011

Letters in the Independent: Islam on Rights and Responsibilities

The Independent (20 August 2011) published a letter by Professor Robert A Hinde of St John's College, Cambridge entitled "Islam has lessons on rights and duties, and our responsibilities":

The recent riots indicate that we have not got the correct balance between citizens' rights and their duties. Perhaps we have something to learn from Islam.

The Universal Islamic Declaration of Human Rights (1981) differs in some ways from the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) that are controversial. But one difference is highly significant in the present context.

Apart from a vague reference to acting in a "spirit of brotherhood" (Article 1) and to undefined "duties to the community" (Article 29) the UN Declaration has no reference to the responsibilities that must accompany rights.

By contrast, the Islamic Declaration mentions, among others, the duties to protest against injustice, to defend the rights of others, to protest against oppression, to search after truth and to respect the religious feelings of others. It also gives the poor entitlement to a share in the wealth of the rich and insists that all means of production should be utilised in the interests of the community.

For a harmonious society, citizens must recognise that rights cannot exist without responsibilities and that they, by enjoying the benefits of citizenship, carry responsibilities to the community.

Reciprocally, of course, the community has the responsibility to ensure that citizens have the opportunity to exercise their rights.

The original letter is here.

Islam a Closer Look

Young Muslims Canada's latest project is "Islam a Closer Look".  The site says:

" is a pilot project with a specific focus – to succinctly and creatively dispel common myths that are fueling Islamophobia. Our objective is to break the cycle of fear.

This sample site provides a glimpse of our approach and vision. We have created 2 professional videos, 4 web friendly articles as well as lists of useful books and websites. A fully completed website would feature 25 videos addressing widespread misconceptions as well as 50 articles and various online and print resources for further study. The content would also be fully accessible through social networking sites such as FaceBook and YouTube."

FBI Stops Islamophonbic Training

The Independent (17 September 2011) carries an article about FBI training which was stopped because it was anti-Muslim:

"The FBI has announced that a lecture at the bureau's training academy that was critical of Islam has been discontinued.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation employee who gave the lecture contended, among other things, that the more devout a Muslim man was, the more likely he was to be violent.

An FBI spokesman, Christopher Allen, said that following the outcry about the lecture, policy changes had been made to ensure that all training was consistent with FBI standards.

Since the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks, the FBI has stressed the importance of working with leaders in the Muslim community as an important part of the battle against terrorism.

A federal law enforcement official said the bureau should have more carefully scrutinised the content of the lecture before it took place. The lecture was given on just three days in April."

Original article here.