1st Edition

Islam, Constitutional Law and Human Rights Sexual Minorities And Freethinkers In Egypt And Tunisia

By Tommaso Virgili Copyright 2022
    210 Pages
    by Routledge

    210 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book focuses on Islamic constitutionalism, and in particular on the relation between religion and the protection of individual liberties potentially clashing with shariᶜa and the Islamic ethos. The analysis goes from general to  particular, starting with a theoretical overview on constitutionalism, human rights and Islam, moving to the assessment of the post-Arab Spring Constitutions of Egypt and Tunisia, and concluding with a specific focus on the rights of sexual minorities and freethinkers.

    Part I provides a theoretical account of the conception of constitutionalism and human rights in Islam, compared and contrasted with Western constitutionalism. A set of issues where the tension between shariᶜa and human rights is accentuated is analysed against the backdrop of the main Islamic charters of rights. Part II conducts a similar assessment based on the Constitutions of Tunisia and Egypt – the two main epicentres of the Arab Spring. Part III moves to two specific rights in the same countries, from the twofold perspective of the Constitutions and international law: the freedom from interference in one’s intimate life, with particular regard to homosexuality; and the freedom of holding and expressing nonconventional beliefs, deemed unacceptable from the point of view of traditional Islam. These issues have been chosen as representative of the most controversial, still considered taboo in both legal and social terms, hence at the fringes of the debate on individual freedoms. Focusing on two overlooked and underexplored issues, the work thus pushes the boundaries of the human rights discourse in Muslim contexts.

    Foreword, Brian Whitaker

    Chapter I Constitutionalism And Islam

    Chapter II The Islamic Conception Of Individual Liberties

    Chapter III What "ShariᶜA" In A Constitution Concretely Means: The Case Of Egypt

    Chapter IV Islamic Law In Post-Arab Spring Egyptian Constitutions

    Chapter V Compromises And Ambiguities In The 2014 Tunisian Constitution

    Chapter VI (Il)Legal Persecution Of Freethinkers

    Final Reflections On Egyptian And Tunisian Freethinkers: Public Order And Fitna

    Chapter VII (Il)Legal Persecution Of Sexual Minorities

    Chapter VIII Constitutional And International Freedoms

    Conclusions Constitutions And Individual Freedom: The Unbreakable Bond


    Tommaso Virgili is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the WZB Berlin Social Science Center, where he works on modernization movements and reform theology within Islam in response to the challenge of fundamentalism, with a focus on Europe and the MENA region. He received his Ph.D. in Comparative Public Law from Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies in Pisa, Italy. Dr. Virgili is also a Research Associate at the Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies and a Visiting Fellow at the European Foundation for Democracy in Brussels.