ICLRS at the 2015 Parliament of the World’s Religions

The International Center for Law and Religion Studies participated in three sessions of the 2015 Parliament of the World’s Religions in Salt Lake City. 15-19 October 2016. W. Cole Durham, Jr., Center Director, and Brett Scharffs, Associate Director, organized these sessions to discuss religious freedom issues highlighted by Parliament organizers.

Durham moderated the panel Religion, Religious Freedom and Development, featuring the following…

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…

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 two very different types of legal systems – International Human Rights law and Islamic Law. The course brings together leading experts from Indonesia and beyond on…

The Brill Encyclopedia of Law and Religion: Center Contributions

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 Director of Pulbications. 

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, in addition to Durham, Thayer, Woolley, and Robbers (who is a member…

Durham and Thayer book 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,&nbsp…

Elder Lance Wickman & President Matthew Holland at Religious Freedom Annual Review

Elder Lance B. Wickman, General Counsel, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Emeritus General Authority, and Matthew S. Holland, President, Utah Valley University, are confirmed as keynote speakers for the 2016 Religious Freedom Annual Review. Hosted by the BYU International Center for Law and Religion Studies of the J. Reuben Clark Law School, this two-day conference is open to the public and will include sessions and workshops focusing on political trends and religious freedom, understanding media coverage of religion, protecting religion in the workplace, and the role of interfaith cooperation in protecting religious freedom….

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 interrelationship of law and religion, through scholarship, network building, participation in law-reform processes, and organization and sponsorship of hundreds of conferences, at BYU and throughout the world….

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…

Professor Durham speaks at Freedom of Religion Symposium in Denver, 12 March 2016

On the 12th of March 2016, Professor Cole Durham participated in a Freedom of Religion Symposium at the University of Denver Law School, Denver, CO. Professor Durham was part of a panel of religious liberty experts and practitioners discussing the fundamentals of religious liberty law, emerging conflicts, and steps individuals can take to promote religious freedom at the state and local community level. Steven T. Collis, an attorney at Holland & Hart, chaired the event. Other panelists were Luke Goodrich, Deputy General Counsel, Becket Fund for Religious Liberty; Timothy M. Tymkovich, Chief Judge, US Court of Appeal for the Tenth Circuit; Qusair Mohamedbhai, Partner, Rathod/Mohamedbhair, LLC, and Adjunct Professor of Law, University of Denver; and Jennifer Kraska, Executive Director, Colorado Catholic Conference. The primary sponsor of the event was Holland and Hart, with the J. Reuben Clark Law Society, Chipman/Glasser, and Hall Render providing additional sponsorship.

Program/Speaker Recordings

Symposium on International Religious Freedom, St. John’s College, Oxford UK – June 2016

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…

Freedom of Religion or Belief: Round Table Discussion in the UK House of Lords – June 2016

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….

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….

BYU Law School’s Eva Brady Named Best Speaker at Moot Court Competition in Venice

The Center is pleased to announce that third-year BYU Law Student Eva Brady has been named Best Speaker at the 2016 Law and Religion Moot Court Competition, sponsored by Fondazione Marcianum and held in Venice, Italy, March 9-11, 2016. The Case for this year’s competition concerned school prayer in the light of American Supreme Court and European Court of Human Rights jurisprudence.

Eva is from Charlottesville, Virginia. She graduated from Brigham Young University in Philosophy with a minor in Logic. and studied Spanish extensively for ten years. Before beginning law school, she served a full-time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Korean, Busan mission. As an ICLRS Student Fellow for 2014, Eva spent a summer externship in Lima, Peru, and served as a student…

Delegation from France visits the Center

On Friday, 4 March 2016, a delegation from France, invited to the United States under the auspices of the Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program, and arranged by the Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy, visited the International Center for Law and Religion Studies as part of their time at Brigham Young University. The three French visitors, Ali Dahmani, Director, ACSECE, Capelette Mosque, Marseille; Frederique Neau-Dufour, PhD, Director, European Center of Deported Resistance Members; and Emmanuel Valency, Rabbi of Bordeaux and Southwestern France, met with Cole Durham, Center Director, and Gary Doxey, Associate Director. The meeting included an overview of the Center and its mission, as well as a comparison between the…

Kirkhams Represent the Center at Copt Commemorative Service in London

On 10 February 2016 David Kirkham, Center Senior Fellow and Director of the BYU London Centre, and his wife Judy represented ICLRS at a Coptic service commemorating the anniversary of the 21 Copts murdered by religious extremists in Libya in 2015 for being “people of the cross.” The service, held at the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft, Palace of Westminster, United Kingdom, was presided over by His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, and introduced by The Reverend Rose Hudson-Wilkin, Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons.  Bishop Angaelos spoke of his compassion for the victims and their families, for whom they were in Egypt trying to make a living, as well as for the need for prayer for victims and perpetrators alike.

Parliamentarians Meet at Palace of Westminster to Discuss Freedom of Religion or Belief

The Steering Group of the International Panel of Parliamentarians for Freedom of Religion or Belief (IPPFoRB) met on 9 February 2016 at the Palace of Westminster, United Kingdom, to reflect on the outcomes of the New York summit that took place in September 2015 and create a roadmap for future activities of the IPPFoRB.  Hosted by Baroness Elizabeth Berridge of the House of Lords, members of the Steering Group include Abid Raja, Norwegian MP; David Anderson, Canadian MP; Leonardo Quintão, Brazilian congressman; Jose M Ibañez, Paraguayan MP; Uziel Santana, IPPFoRB Secretariat; and Knox Thames, IPPFoRB Secretariat.  David Kirkham, Senior Fellow, represented ICLRS at the meeting.  The group noted the contributions BYU and ICLRS made to the formation of the panel two years ago in Oxford. For more information on the New York summit, see the IPPFoRB news release

Brett Scharffs Speaks at St. John’s Law School Colloquium in Law and Religion

On February 1st 2016 Professor Brett Scharffs spoke at the Center for Law and Religion at St. John’s Law School as part of its third biennial Colloquium in Law and Religion. This seminar invites leading law and religion scholars to make presentations to an audience of students and faculty. Professor Scharffs was the first speaker of the ongoing series.

The following was taken from an article on the Center for Law and Religion’s website:

This week, the Center hosted BYU Law School Professor Brett…

Vietnam Government Committee for Religious Affairs Receives Delegation of US lawyers

GCRA Press Release — GCRA receives US lawyers delegation

Prof. Cole Durham, Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies under Brigham Young University led a delegation to visit the Government Committee for Religious Committee (GCRA) on January 20, 2016.

Joining the US delegation included First Secretary of the United States Embassy in Hanoi David V. Muehlke, Political Officer of US Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh city Garret Harkin.

Welcoming the delegation were Vice Chairman of the GCRA Bùi Thanh Hà, representatives from the National Assembly Committee for Culture, Education, Youth, Adolescents and Children, the Government Office, the Ministry of Justice and the GCRA Departments for International…

David Kirkham Speaks at NATO Workshop “Security and Religion” – January 2016

David Kirkham, ICLRS Senior Fellow for Comparative Law and International Policy, spoke in late January 2016 at a high-level workshop on ‘Security and Religion’ at NATO Headquarters, in Brussels. The meeting brought together leading experts and practitioners–scholars, diplomats, religious leaders, NGO representatives and others—from both sides of the Atlantic, the Western Balkans, and the Black Sea.

The workshop examined current challenges to security, with a specific focus on ‘soft security’ issues, and the cultural and religious contributions to the peaceful development of societies in the context of the ongoing Euro-Atlantic integration process. Participants began with the assumptions that the international community as a whole, and NATO as an integral part of it, faces challenges that can only be addressed by a comprehensive cooperative approach. They thus sought common ground on the values-based system served by both religious and civic communities, taking into account what are seen as the primary security issues that our societies confront.

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 University, 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….

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…