‘She is not one who would have fought’ : countering legitimacy challenges to international humanitarian law through comparative analysis of Islamic laws of armed conflict
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This thesis traces the legal development of rules intended to limit harm to civilian populations during wartime in both the Islamic law and Western, Christian law context. After exploring the pre-modern development of these rules, a comparative law approach illustrates that pre-modern Islamic protections for civilians developed earlier and in a more nuanced way than did Western Christian rules. It offers several hypotheses as to why this might be, and then turns to the question of why, in light of this discovery, Muslim-majority countries today seem to view international humanitarian laws’ dictates regarding civilian protection as illegitimate Western constructs. The piece questions the narrative placing Islamic and international law as fundamentally at odds with one another, as well as the Western origin story of international humanitarian law. Several suggestions are then presented to alleviate the legitimacy challenge that faces the international humanitarian law regime in Muslim-majority countries.