Center Receives Sorenson Legacy Grant
In November, 2006 the Center received a grant of $230,000 from the Sorenson Legacy Foundation. This grant will be used on a number of important Islamic and Chinese initiatives. In addition to conferences in Turkey, Budapest and China, this grant will be used for the following Center projects: a book on the treatment of Islam in the European Court of Human Rights; translation of the Center’s 1000 page treatise, “Facilitating Freedom of Religion or Belief: A Deskbook” into Arabic; completion of a book addressing contemporary issues in Islam; and preparation of texts and training materials for graduate and undergraduate courses on religious freedom to be taught in up to 40 universities in Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world. The Center is extremely grateful to the Board of Trustees of the Sorenson Legacy Foundation for this generous grant.
Academic Advisory Board Organized
On September 29, 2006, the Center held the inaugural meeting of its Academic Advisory Board. The Board consists of respected scholars in the field of law and religion from around the world. These scholars have agreed to help the Center establish its academic priorities and commitments. Because of their international reputations and diverse backgrounds, they will also increase the reach and stature of the Center. The members of the Academic Advisory Board are as follows:
Rev. Kim-Kwong Chan, Executive Secretary of the Hong Kong Christian Council, People’s Republic of China
Carolyn Evans, Professor, University of Melbourne School of Law, Australia
Silvio Ferrari, Professor, Universita degli Studi di Milano, Italy
Tore Lindholm, Professor, Norwegian Centre for Human Rights, Norway Tahir Mahmood, Professor, Amity University Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, India Javier Martínez-Torrón, Professor, Catedratico de Universidad, Universidad Complutense, Spain
David H. Moore, Professor, University of Kentucky College of Law, U.S.A.
Juan G. Navarro-Floria, Professor, Pontificia Universidad Catolica, Argentina
Gerhard Robbers, Professor, Universitat Trier, Germany
Rik Torfs, Professor, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium
Juan Carlos A. Valderrama, Professor, Universidad Catolica, Peru
Professor John F. Young Joins Center
The Center is pleased to announce the addition of Professor John F. Young, Chair of the Political Science Department at the University of Northern British Columbia, as an Area Coordinator. His areas of emphasis will include Russia and Belarus. Professor Young is fluent in the Russian tongue. He received his Ph.D. in Russian studies and formerly served as the President of the Russia Moscow Mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We are extremely pleased to welcome Professor Young to the Center.
Professor Durham Represents Center at Washington, D.C. Dinner
On October 28, 2006, Professor W. Cole Durham, Jr. participated in a dinner celebrating the Twenty-Fifth Anniversary of the 1981 U.N. Declaration on Freedom of Religion or Belief. The keynote speakers at the event were Justice Antonin Scalia of the U.S. Supreme Court and Asma Jahangir, U.N. Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief. Important guests at this event included Condoleezza Rice, U.S. Secretary of State among others.
Strasbourg Conference Consortium
The Center has begun organizing a consortium of universities from Europe, Australia and the U.S. to focus international attention on key decisions of the European Court of Human Rights, the United Nations Human Rights Committee, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and other significant courts handling cases regarding freedom of religion issues. The consortium will bring together academics, practitioners, non-government representatives, and judges who will provide scholarly analysis on the ways in which important judicial decisions support or detract from principles of international religious freedom. With enforcement jurisdiction covering most of western and eastern Europe, the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights have a major impact on the religious freedom experienced by hundreds of millions of people. To accomplish its goals, the consortium will host an annual conference in Strasbourg, France, where the European Court of Human Rights is located. The Center will also host, on behalf of the consortium, a website that will allow scholars to post peer-reviewed papers on the past and pending religious cases of the European Court of Human Rights and other tribunals addressing freedom of religion claims. At present, a website has been established and contains a range of useful materials on the headscarf issue and, in particular, a series of papers on the European Court of Human Rights’ decision in Sahin v. Turkey. You can view the current website at www.strasbourgconsortium.org.
On September 8-9, 2006 the Center co-sponsored a conference in Vietnam with Emory University’s Center for Study of Law and Religion. The conference was hosted by the Vietnamese Academy of Social Sciences Institute for Religious Studies, the Vietnam-USA Society, and the Institute for Global Engagement. Designed as a two-part conference focusing on the religion and the rule of law in the history of Southeast Asia, this first part brought together regional and international scholars to build relationships and discuss issues in this emerging field. Entitled “Beginning the Conversation: Religion and Rule of Law in Southeast Asia,” scholars had the opportunity to present initial reports, then they will reconvene in one year’s time to present papers reflecting the result of the year’s research stemming from the initial reports.
Thirteenth Annual International Law and Religion Symposium
On October 1-3, 2006, the Center hosted its Thirteenth Annual International Law and Religion Symposium in Provo, Utah. Ninety-one delegates from forty-one countries participated. This year’s theme was the “1981 United Nation’s Declaration on Religious Tolerance and Non-Discrimination: Implementing Its Principles After Twenty-five Years.” The keynote address was delivered by Rober A. Seiple, the first U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Religious Freedom, where he served under Madeleine K. Albright, U.S. Secretary of State. Mr. Seiple also received the Center’s Outstanding Service Award at the Symposium. Topics discussed at the symposium included: Implementing the Declaration: Challenges and Best Practices; Limitations on Freedom of Religion or Belief: Reconciling Freedom and Security; and Religion, Culture and Globalization. Delegates also had the opportunity in regional sessions to discuss the status of religious freedom and challenges facing their individual countries. In conjunction with the Symposium delegates attended a lunch with international leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Papers, speeches, panel discussions and photos of the symposium.
New York Conference
On October 5, 2006, the Center co-sponsored a conference in New York on the United Nation’s 1981 Declaration on Religious Tolerance and Non-Discrimination: Implementing Its Principles after Twenty-five Years. The conference was organized in conjunction with the United Nations NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion or Belief and The Columbia Center for the Study of Human Rights. Conference participants were representatives from the U.N. Ambassadors’ offices of approximately twenty-five countries, as well as delegates from many other countries. Also featured as speakers were prominent leaders in the field of religious freedom including: Felice D. Gaer, Chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom; Lauro J. Baja, U.N. Ambassador for the Philippines; Adiyatwidi Asmady, U.N. Deputy Ambassador for Indonesia; and Ilya Rogachev, U.N. Deputy Ambassador for Russia. Other session panelists included: Matt Cherry, President of the United Nations NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion or Belief and President of the International Humanist and Ethical Union; Jonathan Gallager, United Nations Representative for the International Religious Liberty Association; and Bani Dugal, Principal Representative to the United Nations of the Bahai International Community. Remarks and Photos
Senator Smith Speaks at New York Conference Dinner
On October 5, 2006, the Center hosted a dinner event featuring United States Senator Gordon H. Smith, who represents the State of Oregon. Senator Smith’s address to conference participants and guests focused on the importance of religious liberty. During a significant moment in the question and answer period, Senator Smith responded to a question by Professor Tahir Mahmood, a member of the Center’s Academic Advisory Board, by stating that he would attempt to introduce legislation to include the United States in the U.S. State Department’s Annual Report on International Religious Freedom. Cecil O. Samuelson, President of Brigham Young University, offered a special welcome to all dinner guests. Ralph W. Hardy, Jr., Chairman of the Center’s International Advisory Council and a prominent attorney in Washington, D.C., introduced Senator Smith. The Center was also honored by the presence of Kevin J. Worthen, Dean of the J. Reuben Clark School of Law at Brigham Young University; Olene S. Walker, former Governor of Utah, and her husband, Myron; Norman Shumway, former Congressman from the State of Arizona, and his wife Luana; Wilford W. Andersen, Executive Director of the Center’s International Advisory Council; David and Linda Nearon, and David Christensen, members of the Center’s International Advisory Council; and Ahmad Corbett, Director of Public Affairs for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in New York, and his wife, Jane. In addition to these honored guests, many prominent individuals from New York, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and other cities also attended. Remarks and Photos
United Nations Conference
On October 6, 2006, as part of the New York Conference, Professor W. Cole Durham, Jr., Director of the Center, participated on a panel hosted by the U.S. Mission to the United Nations on the subject of “The Role of Interreligious Dialogue in Conflict Resolution.” The other distinguished panelists were Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Archbishop Emeritus of Washington, D.C.; Parviz Morewedge, Professor of Rutgers and Fordham Universities; and Rabbi Israel Singer, Chairman of the World Jewish Congress. Delia Gallagher, Faith & Values Correspondent for CNN, moderated the panel. The overflow crowd at the Dag Hammarskjold Library Auditorium at the United Nations building enjoyed a lively discussion on a topic that is extremely relevant in light of current international conflicts. While hosted by Ambassador John R. Bolton’s office at the U.S. Mission, the Center played a prominent role as a key member of the organizing committee.
People’s Republic of China Conference
On October 27-28, 2006, the Center co-organized the International Charity Law Comparative Seminar in Beijing, People’s Republic of China. The China Charity Foundation hosted the conference and the China Charity International Exchange Center was the primary organizer. Also contributing to the conference’s organization were the Legislative Affairs Office, Ministry of Civil Affairs, People’s Republic of China and the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law. The conference included representatives from the National People’s Congress, the Chinese State Council, the Chinese Ministry of Finance, and the Legislative Affairs Office of the Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs. Other participants included many representatives from universities, leading charities, and foundations in the People’s Republic of China. The purpose of the seminar was to discuss the issues surrounding proposed legislation inaugurating significantly augmented charitable activity within the People’s Republic of China. Professors Durham, Scharffs and Smith along with Duane and Erlyn Madsen all participated in the seminar on behalf of the Center. Immediately preceding the seminar, on October 25-26, 2006, Professor Durham and Duane and Erlyn Madsen went to Dalian, People’s Republic of China to participate in a regional conference on charitable activity.
On September 13-15, 2006, the Center co-sponsored the “Third International Scientific-Practical Seminar on Freedom of Conscience in the Conditions of a Multi-national and Poly-confessional Society” held in Krasnodar, Russia. Other sponsors included the Russian Federation’s Human Rights Ombudsman, the Russian Organization of Researchers of Religion, the International Association of Religious Freedom, and the Center for the Study of Religion at Russian State Humanities University. Governor Vladimir Popov, one of the seven regional governors of Russia reporting directly to President Putin, attended the sessions of the conference. This conference featured presentations from Professor W. Cole Durham, Jr. on “Religion, Nationalism and Identity: Hazards for Religious Freedom,” and Professor Robert T. Smith on “Religion and Education: Comparative Experiences.” Professor John F. Young, Chair of the Political Science Department at the University of Northern British Columbia, also made a presentation on “Religious Pluralism and Civil Society” at the conference. Professor Young has recently become affiliated with the Center as an Area Coordinator over Russia and Belarus. Many Russian scholars, political leaders and NGO representatives, as well as a leading British scholar also made presentations. David Nearon and Christopher B. Jones, members of the International Advisory Council, and Wesley Wintch participated as representatives of the Center in all of the sessions of the seminar.
On October 5-7, 2006, the Center partnered with Brigham Young University-Hawaii to host representatives from the State Administration for Religious Affairs of the People’s Republic of China. Chinese officials toured the campus of BYU-Hawaii and met with the President of the University. Chinese officials also met and interacted with faculty and Chinese graduate and undergraduate students.
W. Cole Durham, Jr., Michael K. Young, and Brett G. Scharffs, “Footings of Mormon Conceptions of Law: Vantage Points for Understanding Constitutional Law and the Law of Religious Freedom,” in Cochran, Robert F., Jr., Faith and Law: How Religious Traditions From Calvinism to Islam View American Law (forthcoming:New York University Press). This article identifies the basis or “footings” for the Mormon conception of law, then explores how these footings shape LDS attitudes with respect to constitutional law in general and the law of religious freedom in particular.
W. Cole Durham, Jr and Bradley D. Liggett, “The Reaction to Islamic Terrorism and the Implications for Religious Freedom After September 11: A United States Perspective” in “Islam in Europe,” Derecho y Religion. Publication information forthcoming. This paper addresses the degree to which the post- 9/11 measures have adversely affected freedom of religion and the balance between freedom and security concerns in the United States.
Conscientious Objection Chapter
W. Cole Durham, Jr. and Elizabeth A. Sewell recently completed an article on conscientious objection in the United States for a book on comparative approaches to conscientious objection. The book will be published by the Institute for State-Church Relations in Bratislava, Slovakia (http://www.duch.sk/index_e.htm) and edited by Michaela Moravcikova. The book was designed to address issues arising from a treaty that Slovakia recently completed with the Holy See of the Roman Catholic Church. Controversies over implementing the treaty led to the collapse of a government in Slovakia earlier this year. Elizabeth A. Sewell also recently completed a chapter on women and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for a book on women and religions also published by the Slovak Institute for State-Church Relations.
Islam and the European Court: A Critical View
Prominent scholars discuss Refah Partisi (The Welfare Party) and Others v. Turkey and Leyla Sahin v. Turkey, two decisions from the European Court of Human Rights significantly impacting the free exercise of religion. Contributors offer critiques of the Court’s decisions as well as the resulting obstacles to future cases concerning religious freedom with a focus on Islam in particular.
Freedom of Religion or Belief: A Deskbook, Russian Translation.
The Center, in conjunction with the Oslo Coalition for Human Rights is sponsoring translation into Russian of select chapters of the Deskbook. Once translation is complete, the abridgement will be published and available for Russian scholars and others interested in religious freedom.