ARTICLE: LAW AND RELIGION IN ISRAEL AND IRAN: HOW THE INTEGRATION OF SECULAR AND SPIRITUAL LAWS AFFECTS HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE POTENTIAL FOR VIOLENCE Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 1997 University of Michigan Law School
Michigan Journal of International Law

ARTICLE: LAW AND RELIGION IN ISRAEL AND IRAN: HOW THE INTEGRATION OF SECULAR AND SPIRITUAL LAWS AFFECTS HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE POTENTIAL FOR VIOLENCE

Fall, 1997

19 Mich. J. Int'l L. 109

Author

S.I. Strong *

Excerpt





Introduction
 
To many in the United States and elsewhere, Israel is a bastion of democracy, a stalwart outpost of liberal political ideals stranded among a number of politically and religiously volatile Arab nations whose primary intent is, or at least has been, to destroy the Jewish state and, with it, the West's only secure foothold in the Middle East. Iran, on the other hand, is commonly demonized as the fundamentalist Islamic theocracy that took the United States hostage in 1979 and currently threatens not only the Middle Eastern peace process, but the security of the entire region as it attempts to export revolutionary Islam to other nations. The two countries are seen not only as sworn enemies in a Middle Eastern Cold War, but also as diametrically opposed, religiously, culturally, and politically.

The truth, however, is that the two nations are not as different as they and others would like to believe. Both choose to define themselves primarily by their majority religion, and both incorporate traditional religious principles in the law of the State to a high degree. By doing so, both have come under pressure from international human rights watch groups as well as their own citizens on the question of whether the State's integration of law and religion violates the rights of citizens and/or increases the potential for violence within and between nations. While both countries have experienced religiously based violence and are the target of claims that certain groups' rights are not being respected, few ...
 
 
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