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Human rights, Islam and the failure of cosmopolitanism

posted on 2023-06-08, 13:30 authored by June EdmundsJune Edmunds
The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has been held up as a Cosmopolitan Legal Order (CLO) and cosmopolitan theoriests have tended to see human rights as representing a cosmopolitan 'moment'. The veiling movement in Europe has also been presented as representing cosmopolitanism from below. However, this key litmus tests fails in the ECtHR when addressing the headscarf bans in Europe. In all the relevant cases, the court has deferred to the national governments and has adopted their arguments about the headscarf as a symbol of radical fundamentalism. Thus, the Court has failed to establish a cosmopolitan foundation for one of the most controversial issues concerning European politics. Far from representing a cosmopolitan momement, European human rights have colluded in the securitization of Islam, an example of which includes bans on the headscarf in public spaces. If Muslims cannot get safeguards from institutions such as the ECtHR one solution would be for them to turn to a 'politics of rights' which could reverse the securitization process and act as a better guarantor for Muslim rights to dress as they choose. This process could end by holding the mirror up to the transgressors of human rights, ironically their original proponents, and find a way of giving Muslim women an authentic voice in Europe.


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  • Published





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Routledge Advances in Sociology

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  • Sociology and Criminology Publications

Research groups affiliated with

  • Sussex Centre for Human Rights Research Publications

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