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Misconceptions About Human Rights and Women’s Rights in Islam


This paper aims to clarify three current misconceptions about the Islamic faith and issues of human rights and women’s rights in the West. The first misconception is that Muslims are terrorists because they believe in Jihad. It is factually the case that Islamic teachings stress the value of peace and prosperity for all human beings. The second misconception is that Muslims prohibit scientific knowledge and only aim to seek religious knowledge. To the contrary, Qur’an emphasizes that the opportunity to seek all forms of knowledge is a human right and responsibility of all Muslims. The third misconception and perhaps, the most controversial, is that Islam oppresses women. In reality, Islam offers women the right to make their own choices in the areas of education, business, and property, to name a few. By sharing my own experiential narrative as a Muslim born woman and that of a Canadian women who converted to Islam, I can actually see the similarities between human rights in Islam and the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948).

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Correspondence to Khalida Tanvir Syed.

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Syed, K.T. Misconceptions About Human Rights and Women’s Rights in Islam. Interchange 39, 245–257 (2008).

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  • Misconceptions
  • Islam
  • human rights
  • Qur’an
  • Hadith
  • equity
  • education
  • women’s rights
  • media