Chicago Journal of International Law


Differences among civilizations are a critical consideration in the development and enforcement of public international law. As "non-Western" countries gain a more sophisticated and influential presence in the UN and other intergovernmental bodies, these bodies are forced to reconcile their historic and elemental positions with those of member states that may have fundamental differences in their views of governmental power, human rights, and the role of international authority. Religion is one area of particular interest because of its divisive implications for major players on the world stage. Religious beliefs inform the moral frameworks of many of the world's most prominent policymakers. Whereas some nations are self-consciously religious in their policymaking, others, though potentially equally as informed in their moral structures by religion, claim to be secular in their statehood. Though the world is becoming more fragmented by ideology, it is also better connected through technology, and it is the role of legal scholars and policymakers to determine whether the maintenance of an international collaborative government body really is feasible in all areas of law. This Development explores the potential for compatibility between Islamic Law and human rights-in particular the freedom of religion and belief. As manifestations of Qur'anic law are as diverse as interpretations of "Western" liberal law, this Development focuses on Iranian Qur'anic law with only brief mentions of the implications of Islamic law for other countries. Though the Iranian interpretation of Islamic law is by no means representative of all Islamic nations, because of its conservative nature, it can serve as a benchmark in the analysis of other governmental systems. [CONT]