Image for @<center><font size = 4>The International Center for Law and Religion Studies</center></font size>
Image for Fourth ICLARS Conference, in Oxford: 'Freedom of/for/from/within Religion: Differing Dimensions of a Common Right?' 8-11 September 2016

The Fourth Conference of the International Consortium for Law and Religion Studies (ICLARS) will be held at St. Hugh’s College in Oxford September 8-11, 2016.

The Conference topic — "Freedom of/ for/ from/ within Religion: Differing Dimensions of a Common Right?" — aims at considering the fundamental right of freedom of religion from differing perspectives, shedding light on its various and interconnected facets and addressing new challenges it faces in the modern world. Freedom of religion highlights the right to profess and manifest religion on both individual and collective levels, without undue limitations; freedom for religion stresses the need to grant religious communities the freedom required to play a positive role in building a just and cohesive society; freedom from religion underlines the right to live one’s life without being compelled to respect the tenets of any particular religion; freedom within religion addresses the rights that the faithful are entitled to enjoy within their religious communities. 

ONLINE EGISTRATION for the conference is open through August 25, with discounts for ICLARS members. Registration at the conference venue is possible, but places at meals cannot be guaranteed. 

For more and developing information, please see the links below.

Image for Announcing the 23rd Annual International Law and Religion Symposium: <br />Religious Rights in a Pluralistic World, 2-4 October 2016

The International Center for Law and Religion Studies is pleased to announce the 23rd Annual International Law and Religion Symposium, to be held 2-4 October 2016 at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. The theme of the Symposium will be "Religious Rights in a Pluralistic World." Professor Heiner Bielefeldt, who currently serves as the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, will be a keynote speaker.

Each year the Annual Law and Religion Symposium regularly brings together 80-90 invited delegates, including scholars, jurists, political and civil society leaders, and religious leaders and religion policy makers from approximately 40 countries, providing them an important opportunity for engagement on issues of religion, law, and policy. This year speakers and panelists will explore the... more

Image for Religious Freedom Annual Review 2016: Recordings and Photos

To access the recordings and photos from the July 2016 Religious Freedom Annual Review, please click here

Image for Heiner Bielefeldt to Deliver Keynote Address at Symposium 2016

The International Center for Law and Religion Studies is honored to announce that Heiner Bielefeldt, who currently serves as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, will be the keynote speaker at the 23rd Annual International Law and Religion Symposium, to be held 2-4 October 2016 at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.

Professor Bielefeldt was appointed to his position as Special Rapporteur on 18 June 2010. He holds both a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Tübingen and a post-doctoral Habilitation Degree in Philosophy from the University of Bremen... more

Image for Student Research Fellows Back from Summer Internships

The 2016 Student Research Fellows have returned from their summer internships. Watch this page as we highlight reports from these outstanding students throughout the summer.  

Image for Center Contributions: The Brill Encyclopedia of Law and Religion

The publishers have announced the release of the Brill Encyclopedia of Law and Religion. General Editors of this five-volume work are Gerhard Robbers, Professor Emeritus at the University of Trier and formerly Minister of Justice and for Consumer Protection of Rhineland-Palatinate (Germany), and W. Cole Durham, Jr,. Susa Young Gates University Professor of Law at Brigham Young University and Founding Director of BYU Law School's International Center for Law and Religion Studies. Associate Editor is Donlu Thayer, the Center's Senior Editor, who is also an Associate Editor of the Oxford Journal of Law and Religion

The editors acknowledge with deep gratitude the contribution of Ashley Isaacson Woolley, whose editorial expertise, applied to essentially every article, contributed immeasurably and essentially to the completion of the work. A number of people associated with the International Center for Law and Religion Studies... more

Image for Work Edited by Durham and Thayer Launches ICLARS Series on Law and Religion

The publishers have announced the June 2016 release of Religion and Equality: Law in Conflict, edited by International Center of Law and Religions Studies (ICLRS) Founding Director W. Cole Durham, Jr. and ICLRS Senior Editor Donlu D. Thayer. This long-awaited book is first title in the new ICLARS Series in Law and Religion, published by Routledge, an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group. Professor Durham, in addition to his role at ICLRS, is second and current President of ICLARS, the International Consortium for Law and Religion Studies, headquartered in Milan, Italy. The ICLARS Series will officially launch at the Fourth ICLARS Conference, to be held in Oxford, UK, in September 2016. 

Religion and Equality is the first of two books with origins in the Third ICLARS Conference, held in Virginia in August 2013. A second volume from this conference, ... more

Image for The Religious Freedom Annual Review — July 2016

The 2016 Religious Freedom Annual Review of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies (ICLRS) has concluded at Brigham Young University. Keynote speakers for the event were Elder Lance B. Wickman, General Counsel and Emeritus General Authority of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who opened the conference with an address "Promoting Religious Freedom in a Secular Age: Fundamental Principles, Practical Priorities, and Fairness for All"; and Matthew S. Holland, President, Utah Valley University, whose remarks were titled "Religious Liberty v. Secularity: Is the American Founding Still Useful?"

Video recordings of event presentations, as well as some transcriptions and PowerPoint presentations, will be available here soon. Meantime, find reports of the event from the Deseret News (Day One) (Day Two), Salt Lake Tribune, Provo Daily Herald, Good4Utah,... more

Image for Freedom of Religion or Belief in Situations of Crisis: Tallinn, Estonia, 16-19 June 2016

The Center co-sponsored a conference with the University of Tartu Faculty of Law in Estonia, “Freedom of Religion or Belief in Situations of Crisis: Why Can’t We Get Along,” held June 17-18 in Tallinn, Estonia.  The conference addressed current challenges to religious freedom from crisis situations, particularly those associated with the migration crisis in Europe and the conflict in Ukraine.  Over 50 speakers touched on both the nature of the challenges and on potential solutions.  Topics included: 

  • Freedom of Religion or Belief of Refugees and Migrants
  • Freedom of Religion or Belief in the Conflict Zone
  • Hate Speech and Migration
... more
Image for Durham at Conference and Course at the University of Ilorin, Nigeria

On June 22, 2016, Professor Cole Durham delivered the keynote address and several lectures for a conference and mini-course attended by approximately 500 students and young scholars on "Law, Religion and Development in Africa" at the University of Ilorin, in Ilorin, Nigeria. 

The topics covered during the Ilorin conference included:

  • Law and Religion Studies in Nigeria: The journey so far.
  • Law, Religion and Development.
... more
Image for Managing Director Robert T. Smith to Serve as a Mission President in Argentina

With many thanks for his hard work and dedication, the International Center for Law and Religion Studies announces the departure of Robert T. Smith, who has served the Center as Managing Director since 2006. Beginning June 22, 2016, Bob will begin a three-year term of service as President of the Argentina Buenos Aires North Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

"For the past decade Bob has served the Center with grace and patience," said ICLRS Director Brett Scharffs, "often performing tasks of uncertain and almost limitless... more

Image for Durham Keynotes at Judicial Roundtable in Abuja, Nigeria – 20 June 2016

On June 20, Professor Cole Durham gave the keynote address for a Judicial Roundtable of approximately 100 judges in Abuja, Nigeria. Among the participants in the Roundtable were Professor Is-haq Oloyede, OFR, The National Coordinator/Secretary, Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) and Former Vice-Chancellor, University of Ilorin, Member Steering Committee ACLARS; Wahab Shittu, Coordinator Center for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Lagos; Hon. Justice Helen Moronkeji Ogunwumiju, Justice of the Court of Appeal, Nigeria; Denise Lindberg, Senior Judge, State of Utah Third Judicial District Court; Hon. Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, Representing Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Justice Mahmud Mohammed; Prof Yemi Osinbajo GCON (SAN), Vice President, Federal Republic of Nigeria; Hon, Justice A. O. Lukolu-Sodipe, Court of Appeal; Malam A. U.  Maidama, representing Hon. Justice R. P. I Bozimo, Administrator, NJI; Professor Akinola Ibidapo-Obe, Dean, Faculty of Law and Director, Centre for Human Rights, University of Lagos, Akoka, Lagos, Nigeria; and a Grand Khadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal, Nigeria.

Image for Durham Keynote on Women's and Children's Rights Thessaloniki – June 2016

Professor Cole Durham, Founding Director, International Center for Law and Religion Studies and Susa Young Gates University Professor of Law, Brigham Young University, gave the keynote address gave the keynote lecture on Women’s and Children’s Rights in the International Legal Framework at the Summer School on Human Rights sponsored by the Council of European Churches (CEC) in Thessaloniki, Greece May 31-4 June, 2016. 

Press Release 6 June 2016, from CEC, Brussels: 

The Conference of European Churches, in partnership with the Theological School of Aristotle University, organised the 3rd Annual Summer School on Human Rights “Stand up for Women’s and Children’s Rights!” from 31 May to 4 June in... more

Image for Symposium on International Religious Freedom, St. John's College, Oxford UK - June 2016
Baroness Elizabeth Berridge, Professor Robert George, Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Professor Cole Durham (Photo LDS Church)

International religious freedom experts participating in a Symposium on International Religious Freedom at St. John's College, Oxford on 9 June 2016 were Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Member of the Quorum of the Twelve of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Baroness Elizabeth Berridge of the Vale of Catmose, Member of the United Kingdom House of Lords and Founder/Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group; Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University and formerly member and chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom; W. Cole Durham, Jr., Susa Young Gates University Professor of Law at Brigham Young University, Founding Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies, and President of the International... more

Image for Freedom of Religion or Belief: Round Table Discussion in the UK House of Lords - June 2016
L-R: Mark Hill QC, Sir Malcolm Evans, Professor Robert George, Dr. Peter Petkoff, Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Professor Cole Durham (Photo LDS Church)

A Round Table Discussion, Freedom of Religion or Belief – Emerging Trends, Challenges and Agendas for Change, took place Wednesday, 8th June 2016, at the House of Lords in London. Participating in the two-hour discussion were Prof Sir Malcolm Evans OBE (Bristol University UK), Prof Mark Hill QC (Cardiff University UK), Prof Robert P. George (Princeton University USA), Elder Dallin H. Oaks (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), Prof W. Cole Durham, Jr. (Brigham Young University USA), and Dr Peter Petkoff (Brunel and Regent’s Park College, Oxford UK). The participants were welcomed to Parliament by Baroness Elizabeth Berridge of the Vale of Catmose, Member of the House of Lords and Founder/Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group.... more

Image for First-of-its-kind Master’s Degree in Sharia and Human Rights Announced - May 2016

ICLRS Director Brett Scharffs participated in the announcement of the creation of the first-of-its-kind Master’s Degree Program on Sharia and Human Rights at Muhammadiyah University in Malang, Indonesia. The announcement came on May 30, 2016, at the opening of the fifth annual Master’s Level Course on Sharia and Human Rights held at the University, which Scharffs has helped organize and teach. The Masters’ level Course (MLC), which began five years ago as a special side-course, has now been approved as an official for-credit course in the University’s curriculum. And now a full Master’s Degree focusing on Sharia and Human Rights will build upon the curriculum used in the MLC.... more

Image for Brett Scharffs at Third Yogyakarta Short Course on Sharia and Human Rights - May 2016

Center Director Brett Scharffs participated in a Short Course on "Sharia and Human Rights: Scholarly Background and Cases of Controversy in Contemporary Indonesia," held at Universitas Gadjah Mada, one of Indonesia’s leading state universities, in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, from May 23-27, 2016. This was the third year Professor Scharffs helped organize and teach in this program. 

The Short Course, which was modeled on a similar course at Muhammadiyah University that was taught for the fifth time the following week, is designed to find networks of discourse between... more

Image for 4th ACLARS Conference: 'Religious Pluralism, Heritage, and Social Development in Africa'

More than 60 scholars, legal professionals, and religious leaders from Africa and many other parts of the world joined in the Fourth Conference of the African Consortium of Law and Religion Studies (ACLARS), held Sunday, 22 May to Tuesday, 24 May, 2016 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. A workshop for early career scholars was held immediately prior to the conference on May 22. The theme of the conference, which was hosted by Addis Ababa University and held at the Capital Hotel, was "Religious Pluralism, Heritage, and Social Development in Africa".

Awol Wagris, Ethiopia State Minister of Federal and Pastoralist Affairs, delivered the opening speech of the conference: "Looking ahead," he said, "the greatest challenges our country faces with regard to the protection of religious freedom and promotion... more

Image for Professor Scharffs Presents on Religious Majorities and Religious Freedom - May 2016

At a recent gathering of a select group of university professors, businesspeople, NGO organizations, and students in Padua, Italy on 6 May 2016, Professor Brett Scharffs made a dinner presentation and led a discussion on the topic of the role that religious majorities play in either promoting or limiting religious freedom. The presentation was organized by the Associazone Culturale Antonio Rosmini, Padova. 

In his presentation, Professor Scharffs noted that in most countries where there is a dominant religious group representing more than 70% of the population, social science research finds there is usually high or very high legal... more

Image for Professor Scharffs Lectures on Hate Speech at the University of Padua - May 2016

On May 6th, 2016 Professor Brett Scharffs, Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies, spoke at a conference on Comparative Perspectives on Hate Speech, at the Treviso Campus of the University of Padua. The conference included students studying comparative public law and economic and social rights. In his speech, "Beyond Juris Centric Approaches to Hate Speech," Professor Scharffs addressed the role that audiences play in the phenomenology of hate speech. He noted that usually hate speech does not result in direct physical harm to either the speaker or the victim of hate speech, but audiences are often provoked to violence. But it is noteworthy that often there is a significant passage of time between the initial hate speech and the violent reaction that the hate speech... more

Image for Professors Durham and Scharffs Teach Comparative Freedom of Religion at CEU - 2016

Professor Brett Scharffs and Professor Cole Durham, Director and Founding Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies at Brigham Young Universtiy, have concluded their annual course, Comparative Freedom of Religion, in the Department of Legal Studies at Central European University (CEU) in Budapest, Hungary. The class, begun by Professor Durham in April and concluded by Professor Scharffs on May 5, 2016, included 26 students from 18 different countries, and addressed law and religion issues regarding both individual freedom of religion and belief and institutional arrangements between religion and the state from an international law and comparative law perspective.... more

Image for Brett G. Scharffs Appointed Director of International Center for Law and Religion Studies

Outgoing BYU Law School Dean James R. Rasband announced the appointment, effective May 1, 2016, of Brett G. Scharffs as the new Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies.

The Center, since its beginning on January 1, 2000, has played an internationally significant role in the work of the Law School. With a mission to help secure the blessings of freedom of religion and belief for all people, Center faculty and staff, aided by hundreds of BYU law students, have worked to disseminate knowledge and expertise regarding the... more

Center Director Brett G. Scharffs' paper "Religious Majorities and Restrictions on Religion", now available in pre-publication form, is among the top 10 downloads on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) in two categories:  Law & Religion eJournal Top Ten and Political Behavior: Race, Ethnicity & Identity Politics eJournal Top Ten... more

Image for 'Sacred Places and Cultural Heritage' — Jerusalem Conference, 15-17 March 2016

ICLRS Director, W. Cole Durham, Jr., participated in the conference “Sacred Places and Heritage Protection from the Perspectives of International, Constitutional, Religious Law and Foreign Policy” in Jerusalem, March 15-17, 2016. Based on the growing concern for cultural heritage protection during armed conflict, international experts working in the field of legal protection of sacred places and cultural heritage gathered together to explore emerging systemic problems on the ground, innovative approaches and agendas for change in terms of substantive law at the international as well as domestic level, as well as considerations for foreign policy.

The opening session, "Sacred Places and Heritage Protection: Emerging Perspectives", was moderated by Asher Maoz, Dean of Peres Academic Center Law School, and featured W. Cole Durham, President, International Consortium for Law and... more