“Universal Human Rights versus Sharia?”

My article “Universal Rights versus Sharia? Reflections on the Moral and Legal Dimensions of Human Rights Law and Sharia” has recently been published in Religion and Human Rights (Volume 8 Issue 2).


The article develops a critique of the monopoly of liberal ideology in the field of human rights by considering how law, morality and politics are related to each other. I argue that the constructive potential of international human rights law does not lie in its being understood and practiced as a positive law. On the contrary, to focus on human rights law as positive law is to conceal the political nature of human rights and to prevent effective development of its moral and political potential. Further, I consider the case of Sharia law and argue that Sharia, for it to be implemented concretely in the social, political, and legal spheres, must be understood as a moral and religious ‘way’. These interpretations of human rights law and Sharia are used as the basis for a critique of the idea that human rights law and Sharia contradict each other.