A Discussion on the new publication “Freedom of Religion or Belief and Security: Policy Guidance”

On February 10th, the Brigham Young University Law School’s International Center for Law and Religion Studies, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), and the Technology, Law and Security Program at American University Washington College of Law co-sponsored a one-day discussion on the ODIHR new publication “Freedom of Religion or Belief and Security: Policy Guidance.” The event, held at American University in Washington, D.C.,  included members of government, academics with expertise in this area, and representatives of the ODIHR. Discussion focused on two specific parts of the “Policy Guidance” – Section 4.2. dealing with “’Extremist’ speech and literature and security” and Section 4.3. concerning “Screening, monitoring and searches in places of worship and meeting places and security.” After lively discussion and debate amongst the participants, the consensus seemed to be that the “Policy Guidance” is an important document for consideration and application by governments and civil society as well as religious and faith-based communities.