Bayynat editorAsked in his weekly seminar the following question: How does Islam view human rights, and how can we read the on-going violations?The Religious Authority, Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah, said:
Those who are aware of the general principles of the international declaration of human rights have undoubtedly noticed the close association between these principles and the Islamic principles. Those who contributed in creating this document have made it clear that it is based on the heavenly religions, and especially Islam, being the major reserve in the field of respecting human rights.
Islam has asserted the freedom of man on the basis of: "Do not be a slave of others while God had made your free", and "When did you enslave people while they were born free".
In addition to freedom, Islam has emphasized the right of learning and of living a free and decent life. It also respected the rights of women and rejected slavery. Moreover, Islam does not approve any torture or any illegal imprisonment, and calls for giving individuals and groups the chance to express their opinions without any pressure or suppression.
‘We believe that the injustice inflicted on us is not an excuse for us to resort to the same kind of practice. But we reject all attempts to crush our rights by the major powers, and call on our nation to acquire the force to defend right and justice’.
But humanity in this stage does not suffer from the lack of laws or concepts that assert and preserve human rights. The problem lies in the authorities that are supposed to guard these rights, whether at the level of states or at the international level. The powers that dominate this world, especially the US, have confiscated human rights in the name of protecting them. They sought to enslave the nations in the name of rejecting discrimination and they are about to confiscate what is left of the Arab and Muslim human rights under the pretense of fighting anti-Semitism.
Islam has been aware right from the very beginning that the concept of human rights cannot be reduced to a set of regulations and concepts that are presented as a model for values on the international level. It has extended human rights to contain national rights too, because it realized that values need a system to protect them and a force to defend them. It also emphasized that religion came to serve man and not the other way round, and gave the various nations the chance to know one another and communicate to reserve these values and promote them.
We have always emphasized the need to respect the contemporary international norms regarding human rights, but we, as Muslims, have included the rights of peoples especially that of self-determination and the treaties and charters that preserve their rights and ensure them a prosperous future. But we have always warned that most of these rights have been violated in the developing world in general and in particular in Palestine where the Palestinians have been denied all their rights.
The states that claim to protect human rights in the world are practicing the most brutal crimes to suppress these rights.
This is what America has done in Iraq and Afghanistan, and this is what it is doing in Palestine when it supports the Israeli aggressions against all Palestinian rights.
America has ignored all Israeli violations of the Palestinian human rights, and all the crimes Saddam Hussein committed against his people as well as against the peoples of Kuwait and Iran.
Furthermore, the American position has remained constant despite the change of the administrations, either by backing the barbaric violations, committed by Israel and other arrogant powers, since these violations are similar in nature to those practiced by America itself, or by paving the way for the US to become directly involved in the region and put its hand on the oil resources in Iraq and the entire region.
When America flies the banner of human rights, it does not include those of the downtrodden, especially the Arabs and Muslims. It only cares about the rights of Americans and what it claims to be Israeli rights. Thus, America is the biggest obstacle that hinders the application of human rights as expressed by the UN declaration.
Nevertheless, and based on our Islamic belief in human rights, we call on Muslims and Arabs to respect the rights of Westerners and others. We believe that the injustice inflicted on us is not an excuse for us to resort to the same kind of practice.
On the other hand, we reject all attempts to crush our rights by the major powers, and call on our nation to acquire the force to defend right and justice to protect its people and respect the rights of others, since in the world we live in there is no other way to protect one's rights.