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
  • Religious Symbols in Public Space
  • Accommodation of Diversity
  • Secular State as a Gate and Peace Keeper? States’ role in the situations of crisis. (Authors have also been welcomed to address interrelated issues such as combating terrorism and extremism.)
  • Education as an Antidote against Religious Hatred?
  • Interreligious Dialogue – a Solution in Times of Crisis?

Professor Lauri Mälksoo and Dr. Merilin Kiviorg of the University of Tartu, along with the International Center for Law and Religion Studies’ Elizabeth Clark, opened the conference. After their remarks, Professor Silvio Ferrari of the University of Milan delivered the opening keynote, “The Decline of Europe and Its Impact on Freedom of Religion.”  Professor Elizabeth Clark spoke in a plenary session on pending cases in the European Court of Justice involving religious discrimination in employment against women wearing headscarves.