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Since the appearance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, various human rights declarations have been proposed that purport to set forth alternative Islamic principles on human rights. How Islam pertains to human rights remains contested, and none of the proposed Islamic human rights declarations can be taken as a definitive statement of Islamic human rights. The Islamic heritage is diffuse and complex, and trends in contemporary Islamic thought vary widely. Moreover, the rationale for producing Islamic alternatives is challenged by Muslims who embrace the UDHR as consonant with their faith along with the concept of dignity that is linked to the human rights that it sets forth.
The idea that Islam possesses its own distinctive version of human rights has been promoted by conservative forces in Muslim societies that seek to uphold rules of Islamic law, or Shariʿa, that are in conflict with the UDHR. In league with some of these conservative forces, governments of Muslim countries have sponsored alternative declarations and resolutions that rely on Islamic elements to rationalize non-compliance with the UDHR, eliminating some UDHR rights and circumscribing others. Where the concept of dignity figures in such declarations, because it accommodates inequality and restrictions on rights, it takes on colourations unlike those of dignity in the UDHR.