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In the Name of Culture and Religion: the Political Function of Blasphemy in Islamic States


Manea, Elham (2016). In the Name of Culture and Religion: the Political Function of Blasphemy in Islamic States. Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations, 27(1):117-127.

Abstract

This article argues that blasphemy laws and a cultural relativist approach to human rights have a political function in authoritarian states. Islamic states use a strong cultural relativist approach to justify their dismal human rights record. The main aim of this approach, however, is survival. The article shows how Islamic countries use religion for their own political survival purposes and how blasphemy laws are often used to silence critique of political, social and religious orders that infringe on basic human rights. From this perspective, blasphemy laws are tools of oppression, not a symbol of cultural and religious difference. By highlighting how blasphemy laws and a cultural relativist approach to religion have been used as tools of oppression by authoritarian regimes, the article underscores the importance of freedom of expression for any functioning democracy.

Abstract

This article argues that blasphemy laws and a cultural relativist approach to human rights have a political function in authoritarian states. Islamic states use a strong cultural relativist approach to justify their dismal human rights record. The main aim of this approach, however, is survival. The article shows how Islamic countries use religion for their own political survival purposes and how blasphemy laws are often used to silence critique of political, social and religious orders that infringe on basic human rights. From this perspective, blasphemy laws are tools of oppression, not a symbol of cultural and religious difference. By highlighting how blasphemy laws and a cultural relativist approach to religion have been used as tools of oppression by authoritarian regimes, the article underscores the importance of freedom of expression for any functioning democracy.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Political Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:320 Political science
Uncontrolled Keywords:Blasphemy, Islam, Islamic states, religion, culture, cultural relativism, political function of blasphemy, political function of cultural relativism, Charlie Hebdo, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iran
Language:English
Date:2016
Deposited On:02 Dec 2016 07:34
Last Modified:02 Dec 2016 07:36
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:0959-6410
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1080/09596410.2015.1114241
Official URL:http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/09596410.2015.1114241?needAccess=true

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