The Fifth Annual Conference of the African Consortium for Law and Religion Studies (ACLARS) took place in Rabat, Morocco, from 14 to 17 May 2017. Following the success of conferences in Ghana (2013), South Africa (2014), Namibia (2015) and Ethiopia (2016), this event was a collaboration of ACLARS with the International University of Rabat; the International Center for Law and Religion Studies (ICLRS) of Brigham Young University Law School, United States; and the International Consortium for Law and Religion Studies (ICLARS), Milan, Italy.
Participating in this highly successful event were more than 100 scholars and government and religious leaders from Algeria, Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, Egypt, Ethiopia, Germany, Ghana, Italy, Ivory Coast, Jordan, Kenya, Morocco, Mozambique, Netherlands, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, South Africa, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States, and Zimbabwe.
The subject of the conference was Religion, Law, and Security, focusing on religious extremism, blasphemy, violence, terrorism, and human and sustainable security. Themes for the conference included:
- The interrelationship between freedom of expression, freedom or religion and other fundamental rights in Africa
- Legal foundations for the promotion of sustainable peace and religious tolerance in Africa
- The role of inter-faith and intra-faith dialogue in countering extremism in Africa
- Blasphemy and defamation of religion in the light of the Rabat Plan of Action (December 2014)
- The evaluation of national and regional laws in Africa designed to combat extremism and to promote freedom of religion
- The future of the Marrakesh Declaration on the Rights of Religious Minorities in Predominantly Muslim Majority Communities (January 2016)
- Aspects of religion and human security, including the protection of vulnerable African communities, with particular reference to women, children, the elderly and the disabled
- Conflicts between state and religious concepts of the nature of marriage in Africa
- Witchcraft accusations in colonial and contemporary Africa
- The value of religion or belief in challenging the ideologies that drive violent extremism
- Religion, law and security in international relations, particularly within Africa following the Arab Spring