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1 - Evolution of Founding Vision

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 December 2021

Abdullahi Ahmed An-Naim
Affiliation:
Emory University, Atlanta
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Summary

The premise of this book is that, like everything else in life and human experience since the beginning of time, evolution is the key for understanding how the world works. For me, as a Muslim, only God is the permanent reality, while everything else evolves with time and in response to changing circumstances. Since human rights are rendered in the service of human beings, they must evolve with the life experience of their subject, namely, human beings on the ground everywhere, for each person and community on their own terms. This is the true meaning of universal human rights which are worthy of global struggle for their realization and protection. By the principle of the concept itself, no other person, group, or entity can impose their view in defining, interpreting, or elaborating human rights norms and institutions for others. The way remains open for respectful debate, contestation, suggestions, and recommendations, but these should never violate the dignity and freedom of the human subject. This is what we all know as the Golden Rule, or the principle of reciprocity. If in doubt as to whether a debate or challenge is in violation of this fundamental principle, imagine the situation with you as the subject of violation of human dignity and freedom.1

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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