Islamic law contains a rich, but complex set of rules on the protection of civilians which can be difficult to understand, given the range of sources and interpretations available. IRIN walks you through the basics.
In the last decade, aid and advocacy agencies have increasingly tried to understand Islamic law in order to use its humanitarian provisions as tools of negotiation with armed groups in the Muslim world. While the approach has seen some successes, it also raises certain ethical dilemmas.
Within extremist militant circles is a debate over acceptable behavior under the Islamic rules of war. This so-called “jihadi jurisprudence” is increasingly studied by humanitarians as practitioners seek to understand the degree to which there is room for even the most radical armed groups to be influenced in favour of the protection of civilians and aid workers.