Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Linguistic Diversity and Muslim Law

Ali Khan, Washburn University School of Law, has published "Speech Diversity under Islamic Law." Here is the abstract.
The Islamic law of speech diversity recognizes two distinct divine rights, one applying to speech communities and the other to individuals. The divine right to language allows each speech community to preserve and celebrate its native language free of coercion and disrespect from other speech communities. Native languages are the assets of speech communities. The Islamic law prohibits coercive degradation of native languages but at the same time it interposes no barriers in learning other languages. Closely related to the right to language is the divine right to individual self-expression or self-determination. Each human being is unique because God, the Master-Artist, shapes each human being with special attention. Social, economic, and legal barriers that refuse to recognize special talents or refuse to accommodate disabilities are incompatible with the divine plan. When individuals are given the maximum liberty allowed under Islam to pursue sciences, arts, knowledge, sports, and spirituality, Muslim communities will prosper. The study recommends that Muslim states recognize linguistic diversity and the right to personal self-determination in their positive law, including national constitutions.
Download the paper from SSRN here.

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