Human Rights in Cross-Cultural Perspectives: A Quest for by Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im PDF

By Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im

Human rights violations are perpetrated in all components of the realm, and the common response to such atrocities is overwhelmingly one among horror and disappointment. but, as Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im and his participants attest, our point of view is clouded and biased by way of the expectancies local to our personal tradition. How do different cultures view human rights concerns? Can an research of those concerns via a number of viewpoints, either cross-cultural and indigenous, support us reinterpret and reconstruct winning theories of human rights?

Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im is Charles Howard Candler Professor of legislation at Emory collage and the editor of Human Rights lower than African Constitutions, additionally on hand from the collage of Pennsylvania Press.

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Donnelly (Westport, Conn. Greenwood Press, 1988), 20. 20. John Ladd, "The Poverty of Absolutism," Acta Philosophica Fennica (Helsinki) 34 (1982): 158, 161. 16 22:01 Toward a Cross-Cultural Approach 41 21. Clifford Geertz, "Distinguished Lecture: Ami Anti-Relativism," American Anthropologist &6 (1984): 265. 22. Ibid, at 276. 23. Herskovits, supra note 14, at 62. 24. Alison D. Renteln, "Relativism and the Search for Human Rights," American Anthropologist 90 (1988): 64. 25. I find Jack Donnelly's classification of radical relativism and universalism as extreme positions in a continuum, with varying mixes of (strong or weak) relativism and universalism in between, useful in this connection.

The term tcfzir means to reform and rectify. Tvfzir offenses are those created and punished by the ruler in exercising his power to protect private and public interests. It is important to emphasize that the following discussion addresses this question in a purely theoretical sense and should not be taken to condone the application of these punishments by any government in the Muslim world today. 16 22:01 34 Abdullah! A. An-Nacim ground that they arc cruel, inhuman, or degrading? This question should not be confused with the very important but distinct issue of whether these punishments have been or are being applied legitimately and in accordance with all the general and specific requirements of Islamic law.

An-Nacim 3. For the results of this questionnaire see UNESCO, Human Rights: Comments and Interpretations (London: Allan Wingate, 1949), Appendix I. 4. See, for example, Executive Board of the American Anthropological Association, "Statement on Human Rights," American Anthropologist 49 (1947): 539. 5. See, for example, Jack Donnelly, "Human Rights and Human Dignity: An Analytic Critique of Non-Western Conceptions of Human Rights," American Political Science Review 76 (1982): 303; Rhoda Howard and Jack Donnelly, "Human Dignity, Human Rights and Political Regimes," American Political Science Review 80 (1986): 801.

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