Muslim Governance and the Duty to Protect


  • Irene Oh

  • Editors' Note: On January 5th, 2012, the Board of Trustees of Religious Ethics, Inc., sponsored a symposium in honor of the previous co-editors of the JRE, John Kelsay and Sumner B. Twiss. The original versions of these responses to James Turner Johnson, whose essay also appears in this issue, were originally presented on that occasion.

Irene Oh, Dept. of Religion, The George Washington University, 2106 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20052,


In this response to Johnson, Oh reaffirms the scholarly vision of Kelsay and Twiss, elaborates upon Muslim perspectives on human rights, and questions the emphasis on violent humanitarian interventions as part of the Responsibility to Protect mandate. Oh suggests that, in light of the historical relationship between Muslim and non-Muslim states and the aftermath of the second Iraq War, more consideration be given to the rebuilding of Muslim-majority societies. Oh also highlights the concept of duty as a religiously based ideal to which governments of Muslim nations ought to be held.