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The Right to be Human: How Do Muslim Women Talk about Human Rights and Religious Freedoms in Britain?

In: Religion & Human Rights
Author:
Sariya Cheruvallil-Contractor Research Fellow in Faith and Peaceful Relations, Coventry University UK

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Abstract

This article examines existing literature and data from qualitative fieldwork with Muslim women in Britain to analyse their narratives of human rights and freedom, as they live within plural European contexts. In scared, securitised and polarised Europe, Muslim women have become visible markers of otherness. Each Muslim woman becomes a fulcrum upon which Western values and morality are measured against the “other”, its values, its beliefs and its choices. In exploring the implications of societal othering on Muslim women’s experiences of their human rights, this article concludes that in social contexts that are polemical, becoming the other dehumanises Muslim women who thus become ineligible for “human” rights. In such contexts, a human rights-based approach alone is insufficient to achieve “dignity and fairness” in society. In addition to human rights, societies need robust and rigorous dialogue so that societal differences become part of a new mediated plural reality.

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