Channel: Fatima Barkatulla
Series: Fatima Barkatulla - Ummah Talk
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Welcome to the oma talk podcast with me, Fatima Baraka to Allah be led the
In this podcast, I speak to scholars, experts, leaders in their field about some of the big issues facing the Muslim community worldwide, as well as your local Muslim community here, especially in the West. So please tune in, you can catch the podcast on Muslim Central podcasts, which is available on all sorts of audio platforms. The podcast episodes will also be available on YouTube. So do share the episodes. Let me know what you think about the ideas and the topics that we discuss in the episodes.
The revival of the message of Islam, the revival of the oma of Muhammad sallallahu alayhi wa sallam is a responsibility. And it's the responsibility of every single generation to strengthen and pass on something better to the next generation. And I hope that we can begin to do that.
Bismillah Alhamdulillah wa salatu salam ala rasulillah dear brothers and sisters, Salaam Alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh. And welcome to another episode of On my talk with me. Fatima barkatullah hamdulillah. Today, I have a special guest. My guest actually happens to be my professor from university.
Snow As some of you know, I've been studying the MA in Islamic law at
the School of Oriental and African Studies. So as at the University of London, and Professor Massoud bothering is the convener, and also my lecturer for this for the past year. So Salaam Alaikum, Professor butter, while economists were modula here.
So professor, I'm just not gonna hire him for joining me today.
There's a lot of things that I really want to bring kind of to the
consciousness, I would say, to have the Muslim community
you know, especially here in Britain and in western countries. And I think that Islamic law, as it is in academia, and human rights, and Islamic law is an area that actually Muslims know very little about.
And so, like, for example, during this Ramadan, when some stuff was the things were going on in Palestine, right.
I saw people, you know, making jokes, or just making kind of comments about the UN, right, about human rights, you know, the double standards? And
also about that, Oh, I see as well, though, the Organization of Islamic is it cooperation? Yeah. Um, and, you know, generally Muslims have quite a negative image of these things. And so, I thought I'd invite you because I think you've changed the way a lot of us,
especially those of us who came from, like Islamic Studies, classical Islamic Studies background,
and we're studying with you, you've changed the way we
think of this subject, I think, and how we appreciate the nuances and actually that things are not as black and white as we might have thought. So, Professor, could could we begin by just so that my listeners, you know, understand more about you,
with you telling us a little bit about your background in Islamic Studies, and how you kind of got interested in
human rights and Islamic law
smilla Rahmanir Rahim.
Al hamdu Lillahi Rabbil alameen wa Salatu was Salam ala rasulillah hickory.
I need to start by thanking you for bringing me on the program. I really appreciate it.
I think it's a very good opportunity, as you said,
to perhaps contribute to a better understanding
of the relationship between human rights and Islamic law and also the attitude of Muslims or what the attitude of Muslims ought to be about it. Now, as you introduce, my name is muscled bhaduri. I'm originally from Nigeria. And my background, I'm a Muslim, my parents are Muslims. And as we do know, in Nigeria, and elsewhere in the Muslim world,
parents normally will start to inculcate Islamic education into their children. Right from the beginning. I started my Islamic Studies right from the beginning when I was in elementary school.
As I said, I mean, every Muslim appearance will want to invoke a Thai Islamic education to their children right from the beginning. So while I was in elementary school, that's exactly when I started my Islamic education as well. We go to the Western elementary school in the morning, you come back home in the afternoon, you eat you dress there, you go to the madrasah. So I mean, I'm the the madrasa and the local mosque, where we learn the Quran, learn to read the Quran, memorization of age. So my Hadith and in general,
Now, after my secondary education, I then went to a formal
lasagna Islamic school, I mean, which is also called Alinea, which is school I mean, in Nigeria in Lagos called double down, double down on the absurd when I mean, it was a former
higher education whereby you learn all the sciences,
the also Hadith tafsir I mean, even many of the I mean, either Arabic language, even geography, all those subjects. I mean, he saw mathematics again, which I learned in western education, we still ended I mean, using the Arabic materials then when I was that I went to University
City in northern Nigeria, first to do Arabic and Islamic Studies, as one of the Northern universities called invest of Maiduguri. So when I finished my Arabic and Islamic Studies, I went in again to another investing in art called postman, postman done for the university named after postman 140.
man, Dan fodio was
a very, he says, I mean, he's very well known University. He, he was an Islamic revivalist. He was revived Islam in northern Nigeria, in case
you know, most of the Emil's and the kings in northern Nigeria, then he did similar he CLE compared to what
she did in Saudi Arabia.
Okay, so he reformed he reformed Islam in Nigeria, by, you know, reviving it, and also calling all the Amara, the MDS of the North back to Islam. So it's usually called the mujaddid, of Islam in Nigeria. And he has written so many books. I mean, there are so many books. If you check in Othman, portfolio.
Four, do you find a lot of information about him? I mean, many people who study history of Islam in Nigeria know about it. Now also, this university is named after him. And it's one of the universities in Nigeria that has a specialization, double major in English common law, and the Sharia combined. It's a four year program. So it's a double major program. All other investors just do contemporary liberal studies for three years. So I chose purposely to go there because of my Islamic background, but I wanted to also do law. So I went in the did my four years I had the and I had a first class in English common law and,
and Sharia, perhaps, I mean, what our system there was my Islamic background really. Then, after that, I had to go into the law school, qualified as a barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria. I started practicing law and because Nigeria, you know, said, well, it's a pluralist legal system, Islamic law.
My mother in law applies and English to apply. So this is why I wanted to cover or grant this why I went for the double major. Then after that after practicing in Nigeria for a while, I came to the United Kingdom, I mean, applied to study international law at the University of Nottingham. So I got a scholarship to come to study in University of Nottingham in the early 90s. So I came on there, I did a master's in public international law at the University of Nottingham. By the time I was finishing up,
I mean, a lot of things came up. During our we did in the international law class. We did human rights, international criminal justice, European law and things. And a lot of things came up in relation to Islamic law, particularly the International Criminal Law class, and also a look at human rights law, particularly return to women's rights. So it fostered my interest. I raised a lot of issues in class, and perhaps maybe
the, why do you call it my professors got interested in Personally, my background knowledge, and
I indicated whether I was interested in doing a PhD, my intention was just to come and do a one year master's and go back. But when they proposed, fine, I said, Well, I mean, I did it properly, it was on my own. So I did a proposal, a PhD proposal based on everything that has transpired in my international law Master's class, I did a proposal, trying to amend a comparative study on human rights and Islamic law, particularly in Muslim majority countries. So the thesis was
Muslim majority countries between Islamic law and international human rights law.
So I finished on time, three years, past without corrections, and eventually the book was published became very, has become very popular, I mean, in relation to the so since then.
I stayed back, I was given a teaching appointment in Nottingham, but I didn't stay there for long. And I moved on to Bristol. And then to Brunel. Then in 2007, I moved to Suez, and I've been at Suez since 2007, teaching Islamic law, human rights on Islamic law, and also, I mean, a course called law and development in Africa.
So that's just
that's so interesting. Like, the book you're talking about, that you said became popular is, is it the international human rights and Islamic law? That is correct. Yeah. Published by all your books, but yeah, Oxford University Press. Yeah. So just like a Heron for telling us about your background. So, by the way, why did you think of Britain like is that? Is there some, like do you Nigerian, so I'm very sorry, I've got very poor knowledge about Nigeria and Nigerians. But do you learn English from a young age? Like, is it one of your languages? Well, English is a is the lingua franca of Nigeria. I mean, this some of the remnants of an Lunel is Nigeria is a multilingual country. And
it's a multi religious, multilingual country. It's very, I mean, polarized in the sense that, I mean, it's similar to Indonesia and Malaysia, actually, I mean, in a very conservative estimation, I mean, there are more than 300 different languages spoken in Nigeria.
And I mean, major ones are considered to be three Yoruba hausa, an evil. Now because of I mean, in order to bring everybody together,
English is considered to be the language, the lingua franca of the state. Now, you won't believe this, even in the courts. English is the language of the courts. Now you find people litigants come to court, they understand the language of one another, the judge also understand their language. Yet, the trial has to be conducted in English, if they don't understand English, even though they understand one another, they will have to find an interpreter for them. What the litigants are saying the judge understands, but he can't because law, English is the language of you have to go through again through English in order to record everything. So sometimes you find out that I mean,
when I look, you can say something and the interpreter interprets wrongly, because the judge has heard what the litigant is saying the judge may be asking the interpreter. Do you think you understood what he said properly? You know, so, the formal language I mean, right from the primary school to secondary school, I mean, we speak Queen's English right from the beginning.
Okay, so So do you think that's why you thought of Britain as the place where you would come to study where most I mean, Nigerians do come to Britain, some go to United States, but the educational system because of I mean, Britain colonized Nigeria, so the educational system is
is exactly on the I mean, UK system. I mean, although there have been some changes about it, it's it's the same
system that is applied. So usually the it's the colonial link and the educational system that sort of I mean,
Nigerians want to go abroad for study, mostly they come to the UK because the American system is quite a little bit different from that of Nigeria. So in that sense, I guess it's a bit like Indians as well, right?
So like my dad, as well, he came, he came to Britain in the 70s as a student, as well, so yeah. Okay. Um, so at this stage, would you say like, so you're writing your PhD, or just before you're writing your PhD, you're getting into understanding international law, human rights law. Were you a bit skeptical? Would you say like, with regards to any kind of collaboration or similarities between human rights law and how it relates to Islamic law?
Um, well, I mean, my master's education in the UK, my postdoc education in the UK, as you rightly mentioned, further opened my eyes, but I was not completely new to international law, human rights, and also personally, the relationship with Islamic law. I mean, I did public international law at undergraduate level, in a way, I mean, in my in my LNB.
I did public international law, and I was so much interested in it. And also, while we're doing public international law,
I also did seal. We call it Islamic law of nations. We call these nations Islamic law of war on peace. So even at that level, I was where I was seeing a lot of fun in areas of common grounds and areas of difference between public international law. And I mean, and, and here, and also, I mean, when we do constitutional law in Nigeria, we do I mean, the fundamental human rights provisions in the Nigerian constitution, I mean, which we saw that there was a lot of debates in relation to some of the issues that were being raised. I mean, in relation to the interpretation, where equality provisions in the constitution and things like that, and those of us who have studied Islamic law,
there was always a debate about this ongoing. But I mean, I, during that time, I must say, I was looking at it, I mean, really, very defensively, from not really objectively from an Islam point of view, I was also quite skeptical, then thinking, you know, looking at it in the context that well, because of the colonial history of Nigeria, we're looking at everything from the colonial perspective, and the structures are put in place in order to attack Islam and things like that was because I studied in northern Nigeria, that was the narrative then right.
In my mind, now, when I came to the UK, and I started looking at these things, and went in depth, you know, I started looking at things a little bit more objective, objectively in relation to
the interpretations, the structures in place to ensure that human rights applied and things like that. So I will say that actually, my studying postgraduate level, expose me to a better, better literature, much more understanding, and also perhaps, I became quite a little bit more objective than
I used to be, I looked at things much more critical, particularly from the point of view of application. Because Well, I was, I was looking at the front of your face.
You know, I'll say that well, I mean, the Quran talks about equality, and but I never questioned myself, Well, okay, why is it not happening? If I mean, we just believe we believe I mean, the Quran says that, well, you should treat people well, you should I mean, treat people with dignity. There are verses in the Quran which will always cite to indicate that well, Islam as a better system, but I never questioned that, okay. Why is it not? Where are the mechanisms for implementing the protocol, don't do it. I mean, if these things are meant to,
to be visible here in our lives, if people don't do it, so, I mean, I started questioning here, when I understood the mechanisms of what we call the western Humira international human rights system, because I mean, there are mechanisms in place if you do not comply, there are ways by which I mean,
the implementational system and things like that. So that then upon my as indicated by Well, perhaps, I mean, we could also use that to challenge the Islamic perspective of that Okay, now
These rules are there. If people don't perform, do we just wait and say that we're okay, everything will be decided in here after. Now, if God has indicated in the sources of Islam, that I mean, we
treat one another Well, in the world, respect people's dignity. Now, if people don't do that, I mean, will it just be fair to say that well, okay, people can do whatever they want in the world, no, don't follow those rules. And then nothing happens in the world. And we just wait until the year after. So I started, I mean, a lot of distance started, then. So that's how I mean, that's your objectivity that came into. So I started looking at it from both perspectives. And I
sort of felt that well, directorates were not enough. The fifth aspect of it were not enough to say that well, God, I said, we should do this. My question was, what if people don't do it? How do we get it done? Yeah.
Right. So you know, what I think is quite interesting about your background or unique is that you had both the classical as well as the kind of, you could say, on the ground, legal kind of training
from an early stage. And I think what happens mostly in the Muslim world, or, or has been happening in the past is either people are lawyers, or they study law, right, as a kind of separate thing, or they study classical Islamic Studies. And so the ends up being this kind of chasm, I guess, between the two.
And also this alienation, because like, as somebody who studies, Alinea studies, or even advanced Islamic Studies, Sharia studies, classically, you would not really get exposed to the realities of, you know, how law plays out on the ground unless you're embedded within a legal system. Right? That's right. Yeah, that is very true. And that is what half I mean,
the realities on the ground, and, you know, when so many,
when so many bad things. I mean, happen, you then begin to question seriously indicating that, okay, I mean, and there were so many bad things, I mean, happening then in the in the 20th century, towards the end of the 20th century, and they still happen, you know, I mean, a lot of the time when these things happen, in my traditional view, then recite verses of the Quran that you know, the huddled facade filled Bedouin Baha'i nuts, I mean, barbarians have occurred on the democracy, but it and not because of what the hands of people have done. And then the Quran says that, well, this happens so that they will return back, think and return back. But a lot of the time, people don't
reflect they don't return back, they don't return back to God, they continue doing this perpetuity in perpetuity in it. So that's, you know, sort of I mean, enable me to question that, well, there should be mechanisms. And when I actually, I started, I mean, looking into it, I mean, you will see this in my research, I identify that actually, even under classical Islamic law, there were mechanisms like the Muslim and other things, tribunals, I mean, lots of Muslims, that were put in place, even during classical time, you know, in order to ensure that, you know, when things go wrong, there's a mechanism, but all these a lot of the time, you know, people don't come in
emphasize them. And I thought they were very important in relation to area of common ground between I mean, Islamic law, international human rights law practice particular.
So I guess what, like in your book, Islamic law, a very short introduction, you have a section chapter eight international laws, a sphere. And I think one of the things that you keep highlighting throughout your books, which I found very interesting, and I don't think many Muslims realize is that the idea that human rights and even international law is like a Western thing, right? Or that the West were the pioneers of this is actually a myth. And you you highlights, for example, here that a seer was a precursor for the development of contemporary international law.
And because, you know, Muslims, right from the beginning, had laws regarding war and peace and, you know,
human, the rights of human beings even as non Muslims living in Muslim majority lands. And you also highlights about human rights law, that respect for human dignity, is one of the most you know, is this established universal norm identified as on my roof under Islamic law. So what what I've noticed that you keep highlighting is that we Muslims need not look at a
A lot of these concepts as Western inventions or things that the West pioneered, actually,
a lot of these things, you know, we had in place in the past, or we had at least the precursors to them. That's right. That's a very, I mean, good question in relation to and it relates to, you know, the source or the beginning of human rights. It's not only Muslims, who tend sometimes to see that to claim that human rights are a Western creation. Sometimes, I mean, many Western writers also tend to want to claim that
human rights, higher Western creation, and I mean, in my book, international human rights and Islamic law, I did address that, I mean, the history of human rights law, if it can happen, and it has what I call a long, longer history, and in short, our
now if you look at it from the longer history perspective, I mean, human rights, I mean, would be said to have evolved from the concept of natural rights. And then whereby the inhale and the shutter his trophy to pass, maybe people refer to
1948, when the investor Declaration of Human Rights was adopted. Now, my argument is, really is that, well, human rights is just I mean, it's a phrase, it's a name, I mean, signifying a system, a concept, for protecting human dignity. But the concept, the idea, that I mean, human beings have rights.
And that's, I mean, they should be protected, existed long before 1948. Human Rights, although the term might be new,
but it's not as it's not certainly a new idea.
And some commentators
will say human rights started with the idea of natural rights, which goes back, I mean, ages and some will say, it's new business that started in 1948, with the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Now, in relation to Islam,
one will find that the idea of protecting human dignity has always been there.
If, first of all, look in the Quran.
If you look in the Quran, Quran, Chapter 17, verse 17, it's indicated clearly the Word of God, Quran, Albania, Adam,
that we have certainly dignified, the progeny of Adam, that human beings have dignity inherent in them. And if you look at the 1948, Universal Declaration of Human Rights itself, it didn't create human rights, if you read it, okay, if you look at the preamble, this is your dignity. Every every human being has an inherent, you know, dignity in them, which is that they just recognize that, that human beings have an inherent dignity in them. So, so if you look at it, from that point of view, it's only recognizing what is already then human beings. And my point is, the Quran identifies this as human beings are created with dignity. And I mean, we should respect that dignity. And even if
you look in the classical writings, you find out that the concept of I mean, the rights of the human beings, and my what Ed
says this in his Council, Bernie, mean, calling the cuckoo garden in that is the rights of the humans, even though in contemporary Arabic writings, they use the term Hakone son, but you'll be able to, I mean, similarly, as I was saying that, if you want to trace the history of human rights backwards, you will trace it back to natural rights or the rights of humans before we now call it human rights today. Similarly,
when his son was in contemporary Arabic writings, if you trace it back, you will find out that I mean,
classical scholars were using a different technology called Coco adenine, that is the rights of humans or natural rights. So they have a similar history. I mean, although the West has been really
forefront in promoting the universalization of each content in contemporary times. There have been at the
homophobia is pushing and promoting it. But my assumption is that the idea, find the idea in all civilizations, really, that human beings must be respected. It may have been validated in practice, but no civilization will tell you that well, in our own civilization, you know,
all civilization says that human beings must not be treated with dignity,
you know, people or leaders or rulers might have violated that robot anytime it is violated, in fact, that people frown at it this way, it is some sort of natural rights, nobody wants it wants to be treated badly. Does Yeah, nobody, no human being wants to be treated badly, they may not have power to I mean, resisted, but they will find out it they will feel bad. Why are you treating me like this? And that is the fundamental primary idea of human rights. You know, so the rights, the rights, the rights due to you simply for being a human being,
you don't need to, it's the right that is inherent to you, you are a human being, you have to be treated like a human being. That's just the idea of human rights. So what is for people who are not familiar with, like the modern human rights regime? when they think of human rights, usually, today, they especially like amongst Muslims, sometimes human rights has a bad kind of,
I would say reputation,
mainly because people don't understand I think, what exactly is the significance of, for example, the
the 1948 declaration, and what role did Muslim countries play in? in kind of collaborating? And, you know, creating those treaties? Because I think what a lot of Muslim
commentators and you know, sometimes they assume is that human rights regimes in modern times are something that have been imposed. Right, rather than seeing them as basically treaties, right treaties that countries are free to sign up to?
I think they're seen as a kind of imposition. Although I guess you could say that there is politics at play. And sometimes there is like, obviously, political pressure that is going on behind the scenes.
Could you please introduce, like, our audience to what was the significance of 1948 and
modern human rights regimes, and Muslims interaction with them? Thank you. I mean, quite clear on the thumbnail, where we are today, as I started, human rights has what I call moral legitimacy.
Now, it also, I mean, when we talk about moral legitimacy, as I said, I mean, if you look at it, don't touch people. treat women well.
When people commit offenses, give them a fair hearing. All these, I mean, you even without laws, anybody who has a clear moral sense, it resonates with them. And that is the moral legitimacy of it. You know, that's a moral legitimacy. That's one thing. But the truth of the matter is that I mean, if, for example, people would Tinker every human being will take responsibility. And every human being will do that, which is moral. There'll be no need for laws to enforce them. But because of that, you know, morals if you just say, Well, okay, no, we don't need laws. Everybody will know what is right. I mean, human history has indicated that that is not the case. I mean, I mean, the 1948
University Declaration of Human Rights, what became necessary in after the Second World War? I mean, when all those atrocities, it didn't know that, I mean,
the moral legitimacy of human restaurant moral legitimacy of doing what is right was there, but states, you know, the power of the state, sometimes it's overwhelming. When people are in authority, they can use the power of the state of power of rulership to oppress people. So for natural in you find out that the international community then came together and decided that Well, okay, we know this morale, legitimacy of human rights, but then we have to put it in a document enforceable, so that I mean, everybody knows what it is. And a lot of the time you find out that I mean, many
writers will say that, well, Muslim countries did not participate. If you look
The history of the adoption of the invested Declaration of Human Rights. Even though many countries were still not independent, then they were under colonial rule. Yet many countries that were not many countries that had already attained independence were part of it. Saudi Arabia was at the table, Egypt was at the table, Pakistan was at the table. And in many Muslim majority countries were there. Even though at the end of it due to some sections of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,
Saudi Arabia, abstained from adopting age, but that doesn't mean that they didn't support the adoption. So the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was the first time that I mean, the clear specific content of what we call human rights was set out. Because a lot of the time we just say human rights, human rights, human rights is a general term. And putting it in a form, we have to identify what the contents of it the rights to what the rights to this, the rights to that. So Universal Declaration of Human Rights gave the general human rights some content. So we know that human rights include I mean, freedom of expression, you know, freedom of assembly,
right to walk, for example, right to good health, for example. So when we talk about human rights, generally, sometimes I mean, can people may not understand what it is. So when you look at the instruments, the instruments give it content, but when we talk about human rights, this is what we mean. And this is why sometimes it is problematic when people say that, well, human rights on Islam, human rights are imposed on Muslims. And my argument is, well, is that which human rights are you talking about?
A lot of the time, it is better to deal with these issues on a right to right basis. Right.
Exactly. Right. And there will be no problem with some right now. For example, I mean, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has nearly 30 specific rights identified in their Saudi Arabia only objected to two of those rights, it was in full agreement with about 26 of them, you know, of those rights. So just to say that, well, I mean, so it's sometimes it's misleading to say that were human rights, I guess, when people raised this question, I asked them, okay, which Right, exactly? Are you talking about?
it from on the right or right basis, and then debate where there are differences, I mean, in relation to a particular right, rather than just condemning the whole of human rights as something of the West imposed on Muslim countries.
All right. And also, I think, people don't appreciate that, actually, there is a lot of scope for, you know, including different kinds of different interpretations, you could say, of the various rights, right, like, depending on your country, depending on your, your culture, your you know, there there are there is small print, basically, and there are countries that have reservations and where they, you know, add some kind of detail that they would like to be acknowledged, etc. So it's not like a monolithic set of rules that are not open to interpretation, right? Yes, I mean, that's what the second part, I mean, the third leg of it, because I said, human rights has a moral
legitimacy. It also has a legal I mean, basis for it, when it is putting into declarations or treaties, which are binding, which kids sign up to voluntarily. The third part of it is the political I mean, it is also a political territory. And it's the political aspect of reboot is sometimes problematic, and you'll find there is a lot of disagreement in that perspective. Now, when we talk about only the Muslim countries, not only Muslim countries, compared to Western countries, even some Western countries, you know, you find out that I mean, the details of particular rights, you know, then they may have some differences. I mean, one of the basic rights that everybody talks
about is the right to life,
you know, the right to live, look at it, and when you say yes, the right to life, I mean, it prohibits arbitrary of life. Now, you'll find out that I'm in the US and Western countries, I mean, even in the definition of it, when you say the right to life, if you go into the detail, they had some disagreement, where does when does life starts? So what's the
difference between them? For example, if you say, maybe the child in the womb, for example, would you I mean, and this brings the issue of abortion rights and things into even Western countries without some Western countries that are defined in relation
One does livestock, some indicate they recognize the fact that life starts from the womb. Some says no until a child is born. So you find out that I mean, if you look into the details, I won't be able to see that sometimes, I mean, in the interpretations,
there could be the scope, this is what we'll call the scope, the scope code
is a talk about the right freedom of expression, for example, freedom of expression, everybody agrees on it. But if you look in the instruments, sometimes, I mean, the state called restricted and eaten, for example, in relation to I mean,
public order, and public morality. You know, now, the scope of public order and public morality sometimes differ from country to country, in relation to what a state might accept, as located, you can say this, as some states might consider a particular statement to be against the public order of their own country, and another, the scope in another country might differ. So you find out that I sometimes will need to look into the details, rather than just saying that well,
he might righteous a Western idea that Muslims cannot look to at all
things. If you look at different principles, as I said, you can, you can, for example, it's about dignity. kurama it's about freedom.
It's about humaneness in saniya. You have all these terms, even in Islamic I mean, jurisprudence, equality musawah, you find all these the benefit of the beneficence, a Yani son, responsibility must only Yeah, all these are there. I mean, all these principles that you find, I mean, in human rights, you find it I mean, all in I mean, talk to us about cooperation, justice, welfare. So then, if anybody says him, all right, but since we do not want them because maybe they don't understand what it is human rights is
needed by every human being wherever we are, against the power of the state, otherwise, rulers, state will be really oppressive people wherever they are. But you have to admit, Professor that even within different human rights camps, West and East, there are people who do consider it to be a project, you know, it is, like, for example, even in western academia, you can there are a number of books and a number of voices that say, Well, actually, you know,
yes, this human rights is a way for us to,
to spread liberalism and individualism, right all over the world. And they do see it as a liberal project. On the other hand, there are Muslims who, you know, see that Well, okay, you know, some aspects of human rights are good, we're not saying that they're not good, but fundamentally, the philosophy behind human rights is very individualistic. Whereas, for Muslims, our worldview is God centric, not human centric, right.
So, in that sense, in the kind of core philosophy behind human rights and also some of the agendas that different people have,
you must admit that there there is a difference of opinion there, right.
Well, I mean, when we start talking about philosophies, everybody can bring, I mean, because philosophy
differs, the way we perceive things do differ across the universe. Now, when we start bringing philosophy in they definitely there will be differences. Now, you find out that I mean, yes, sometimes they are, they are these categorizations whereby you say well, the West, the Human Rights prospects, perspective in the West is individualistic. And then in relation to the east and not only in Muslim countries, even in Africa, I mean, the African perspective will also say that well is communitarian. Rather than now in my own writings, I mean, these are the some of these arguments are earlier debates, which I mean, many
writers including myself,
actually challenge in our writings, because I mean, you cannot simply create a divide a club for example, when we talk about individualism and communitarianism. You cannot really create a divide yes, it does as a philosophically, but in relation to my you cannot create the Create an clear divide between the two. Now, I talked about the issue of if you look on the instrument that I talked about the issue of I mean, freedom of expression, freedom of religion, if you look at all the instruments, these two rights and other rights are not absolute. They are so
Get to what is called public order. Public Order is the art of the community, the writer in even in the West, now your decision is subject to public order, if it goes against public order, you cannot enjoy that, right?
So if the West was completely individualistic, they will not identify what is public order they will not care about public order is just about my individual rights, individual rights. Yes, you have your individual right. But if it goes against public order, your public, your individual will be subjected to public order. That's communitarianism. You know, so I mean, for anybody to say that where the West is completely individualistic, they are not looking at it in detail. Because you cannot just enough, for example, I mean, even in day to day activities, there are rules about how you drive on the road, it is to protect the public to protect the community, you know, I have my
individual, I can drive on the right, even though the law says you can only drive on the left, you know, so a lot of the time we subject our individual rights, also to communal rights in order to protect everyone. There are some things for example, in Islam that are considered intrinsically wrong, you know, I mean, regardless of public order, so for example, sub below a sub Russell, you know,
certain types of speech, certain types of, you know, insulting God, etc, regardless of whether it causes public order problems
for Muslims, thus, that would be a crime, right? Like that would be something that they would want to prohibit. So I guess, but I guess what what you're highlighting is okay. But if we're collaborating with
other countries to come to some kind of consensus, to to collaborate on treaties to agree on certain fundamental rights, we can't think abstractly. Is that what you're saying? And we have to think pragmatically in like, on what what actually applies on the ground? And is that what you're saying? Because obviously, philosophically, there is a difference there. Yes, there is. I mean, what I'm saying is I'm you refer to the I mean, it's what we're saying before, I mean, I'm trying to, as much as possible, emphasize the fact that, you know, there are a lot of common grounds, a lot of the time, the areas of differences, the way people emphasize it, and so on sometimes undermines the
areas of common ground. So a lot of areas of common ground, basically,
yes, if you talk about the issue of sub Billa, or sub bought or sold in relation to Now, the reason why we cannot do that, for example, in Muslim countries, is that because it is a crime, Islamic law says it is a crime. Do you get the point? Now, if anybody commit, then that person has to follow the process of the law. And this is part of I mean, when we talk about public order, even no matter what, whether or how we see it, I mean, laws are made to protect public order. Now in the Quran says don't do this prohibit This is a crime. I mean, because, I mean,
it goes against the morals, and the order of Muslim, Islamic I mean,
societies, so if anybody does it, if anybody says anything that contradicts that, they have to go through the process of the law, because it is a crime of that country. Similarly, I mean, the UK, the UK may not have have, for example, the West may not have a law that says you cannot abuse God, you cannot abuse the Prophet, for example, if the UK says that well in their own community, or maybe in society, maybe you cannot shout fire fire in a public Hall, if you do that to to cry. And that is the if you do it, you go through the law, you know, and this is why when we talk about I mean,
the subjectivity of
rights, freedom of expression, for example, to certain public orders, when we talk about those public orders, it includes the criminal or kids that are prohibited in particular communities. Now, you cannot just say, Well, I mean, it's it's if estates say that, okay, those limitations are usually limitation that must be provided, if you look in the treatises the limitation, there are subject to this limitation, the limitations must be provided by law. You know, the mind, I mean, the law that says you cannot do this, then people have to abide by the law, and they have provided rules for that. So it's not just that personally, anybody will just say no, I mean, and this is one of the
problems in relation to what usually happens in many Muslim societies. Now,
I me too, and I do challenge that a lot of the time, even when people commit what is usually called blasphemy when people say that well, somebody has abused the Prophet on things.
It is not even it is not the fire brigade approach. Islam doesn't say that well, okay, you can then pounce on them and start beating them and kill them. No, of course, you have to go through the process of law, you are not the enforcer of the law, then it's not a public thing that well, if anybody does it, you be the judge and the jury, you accuse them, yes, you have done this, and then I must punish immediately. Any society that allows that to go into chaos. People are accused people and start beating them. It doesn't it's humorous, does not support that even if somebody has committed they have not violated that rule. It has to go through the due process of the law, there
must be a law that prohibits it goes to process and the person might be find guilty, or maybe innocent.
Yeah, and I think what that highlights is that law is not really enough. Do you know what I mean? Like law, law has its place and, you know, legal instruments, they, they play a part. But, you know, mob rule can take over if there is a lack of, for example, education, a lack of, you know,
a lack of understanding of what exactly, Islamic law says about certain things, right? So I guess education and law have to go hand in hand. Oh, definitely. I mean, education is very, very important in relation to human rights. I mean,
education is important, because what actually makes human rights work is where people,
people know their rights, people are educated about it, and they can stand up for it. And when people actually, even when the state knows that people are familiar,
they are aware of their rights, you find out that in any society that based on the level of orientation and education of the populace, you'll find out that I mean, the abuse of human rights will normally be limited, because the states know that the individuals know their rights. But in a state where people are not familiar about the rights, what the law provide for them, and things like that. A lot of the time you find all kinds of state will commit violations, and they go scot free people don't know. And this is what I'm I mean, for example, I when I'm teaching human rights, I give one example. I say many, I mean,
societies, I mean, for example, maybe London, the streets of London, because of the fact that I mean, even small children. I mean, if you I say a lot of the time if a police officer stops a teenager in the street, because of what they have been taught what they have been exposed to, you know, day to day, likely response of the team. And that will be Why are you stopping me? Because they know that they cannot just be stopped without a reason. And I say that you will now to another society where people do not even know their rights. And I have seen that many parts of the developing world, even an old person, not a teenager, when the police stops them, the first thing
they will start doing is police, they will start begging the police officer, even without even knowing not asking why they were stopped. So the police officer will continue doing it because they know that these people don't know their rights. So education is very, very important. You know, Professor, there's two, there's two things that I want to ask you about. One is okay.
I would love to hear about your experiences, because I think I think your philosophy or your you know, your way of reconciling Islamic law with human rights is probably couched in the fact that you have been on the ground, you've actually been to like you were an inspector for Sudan, right? Like, with the UN. So you've actually seen and witnessed,
like, whereas we're talking about it on an abstract theoretical level, you've witnessed and seen the beneficial effects of some of these human rights treaties, on the lives of real people, right, and on the lives of Muslims even right. So I would love to hear, first of all, about what you saw and what kind of why you think
human rights are beneficial to Muslims. Because, you know, there is this kind of idealistic view that some people have, which is that, you know, we have to just wait for this perfect Caliphate to come along, right? And when the perfect Caliphate comes along,
there'll be justice on that. And people's rights will be looked after.
But I think what you're highlighting in your work is that no matter what the situation of the wider Muslim Ummah is, justice, human dignity, these things they need to be fought for, and we need to strive to achieve them.
In the here and now, as much as possible, right. And I think that's where your kind of advocacy for human rights comes from. Would you agree with that? Yeah, I mean, to a large extent. Now, you mentioned the Sudan. And
also, what I saw, I mean, that's a very interesting point, I was the independent expert for the station of human rights in the Sudan. We know Sudan was going through what we call I mean, special measures under the United Nations. So they will normally our point, it's not was not only Sudan, there were many countries. I mean, who were under this region, because of what was happening there. Sudan was going through, has been in war for a very long time, I mean, even before the separation of South Sudan. Now, one interesting thing, let me tell you, I mean, I was appointed and people do, you apply for it. And there were many candidates, and I was appointed because of my area of research my
expertise in relation to the relationship between human rights and Islamic law. And I've written on it. I mean, those credentials, then made me get the appointment. And because Sudan is a Muslim majority country, and they do, culturally, Islamic law applies, the and even their criminal law provisions
contain elements of Islamic law and things like that. Now, you will be you'll be surprised to hear this. And this is something
one of the ways I mean, I had to educate somebody. And when I was appointed, I have a very, I mean, respected friend who is I mean, very well established. I mean,
Islam is polar,
in a light. So when they heard about it, you know, maybe we was trying to be he was trying to say it in a joke. But I took it seriously. And I hadn't really, he said, Oh, I heard you. I've been appointed as the independent expert for the Sudan, do you? And I said, Yes. So he said, Okay, now you have become an agent of the West.
He was just right. He was saying it in a jovial way. As you say, I say, No, no, no. I said, No, you have to be careful with that. I don't take this lightly. And I had to I had to really educate him that look, we have to see these things. There are so many things happening in the Sudan, and there must be some sort of I mean, monitoring mechanism. And after I have written my, I will then send in each of the reports that I wrote, then eventually he said, You know, I didn't know that I mean, these systems, these mechanisms can really have an impact. I mean, if you go to Khartoum, when I first did my visit, to go to Khartoum, in the Sudan, was he has been to Khartoum, you think that
there's nothing wrong in the Sudan.
If you go to the capital city, he said, What is wrong?
There's nothing wrong, everything is okay. But then if you start going around and go to places like I mean, therefore, I mean, it's that for South Darfur, central Darfur, go to Cordova, and Blue Nile state, I went to all these areas in relation to the conflict that was going on. And the impact of what I mean,
the Sudan stick was doing, I saw a lot I saw poverty, deprivation, I mean, the IDP comms were appalling. I mean, if you see the water that people were drinking, and yet, what is IDP?
The Internet displace comes people in the Batman internality, they're usually you know, when they, when there's conflict, and people people do run away from
these conflicts. And normally, what usually happens is that the international community comes in, that is internally displaced persons comes. Because I mean, they are not refugees, people sometimes will refugee refugee in international law, refugee situation, of course, when people travel across borders, now from one country to the other. But if they are just moving within my running away from one area, to another area in the same country, they are internally displaced, they are not refugees, because cannot be known country, you can only be internally displaced in your own country. So you find out that then you find a lot of internally displaced persons comes whereby I mean, because of I
mean, bad things that are happening within the country. People are, for example, in Nigeria, because of Boko Haram situation and find out that there are a lot of IDP camps, internally displaced persons comes, which I'm aware by
now, I mean,
I saw so many bad things. I mean, to the extent that I mean, I felt really really morally impelled. I mean, because as a as a as a un independent expert. I mean, my
The hotel was in Sudan was in hock, to the best of the hotels. Now, when you go and see all these things that are happening, when I come back to my hotel, sometimes I cannot eat. Because I begin to think that
I've just been people. Now, in this situation, and I come back, and now sitting in luxury and things like that here, you feel so much. If you think about it, I mean, it creates a lot of I mean, morale, what do you call it? I mean, questions in your mind. Now, did you see? What did you see that that? Because I want I want our listeners to understand, you know, how bad stuff can get, you know, I think Well, I mean,
the, as I said, I mean, in the, in the IDPs.
The human conditions were really very bad. And I, even up till now, in my eyes in some of my files. You will I mean, God, oh, there was a situation of warfare.
I have a lot of photos of I mean,
human corpses and so many bad things, which I mean, I don't really want to, I mean, started remembering them now. And I had very simple discussions. I mean, surely, if you see the church, I mean, basic, simple things. Like I mean, even children of God are not being able to go to school, not having clean water to drink, because of displacement. I mean, drinking, I mean, Muddy Waters, you know, we underestimate these things that well, these are not serious things. I mean, if you sit in London may think that Well, well, okay. It is their way of life. But as life does life have to be like that, whereby simple things like clean water, you know, if you see what people eat, and if you
see, in one of my reports, I indicated, I mean, the condition in which people live when there was rain, you know, the IDP comes, I mean, sometimes were just people, I mean, they go to find just ordinary nylons, from the I mean, dumping grounds in order to cover the details, so that I mean, they will be safe from rain. I mean, little things like that, I mean, sure, woman human being should not at this, I mean, human beings with dignity should not be living under, under under such I mean conditions. And one thing was, I mean, I think, using the Islamic argument, you know, when I, when I look at when I visited and take record of all these things, when I come back, it's a very fair
system. Because when I come back, it's it's not like maybe you are taking notes in secrecy. And then you are bringing it to the UN, the rules, the code of conduct of the independent expert, they are very transparent. Anything you see, you can you have to then come back and debrief you meet the leaders of the stage, you know, you meet the, the representative of the state and put this before them that look, I've gone around your country.
And this is what I've seen. This is not really right. What are you doing about it? A lot of the time, what you guys are learning, this is what monitoring is about, it's about calling the attention of the state that there's something wrong. I mean, in relation to how I mean, these people are being treated. And sometimes I'm initially in my first visit to find out that the officers of the state, people in the Ministry of Justice, people will want to find a skill set. And then when I saw what they were saying, Do I always find trying to find excuses, and trying to make the argument of well, you know, these treaties and things like that, the way I mean the plan, and then I just came back to
the level I said, Look, you are Muslims are Muslim, this situation of these people does the I you say leave the treaties aside, does Islam allow you to be here in her tomb, you and I to be here in her room? I mean, you know, this is usually I said because you put them there, you know how people in that fall? You know how people in South cordovan live treaty, live you entreaties aside, look at Islamic culture, look at the Quran and the Sunnah, I tell them straight as it does. can you justify these situations? People under your rule, people you are governing? I mean, can you find the Sunday slam? And you see the faces will just drop?
I say you tell me, as you tell me, I mean, I'm a Muslim. I'm a desktop one to one. You know, so that helped me a lot. When I said when I first said that you couldn't answer. You know, the whole I saw Yeah, I said, I think this argument is better than actually trying to push them on the treaties. So anytime everything we talk about, you know, I just bring the Islamic comparative, that's what the Quran says this, but as soon as he says this, so this is what I mean. And we put, you know,
a roadmap I, I did a 10 year roadmap for them in order to improve the human rights situations, you know, based on and they really they really accommodate
had me because I was speaking the language be understood as a live live these treaties outside the trenches I'm in my own writings. And I say that I mean that there are a lot of common grounds as soon as I mean as as rulers, I quoted the Quran for them for example, I was in Malaya, Moodle come unto what Tamati La Jolla, Allah commands you. Because I mean, as leaders, you are in the position of trust, and Allah commands you that you should return the trust to the people who put you in authority by looking after them by making them well, you know, so all these types of arguments is some of that there are a lot of areas of common ground, whereby sometimes when we want to put the
politics into it, if it was somebody who didn't understand Islamic law, because there have been
independent experts before me in the Sudan, there were some of them who were because of I mean, the way they were you only push in a strict law pushing the treaties. There was one independent expert before me who was sent away who was considered person personal non grata. So I said, No, you can never come to our country again, and things like that, you know, but when I was at an independent, that's what they really accommodated me, because I was speaking their language they knew, and I was challenging them based on their own beliefs, which were compatible with what the treaties were saying, you know, so it's okay, from that point of view, we'll be able to see that well, I might
want to understand human rights, human rights. Yes, it has its political side, on all countries, not only Western countries, all countries play the political game with human rights. But if you really want this, right, you want to promote human dignity. You know, I mean, one, I don't see much areas of difference between what we'll call human rights under international law today. And those values that are promoted within Islamic sources. And I use that in the Sudan, and it worked very well for me.
And I think what is ironic is, you know,
if you look at the situation in Muslim countries at the moment, many Muslim countries do have, you know, despotic regimes, corruption in the government, and, you know, basically dictatorships. And so,
Muslims, ordinary Muslim citizens actually do
can benefit from human rights, and in a way, need to benefit from them even more, because in the absence of somebody kind of holding people to account these governments to account, they will do what they want with impunity. And it's not according to Islamic laws. It's not according to any law, it's basically, you know, self preservation a lot of the time and, and things like that. So, you know, we see that, for example, in many Muslim countries, people are locked up with, you know, torture is normal, things like that. So, in other words, the ordinary Muslim actually can benefit from, from these laws, right? It does, does the point I'm trying to make And besides that, I mean,
you are very, very right, that in many Muslim majority countries today, I mean, the leaders, the way they behave, they are despots. And and sometimes, they will now, you know, want to avoid the international human rights obligations by wrongly pleading Islamic law, they will say that, well, we are Muslims, you cannot I mean, I mean, you can with our code, this is our culture and things like that. And that's exactly what what made me take that position with the Sudan because they said, Oh, we are Muslims. You know, if you want to interpret these treaties, we are Muslims. Our culture is Islam and Okay, is that what the Okay, let us use Islam? So, I mean, it's important that I mean, the
Muslims, ordinary Muslims, you know, I mean, they can really benefit from human rights, especially from the Islamic point of view, the to challenge the despots in place look at when the,
the uprisings in the Arab Spring. I mean, it's very, very interesting. If you look at I mean, the dissertation if you look at the uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, you find ordinary Muslim, they were saying freedom, they were doing the V sign the freedom sign and Allah Akbar the same time there was a freedom Korea. I mean, you see, I mean, they were trying to show the, even though they might be doing some conscious, but I was reading and they are trying to show that Well, actually, you know, our religion recognizes freedom, victory and things like that. I mean, they're trying to combine all these slogans with Allah Akbar. And, and things like that. So if you look at it critically,
yes, if people have an understanding a good understanding of human rights, and also appreciate the fact that well, we can find a similar values within the culture.
Within the sources of Islam, I mean, they can use it to stand up to, I mean,
regimes in the various countries who sometimes I mean, violate their human rights. I mean, I'm trying to, I mean, use Islam as a as an excuse as a defense. Now, I mean, a lot of the time, and I'm
saying this cautiously, because I mean, I don't try to bring the issue of women, usually up as the only example. But I mean, the issue of women's rights is quite very, very, I mean, important in relation to how women are treated in many of the Muslim
majority countries. And you find out that I mean, a lot of the time wrongfully in finding in some of the clerics, some of the rulers.
They use Islamic law, Islamic culture, as an Asana schemes, they are I mean, there are some areas I mean, people would argue, for example, that well, women are not allowed to go out at all past maybe women can don't even have a right to work at all. I mean, I engage with this in this era, and I engage in other parts of the Muslim world, I engage with it. I mean, you know, and
you have to bring your evidence, I mean, to really convince them, that women can never go out at all or pass, maybe they are not allowed to work at all. And when we go into the data, and I start bringing alternative arguments from the sources of Islam, you find out that they may not agree, but I mean, fully with my perspective, they wouldn't say, Well, on this issue, they sometimes they say, where it's most likely not here, they say it's an issue of difference of opinion here. I prefer this. I said, Well, if you prefer that opinion, you cannot say that my opinion is wrong as well. It's, um, it's a valid, it's a valid and legitimate opinion, which I mean, so you cannot say, well,
the view, your view document cannot go out completely and shall bind everybody. Because I mean, there's legitimate view that I mean,
women and others can also argue to say that well, even within Islam, yes, there's a view like this, which I so and this is what I normally say that, um, if you look at even Islamic jurisprudence properly, Well, fine. I mean, legitimate human rights friendly views. That's I mean, if you people to understand I mean, it can make it I guess,
I guess there are two fears, like people. First of all, a lot of these things are cultural, aren't they? Like, the cultural norms that people just assume are Islamic or some.
But I guess there's this fear in Muslim countries. And I've, I've talked to a Lama who also have this fear that by stealth, some of these human rights objectives, so of course, nobody's gonna say to you, you know, we don't care about women's rights, nobody will say that. But what do you mean by women's rights? A lot of Muslim clerics or you know, all of that they're a bit wary of the fact that, okay, is this bringing in by stealth, anti family value type?
culture, you know, an anti family values culture, because they look at Western countries, and sometimes maybe stereotypically, but sometimes actually, they see the breakdown of families, you know, they see that marriage is not, is not considered like the absolute norm, etc, etc. And they think, Oh, we don't we don't want that, you know, we don't want that to become the reality in our countries. And so there's a kind of suspicion that Okay, oh, are we opening the gates to that kind of thing? You know?
Well, I mean, that's a fair point. But I, I normally do say in class, and in my writings, even such as
the push in the West, I consider it to be a challenge. I mean, Islam and the Islamic rules is the Quran says it clearly that we have made you a nation of the middle path, you know, as alika Jana, Mata Mata, I mean, and that says that we should not go to the extreme on the right, not at the extreme on the left. Now, if
the extreme left is pushing that you have to be completely like that, it does not mean that you have to run and go to the extreme right? I mean, yes, it's not. It's not all or nothing. You don't have to think
exactly like this. I mean, you find a balance every state does that and that's exactly what we are saying. The Quran says clearly that you are a medievalist, a nation of a middle path. those challenges would make you I will really be too
For you to really consider where are we really. And then rather than running so far to the right and pushing people indoors, you can be able to balance and make sure that we're no we're not going as far as going far left, we want to be on Martin was
reading the Quran, so I see it as a challenge. And challenge is actually make you to look inward and see and evaluate yourself. So that's the way I say.
Yeah, and also, it's an unfair representation of Islamic law. Because if you're clinging on to your culture and insisting that this is Islam, when Islam actually says something else, then that's also going to be counterproductive. It's also going to cause for example, amongst women,
dissatisfaction, desire to, to basically run away from Assad, right. Because you've, you've kept telling women that this is a slum, but it's not.
That's also counterproductive. Another area that people I saw this video Professor during, you know, unfortunately, recently, we have the, the,
the problems in Palestine, I saw a video to two videos, I saw one video where a Palestinian man in Gaza, was standing in front of some corpses, you know, some, some of the Shahada. And he was shouting at the cameras, you know, he's like, obviously, he's very, very upset about, you know, these people that just they just went out for it. And they got killed, you know, and he was saying, where are you? Oh, countries of the world? Where are you? Human Rights? What happens to what's happened to your human rights? What happened to you un, you know, then he called on the Arab countries. And he was obviously he was in a very emotional and angry and upset state, and
understandably so. But he was basically railing against this, I guess, double standards, or this idea that, you know, yeah, it's one rule for everyone else. But nobody is taking care of our human rights. So so there's there was that, then I saw another video where a brother here in the West was saying something like,
you know, I don't know why Muslim countries or Muslims think they can resort to the UN, because, you know, okay, this is extremely sad. You know, going to the UN is like going to show on. So I'm just trying to show you, professor that there are these views, right, that are out there in the popular culture where, where Muslims feel a type of frustration? Where do you think that frustration comes from? And is it is it justified?
I mean, I do appreciate that. I mean, anytime we talk about the issue of human rights, particularly in relation to Muslim majority countries are in control with all the time the situation in Palestine will always come up. And I if you see my writings as well, and that's one area where I mean, issue of I mean, the politics of human rights, and even many Western writers do acknowledge that. I mean, it is in the
the politics of human rights, that I mean, the trouble of human rights, lies, and the politics is rallies in relation to double standards. And it relates to power. I mean, I've written in one of my I mean, Cooper's in relation to there are some within the West. I mean, they find a way around when you talk about the Palestinian situation. There are some commentators who say that well, the situation happened in Palestine is a political issue, not a human rights issue. I mean, you find out that I mean, this just semantics in relation, and I would argue against that seriously, that look, no. I mean, even if it has a political Foundation, I mean, the consequences, there are a lot of
human rights violations that needs to be approached. Now, the other point I want to indicate is I mean, that's the issue of double standards, and people have written about it. It is very, very clear about it to list to power. Now, when we talk about the UN, look, I mean, people need to appreciate the fact that the UN is not a it's it's it's an monitoring institution is not a global government is not a world.
It is made up of individual and nation states that come together to say now the UN itself doesn't have I mean, it doesn't have an army. Now, if you say that, well, the UN forces that goes to places where conflicts are, they are contributed by nation states, if the UN calls and countries indicate that they don't want to, I mean, send soldiers the UN isn't a handicap. Now the UN is run by a lot of funds. The money has to come from state they don't have any money. They don't make money. It is I mean it is different.
Because other people need to understand how the UN works, and it does work, this will not be will I mean case will have been worse than this. If there was no, there was no organization that like the United Nations, I know, you know, the difficult issues, the difficult issues of the of the world. I usually used to judge the UN saying that the UN is not working. But there are so many areas that actually, I mean, the UN works sometimes I mean, look, for example, if you, yes, the Palestinian situation is very, very bad. And we all comment about it, that it should be better. And we all know, I mean, the powers are at work in that regard. Now, in the US, for example, I mean, has a very
strong political, I mean,
position in that regard. But if you look at the UN, you'll be able to see that I'm in relation to UN resolutions. And this is what people talk about the fact that a un only speaks, they don't buy it. I mean, Israel has the most of the UN General Assembly resolutions, you know, is in relation Israel has the highest number,
you know, of UN resolutions, criticizing it. And this is what Israel does not love the United Nations. It always. But when you come to the Security Council, because of the way the Security Council is structured, if a country that the US vetoes anything, it doesn't go anywhere. And we know the position of the of the United States in that regard. It's a very, you know, a tricky political situation. Why do some countries have veto power and others not? That's historical in the sense that I mean, it historical in the sense that I mean, when the UN was created after the Second World War, the Allied state, it was the states who are very powerful then and they were trying to say that,
okay, balance of power. Now, for example, the big five, you know, indicating that they don't want one state one, any one of the powerful states to be able to impose its will, you know, upon. So if, for example, there has to be, I mean, a sort of common consensus among all the five big powers. So, if one power of one power vetoes, then it means there's no consensus, because I mean, they have certain fears in that regard. It was I mean, it wasn't, it was set up with the intention that the nation states will operate, I mean, in good faith, but now, you find out that I mean, the veto the power of the veto, which was created, then, in order to ensure that I mean, particularly in relation
to the rule of use of force,
agreed upon by consensus, it is not actually being used in order to stand situations like those in Palestine in order to get things right. And there have been a lot of agitation not only from Muslim majority countries, even from African countries, they get in our way the dynamics of the world today has changed. Therefore, that rule has to be revisited. That is, there's a need for reform of this again, for so many years, more than 10 years now, even Western writers people are talking about well look, by if you look at the political nature of the world today, there's a need to reform the Security Council. But I mean, the rules of changing itself is as well, is really very intricate,
because if one nation with one of the big pass vetoes, you cannot reform, so it's like a vicious cycle
of reform, indicating awareness, better balance of power, but we are stuck with it. I mean, in a way that perhaps maybe people are still really scratching their head in finding a way of how that reform, I mean, can be can be corrected, and I agree with you is problematic. It's really, really particularly in relation to the Palestine in the Palestinian situation. Now calling calling the UN Satan, I think there's there's I mean, Politico
is really very polemical, I'm trying to show you that that sentiment exists, you know,
I'm not I'm not saying the I mean, really, I'm not referring to you referring to that.
Because we have to I mean, if we look at the so many things good at the UN does it I mean the UN and for example, if you look at the situation in Bosnia, then you know, the UN, a very, very look at the situation of the rohingyas in people people people remember Srebrenica, you see as only and But no, but they remember that there were un soldiers peacekeepers there who basically you know, abandoned the camp of Muslim men and boys, leaving them to visit red comb luggage to basically massacre right. So they remember that anything will what what did the UN do, you know, and I think that ends up becoming the lasting impression of our people.
The UN abandons Muslims when it comes to the crunch. You know, whether they're white Muslims or whether they're brown Muslims, it doesn't matter. You know what I'm positive? I will white Muslims, right? It is.
I think people people, what I'm trying to say is, that's what ends up being the lasting impression, you know? Yeah, I do. I do appreciate that. I mean, it's sometimes it's difficult. It's like, it depends on who is making the argument, one will be able to
find evidence is here on day, I mean, to support whichever the but but the point I'm trying to make is that I mean, the United Nations, I think it's a necessary institution. Now. Otherwise, many of the bad things that we see happening today could have been worse, except, of course, what good did they do in Bosnia? I just want to know, like, what, what would you say are the good things that the UN
Let me tell you something now, for example, even in relation to
you, un organization, for the for the UN, for example, even adopting in one could say that, well, it's political, adopting a resolution,
saying that this is our position that we do not support. We don't just that statement coming from the UN,
where we stand
is very, very powerful. And I mean, people can make reference to it indicating that well, okay. Well, if a stage in the world of the UN is resolved like this, and the state maybe because of its power, or maybe because of its ally, country like the United States. I mean, does something contrary to that? I mean, it has political implications, in relation to the fact that well, you can actually say that, well, you are a state
that is an international law compliant, no, people can use it against them. This happens, even those resolutions, powerful. People don't see that. I mean, I I do I mean, for example, in many of my writings, you'll be able to see that I mean, in making once arguments, you're able to refer to those resolutions as the position of the international community. A lot of the time people talk about the internet, they talk about the position of the international community on this issue was this. And therefore, if I'm in a particular countries, acting contrary to that they are actually acting contrary to international law, even though they might say that they are the best compliance with
international law, the record says differently, it has I mean, in international discourse and international debate, it's very powerful. You know,
I guess people wish that there was teeth to it, though, you know, what I mean, like,
this is only what we are saying in relation to wait for that to happen, you know, for that to happen.
Perhaps I mean,
we also have to try as much as possible to talk about particular countries, not the UN itself. Now talk to countries are meant to provide the resources for the UN to be able to do its work. When you say that, well, there's need, for example, if there are atrocities happening somewhere, you know, and there is need for soldiers, maybe, for example, in order to try to stem those issues, as I said, the UN will come for will call for
peacekeeping forces, and this will be contributed by nation states. If they don't, they don't contribute to what do you want to you're going to do? They cannot create our soldiers, they cannot create human beings. I mean, it is so rather than accusing the United Nations, let us look at the detail. And see, for example, in this type of situation, this body and look, another thing is that I mean, the UN a lot of the time, I mean, it's because of the the arrangement of, of, of nationhood. Now,
the UN actually how things work,
you can even if the if there are forces available, the UN cannot go into any state, except things are very, very bad. And, and also it goes back to the Security Council to be able to determine that there's a humanitarian situation in a country, that is one pass, maybe you can enter by force. Now, if no matter what is happening in the state, you can only enter with the consent of that state. Because you don't want to create more war in order to solve the water in the States. Is that okay? We're not alone. If you if you come over bamboo, for example, it creates so the concept of the state is a very important factor, which a lot of people do. Now you said okay, the UN is not doing
anything. Go to
Bosnia, Bosnia says you cannot come, you cannot cross our borders, you have to start negotiating and Lord behind this in order to have a peaceful entry, they cannot fall away, I was okay, we want to avoid it, we want to save other people, it will create more problems. It's a very dynamic situation whereby
I think that the unit is not doing much, but behind the scene, they do have a lot of political talking to create humanitarian corridors, for aid workers to be able to go through peacefully, they cannot force it by, by by the consent of the state, for example, the work that I said I did in the Sudan, I couldn't go to the lives without it. I know, even though the UN has appointed, you cannot come to our country. A lot of it, for example, there was a an independent expert who was appointed for Iran. For the whole six years, Iran did not allow them to come in. They said, No, we don't want you to come in. So they were gathering the evidence by visiting neighboring countries and speaking
to Iranian refugees who have left Iran. Now on my when I talked to when we were discussing the UN, I said that it's not it's actually also very good. Because if you don't allow people to come in to see actually what is on the ground, the presumption of the international community is that you are hiding something. But the UN cannot force itself in if the state says no, you cannot come in. So there are a lot A lot, a lot of dynamics.
And I guess people also think about things like rock what happened in Iraq, like even though the UN didn't, you know, wasn't illegal war.
The West Britain, America really care, you know, didn't really care what the UN said, at the end of the day and went and did what they wanted anyway. Right. So there's also that dynamic there, which confuses people I guess.
Yes. I mean, I agree. I mean, there's a lot of I mean, power dynamics within the international community, which, I mean, it's not ideal. But this is an international law, whereby sometimes, I mean, we don't want to say too much. But in certain situations, I mean,
it's about facing the facts.
Did you get the point facing the fact knife example. If now, when you will know, the position of during the invasion of Iraq? We know the position of the UN on it? I mean, there is a lot of resolutions in relation to you know, that I mean, do you and we're still deliberating, and I mean, the Americans, just overnight, were announcing that they have started
invading Iraq, they know they were going contrary, serious. And they And not only that, it was a violation of international law. Now, when that happens, I mean, we just have to face the fact what can be done, done, although the USA that where we do not support this, that invasion is combining. Now what can you just have to face the facts? Because it's about power dynamics. It is true, certain countries are powerful than others. And sometimes when when they want to become a rogue states, I mean, what are you do? You just I mean, talk about it, I Well, you I guess the rock state, what you are doing is wrong. If you do not have the firepower, firepower, what is this about facing the fact
isn't it? And then maybe
when they have exhausted themselves, then they leave, but then history will continue to talk about it. That's just the issue.
Yeah, it's like George Galloway, the MP, he said, the only desk sports are the only war criminal to get that get brought to account or the failed war criminals, you know,
the rest of them carry on, you know, in the, during the lecture circuit, unfortunately, the world in which we live, you know, I mean, it's
a world I mean,
we the UN Charter, the United Nations, I mean, principles, promote the ideal in relation to the world, this is how things have to be done.
We want to have I mean, peaceful coexistence between nation states.
The UN with international law, international law, theoretically says that wars are prohibited that there can be no more walls, that they can only be what are called conflicts. And when conflicts occur, because conflicts can be resolved. You know, there are no more wars, but in reality was do happen. Even though international law a lot of the time we don't refer to them, as was to say there are conflicts, you know, because of the fact that I mean, ideally, I mean, the rules of warfare, you know, you don't you don't you don't just take your enemy by surprise, they have to be a declaration of war, before you started, you start moving but nobody the all those rules are considered to be
acquired. Now, you know, I mean, so, you find out the rules, international law rules, they promote the ideal, but in reality, you know, for example, it says that all nation states are the promotes the concept of equality of nation states. Is this honest
states are equal. That's the ideal in the UN Charter. But in reality, we know that some states are powerful and others. That's just the truth. Yeah. So it is promoting an ideal. So you have to live in understand that this is the ideal we are pushing out. But sometimes the reality stares us in the face, when the reality is most most in the face, you cannot find the ideal setup, that idea is wrong. No, we are still pushing, we want that idea to happen, even though in reality, there could be situations that I mean, contradict the ideal.
So in other words, instead of, you know, being idealistic and thinking, Okay, you know, we don't have a perfect system, we should be trying to minimize the harm and maximize the good that we can get from these regimes. Right. That is, I mean, that is I mean, indirectly, the point one is trying to make that
it's kind of the only option as well, right, in a way. Well, hopefully, I mean, I wouldn't say who knows down the road, maybe the world will learn a lesson, including the Muslim states, including the Western countries, because there's a lot of problems all over that maybe we'll learn and see that where this system, I mean, the reality what the way states behave, and things like that. I mean, as rock states, it's not really helping anybody. And then
common sense will prevail, and we can have a better system down the road somewhere.
I always see. And Muslim countries, you know, getting together,
coming to common grounds, having treaties. You know, people also highlighted, for example, during this latest,
the latest problems in Palestine,
the lack of action from the OSC, you know, a lot of words, a lot of, you know,
shaking fingers at people, but nothing really, you know, nothing tangible, right?
What are your reflections on the OSC and Muslims coming together to make human rights treaties? Isn't there a conflict there? Because, you know, a lot of the Muslim countries, they're going to be very conscious of self preservation in terms of, you know, if they're, for example, dictatorships and kings and you know, things like that, right, they're going to, they're going to be more concerned about preserving their kingdoms.
So if they come together to to work on treaties,
you know, I don't know how effective those treaties or how sincere they will be. What are your reflections on the Oh, I see. And also just to end, what would you like all Muslims to appreciate about human rights and Islamic law and maybe their, how they could interact or contribute?
Well, thank you so much. I mean, the Oh, I see. I mean, basically. I mean, I will think it's a good idea. I mean, what I mean, it was created due to the accident that occurred in the hospital x, Muslims thought, Well, okay, well, Muslim countries thought they should come together 57 countries, which I think I mean, there's power in the collective, you know, but as we say, I mean, a lot of things can be done better. Now,
I if you look at the yc charter, they have been revised it again, that a lot of ideals in it,
which one would say is good. But then it goes back again to, you know,
the political will. And the protocols, you talk about the fact that well, the leaders are despots and they want to self preservation, and that is the politics. I mean, and that's the reality, a lot of the time you know, when we look at things strictly from an Islamic point of view, we look at it from the presumption that well, Muslim leaders will be ideal, not only things but human beings
are human beings, politicians, political leaders are the same everywhere. Now, the point is this I'm not trying to blame I mean,
the predecessors, even if you look down the barrel of Islamic political organization, right, until after the Prophet death, we will see pockets of leaders who say that I mean, I am and this is what is called CSR. You know, CSR saya Su Su you know, what CSR, the term CSR means, I mean, it means you know, a wood eater You know, there's an insect that eats wood, it eats it little by little, little by little, you don't know that the wood is already dying by the time you know, they will just fall down siesta, that is it in terms of Little by little, little by little. It takes so when religious people who are religious people who are on religious
CSI, CSI, people want to self preserve? And this is why I mean, sometimes this type of debate where we are talking about is dude, the populace will have to continue to talk. And that is that brings me to the second part of your question human rights, you know, people should be able to when they are leaders, I mean, they should be able to speak truth to power, using the language of human rights, using Islamic values, they remind them, they may not completely become ideal, but they will know that people know that well, at least I mean, there are some values that are to be protected and things like that. So human rights, I believe, I mean, not only Muslim, all human beings can
benefit from it, it's an ideal, which we shall continue to, I will not support its condemnation, whether by Muslims or non Muslims, we have to, there are a lot of common grounds, we have to use it as a platform, to challenge rulership to speak truth to power, whether they are rulers in Muslim majority countries, whether they are rulers in western countries, when they do things that violate, whether it's the Oh, I see whether it's the UN when they do things that violate, I mean, the principles of human dignity, we should be able to talk to them that look, I mean, this is strong. And that is wrong. It's not about condemning the whole institution, but pointing out where things
have gone wrong, because of the fact that I mean,
there will be some other areas where I mean, they are doing things right, do I say can do better NATO for my rights, but in the areas of bringing the Muslim majority countries together, in the areas of example, Islamic Finance, setting rules, and things like that, they are doing some very good work, and the areas are speaking up, you know, they are doing some very good work. But as I said, you know, these are all ideals that we should all cherish, even though sometimes the practicalities that confront us, you know, do the contrary. And that is where we can use the language of human right to speak truth to power. And I believe that I mean, that will also have its
will thank you so much, Professor bodhran, I really enjoyed having this conversation with you. And I must say that your class at SOE S has been very inspiring and thought provoking. And I think for many of us, you've really,
you've really given us a nuanced look at this whole topic where perhaps previously we had a bit of a, you know, black and white view of it. So we really appreciate, you know, your expertise, your knowledge and, and sharing, you know, and empathizing with the way I think Muslims have been thinking about this, while at the same time trying to, you know, change people's minds. And I think that's, that's one of the great things that your work is doing.
So thank you so much does not go
away. Fatima. Thank you so much, really, for having me on. And I think I mean, your broadcast, it's really very helpful, and I'm really honored to be on it. And I hope that perhaps I mean, I've been able to make a contribution that will pass maybe open people's mind to reflect to the possibilities. I'm not saying everything is ideal. But I mean, before you play on things, we'll be able to see there are pockets of light here on there, that will can stand out and make things better. Thank you so much. Thank you so much. Is that fair? And and I hope that I can, you know, collaborate with you in future as well. I would really
be honored to be able to do that.
Yes, definitely. Thanks,
Kevin. So that Wiley Corolla wild one was.
So dear brothers and sisters and hamdulillah we've come to the end of this episode, so much to think about so much to look into, please do look into Professor bedrosians books, you can just look them up online, you know that a lot of them material is out there. Also his journal articles etc.
and leave a comment. And let me know what you thought about this discussion. It is a nuanced discussion might be a bit controversial to some people. But, you know, we need to get educated and understand these issues in depth and not have a superficial understanding of these things. Just that Kamala Harris and Mr. Lee Kuan want to lower burger to a subhanak level Mohammed ik shadow Illa Illa Illa and stone Furukawa.
You've been listening to all my talk with Fatima Baraka Tila, please share this episode. Please leave a comment. And let us know what do you think about the issues that we've discussed? Joseph Camillo Heron was Salam alaykum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh