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Flashcards in Issues of Human Rights Deck (28):
1

Human rights and social justice

Human rights are universal moral rights that apply to all people, at all times in all situations, regardless of gender, race, religious or non-religious beliefs and age.
1948- United Nations issued Declaration of Human Rights (30 articles which start with “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”)
Social Justice means promoting a fair society by challenging injustice and valuing diversity. Ensuring that everyone has equal access to provisions, equal opportunities and rights.

2

Amnesty International

Set up in 1960 by Peter Benenson.
Works worldwide to protect and campaign for men, women and children whose basic human rights are denied.
AI use nonviolent methods to raise awareness and protest against human rights abuses:
-form protest marches
-write letters to governments, campaigning for justice
-raising awareness, through media
-running school programmes to educate about human rights.

3

Malala Yousafzai

Human rights campaigner.
Malala campaigned against the lack of education for girls in Pakistan, where she lived.
“I raised up my voice- not so I can shout but so that those without a voice can be heard...we cannot succeed when half of us are held back”
The Taliban banned girls from school where Malala lived.
This goes against the human right “Everyone has the right to an education”
Malala knew she would be putting her life at risk. When she was 11 she blogged about promoting education for girls. On 9th October 2012, she was getting on a bus when she was shot 3 times. She survived and continues to campaign.

4

Humanist attitudes to human rights and social justice

Humanists UK is firmly committed to the protection and promotion of human rights, as exemplified in documents such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These rights represent shared values rooted in our common humanity and our shared human needs, transcending particular cultural and religious traditions. This regard for human rights and for the equal dignity of all human beings underpins many of our policies.

Humanist principles of justice and of valuing the dignity of each individual also lead us to support equality and oppose unwarranted discrimination. Humanists have been deeply involved in campaigning against discrimination – from homophobia to racism – for decades. Humanists have also been in the forefront of developing modern ideas of human rights, and have been prominent human rights defenders.

5

Christian views on human rights and social justice

People sometimes say that discrimination is created when prejudice is combined with power. Prejudice is the attitude of someone whose opinion is not based on fact. Prejudice can be triggered by differences of religion, race, colour, sex, language, disability or age. Prejudice is not illegal, as an attitude can’t be illegal, but discrimination is illegal.

Discrimination and human rights
All forms of discrimination go against the first two Articles of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights:

Article 1 All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.


Article 2 Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

6

Liberation theology

Love for the poor must be preferential, but not exclusive.

Ecclesia in America, 1999

Liberation theology was a radical movement that grew up in South America as a response to the poverty and the ill-treatment of ordinary people. The movement was caricatured in the phrase If Jesus Christ were on Earth today, he would be a Marxist revolutionary, but it's more accurately encapsulated in this paragraph from Leonardo and Clodovis Boff:

Liberation theology said the church should derive its legitimacy and theology by growing out of the poor. The Bible should be read and experienced from the perspective of the poor.

The church should be a movement for those who were denied their rights and plunged into such poverty that they were deprived of their full status as human beings. The poor should take the example of Jesus and use it to bring about a just society.

7

Muslim views on human rights and social injustice

People sometimes say that discrimination is created when prejudice is combined with power. Prejudice is the attitude of someone whose opinion is not based on fact. Prejudice can be triggered by differences of religion, race, colour, sex, language, disability or age. Prejudice is not illegal, as an attitude can’t be illegal, but discrimination is illegal.

Discrimination and human rights
All forms of discrimination go against the first two Articles of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights:

Article 1 All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.


Article 2 Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

8

Censorship

The practice of suppressing and limiting access to materials considered obscene, offensive or a threat to security. People may be restricted in their speech by censorship laws.
Article 19 of Declaration of Human Rights “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression”.
In the UK people are free to express their views about any religion unless it will incite violence or discrimination. There are different views about whether we should be allowed to express these views freely or if they are likely to cause offense should there be censorship?

9

Freedom of religious expression

Religion can be expressed in clothes or symbols worn. However, in some countries it is illegal to wear religious symbols to school.
Often, these symbols reflect a particular belief and are an important part of the e believer’s identity.
For some religious people might feel it is important to tell other people about their faith. Mission- calling to go out into the world and spread faith. Evangelise- to try and convert someone to a religion. “Go into the world and preach the gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:15).
Other people think it is disrespectful to do this.

10

Religious extremism

Extremism- believing in and supporting ideas that are very far from what most people consider correct or reasonable.
Some people may join organisations and activities where people have similar views and beliefs. There is a fine balance between freedom of speech and action, and actions and speech that are considered extreme.
For some, their beliefs are so important to them, they may feel justified in extreme ways to uphold their belief or make others follow them. They may misinterpret the holy books, they may think they will be rewarded for their actions in the afterlife, they may be influenced by family or friends who think the same way, they may think they are doing God’s work.
All believe they are acting correctly because it what they believe to be true.

11

Prejudice and discrimination

Discrimination- acts of treating groups of people, or individuals differently, based on prejudice.
Prejudice- judging people to be inferior or superior without cause.
There are laws to protect people against discrimination however, many people would say discrimination still exists e.g some buildings don’t allow access for all people, women being paid less than men, women not being allowed to have leadership roles in certain religious communities because of the interpretation of the holy text.

12

Religious discrimination

Unequal treatment of an individual or group based on their beliefs.
Actions may include
-name calling and ridicule
- attacks on places of worship
- burning of sacred texts
- not being allowed to wear religious symbols in public
- acts of violence
Islamophobia- prejudice against Muslims

13

Christian views on prejudice and discrimination

Christianity teaches that everyone is equal in the eyes of God. Therefore there is no reason to treat people differently.

Christian teaching about other people is based on love and this is stated by Jesus:

I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.

John 13:34

You shall love your neighbour as yourself.

Matthew 22:39

There are also two important teachings in the writings of Paul about this:

From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.

Acts 17:26

There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3:28

No one can follow these teachings perfectly, and there will be occasions when Christians, like those of other faiths, are guilty of prejudice and discrimination.

But there are many examples too of Christians challenging injustice when they see the laws of God being broken.

John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, is from Uganda where he was a lawyer and judge until 1975 when he was forced to flee to Britain when President Idi Amin started a reign of terror against his own people. Archbishop Sentamu has done a lot to raise awareness of racism in British society and in the Anglican church.

14

Muslim views on prejudice and discrimination

The Qur’an (the Divine Book revealed to the Prophet Muhammad) teaches that everyone was created by Allah (God) and that everyone is equal:

Of His Signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the diversity of your tongues and colours.

Surah 30:22

O mankind, We have created you from male and female; and We have divided you into tribes and sub-tribes for greater facility of intercourse. Verily, the most honoured among you in the sight of Allah is he who is the most righteous among you. Surely, Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware.’

Surah 49:14

Therefore there is no reason to treat people of different races differently. The Prophet Muhammad showed how important this teaching was in his last sermon, when he said:

All mankind is descended from Adam and Eve, an Arab is not better than a non-Arab and a non-Arab is not better than an Arab; a white person is not better than a black person, nor is a black person better than a white person except by piety and good actions. Learn that every Muslim is the brother of every other Muslim and that Muslims form one brotherhood.


No one can follow these teachings perfectly, and there will be occasions when Muslims, like those of other faiths, are guilty of prejudice and discrimination.

But there are many examples too of Muslims challenging injustice when they see the laws of God being broken.

One such person is Farid Esack, a Muslim university teacher who decided to challenge racism and inequality in South Africa at a time when Apartheid was the political system. Today he continues to work with people of all religions to find ways to resolve conflict, misunderstanding and injustice.

Muhammad said: "Believers are in relation to one another as parts of one structure. One part strengthens the other."

Bukhari Hadith 8.88

The most excellent jihad is the uttering of truth in the presence of an unjust ruler.

Tirmidhi Hadith 17

15

Humanist views on prejudice and discrimination

Discrimination becomes unfair and harmful when we use unimportant or irrelevant differences to make choices that affect other people. It occurs when we treat other people based on the group to which we perceive them to belong, rather than on individual merit (for example, if we don’t employ women to do certain jobs just because they are women, or we say only people from a certain race can live in our country, or that same-sex couples can’t get married). We are then denying people equal rights to things that are important in our lives, such as education, employment, and status in society.

Prejudice occurs when we judge other people or groups without reason or knowledge, and it often leads to unfair discrimination. This happens when we form an opinion about something before we have learned about all the relevant facts. People can sometimes stereotype others according to irrelevant features, such as their sex, race, age, religion or belief, or sexual orientation, rather than considering what features are actually important. Humanists believe we should treat all people as individuals.

16

Racism

Discrimination based on a person’s race.

17

Show racism the red card

Anti-racist charity.
Uses high profile football stars to present anti-racist messages to young people and others. It works in schools and provides resources to help educate young people against racism and contribute towards integration.

18

Martin Luther King

Baptist minister influenced by Jesus’ teaching on love.
In USA he adopted non-violent protests to support civil rights for black Americans.
Despite being imprisoned and suffering violence MLK knew violence wasn’t the answer.
He followed Jesus’ teachings to turn the other cheek and not return hate for hate.
“We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools”

19

Wealth

The bottom fifth of population have 8% of UK’s total income; the top fifth have 40%
Wealth in London and the South East is considerably higher than other areas of the country.
The top 10% of the population hold 45% of the wealth and the bottom 50% have 8.7%
In 2014 it was reported that the five richest families in the UK were worth more than the bottom 20% of the whole population.

20

The acquisition of wealth- how do people get money?

Through working for a business. High salaries such as TV stars, sports stars.
Starting own business
Inheritance from a dead relative
Crime like fraud or burglary
gambling

21

The use of wealth

Britain is materialistic which values money and possessions.
However, in 2015 75% of UK adults donated to charity, this was in comparison to a worldwide average of 31.5%.
People also help family friends out for example, as property gets more expensive, many parents are helping their children to lend money so they can buy a house.

22

Does money bring happiness?

“The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively”

Bob Marley (musician)

23

Poverty

Relative poverty- a standard of poverty measured in relation to the standards of a society in which a person lives, for example, living on less than x % of average UK income.

Absolute poverty- an acute state of deprivation, whereby a person cannot access the most basic of their human needs.

24

Christian views on wealth and poverty

The Tenth Commandment makes it clear that people should be content with what they have:

You shall not covet your neighbour’s house. You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour.

Exodus 20:17

The Great Commandment which Jesus gave to his disciples is at the heart of Christian teaching:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.

Mark 12:30-31

The second is this:

Love your neighbour as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.

Mark 12:30-31

Jesus told his followers that being wealthy is not easy. He said:

It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God.

Luke 18:25

Jesus taught that people should use their wealth unselfishly, to look after one another:

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.

Matthew 25:35-36

When it comes to business, Christians must make sure that they earn their living an an honest way that does not hurt other people. People argue that Christians should not be involved in the arms trade, in prostitution or pornography. Some people say that Christian doctors and nurses must never take part in abortion.

In the past some Christians and some churches were involved in South Africa in a way that helped strengthen the apartheid system (segregrating black people from white).

The law in the United Kingdom now allows shops to open on Sundays. Some people say that this breaks the Fourth Commandment:

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labour and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

Exodus 20:8

25

Christian Aid

As a Christian organisation, we believe every one of us is created in the image of God and deserves respect and care, and the opportunity to live a life of peace, dignity and worth.

In a world with such wealth as ours, no one should go without food, shelter, security or any of the other basics we all need.

We work for and with people of all faiths and none, as well as with churches and other organisations, to promote sustainable development, strive for social justice and pursue our vision of a world without poverty.

In 37 countries, we support poor and marginalised people, whatever their beliefs, sexuality, gender and ethnicity, to lift themselves out of poverty.

We do this by tackling both the causes and the symptoms of poverty so that everyone can achieve equality, dignity and freedom.

26

Muslim views on wealth and poverty

Muslims are required to live according to the teachings of the Qur’an (the Divine Book revealed to the Prophet Muhammad) and some jobs are therefore haram (forbidden). Lending money is forbidden if the lender benefits from riba (interest):

That which ye lay out for increase through the property of (other) people, will have no increase with Allah.

Surah 30:39

When people owe money Muslims should be sympathetic to the debtor:

If the debtor is in a difficulty, grant him time till it is easy for him to repay. But if ye remit it by way of charity, that is best for you if ye only knew.

Surah 2:280

There are Muslim banks with special facilities so that Muslims are able to borrow money without the bank making interest on it.

Gambling is also forbidden in Islam:

Satan’s plan is (but) to excite enmity and hatred between you, with intoxicants and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah, and from prayer: will ye not then abstain?

Surah 5:91

Many Muslims will not take charitable donations towards building a mosque or school if the money has come from gambling or a lottery.

Muslims in the United Kingdom take an active part in raising money for their mosque where it is distributed to the poor; many will send money to Muslim communities abroad.

Muslim charities such as Muslim Aid and Islamic Relief work to help people in developing countries.

The generous man is near God, near Paradise, near men and far from Hell, and the ignorant man who is generous is dearer to God than a worshipper who is miserly.

Hadith

Work is a central part of Muslim life:

But Allah has created you and your handiwork!

Surah 37:96

The Qur’an says that Muslims cannot profit from alcohol or gambling, from brothels or prostitution, lying, fraud or burglary:

And do not eat up your property among yourselves for vanities, nor use it as bait for the judges, with intent that ye may eat up wrongfully and knowingly a little of (other) peoples’ property.

Surah 2:188

27

Islamic relief

Over the thirty years, we have saved and transformed the lives of over 110 million people. By responding to disasters, rebuilding lives and preparing people in case disaster strikes – we save lives before they are lost.

In addition to providing disaster and emergency response, we also promote sustainable economic and social development by working with local communities – regardless of race, religion or gender.

Our Mission
Together we will inspire and enable people to respond rapidly to disasters and fight poverty through our Islamic values, expertise and global reach.

Our Values
We remain guided by the timeless values and teachings of the Qur’an and the prophetic example (Sunnah), most specifically:

Sincerity (Ikhlas) – In responding to poverty and suffering, our efforts are driven by sincerity to God and the need to fulfil our obligations to humanity.
Excellence (Ihsan) – Our actions in tackling poverty are marked by excellence in our operations and the conduct through which we help the deserving people we serve.
Compassion (Rahma) – We believe the protection and well-being of every life is of paramount importance and we shall join with other humanitarian actors to act as one in responding to suffering brought on by disasters, poverty and injustice.
Social Justice (Adl) – Our work is founded on enabling people and institutions to fulfil the rights of the poor and vulnerable. We work to empower the dispossessed towards realising their God-given human potential and develop their capabilities and resources.
Custodianship (Amana) – We uphold our duty of custodianship over Earth and its resources, and the trust people place in us as a humanitarian and development practitioner to be transparent and accountable.

28

Humanist views on wealth and poverty

It is important to care about poverty because of shared humanity.
Treat others in a way they want to be treated.
Actions should be fair and just.
Humanists to seek why there is poverty and try to create a world that is socially just through active campaigning.