Cosmopolitanism, as an intellectual and political project, has failed. The portrayal of human rights, especially European, as evidence of cosmopolitanism in practice is misguided. Cosmopolitan theorists point to the rise of claims-making to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) among Europe’s Muslims to protect their right to religious freedom, mainly concerning the hijab, as evidence of cosmopolitan justice. However, the outcomes of such claims-making show that far from signifying a cosmopolitan moment, European human rights law has failed Europe’s Muslims.

Human Rights, Islam and the Failure of Cosmopolitanism provides an empirical examination of claims-making and government policy in Western Europe focusing mainly on developments in the UK, Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands. A consideration of public debates and European law of conduct in the public sphere shows that cosmopolitan optimism has misjudged the magnitude of the impact claims-making among Europe’s Muslims. To overcome this cul-de-sac, European Muslims should turn to a new ‘politics of rights’ to pursue their right to religious expression.

This book is a theoretically challenging re-evaluation of cosmopolitan arguments through a rigorous discussion of rights-making claims by Europe's Muslims to the European Court of Human Rights. It combines sociological and legal case analysis which advances understanding of one of the most pressing topical issues of the day.

chapter 1|9 pages


chapter 4|16 pages

The rise of human rights activism

chapter 5|19 pages

Litigating for human rights

chapter 7|20 pages

From cosmopolitanism to securitization

chapter 8|27 pages