Global Islamic Marketing Conference – Updated

Jaanika Erne |

GIMC 2011

GIMC 2011

From 20 to 22 March 2011 the first Global Islamic Marketing Conference organized by the UAE University and academic Emerald Publishing is taking place. The aim of the conference is to explore the key areas in the field of Islamic marketing and Islamic business in general. For scholars, researchers and students, the GIMC offers a forum to present ideas and empirical data, explore research collaboration, and connect internationally. Perhaps most characteristic to the conference – as far as can be said beforehand – is that marketing is viewed through the prism of Islam (one aspect, for example, is that some people believe in life after death and that belief can affect their consumption habits; another aspect is broader and concerns ideologies behind our everyday activities). The participants come from all over the world, still mostly from the states that trade with the Islamic countries. As the European Union is also trading with the Islamic states, I am presenting a paper: “Islamic and Christian Understanding of Fundamental Rights as Constitutive Values”. Beginning with Europe’s position and standing in the global economy, included the G20 world, and in the transatlantic cooperation and priorities, my paper indicates that there exist values that should be taken into account in trade relations. Such values form, for example, basis for the WTO – one can talk abot constitutionalization of WTO law, as one can talk about constitutionlization of UN law. The question is, what kind of values, ideologies and understandings prevail. I thereafter would pose the question raised by Samuel Huntington about the clash of civilizations and does that “clash” base on religious-cultural identities or on political ideologies. Having that way separated religions and political ideologies, I am asking for the very roots of Christianity and Islam and am referring to the sources that claim that the Western tradition is the reflection of human thought of a certain period, but actually the roots of the Western tradition lie necessarily not far from Islamic tradition. Thereafter I am comparing the Ten Commandments in Judaism and Christianity with Ten Commandments as understood in Islam. Understanding of the Ten Commandments has influenced the understanding of human rights, but also the understanding of the basic concepts of human interaction, included marketing.

The abstract and text of my presentation:

Purpose – The paper attempts at introducing the main differences in Islamic and Christian human rights thought.

Design/methodology/approach – The paper uses the Old and New Testament, the Qur’an and the European Convention on Human Rights as ideological-theoretical framework with the aim to compare religions and values with the aim to define the compared religions. Definition of religions helps to better understand the tensions of a political character, an example brought by Jacob Neusner is the relationship between the State of Israel and its Muslim neighbors, served as a religious conflict.

Findings – Although already the ten commandments in the Christian tradition and Islamic tradition to a great extent overlap, formulation of rights and interpretation of rights to a great extent differ in these traditions. The differences result even in the assertions that distinguish, the Islamic marketing approach from (not to say oppose to) the marketing approach in the Western countries by Islamic scholars who view the Western marketing approach as secular marketing approach.

Research limitations/implications – Although understanding that there exist different understandings of what Islam is – for example, people talk about radical Islam and moderate Islam, the research compares the basic concepts of Christianity and Islam.

Practical implications – Marketing is strongly connected with culture and traditions, and understanding of those by people. The paper brings in also the external aspects of Islamic marketing.

Originality/value – In addition to just comparing and understanding religions, the paper tries to distinguish religions from political ideologies.

Type of the paper – Research paper.

Text of the Presentation

Since 1 May 2004, Estonia belongs to the European Union and participates in the European Union’s external action, included trade. Olli Rehn, the Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs responded to Daniel Hamilton’s report: “Europe 2020: Competitive or Complacent” about Europe’s place in the global economy and the formidable changes Europe is facing, addressing inter alia multilateralism, G20 cooperation, and full implementation of the Action Plan agreed upon at the Seoul G20 Summit 2010.

Daniel Hamilton’s report: “Eurpe 2020: Competitive or Complacent?” itself sees as a priority for the EU: ”becoming a critical hub within the G20″, meaning leveraging high-growth opportunities in emerging markets and re-engaging in neglected markets – Turkey, Africa and Latin America. Hamilton has stated: “The more connected the EU is, the more competitive it is likely to be.“ „Connected” in this context means the great potential of wider Europe — meaning: ”China next door, a region stretching from North Africa across the Mediterranean, up through Turkey, and into Eastern Europe to Russia.”

Setting the geostrategical and geopolitical issues aside, the United States needs European interest in granting a “secure neighbourhood”.

With regard to trade and the United States, the EU is participating in transatlantic cooperation and priorities, under which cooperation the United States is inviting and viewing the EU as a partner in seek of global economic dominance and unwillingness to abandon its position.

The United States therefore sees strategic United States-EU partnership as such where the key is working with other key actors with the aim to restructure the world economy, where today the developing countries increasingly control the large share of the world’s economic wealth, accounting for 64,5% of total central bank reserves in the third quarter of 2010 (ten years before, the percentage was 38% of the total) – which indicates that the United States alone would not be competitive any more – the fact is demonstrated also by the vast changes in global economy that have forced reforming the international monetary system (IMS) that has resulted in the issuance of the IMF report on 7 January 2011 on possible replacement for the dollar as the world’s rescue currency by the SDR.

As we are talking about the United States-EU partnership, we can also say that the new Member States of the EU who acceded to the EU in 2004 and 2007, are integrated into the mainstream of transatlantic commerce.

On the other hand, the EU is fully aware that the United States is trying to control its markets and global economic activities.

In order to get closer to the main idea of the article, I would state that in the circumstances described afore, trade disputes arise that, at least theoretically, should be solved by civilized means. Why is dispute solving an important topic? Because – as already H.L.A. Hart expressed, but as has been confirmed by other academics – the question what law is, is ultimately decided by those who decide the responsibility or accountability questions. For those who decide tend, according to Klabbers, to use existing concepts and models. Included the decisionmakers in the WTO. The author of this paper would add here that those who decide tend to use the concepts and values they are aware of. The concepts and models base on understandings of ideologies.  

This has brought the author of this paper to the assertions made by Samuel Huntington about conflicts between civilizations (he opposes the Western universalism to Islam and China) in: “Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order”.

The author of this paper would relatedly pose two questions:

First, whether we deal with conflicts of civilizations, or political-ideological conflicts, as people are talking about Islam, and radical Islam, and moderate Islam, etc. – such differentiation contributes to the prediction made by Francis Fukuyama who understood the end of history as the end point of mankind’s ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government” – that we are witnessing today as we see the Western attempts of global governance (most recently seen in Libya).

Second, if one could convincingly reason that the basis of conflicts is not political, but religious differences, the author of this article would argue that the problem could that way be easily overcome – as one may assert that actually there does not exist such division between cultures as we are used to see. And we are used to see the differences that we have been taught to see. For example, we have been taught that the Western tradition has begun with return to the texts as three primordial traditions:

1)      Ancient Greece;

2)      Rome, and

3)      Israel (Hebrew).

At the same time, the Western origins lie in a much deeper cultural tradition that extends back to the first human.

This means that the West has itself adopted Ancient Greece, Rome, and Israel as its ancestors.

Already Confucius talked about shared values, and Hamilton brings examples of such shared values of the Singaporeans as:

–          Nations before community and society above self;

–          Family as the basic unit of society;

–          Regard and community support for the individual;

–          Consensus instead of contestion;

–          Racial and religious harmony.

It has been stressed that political values are excluded from that list.

Huntington argues that the world’s major religions – Judaism, Christianity, Orthodoxy; Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Confucianism, Taoism, share key values in common.

Thus, strengthening of civilization could mean taking into account first the values that are common.


Having separated religions from political ideologies, and distinguishing between different religions, I am in my paper asking for the basic values of Christianity and Islam, beginning with the Ten Commandments in the Old Testament that are recognized as moral foundation of Judaism and Christianity, and in Qur’an (although not explicitly mentioned in Qur’an).

Thereafter I am looking at what are understood as human rights in the Universal Declaration and basing on that declaration, the European Convention on Human Rights, and in the Holy Qur’an and Hadith.

I am demonstrating that in addition to human rights in the Holy Qura’an and Hadith, Islam has also accepted those human rights that it understands as secular rights by ratifying international human rights documents. For example Turkey by ratifying the European Convention on Human Rights.


  1. Human Rights Recognized in the Holy Qur’an and Hadith, and in the European Convention on Human Rights

1.1. Human Rights Recognized in the Holy Qur’an and Hadith

Islam, basing mainly on two sources – the Holy Qur’an (the Holy book in Islam) and Hadith (the sayings and deeds of the prophet of Islam) – distinguishes between the following rights: (1) The Right to Life. (2) The Right to Live in Dignity. (3) The Right to Justice. (4) The Right to Equal Protection of the Law. (5) The Right of Choice. (6) The Right of Free Expression. (7) The Right to Privacy. (8) The Right of Property. (9) The Right to Basic Necessities of Life. (10) The Right to Revolt. This list need not be regarded as closed.

1.2. Human Rights in the European Convention on Human Rights

The rights in the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and its additional Protocols are: (1) Right to life. (2) Prohibition of torture. (3) Prohibition of slavery and forced labour. (4) Right to liberty and security. (5) Right to a fair trial. (6) No punishment without law. (7) Right to respect for private and family life. (8) Freedom of thought, conscience and religion. (9) Freedom of expression. (10) Freedom of assembly and association. (11) Right to marry. (12) Right to an effective remedy. (13) Protection of property. (14) Right to education. (15) Right to free elections. (16) Prohibition of imprisonment for debt. (17) Freedom of movement. (18) Prohibition of expulsion of nationals. (19) Prohibition of collective expulsion of aliens. (20) Abolition of the death penalty. (21) Death penalty in time of war. (22) Procedural safeguards relating to expulsion of aliens. (23) Right of appeal in criminal mattes. (24) Compensation for wrongful conviction. (25) Right not to be tried or punished twice. (26) Equality between spouses. (27) Abolition of death penalty.

2. The Ten Commandments in the Holy Qur’an and Hadith, and in the Christian Tradition 

2.1. The Ten Commandments in the Holy Qur’an and Hadith

The Ten Commandments (though not explicitly mentioned) in Qur’an can be summarized as follows: (1) There is no other god beside Allah. (2) My Lord, make this a peaceful land, and protect me and my children from worshiping idols. (3) And make not Allah’s (name) an excuse in your oaths against doing good, or acting rightly, or making peace between persons; for Allah is One Who heareth and knoweth all things. (4) O you who believe, when the Congregational Prayer (Salat Al-Jumu`ah) is announced on Friday, you shall hasten to the commemoration of God, and drop all business. (5) Your parents shall be honoured. (6) Anyone who murders any person who had not committed murder or horrendous crimes, it shall be as if he murdered all the people. (7) You shall not commit adultery; it is a gross sin, and an evil behaviour. (8) They shall not steal. (9) Do not withhold any testimony by concealing what you had witnessed. (10) Do not covet what we bestowed upon any other people.

2.2. The Ten Commandments in the Christian Tradition

The ten commandments in the Old Testament are recognized as moral foundation of Judaism and Christianity, having inter alia influenced the Christian culture in Europe (Christianity being the major religion before Islam in the European Union). The („consolidated“) ten commandments in the Old Testament are: (1) Thou shalt have no other gods before Me. (2) Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord, thy God, in vain. (3) Thou shalt sanctify the holy day. (4) Thou shalt honor thy father and thy mother. (5) Thou shalt not kill. (6) Thou shalt not commit adultery. (7) Thou shalt not steal. (8) Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. (9) Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house. (10) Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his man-servant, nor his maid-servant, nor his cattle, nor anything that is his.

3. Comparison

The European tradition does, for example, not recognize the right to revolt (that is also absent from the ten commandments in both traditions), Islam, at the same time, recognizes and understands the right to revolt as the right to protest against tyranny, including the destructive government that fails to fulfil its main purpose, „when the political system becomes an obstacle to progress the development of the Islamic objectives, and also when the rulers refuse to give up power and oppress their citizens. This is, where the Judaism-based Christianity is silent. But doesn’t such Islamic way of thinking place the responsibility for social processes on individuals? Such thinking seems to presume that every member of the society has the right to revolt, and that s/he is responsible for not using that right when performing everyday tasks? Being a lecturer at the Institute of Political Science and Governance at the Tallinn University, one compulsory topic of my lectures is related to State and coercion. The academic sources I use generally recognize that State differs from other legal subjects because it possesses the coercion mechanism. If understood that way, the shift of responsibility on ordinary individual society members for performing State orders does not seem justified. At the same time, European psychologists have frequently characterized the European (and Judaist) thought with the following example: There were less guardians than prisoners, still the prisoners peacefully agreed to climb on each other’s bodies, knowing that they would eventually be burned – although by number and physical strength the prisoners could have killed the guardians. – Here seems to appear an essential difference between Islam and Judaism-based Christianity. As something that seems to form part of Islam (the right to revolt), is absent from Christianity. The paper discusses such and similar constitutional differences.