New working paper published by Antoni Abat i Ninet with DIHR – University of Copenhagen

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10 February 2015

New working paper published by Antoni Abat i Ninet with DIHR

Professor Antoni Abat i Ninet, Professor of Comparative Constitutional Law at the Centre for Comparative and European Constitutional Studies has published a new working paper entitled, “Modernity, Rationality and Constitutional Law in Muslim-Majority Countries.” The report, published by the Danish Institute for Human Rights, is part of the Matters of Concern working paper series focusing on new and emerging research on human rights across academic disciplines.

The paper examine if Islamic law, human rights and constitutionalism are compatible? In answering this question, the paper first discusses the concept of modernity (understood in terms of rationality and standardisation), analysing its abrupt implementation in the MENA countries and the role that the first modern constitutions played in institutionalising a new sort of dominion in the newly established states. Against that background, the paper discusses the relationship between constitutionalism and Shari’a law, presenting this as a clash between two competing normative visions that are conceptually difficult to reconcile and which each claim exclusivity and hierarchical superiority. It advocates for a deconstruction of the ideas of human rights and constitutionalism in order to allow for the incorporation of elements of Muslim traditions, thus challenging the understanding of human rights and constitutionalism as a cultural imposition, and as a new form of colonisation.

About Antoni Abat i Ninet
Antoni Abat i Ninet is Professor of Comparative Constitutional Law at University of Copenhagen. Professor Abat graduated in Law from the University of Girona in 2001 and was awarded a PhD by the University of Barcelona in 2007. He was granted the Juan de la Cierva competitive research scholarship by Spain's Ministry for Science and Innovation. He has taught Comparative Constitutional Law and Ancient Constitutionalism at the State University of New York, the Lincoln Law School of San José, ESADE Barcelona and CTLS Georgetown (London), and was Visiting Scholar at Stanford University Law School. Professor Abat's research interests include the theoretical foundations of constitutionalism; the relationship between constitution, constitutionalism, human rights, sovereignty and democracy; comparative constitutional law and legal and political philosophy.

Read the paper
The working paper Modernity, Rationality and Constitutional Law in Muslim-Majority Countries is available to download from the Danish Institute of Human Rights website.