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Transcending the Human Rights Debate: Iranian Intellectuals' Contemporary Discourses and the New Hermeneutics of the Sharia

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The Iranian discourse on human rights is not well known for a wide range of reasons: there are few translations from Persian; the Iranian human rights' model is often perceived as a threat to universality and Iran has a generally negative image on the international scene. The reality is that the post-Islamic Iranian human rights discourse is rich, varied and intellectually stimulating, the paradoxical outcome of a regime that limits freedom of expression and freedom of thought. Iranian intellectuals have to find strategies to avoid the censorship that threatens anyone who defies Iran's official human rights model. These intellectuals have formulated incredibly compelling theories that can be assimilated to a third voice transcending the permanent opposition between the principle of universality and cultural relativism. This theory is being advocated across the Muslim world and throughout Muslim communities. Iranian intellectuals have shaped their own approach to this third path, thereby creating an Iranian human rights' specificity within the Muslim world.


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