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- Volume 4, Issue 1, 2011
International Journal for Religious Freedom - Volume 4, Issue 1, 2011
Volume 4, Issue 1, 2011
Author Christof SauerSource: International Journal for Religious Freedom 4, pp 5 –6 (2011)More Less
Legal matters have a broad and multifaceted connection to religious freedom and religious persecution. This ranges from human rights and constitutions to specific laws that are to protect religious freedom. In other contexts the same entities might be used or abused to restrict religious freedom and/or to justify persecution. Several forms of religious freedom advocacy have a legal nature. In this issue of IJRF we will hear of legislative advocacy and litigation. Beyond legal issues there seems to be rather little scholarly study of religious freedom advocacy.
Author Angus MenugeSource: International Journal for Religious Freedom 4, pp 7 –8 (2011)More Less
On 18 October of this year, Professor Dr John Warwick Montgomery will celebrate his 80th birthday. This seems incredible not only to him but also to all who know him, since he continues to carry on his academic and legal activities unabated. Just take as an example the annual International Academy of Apologetics, Evangelism and Human Rights, in Strasbourg, France, of which he serves as director and teaches at least two courses (www.apologeticsacademy.eu).
Source: International Journal for Religious Freedom 4, pp 11 –14 (2011)More Less
This section provides a platform for organisations working in the area of religious liberty to introduce themselves. In this way we seek to raise awareness of the various players in the field. We hope this will lead to appreciation of their work and will ultimately serve the persecuted.
Source: International Journal for Religious Freedom 4, pp 15 –16 (2011)More Less
The Alliance Defense Fund is a servant organization that provides the resources for the legal defense of religious freedom, the sanctity of life, marriage and the family. While founded in the United States of America in 1994 and focusing on that country, it now extends its efforts to legally defending religious freedom around the world. Alliance Defense Fund and Advocates International have collaborated in a variety of significant cases across the globe
Source: International Journal for Religious Freedom 4, pp 17 –20 (2011)More Less
Some Christians hesitate to use the courts. Some hesitate all the more to go to court to defend their Christian activities, preaching, and churches. But extreme hesitation to use the courts is not prescribed by biblical injunctions. The apostles set an example by making significant use of the legal process, especially in relation to defending the right to preach the gospel and develop the church, though the example they set included being winsome in relation to the gospel during public conflicts. Jesus' famous statements in the Sermon on the Mount address the problem of revenge and personal retaliation; they do not contradict the example of the apostles.
Author Nicholas Kerton-JohnsonSource: International Journal for Religious Freedom 4 (2011)More Less
The Department of Politics and International Relations at Taylor University, Indiana, USA, has initiated a research project analyzing responses to persecution by Christians in eleven Asian, Middle Eastern and African countries. The research will specifically analyze responses to persecution through understanding the following: what forms does persecution take? What responses has the church made to these acts? How have these responses impacted on the persecution? How does the persecution impact on the church's theology? In what ways does the church being persecuted receive support from Christians living in other parts of the world?
Source: International Journal for Religious Freedom 4, pp 23 –35 (2011)More Less
The Greek anti-proselytism law has posed serious problems for evangelism and for the functioning of non-Greek Orthodox religious activities in that country - so often described as "the cradle of democracy." In this article, the most important legal cases dealing with Christian evangelism in Greece are analyzed by the law professor who successfully won them at the Court of Appeals in Athens and at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
Islamic human rights declarations and their critics : Muslim and non-Muslim objections to the universal validity of the ShariaSource: International Journal for Religious Freedom 4, pp 37 –64 (2011)More Less
Islam and human rights - do these two subjects exclude each other? Not at the first glance since there are several Islamic human rights declarations like the "Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam" stemming from 1990 and the "Universal Declaration of Human Rights" from 1981 which guarantee a number of rights for men, women, Muslims and Non-Muslims. At a second glance, however, there are certain areas of concern when comparing both texts with the "Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Islam" adopted and proclaimed by the UN in 1948. The Islamic human rights declarations always prescribe Sharia as the only criterion and leveling board for the acceptance or rejection of human, women's or minorities' rights. Nevertheless, we are presently witnessing a growing awareness and fearless activism of Islamic human rights organisations assisting the many victims in Islamic countries who fall prey to the all too often ongoing power struggle between government, police, security forces and orthodox religious leaders.
Source: International Journal for Religious Freedom 4, pp 65 –74 (2011)More Less
Canadians enjoy strong constitutional protection for religious freedom. However, this protection is proving to be only as strong as the courts' interpretations of the Constitution. Early decisions under the Canadian Charter were made without religious organisations being involved. Religious organisations have intervened in more recent court cases to argue for a broad, inclusive understanding of religious freedom that protects individual religious practices but also recognises the communal aspects of religion.
Author Shaun A. De FreitasSource: International Journal for Religious Freedom 4, pp 75 –85 (2011)More Less
While the South African Constitution, along with most modern standards of human rights, recognises the right to freedom of conscience, there is in reality a concern that medical practitioners in South Africa who strongly believe in the sanctity of the unborn, might be pressurised to act against their beliefs (the same probably applies in many other societies perceived as being democratic and pluralist). Consequently, this article argues for the protection of the medical practitioner's right to conscientious objection to participating in abortions. In this regard, special emphasis is placed on the complexity and gravity of views on the nature of the unborn. This argument, together with some critical thought on the place and nature of religion in a pluralist and democratic society, serves as a strong motivation for the accommodation of those medical practitioners who strongly believe in the unborn as being human (or at least as something worthy of protection).
Source: International Journal for Religious Freedom 4, pp 87 –100 (2011)More Less
Once called the Jerusalem of Asia, North Korea is one of the most oppressive states suppressing religious freedom. While there is an appearance of religious activity in a few of the government sponsored places of worship, extensive testimonies have shown that the regime treats religious people as national security criminals and prosecutes them accordingly. Many religious leaders and their family members, including children, have been punished without due process, tortured, executed, or sent to political prison camps. Additionally, religious believers have faced systematic socio-political discrimination. This paper will describe the process and phases of religious oppression by the North Korean regime from the independence movement to the Korean War and to the present. To show the overall pattern of religious oppression, the paper is divided into four phases: First Phase - Pre-Korean War (1946 to 1950), Second Phase - Korean War (1950 to 1953), Third Phase - Before the Kimilsungism Movement (1953 to 1971), and Fourth Phase - Era of Juche (1972 to present). The analysis will illustrate the big picture of religious persecution, but the focus will be on Protestant Christianity, which became the main target of oppression. Comparisons between the persecution of Christianity and Buddhism will also be drawn. This paper relies on findings from testimonies of North Korean refugees in addition to traditional research sources.
Source: International Journal for Religious Freedom 4, pp 101 –114 (2011)More Less
Pakistan suffers a "culture of impunity" and government toleration of religious persecution. Blasphemy laws are a leading instrument. Though the state has not executed anyone under this law, the punishment for those convicted is severe. Persons identified as blasphemers are also targeted for violence which goes unpunished by the government. Christians have been attacked and killed, and efforts have been made to ban the Bible. Hindus find their young girls subject to forced conversions and marriages. Ahmadis also suffer persecution, and blasphemy laws are increasingly used by Muslims against one another, sometimes as weapons in private quarrels. The government of Pakistan should repeal the blasphemy law, punish perpetrators of religious violence, and practice greater transparency.
Author Knox ThamesSource: International Journal for Religious Freedom 4, pp 115 –123 (2011)More Less
While domestic options for redress of violations of religious freedom may be few or futile, there is an array of mechanisms at the international level that religious freedom advocates can access to help bring relief to those suffering persecution and repression. However, to be effective, advocates must have an understanding of international law and be precise with their facts and terminology. The article highlights key points for those who wish to engage, and points to resources that can equip individuals for effective advocacy, including international bodies which can be approached.
South African Charter of Religious Rights and Freedoms Constitutional framework, formation and challengesSource: International Journal for Religious Freedom 4, pp 125 –134 (2011)More Less
The creation, under Section 234 of the Constitution of South Africa (1996) of a South African Charter of Religious Rights and Freedoms, signed by every major religious group in South African as well as representatives of leading South African Constitutional Commissions and others is a development of some importance and potential world significance. It will be, once passed into law, the first Charter created under this section. The civil society initial phase of discussions, consultations, meetings and drafting and re-drafting led to the public signing ceremony at the University of Johannesburg on 21 October 2010. The next phase moves to the more formal political phase of government consultations and, presumably further discussions and, it is hoped, eventual passage into law. The governmental part of this looks to be the most challenging. This introductory article discusses some of the relevant background to the formation of the South African Charter and appends the document for wider circulation, and perhaps, emulation in other settings.
On the calls for freedom in the Middle East and North Africa : a statement issued by the Religious Liberty Partnership - May 2011 : documentationSource: International Journal for Religious Freedom 4, pp 135 –137 (2011)More Less
As members of the Religious Liberty Partnership (RLP), we have closely observed the protests held in many Middle Eastern and North African countries over the past few months. We welcome the widespread calls for greater freedom and strongly endorse these aspirations. We believe that freedom, equality and justice for all are essential for the development and cohesion of societies. We also welcome the response of some governments in lifting emergency laws and enacting constitutional change. However, we note with concern the violence against peaceful protesters at different times and places.
Christian witness in a multi-religious world : recommendations for conduct : World Council of Churches, Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, World Evangelical Alliance : documentationSource: International Journal for Religious Freedom 4, pp 138 –142 (2011)More Less
Mission belongs to the very being of the church. Proclaiming the word of God and witnessing to the world is essential for every Christian. At the same time, it is necessary to do so according to gospel principles, with full respect and love for all human beings.
Aware of the tensions between people and communities of different religious convictions and the varied interpretations of Christian witness, the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (PCID), the World Council of Churches (WCC) and, at the invitation of the WCC, the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), met during a period of 5 years to reflect and produce this document to serve as a set of recommendations for conduct on Christian witness around the world. This document does not intend to be a theological statement on mission but to address practical issues associated with Christian witness in a multi-religious world.
The purpose of this document is to encourage churches, church councils and mission agencies to reflect on their current practices and to use the recommendations in this document to prepare, where appropriate, their own guidelines for their witness and mission among those of different religions and among those who do not profess any particular religion. It is hoped that Christians across the world will study this document in the light of their own practices in witnessing to their faith in Christ, both by word and deed.
Source: International Journal for Religious Freedom 4, pp 143 –148 (2011)More Less
The noteworthy items are structured in three groups: Annual reports and global surveys, regional and country reports (sorted alphabetically), and specific issues. They are preceded by an item of current concern. Though we apply serious criteria in the selection of items noted, it is beyond our capacity to scrutinise the accuracy of every statement made. We therefore disclaim responsibility for the contents of the items noted. The compilation was produced by George Bransby-Windholz assisted by Arie de Pater and Dr Christof Sauer. More noteworthy items at www.iirf.eu. Submissions welcome to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
God's century : Resurgent religion and global politics, Monica Duffy Toft, Daniel Philpott & Timothy Samuel Shah : book reviewAuthor Ronald Boyd-MacMillanSource: International Journal for Religious Freedom 4, pp 149 –150 (2011)More Less
This is a rare and excellent book from three American academics and tilted towards the policy and opinion making elite of the USA, which still struggled to come to terms with religion as an independent and increasingly significant factor in public life - at home and abroad.
Author John LangloisSource: International Journal for Religious Freedom 4 (2011)More Less
The United Kingdom is regarded by many as a liberal democracy based on centuries-old principles of free speech and as a model of tolerance. That has now changed. From 1997 to 2010 the UK Labour Government set out to dismantle the historic freedoms which are the attributes of a liberal society, including the freedom of speech. In this short essay, Davies, former Head of Religious Studies Department, University of Newcastle, England, vividly demonstrates how the change has been accomplished.