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Title: Women's rights in Islam and current discourse of international human rights law
Author: Tehrani, Maryam Moazezi Zadeh
ISNI:       0000 0001 3515 7516
Awarding Body: University of Hull
Current Institution: University of Hull
Date of Award: 2007
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The international norm of non-discrimination on the basis of sex as reflected in the UN human rights instrument culminated in 1979 with the adoption of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. With the adoption of the Convention, the separate concepts of women's rights were recast in a global perspective, and supervisory machinery with terms of reference similar to those of existing human rights organs was provided for. Although the Convention is considered as the most important binding document for elimination of discrimination against women, it met with a large number of reservations by member states. The number of far reaching reservations entered to the Women's Convention has been the subject of a global debate and the Convention is seen as the most 'political' of all the human rights instruments. Muslim member states to the Convention have entered reservations to its substantive provisions based on Islamic Law and emphasise that the formulation and interpretation of these rights in Sharia is very different from the concept of human rights in international human rights instruments. Reservations of Muslim state parties to the substantive provisions of the Women's Convention and present gender discriminatory laws in Muslim states based on some jurists' interpretation of a few verses in the Quran and the existence of a few ahadith, including qawwamun (the superiority of male over female in marriage), divorce, guardianship and custody, women's testimony which is worth half that of a man in financial transactions; inheritance rights of women where women are entitled to half the share of a man in a comparable situation; polygamy and some issues in Islamic penal law which are undesirable from the perspective of women's human rights in international law have led to the belief that women in Islamic societies are second citizen and Islamic principles are an obstacle to eliminating discrimination against women. They also reinforce the view in the West that the concept of women's human rights in Islam is entirely irreconcilable with international human rights norms on the subject, such as those expressed in the Women's Convention. By studying the origin of the religion and Islamic sources, the present author, however, seriously doubts the validity of the Western view and Muslim parties' reservations to substantive provisions of the Convention, based solely on their interpretation of the Sharia. Contrary to the common perception, the principles of Islamic law do not consist of an immutable, unchanging set of norms, but have an inbuilt dynamism that is sensitive and flexible so that Islamic law can remain up-to-date and respond to the questions and demands of people at different times and places. This project, in the light of Islamic sources and interpretations of Islamic jurisprudence from both schools of thought, Sunni and Shi'a, is designed in four parts to discuss and explore the place of women's rights in Islam and the current discourse of women's human rights in modem international law in order to determine whether Islamic law is reconcilable with international women's human rights such as those expressed in the Women's Convention.
Supervisor: Moir, Lindsay ; Davidson, Scott Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Law