Center Personnel Produce First Volume of Islam in Europe Series

January 2012 saw the publication of the long-awaited first volume of the Islam in Europe Series, edited by ICLRS Director Cole Durham and Senior Fellow and Regional Advisor for the European Union David Kirkham, along with Belgian Senator and Center Academic Advisory Board Member Rik Torfs and former Center Director of Publications Christine Scott, under the sponsorship of the Sorenson Legacy Foundation.

The volume, Islam, Europe, and Emerging Legal Issues was published by Ashgate, London. It brings together vital analysis of the challenges that Europe poses for an expanding Islam…

Australia Conference Papers Feature Kirkham and Scharffs

Papers by Dr. David M. Kirkham, Senior Fellow for Comparative Law and International Policy at the International Center for Law and Religion Studies, and Professor Brett G. Scharffs, Center Associate Director, appear as chapters in Freedom of Religion under Bills of Rights, published January 2012 by the University of Adelaide Press.

Dr. Kirkham’s chapter is titled “Political Culture and Freedom of Conscience: A Case Study of Austria.” Professor Scharffs contributed “Protecting Religious Freedom: Two Counterintuitive Dialectics in US Free Exercise Jurisprudence.” The papers were originally delivered as part of a Center co-sponsored conference “Cultural and Religious Freedom under a Bill of Rights,”

Scholar Elena Miroshnikova Visits the Center from Leo Tolstoy Institute

The International Center for Law and Religion Studies had the very great pleasure of welcoming Dr. Elena Mikhailovna Miroshnikova to Brigham Young University for one month during Winter Semester 2012. Dr. Miroshnikova is Professor in the Department of Philosophy, Culture Studies, Ethics, Religious Studies, and Theology at Tula State Pedagogical Leo Tolstoy University (Russia), where she teaches Freedom of Conscience, Religion and Society, Religion and Politics, New Religious Movements, and Russian History of State-Church Relations.

Dr. Miroshnikova is a Member of the Board of the Russian Association of Scholars on Religious Studies, Member of the International Consortium of Law and Religion Studies (Milan), and Expert of Human Rights Without Frontiers (Belgium). Her fields of interest…

Summer Externship in China: Carl Hollan

Carl Hollan never expected serving an LDS mission in Taiwan would inspire him to change his career plan and springboard into the legal world. Now, as a second-year BYU law student, Hollan’s love for Asian culture has motivated him to accept an externship in China with the International Center for Law and Religion Studies.

While in China, Hollan has had the opportunity to handle government documents and work closely with scholars regarding the current religious situation. His background with the LDS Church as well as an undergraduate degree in Asian Studies has given Hollan the tools he has needed to evaluate the Chinese legal system and produce documents related to religious freedom.

“This is sometimes difficult because before analyzing any legal problem you must first understand some of the basic frameworks of the legal system the problem will be resolved under,” Hollan said. “In a single day you might be given problems from Thailand, Cambodia, Hong Kong, India, and Malaysia. Each time the legal system is different and the proposed solution must be adapted to the local legal options.”

One valuable lesson Hollan has learned as an extern in China is the importance of asking enough questions to get the job done correctly. His experiences working with lawyers in China and learning to ask the right questions has prepared him to be a detailed and persistent law student and future lawyer.

“We must include every detail about our proposed solution and must ask questions about every aspect of the solution to ensure that it is legally sound from all angles,” Hollan said. “This has given me the opportunity to be detailed in my proposals and even more detailed and clear in the questions I ask.”

Most importantly, Hollan’s externship in China has opened his eyes to the possibilities of international law and the opportunities available to him after law school. In turn, it has influenced his perspective of American law and the importance of foreign law.

“This internship has given me broad exposure to several different types of laws and even more legal systems,” Hollan said. “Seeing how different nations use different legal structures to ensure different protections or benefits gives a different perspective on US law and foreign law.”

As he finishes his externship in Hong Kong, Hollan hopes to gain many more valuable experiences and effectively apply them to his future legal career. 


Summer Externship in Argentina: Cherise Bacalski

Cherise Bacalski, second-year law student at BYU, had the opportunity to expand her legal experience in Buenos Aires, Argentina this summer as an extern for the International Center for Law and Religion Studies (ICLRS).

As a first-year law student, Bacalski developed an interest in International and Foreign Law. Upon hearing of the ICLRS externship program, her interest was piqued and a simple admiration for international law turned into a definite career option for the future.

“I would love to work in international or foreign law, so hopefully a future employer will value my experience and time in Argentina,” Bacalski said.

While in Argentina, Bacalski had the opportunity to attend the 13th Annual Conference on Legal & Policy Issues hosted by the University of Buenos Aires Law School and the University of Florida Levin College of Law. She participated in legal panels and attended lectures by prominent Argentine and American professionals including Supreme Court Judges and presidents of the American Bar Association.

“I believe I was one of the only law students in attendance not from the University of Buenos Aires, and so I had the unique opportunity to meet some great people and represent Brigham Young University,” Bacalski said. “I was glad I made the effort to go and represent our campus.”

One of the most rewarding projects Bacalski worked on was a report for the Area Legal Counsel in the Philippines regarding the recent change of the marriage law in Chile. While she found this information interesting and educational to work on, the language curve was her most difficult obstacle and she embraced the challenge head on.

“Luckily, I find translation to be one of the most interesting intellectual pursuits I know of, and I enjoyed every minute of the curve,” Bacalski said.

Bacalski’s externship in Argentina cemented her love for the law as she made valuable connections between real life experience and academic classwork.

“It’s exactly as I expected—an exercise in translation, whether that be from Spanish to English, client to jury, lawyer to judge, or legal terminology to compliance regulations. I love it,” she said.

Bacalski also plans to take her experience with the Latin American marriage laws and create a legal comparison between the reformed marriage laws in Chile and the current marriage laws in the Phillppines today. Her biggest hope is for her research to be of some help to these countries.

Scharffs and O’Crea Discuss Religion in the Secular State at Clark Society Event in London

On 21 April 2012 the London Chapter of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society sponsored an event hosted by the law firm Latham & Watkins, Bishopsgate, London. The event featured a discussion of the topic “A secular state preserves religious freedom” by Dr. Ronan McCrea, a barrister lecturing at University College London, and Professor Brett G. Scharffs, Francis R. Kirkham Professor of Law at the J. Reuben Clark Law School, Brigham Young University, USA, and Associate Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies.  

Dr. McCrea is author of Religion and the Public Order of the European Union (OUP 2011), which was Shortlisted for The Peter Birks Prizes for Outstanding…

Dr. Tahir Mahmood and Dr. Saif Mahmood Publish Muslim Law in India and Abroad

The 34th book by renowned Muslim scholar Dr. Tahir Mahmood has just been published by the Universal Law Publishing Co. The work, Muslim Law in India and Abroad, is co-authored by Dr. Mahmood’s son, Dr. Saif Mahmood, Advocate, Supreme Court of India. Earlier versions of this book have been extensively cited in many Supreme Court and High Court judgments, and the work is considered as the most reliable contemporary authority on the Muslim Law of India.

The book was launched on Tuesday, 27 March 2012, at the Indian Law Institute, New Delhi by Hon’ble Mr. Justice Altamas Kabir, Chief Justice of India-designate, at a function jointly organized by the the Association of Scholars of Religion and Law and the publishers. Hon’ble Mr. Justice Badar Durrez Ahmad, Judge, High Court of Delhi spoke on the book…

Justice Zakeria Mohammed Yacoob at Symposium Opening Session

Heidi Carmack
BYU Law School Reporter

South Africa’s Justice Zakeria Mohammed Yacoob was the keynote speaker in the opening session of the 18th Annual International Center for Law and Religion Studies Symposium, “Religious Freedom in a Pluralistic Age: Trends, Challenges and Practices.’ Justice Yacoob called listeners to action, stating that all people have the potential to add value in this critical fight for religious freedom.

“Religion, conscience, thought and belief should, I believe, be regarded as the core of our humanity as a crucial component of our humanness,” Justice Yacoob said. “They are indeed so crucial and so essential that I doubt whether we would be able to call…