LAWS90098 Islam and Human Rights

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2017:

July, Parkville - Taught on campus.Show/hide details
Pre-teaching Period Start 28-Jun-2017
Teaching Period 26-Jul-2017 to 01-Aug-2017
Assessment Period End 25-Oct-2017
Last date to Self-Enrol 30-Jun-2017
Census Date 26-Jul-2017
Last date to Withdraw without fail 15-Sep-2017

This subject has a quota of 30 students. Please refer to the Melbourne Law Masters website for further information about the management of subject quotas and waitlists.

Timetable can be viewed here.
For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 29-33 hours
Total Time Commitment:

136-150 hours

The pre-teaching period commences four weeks before the subject commencement date. From this time, students are expected to access and review the Reading Guide that will be available from the LMS subject page and the subject materials provided by the subject coordinator, which will be available from Melbourne Law School. Refer to the Reading Guide for confirmation of which resources need to be read and what other preparation is required before the teaching period commences.


Melbourne Law Masters Students: None

JD Students: None

Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge:

Applicants without legal qualifications should note that subjects are offered in the discipline of law at an advanced graduate level. While every effort will be made to meet the needs of students trained in other fields, concessions will not be made in the general level of instruction or assessment. Most subjects assume the knowledge usually acquired in a degree in law (LLB, JD or equivalent). Applicants should note that admission to some subjects in the Melbourne Law Masters will be dependent upon the individual applicant’s educational background and professional experience.

Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

The Melbourne Law Masters welcomes applications from students with disabilities. The inherent academic requirements for study in the Melbourne Law Masters are:

  • The ability to attend a minimum of 75% of classes and actively engage in the analysis and critique of complex materials and debate;
  • The ability to read, analyse and comprehend complex written legal materials and complex interdisciplinary materials;
  • The ability to clearly and independently communicate in writing a knowledge and application of legal principles and interdisciplinary materials and to critically evaluate these;
  • The ability to clearly and independently communicate orally a knowledge and application of legal principles and interdisciplinary materials and critically evaluate these;
  • The ability to work independently and as a part of a group;
  • The ability to present orally and in writing legal analysis to a professional standard.

Students who feel their disability will inhibit them from meeting these inherent academic requirements are encouraged to contact Student Equity and Disability Support.



Mr Hassan Abdel Salam, Coordinator

Email: law-masters@unimelb.edu.au
Phone: +61 3 8344 6190
Website: law.unimelb.edu.au

Subject Overview:

Since September 11, 2001, many questions have been raised about Islam and its relationship with human rights. 'Is Islam violent?' 'Why do Muslims hate freedom?' This subject explores how human rights and Islam came to be seen as oppositional. Through an examination of fatwas calling for non-violence, human rights advocacy calling for greater awareness of Islam and others calling to 'ban' Muslims, the subject will bring together the multiple, interlacing discourses that have produced this opposition. It explores how Islamic scholars have sought to synthesise Islamic laws with human rights, and how activists tread a fine line between criticism of religion and advocacy of human rights. The subject provides an introduction to Islamic law, an exploration of the jurisprudence of freedom of religion, a study of the international norms that come into tension with religious tenets, and an assessment of the impact of Islamic, human rights and constitutional laws on current conceptualisations of Islam and human rights.

Principal topics include:

  • The history of freedom of religion in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and constitutions across the world
  • An introduction to Islamic law with a focus on the example of the legitimacy (or non-legitimacy) of engaging in violence – also known in the media as 'Jihad', as well as an exploration of minority rights in Muslim nations
  • A study of the interaction between Islamic legal and human rights discourses and their impact on Muslims and non-Muslims in both Western and Muslim-majority nation-states.
  • Introduction of the complexities of Islamic law and its variation across nation-states in the Muslim world
  • The history of how the tension between human rights and Islam emerged in the late 20th century
  • An analysis of how human rights are deployed by politicians, the media and academics in Western and Muslim-majority nation-states
  • A study of the rise of Islamophobia in the 21st century, and the complicated ways in which Islamophobia is articulated in the language of human rights.
Learning Outcomes:

A student who has successfully completed this subject will:

  • Attain a holistic understanding of Islamic legal principles and their relationship with human rights
  • Understand the relevant international instruments applicable to appreciating the relationship between human rights and Islamic law
  • Gain a complex appreciation of how the relationship between human rights and Islam is conceptualized by politicians, media, and academics in Western societies and within Muslim majority nation-states
  • Have a deep understanding of freedom of religion through an exploration of human rights jurisprudence in nations worldwide
  • Acquire the skills to critically examine the relationship between Islamic legal concepts and human rights concepts, and the potential tensions (as they have been conceptualized in contemporary human rights scholarship), with a focus on political violence and minority rights
  • Have a sophisticated appreciation of the complex discourses that have led Islam and human rights to be cast as oppositional
  • Understand the rise of Islamophobia in contemporary discourses through an examination of its history, and the social, cultural, and intellectual forms that it takes globally
  • Appreciate the history of how Islam and Islamic ideas have impacted, altered, and rearticulated human rights conceptions
  • Be able to discuss opportunities to reconceptualise human rights to accommodate Islamic principles in the contemporary period
  • Deepen their understandings of the universality – cultural relativity debates.
  • Simulation exercise, on a day during the teaching period allocated on day one (20%)
  • Written assignment on simulation (1,000 words) (10%) (16 August 2017)
  • 5,500 – 7,000 word research paper (70%) (25 October 2017) on a topic approved by the subject coordinator

A minimum of 75% attendance is a hurdle requirement.

Prescribed Texts:

Specialist printed materials will be made available free of charge from the Melbourne Law School prior to the pre-teaching period.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Links to further information: law.unimelb.edu.au
Related Course(s): Graduate Diploma in Asian Law
Graduate Diploma in Human Rights Law
Graduate Diploma in International Law
Graduate Diploma in Legal Studies
Juris Doctor
Master of Human Rights Law
Master of Laws
Master of Public and International Law

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