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Accommodating Religious Identities in an Islamic State: International Law, Freedom of Religion and the Rights of Religious Minorities

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This article examines the controversial and divisive issues of freedom of religion and the rights of religious minorities. A major stumbling-block in attaining a consensus on the subject has been the attitude of certain states which purport to follow the Sharia. The article however contends that in reality it is possible for Islamic states to find a great measure of compatibility with practices advocated by Western states on issues concerning the rights of religious minorities and religious freedom. Through an investigation of state practices, the paper concludes that the causes of the existing inconsistencies are embedded not in the Islamic system of governance (which these states are claiming to follow) but in domestic politics and constitutional inadequacies.

Affiliations: 1: Lecturer in Public Law and Human Rights, University of Leeds, United Kingdom

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