Human rights, student movement and the role of religious intellectuals: post-revolutionary Iran

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Sarabandi, Nasim
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During the past decades Human Rights movement in Iran has developed considerably and mobilized different layers of society including young population. This is thanks to many factors such as the universal human rights flow, intellectuals efforts and activists consistent and effective advocacy. In this dissertation, I have assessed the role of Iranian religious intellectuals among the student movement in 90s to develop a new approach in regards to Universalism and Relativism debate. Religious intellectuals in the framework of the Islamic state could communicate with religious layers of society through student movement and flourished a new space of dialogue and debate towards human rights. Their interpretations have inspired the religious strata of Iranian student movements to develop the Human Rights discourse in their respected organisations since the 1979 revolution. These religious leaders have led to dialogues and discussions relating to the meaning of being Muslim and facing to the modernity by building the concept of ‘faithful life’. They laid the ground work for the reconciliation between Islam and modern concepts, such as Human Rights. My approach to explore their role entails the shifting debate from either universal rights or relative culture to the context of Muslim countries. I have suggested that going beyond the duality clash of either Universalists or Relativists could be a way forward. Therefore, Exploring the quality and circumstances of human rights progression historically from the bottom-up move in these contexts must be considered. Context explicitly is where, the changing process through productive dialogue of peoples and lives are happening. Key words: Human Rights; Religious Intellectuals; Student Movement; Universalism; Relativism.
Second semester University: University of Copenhagen.
human rights, Iran, intellectual life, intellectuals, religion, social movements, students