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Cairo Declaration Of Human Rights

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What I fear is that MP Iqra Khalid, who tabled M-103, may understand Islamophobia to mean what its original promoters, the 56 Muslim-majority bloc of the United Nations known as the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), say it means. The OIC wants to see the Cairo Declaration on Human rights become the template for Islamophobia policies everywhere. The Cairo Declaration asserts the superiority of Islam and defines freedom of speech according to Shariah law, which considers any criticism of Muhammad blasphemy.

Type: Opinion


The main western values can be summarized as follows: (1) men and women are equal before the law (equal rights and duties) and from 18 years of age they have sovereignty over their person, including their sexuality. (2) Muslims and non-Muslims are subject to the same laws. (3) There is freedom of religion and conscience, so you can choose and change your religion or have no religion at all.

Shariah in violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights?

Below, we give the main reasons why the Shariah is in conflict with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and why the Islamic countries (united in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, OIC) drew up the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam. The Cairo Declaration states that all legislation is subject to the Shariah, which cancels significant portions of its own statements.

Most Islamic countries also apply this trick in their legislation. They have a constitution similar to that of most Western countries, then they add a note that all laws are subordinate to the Shariah: thus they cancel a lot of the freedoms provided in the Constitution while still giving out a "moderate" image. Few people have any idea what Shariah actually means.


Is Sharia compatible with Human Rights? This concrete question is more and more important in Europe, particularly for women, and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has tried to answer it.

Indeed, among the large Europe, there are territories where the sharia (or “Islamic law”) is applied. This raises a problem in view of Human Rights, in so far as these States are members of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and at the same time they apply or respect an Islamic justice opposed to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the ECHR.

Three member countries of the Council of Europe have ratified both the European Convention on Human Rights and the Cairo Declaration, which is a declaration of Human Rights compatible with the sharia. These countries are Albania, Azerbaijan and Turkey. One must add that the Russian Federation and Bosnia and Herzegovina have not signed the Cairo Declaration but are members observers of the Organization of the Islamic Conference and they have signed the ECHR.

This Cairo Declaration of 5th August 1990 stipulates inter alia that “Islam is the religion of unspoiled nature”. It does not contain a right to freedom of religion, does not confirm the equality before the law of all men regardless of their religion, and finally Article 25 stipulates that “The Islamic Shari'ah is the only source of reference for the explanation or clarification of any of the articles of this Declaration”.

Some of the principles stated in the Islamic law contravene the principles which are recognized as Human Rights, and first of all, freedom of religion. According to the sharia, a Muslim does not have the right to change his religion to another religion or to atheism. If he does so, he is an apostate, which generates his civil death (opening of his succession) and deserves a death penalty.

The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights had the opportunity to give an answer to that question of compatibility in 2003: it “concurs in the Chamber’s view that sharia is incompatible with the fundamental principles of democracy, as set forth in the Convention[1].

Seized by several of its members, the PACE will establish in the next few months a report on these incompatibilities, determine on which territories of members of the Council of Europe the sharia is applied and what consequences are to be drawn from it.

Mrs Meritxell Mateu (ALDE, Andorra) was the rapporteur of the Commission before she left the PACE. She wrote a preliminary note under this procedure. This note defines sharia as follows:

Sharia law is understood as being ‘the path to be followed’, that is, the ‘law’ to be obeyed by every Muslim. It  divides  all  human action into  five categories–what  is obligatory, recommended, neutral, Disapproved of and prohibited –and takes two forms: a legal ruling(hukm), designed to organise society and deal with everyday situations, and the fatwa, a legal opinion intended to cover a special situation. Sharia law is therefore meant in essence to be positive law enforceable on Muslims. Accordingly, it can be defined as ‘the sacred Law of Islam’, that is, ‘an all-embracing body of religious duties, the totality of Allah’s commands that regulate the life of every Muslim in all its aspects’.”[2]

Besides the different international instruments written and ratified by Muslim countries, the Rapporteur highlighted the members States of the Council of Europe in which sharia law is being applied, more or less legally: Greece, the United-Kingdom, Russia and Turkey.


The 1990 Cairo Declaration, or so-called "Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Islam", was drafted and subsequently ratified by all the Muslim member nations of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). Now a 57 state collective which includes every Islamic nation on earth, the OIC, currently headed by Turkey's Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, thus represents the entire Muslim umma (or global community of individual Muslims), and is the largest single voting bloc in the United Nations (UN). 

Both the preamble and concluding articles (24 and 25) make plain that the OIC's Cairo Declaration is designed to supersede Western conceptions of human rights as enunciated, for example, in the US Bill of Rights, and the UN's 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The opening of the preamble to the Cairo Declaration repeats a Koranic injunction affirming Islamic supremacism, (Koran 3:110; "You are the best nation ever brought forth to believe in Allah"), and states,

"Reaffirming the civilizing and historical role of the Islamic Ummah which Allah made the best nation..."

The preamble continues,

"Believing that fundamental rights and universal freedoms in Islam are an integral part of the Islamic religion and that no one as a matter of principle has the right to suspend them in whole or in part or violate or ignore them in as much as they are binding divine commandments, which are contained in the Revealed Books of God and were sent through the last of His Prophets to complete the preceding divine messages thereby making their observance an act of worship and their neglect or violation an abominable sin, and accordingly every person is individually responsible  --  and the Ummah collectively responsible  --  for their safeguard."

Type: Publication


The European Court of Human Rights, in its judgment on Refah Partisi v. Turkey, found it “difficult to declare one’s respect for democracy and human rights while at the same time supporting a regime based on sharia, which clearly diverges from Convention values, particularly with regard to its criminal law and criminal procedure, its rules on the legal status of women and the way it intervenes in all spheres of private and public life in accordance with religious precepts.” 

Whilst no Member State of the Council of Europe has formally enacted Sharia rules, informal Islamic tribunals reportedly apply such rules, in particular in the field of private law (e.g. family, inheritance, contracts and torts law) to willing members of Muslim communities in several Member States.

The Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam of the member states of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) affirms the validity of the Sharia as guidance for OIC member states in the field of human rights. The Declaration does not recognise equal rights of men and women and of persons with different sexual orientations, limits freedom of expression and of religion only in such a manner as would not be contrary to the principles of the Sharia and stipulates that there are no other crimes or punishments than those mentioned in the Sharia. Three States Parties to the European Convention on Human Rights have adhered to the Cairo Declaration.

In view of the above, the Assembly resolves to investigate the compatibility of Sharia law, including its informal application, with the ECHR and the implications for State Parties of adherence to the Cairo Declaration.


2.1. Sharia law

5. For the purposes of this study, it is essential to define Sharia law, its sources, its legal force and its problematic aspects in terms of the European Convention on Human Rights.

6. Sharia law is understood as being ‘the path to be followed’, that is, the ‘law’ to be obeyed by every Muslim. 4 It divides all human action into five categories – what is obligatory, recommended, neutral, disapproved of and prohibited – and takes two forms: a legal ruling (hukm), designed to organise society and deal with everyday situations, and the fatwa, a legal opinion intended to cover a special situation. Sharia law is therefore meant in essence to be positive law enforceable on Muslims. Accordingly, it can be defined as ‘the sacred Law of Islam’, that is, ‘an all-embracing body of religious duties, the totality of Allah’s commands that regulate the life of every Muslim in all its aspects’.

2.1.1. Sources

7. The prescriptions of Sharia law originate in the Qur’an, held to be a work that is ‘perfect and unchangeable’. 6 The Qur’an constitutes the primary source of law and consists of 114 surahs or chapters, themselves divided into 6,219 verses, which are sentences or groups of sentences expressing one or more revealed thoughts. 7 However, an Islamic exegesis (tafsir) of the Qur’an is necessary for abstruse passages, and this has given rise to a number of schools.

8. The Sunna, the traditions and practices of the Prophet, is another original source, relating the religious deeds and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad as narrated by his disciples (Sunni branch) or by the imams (Shia branch).

9. In addition to these two basic texts of Islamic law there are secondary sources such as consensus (ijma‘), analogical deduction (qiyas) and individual reasoning based on the general principles of Islam (ijtihad), which have produced a plethora of interpretations. Added to these are spontaneous sources such as local custom (‘urf) and judicial practice (‘amal).

10. Fiqh, the temporal interpretation of the rules of Sharia law, brings together all the rules that had been systematised by the end of the fifth century after the Hijra. There are various schools of Islamic jurisprudence. They include the four Sunni schools: the Hanafi school of Abu Hanifa, the Maliki school of Malik ibn Anas, the Shafi‘i school of Muhammad ibn Idris al-Shafi‘i and the Hanbali school of Ahmad ibn Hanbal. There are at least two main Shia schools: the Ja‘fari and the Zaydi.

2.1.2. Legal nature

11. While most States with Muslim majorities have inserted a provision referring to Islam or Islamic law in their constitutions, the effect of these provisions is symbolic or confined to family law. Admittedly, these religious provisions may have a legal effect if raised in the courts and a political effect if they intrude into institutional attitudes and practices. 9 However, the authority of Sharia law is derived directly from the Qur’an, and traditional Islamic law contains no effective provisions concerning its position in the pyramid of norms. 10

2.1.3. Sharia law: problematic rules in relation to the European Convention on Human Rights

12. In this study I shall be looking at the general principles of Sharia law in relation to the European Convention on Human Rights and particularly Article 14, which prohibits discrimination on grounds such as sex or religion and Article 5 of Protocol No. 7 to the Convention, which establishes equality between spouses in law. In this context, reference should also be made to other provisions of the Convention and its additional protocols – such as Article 2 (right to life), Article 3 (prohibition of torture or inhuman or degrading treatment), Article 6 (right to a fair trial), Article 8 (Right to respect for private and family life), Article 9 (freedom of religion), Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 (protection of property) and Protocols Nos. 6 and 13 prohibiting the death penalty. Here we shall find some problematic features that warrant further analysis. 13. In Islamic family law, men have authority over women. Surah 4:34 states: ‘Men have authority over women because God has made the one superior to the other, and because they spend their wealth to maintain them. Good women are obedient. They guard their unseen parts because God has guarded them. As for those from whom you fear disobedience, admonish them and forsake them in beds apart, and beat them. Then if they obey you, take no further action against them. Surely God is high, supreme.’ 11 While wives clearly have a duty of fidelity, 12 husbands do not. 13 In Sharia law, adultery is strictly prohibited.14 Legal doctrine holds that the evidence must take the form of corroborating testimony from four witnesses15 to prove an individual’s guilt. These witnesses must be men of good repute and good Muslims. The punishment is severe and degrading, namely ‘a hundred lashes’. 16 In the case of rape, which is seldom committed in public before four male witnesses who are good Muslims, punishing the rapist is difficult if not impossible. 17 In practice, this obliges women to be accompanied by men when they go out and is not conducive to their independence. While divorce by mutual consent is enshrined in Islamic law, 18 the application has to come from the wife, since the husband can repudiate his wife at any time. 19 There is also the question of equal rights with regard to divorce arrangements such as custody of children.

14. For division of an estate among the heirs, distinctions are made according to the sex of the heir. A male heir has a double share, whereas a female heir has a single share. 20 The rights of a surviving wife are half those of a surviving husband. 21

15. In criminal cases, cruel, inhuman and degrading punishments are authorised by Sharia law, including death by stoning, beheading and hanging, amputation of limbs, and flogging. 22 Apostasy results, firstly, in the apostate’s civil death, with the estate passing to the heirs, and, secondly, in the apostate’s execution if he or she does not recant. 23 Lastly, non-Muslims do not have the same rights as Muslims in civil and criminal law, 24 which is discrimination on the ground of religion within the meaning of Article 14 of the Convention.

Type: Video


We can learn a lot about the Islamic world view by knowing what Islam thinks human rights are. Warning: it is not a good world for the Kafir.

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