Cultural Relativism

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This chapter gives an overview of issues that paves the way for a clearer understanding of the research problem and identifies the knowledge gap this study seeks to fill. The literature review first discusses the concept of cultural relativism and then interpretative methodologies in contemporary Islam. This chapter first will specify the relationship between cultural relativism and human rights show the conflict between cultural relativism and universality of human rights, and, finally, argue for helpful approaches that aim at reconciling cultural relativism and universalism. Second, with regard to the second section (Islamic interpretative methodologies), this chapter will explain how traditional interpretations misunderstand and exploit…show more content…
Culture is considered as the source of exchange, creativity, and innovation, which are necessary for humankind to solve society’s persistent problems. Culture gives its people a sense of power and confidence to achieve their goals, determining what is desirable and undesirable for their life. Culture, however, cannot always be viewed in such a positive light. Over time, culture has been used as a justification for harming people and constraining their development. Arguably, cultural relativism is the most serious problem that faces human rights standards and…show more content…
Human rights advocates challenge many tenets of cultural relativism. For example, cultural relativism is deployed by officials to justify the denial of human rights to some of their people. It has comet o encompass dominant concepts like ‘race, culture, religion class and ethnicity or nationality’. It confers rights to people based on factors such as age, gender, race, nationality, religion and culture and in doing so; it has denied the universality of human rights. In addition, cultural relativism sees universal human rights as insensitive to cultural differences and an instrument of oppression itself. Some developing states view human rights as a new form of Western imperialism. They argue that human rights should be more `culture-relative` rather than universal. On the other hand, universalism maintains that human rights are universal and inherent in every individual, irrespective of culture, race, ethnicity, gender, age and so on. Further, according to universalism, rights are absolute and inalienable. Universalism advocates maintain that all humans essentially have and share the same rights because of their humanity, regardless of the culture into which the individual is born. Clearly, these two definitions show that there are serious grounds of conflict between the universality of human rights and cultural

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