Washington, D.C. (November 14, 2010) – The ICNA Council for Social Justice issued a press release today urging all Americans to stand up for the rights of human beings on Human Rights Day, December 10, 2010.

On December 10, 1948, the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which affirmed this basic tenet of the UN charter. There are 30 short articles in the UDHR. The first article states, “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and human rights.” The third article adds, “Everyone has the right to life,liberty and security of person.”
Article 5 states clearly, “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” So the prohibition against torture derives from the agreement by the nations in the UN that the religious tenet of honoring the dignity of human beings is an underlying principle for both nations and individuals. 36 years later, on December 10, 1984, the UN General Assembly adopted the text of the Convention Against Torture, an international treaty ratified by the U.S. in 1994. Nations of the world and several faith groups celebrate December 10 as Human Rights Day. December 10, 2010 will be the 62nd anniversary of the signing of the UDHR. Visit the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) page on Human Rights Day.
Naeem Baig, Executive Director of ICNA Council for Social Justice, said, “On the occasion of Human Rights Day, we are requesting people of all faiths to stand up for the rights of all human beings and offer special prayers to ease the suffering of humanity. Many people in the world today are suffering from all kinds of injustices. We must condemn those acts of injustice performed either by ruthless leaders and/or governments.”
He continued, “The ICNA Council for Social Justice is especially requesting Imams and Scholars to deliver Friday khutba (sermons) on December 10 at their respective mosques or Islamic centers to increase the awareness of human rights and educate the community on this occasion.”
A sample khutba, “Islam Condemns Torture,” was written by Sheikh Abdool Rahman Khan, Religious Scholar at the Islamic Foundation in Villa Park, Illinois. The khutba is available online here.

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