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Giving an Inch Only to Lose a Mile: Muslim States, Liberalism, and Human Rights in the United Nations

From: Human Rights Quarterly
Volume 36, Number 1, February 2014
pp. 61-89 | 10.1353/hrq.2014.0004



Buoyed by the liberal values dominant at the United Nations, secular groups have effectively imposed the parameters of liberal discourse on religious actors in human rights debates. The adoption of liberal discourse by religious groups makes them vulnerable. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s campaign at the United Nations surrounding the anti-defamation of religions illustrates this. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation and leading Muslim states adopted liberal language that empowers liberal, secular groups, as these groups hold the prerogative of defining the parameters of the liberal discourse and, thus, the parameters of acceptable religious discourse at the United Nations.

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