WASHINGTON, DC – The international media frequently features stories of Arab states and non-state actors committing human rights violations allegedly in the name of Islam. The application and understanding of Islamic jurisprudence is varied and controversial, whether such readings of the faith result in institutionalized state laws or actions committed by non-state actors, such as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) or al-Qaeda.

The Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center is launching its Islamic Law and Human Rights initiative to explore these issues. With very generous support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the initiative, led by Nonresident Senior Fellow Geneive Abdo, will convene an esteemed committee of independent regional and Western scholars in sharia, political science, and anthropology to clarify Islamic jurisprudence and what it has to say about human rights. The project seeks to identify human rights violations through legal and scholarly analysis — rather than through activism.

Throughout the next two years, this committee will produce a series of papers on the most urgent categories of human rights violations being committed allegedly in the name of Islam. The papers will examine the interpretations of Islamic law in these violations and their social and political context in Arab societies. The project will also conduct an implementation phase throughout the Middle East to disseminate the committee’s findings and recommendations.

Read more about the Islamic Law and Human Rights initiative in English and Arabic.

For interviews and other press requests, please contact Andrea Taylor at press@AtlanticCouncil.org.