Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)


International Studies

First Advisor's Name

Mohiaddin Mesbahi

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Charles MacDonald

Third Advisor's Name

Aisha Musa

Date of Defense



When speaking of international criminal law, it is assumed that this system is of Western origin. The fact that concepts of human rights and a common international standard regulating these rights existed in Islam centuries (about 1409 years ago) before Western case law, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the United Nations body existed is largely unrecognized. This research examines whether Islamic international criminal law and Western international criminal law are compatible, and analyzes the possibility of applying principles of Islamic human rights and justice universally. The analysis of primary textual material, mainly the Quran, supports the major arguments of my thesis.

Evidence presented refutes competing explanations of Islamic international criminal law as being in contradiction to international law and human rights norms. On the contrary, Islam and human rights are not only compatible, they are more so inextricable from each other. I take the position that it is not Islam which should be reformed, but rather it is the Muslim people who must reform their understanding of Islam and revert to observing the mandates of their religion, thus living up to international standards.




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