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- Volume 7, Issue 1_2, 2014
International Journal for Religious Freedom - Volume 7, Issue 1_2, 2014
Volume 7, Issue 1_2, 2014
Source: International Journal for Religious Freedom 7, pp 5 –8 (2014)More Less
Religious extremism is considered as one of the major causes of contemporary religious persecution, whereas religious tolerance is a foundation of religious freedom. This dual topic covers most of the articles in this issue and its terminology is inspired by the opinion piece of Thomas K. Johnson on "Religious extremism" and the report on the research project "Measuring religious tolerance ..." by Johannes van der Walt et al. Johnson holds that religious extremism must be understood as a result of a quest for meaning. To address it, religious and civil communities must offer appropriate life-giving meanings.
Why is religious extremism so attractive? - life together and the search for meaning : in my opinionAuthor Thomas K. JohnsonSource: International Journal for Religious Freedom 7, pp 9 –12 (2014)More Less
Religious extremism must be understood, at least partly, as a result of meaninglessness in the lives of young people. A quest for meaning is part of what is driving thousands of young Muslims to become soldiers of the Islamic State and other extremist organizations. To address religious extremism adequately religious and civil communities must consciously offer appropriate life-giving meanings at both the ultimate and secondary levels, since inappropriate meanings can have terrible and deadly effects.
An innovation in the global fight for religious freedom - the religious freedom & business foundation : in my opinionAuthor Brian J. GrimSource: International Journal for Religious Freedom 7, pp 13 –15 (2014)More Less
Author Paul RoweSource: International Journal for Religious Freedom 7, pp 17 –30 (2014)More Less
The flight of Christians from Middle Eastern states has been a concern to regional and international audiences throughout the past two decades. However, in spite of the significant challenges to the Christian population, their organizational responses to societal problems have grown in strength. This paper explores the ways in which Christian civil organizations help to preserve Christian communities among the Palestinians in Israel and the West Bank. They provide economic and spiritual supports, opportunities to network and build relationships across denominational divides, and a sense of purpose that helps the community survive and have an impact on their own societies.
Defending the freedom of expression the danger and failure of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation's campaign for global anti-blasphemy lawsAuthor Robert David OnleySource: International Journal for Religious Freedom 7, pp 31 –53 (2014)More Less
At the United Nations Human Rights Council, the Organization for Islamic Cooperation ("OIC") is once again lobbying for the creation of globally binding anti-blasphemy laws that would intentionally threaten the ability to exercise the freedom of expression and religion globally, both of which underpin modern Western civilization. These proposed laws would criminalize any criticism of religion, namely Islam,under the guise of preventing the "defamation of religion" for all faiths. Through critical analysis of the OIC's previous failed lobbying campaign to create global anti-blasphemy laws from 1999 to 2011, the author asserts that these laws once more represent a dangerous legislative proposition that must be defeated by Western and allied democracies.
Prosecuting Islamic extremism - counteracting impunity for the armed jihad of the Islamic State group through international criminal justiceAuthor Werner NelSource: International Journal for Religious Freedom 7, pp 55 –76 (2014)More Less
The systematic targeting of religious minorities in Iraq and Syria constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security. The legal accountability of the Islamic jihadist militia responsible for such atrocities is an important means to protect international religious freedom, prevent future religious oppression and counteract impunity. The human rights violations and atrocities committed by the Islamic State have been classified as war crimes, terrorism, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity by the international community. However, the religious persecutory intent underlining the Islamic State's violent enforcement of extremist Islamic ideology merit the classification of such crimes as 'genocide by religious persecution' and 'crimes against humanity of religious persecution'.
Source: International Journal for Religious Freedom 7, pp 77 –96 (2014)More Less
Given the fact that most societies worldwide are currently suffering from (serious) incidents symptomatic of religious intolerance, and since education can be regarded as one of the main instruments that society has at its disposal to combat this vice, it was decided to construct a questionnaire with which to measure the degree of religious tolerance prevalent among final year undergraduate students in education, that is, young people on the threshold of entering the teaching profession. The article begins with an outline of the problem of religious intolerance that many societies have to cope with. It then continues to discuss the "phenomenon" of religious tolerance, and after arriving at a working definition of tolerance describes how the proposed questionnaire was constructed and validated. The article concludes with an invitation to interested parties to join the authors in administering the questionnaire in their own institutions of teacher education, wherever they are.
Religious freedom, reasonable accommodation and the protection of the conscience of learners in South African public schoolsAuthor Georgia Alida Du PlessisSource: International Journal for Religious Freedom 7, pp 97 –112 (2014)More Less
South Africa under apartheid practiced a policy of Christian National Education, teaching children within a narrow framework of religion and values. Post-apartheid, the government has worked to balance equality and pluralism. Problems easily arise in the educational sphere when parents object to the content of required courses. The principle of reasonable accommodation provides guidance in such situations. The practice and implications of reasonable accommodation may be found in legal precedent. Reasonable accommodation requires flexibility of both parties in a dispute. It demands not equality of outcomes across all cases, but rather that all parties be treated with equal respect and consideration.
The Church order of De Mist and the advent of religious freedom in South Africa - an important contribution to the common good in South African societyAuthor Johan M. Van der MerweSource: International Journal for Religious Freedom 7, pp 113 –125 (2014)More Less
The arrival of Jan van Riebeeck in the Cape in 1652 brought the reformed faith to Southern Africa. For nearly two hundred years the government in the Cape not only protected the reformed religion, but also prohibited any other form of religion. This changed with the introduction of the Church Order of De Mist in 1804. Other Christian denominations and even other religions were then allowed. This article describes the changes that took place with the introduction of the Church Order of De Mist. It then compares the Church Order of De Mist with the current Constitution of the Republic of South Africa in order to illustrate that the introduction of the Church Order of De Mist was indeed the start of religious freedom in South Africa.
Author Hanna Nouri JosuaSource: International Journal for Religious Freedom 7, pp 127 –156 (2014)More Less
The Islamic world is undergoing a very turbulent, agonizing, barbarous, intolerant and dreadful time, hardly witnessed before in its history. Old regimes are collapsing; countries are disintegrating; sectarian, ethnic and racial conflicts are rising to the surface and are flaring up everywhere. Tribes and adherents of certain religious groups, especially the targeted native Christian population, are being forcibly deported or coerced to leave their native countries. In order to address the rather prophetical question on the future of Christianity in the Middle East and North Africa, the article identifies the roots of the crisis of Christians in the Middle East and the status quo of historic Christian Churches in the light of the "Arab Spring" by scrutinizing a sample of countries regarding religious freedom. After that the author proceeds to describe the development of human rights issues which arise. The article ends with some suggestions as to how a dependable consensus between native Christians and Muslims can be achieved.
Author Maximilian J. HolzlSource: International Journal for Religious Freedom 7, pp 157 –173 (2014)More Less
The aim of this article is to analyse how the developments in the post-apostolic church, and particularly after the Constantinian shift, soon resulted in the loss of religious freedom. In recent years, there has been a great deal of interest in mission in the changing contexts of post-Christian societies in the West. Yet most of this research has neglected to examine the relationship between the post-Christendom shift and the previous shift from the persecuted primitive church to the religious political construct of Christendom. What is more, an examination of the Christendom era contributes to the study of the conditions of religious freedom and persecution.The compulsion to religious uniformity and monopoly resulted inevitably in the loss of religious freedom over many centuries. In the final analysis, the differing assessments of Constantinianism depend on the respective eschatological and ecclesiological view.
Author Valery StoyanovSource: International Journal for Religious Freedom 7, pp 175 –185 (2014)More Less
In the policy of national states, there are four models for addressing ethnic problems : (1) "liberation" of the minority through its physical destruction or eviction; (2) "dissociation"or segregation; (3) "incorporation" or integration; and (4) provision of full rights and freedoms, which, in turn, could facilitate disintegration. These four models can be seen in minority policy in Bulgaria. To one degree or another they have been applied to all kinds and groups of minorities, especially to those who were perceived as a possible threat to the national security. And because in the Balkans the nations are perceived as historically determined ethno-cultural constructions, the fear of the "other" grows with the increasing rate of its difference. That is why the state policy has always been focused on those ethno-confessional groups that stay most remote from the idea of the Bulgarian nation.This positioning shows that the contradictions on the axis "majority - minority" are realized mainly in the civilizational field - as a result of one apprehended as a different culture or way of life (Muslim vs. Christian, settled vs. nomadic, etc.). Hence arises the effort of the state to overcome them or, at least, to "soften" them. Of course, in a universal sense,every person is valuable, regardless of age, gender, race and ethnicity, native language, or confessed religion. Before God we are all equal - pieces of energy in a material shell. But when you think with the categories of "nation" and "state," of "us" and "them," of "our" and "other" (i.e. "not our, alien"), these differences play a decisive role. Thus there is the striving for leveling them, and if it is impossible, for rejecting or deleting them, including by "removing" their bearers. This article makes an attempt to trace how these four models are reflected in the state policy of Bulgaria towards the national minorities and what role the religious factor plays.
Author Thomas SchirrmacherSource: International Journal for Religious Freedom 7, pp 187 –200 (2014)More Less
Even if the Armenian question does not have the importance of the Kurdish question for Turkey's domestic policy, it plays a central role for Turkey's self-understanding. What lies at the center is not primarily the everyday discrimination of Armenians which emanates from the population. Rather, it is the combat against those who want to designate the widespread deaths of Armenians in the course of the alleged resettlement of Armenians during World War I as genocide. It has only been since the massive opposition by governments and parliaments of numerous countries that Turkey has initiated research into genocide at all. Together with the discrimination of religious minorities, this has become a stumbling block for entry into the EU.
Survey on language use regarding 'discrimination, persecution, martyrdom' - International Institute for Religious FreedomSource: International Journal for Religious Freedom 7, pp 201 –207 (2014)More Less
Discrimination, persecution and martyrdom are a widespread reality. This documentation introduces a survey on how terminology is used and understood by various Christian groups. The readers are invited to complete the questionnaire electronically at www.iirf.eu. Why is the language used to describe these phenomena a problem? How does it affect ecumenical relations? See the commentary in the appendix for further explanations.
Source: International Journal for Religious Freedom 7, pp 213 –218 (2014)More Less
The noteworthy items are structured in four groups: Global surveys, regional and country reports, specific issues and further reading. They are preceded by news items. Though we apply serious criteria in the selection of items noted, it is beyond our capacity to scrutinize the accuracy of every statement made. We therefore disclaim responsibility for the contents of the items noted. The compilation was in part produced by the interns Tiffany L Ash and Simeon Tomaszewski and edited by Dr. Christof Sauer. Submissions welcome to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fighting over God : a legal and political history of religious freedom in Canada, Janet Epp Buckingham : book reviewAuthor Andre Marshall SchuttenSource: International Journal for Religious Freedom 7, pp 219 –220 (2014)More Less
Can a book tackle the complexity of Canadian religious freedom while remaining readable and accessible for lawyers and laypeople alike? Dr. Janet Epp Buckingham has done so admirably with this stellar product, a culmination of 20 years of work referencing over 600 cases.
Author Nilay SaiyaSource: International Journal for Religious Freedom 7, pp 220 –222 (2014)More Less
Allen Hertzke's edited volume The Future of Religious Freedom : Global Challenges comes at a moment in time when assaults on religious liberty are sharply rising. Millions of people around the world are subjected to harassment, intimidation, or violence because of their religious beliefs, or those of their persecutors. Against this backdrop, the 15 contributors to this volume seek to address the status of religious freedom in the world today, barriers to its realization, moral and political implications of religious restrictions, and ways to create societies respectful of religious liberty.
Models of religious freedom : Switzerland, the United States, and Syria by analytical, methodological, and eclectic representation, Marcel Stüssi : book reviewAuthor Janet Epp. BuckinghamSource: International Journal for Religious Freedom 7, pp 222 –223 (2014)More Less
This book compares and contrasts histories, theories and structures for religion and religious freedom in three very different countries : Switzerland, the United States and Syria. It was originally a doctoral dissertation. This is both its strength and its weakness. It is a strength in that it is carefully researched and documented. It is a weakness in that it is structured like a thesis and involves subjects that would not normally be considered together.
Author Shaun De FreitasSource: International Journal for Religious Freedom 7, pp 223 –225 (2014)More Less
This book is comprised of a plethora of topics pertaining to the nexus of religion, politics and the law. Part 1 of the book begins with two chapters on foundational concerns. First, the return of political theology (such theology being understood as 'a doctrine that legitimates public authority, and the institutions that exercise it, on the basis of a divine revelation') is discussed. Secondly, the need to transcend the authority ascribed to 'reason' or 'revelation' through strategies directed towards the interpretation of religions(in the context of a richer diversity in the ways of speaking about God) is addressed. These concerns present insights related to political theology in the past, its presence in contemporary societies (alongside that of political discourse) and the renewal of political theology from within religion itself. Furthermore, the understanding that appeals to reason or revelation first needs to be interpreted in ways that promote free and responsible existence if they are to claim the right to order social existence. Although limited in elaboration at times, these foundational concerns contribute to the debate on the inclusion and relevance of religion in the public sphere and society in general.
Author Georgia Du PlessisSource: International Journal for Religious Freedom 7, pp 225 –226 (2014)More Less
This provocative book contrasts "common-sense" religious liberty against "extreme" religious liberty within the United States. The notion of extreme religious liberty is espoused by documented stories of, amongst others, clergy sex abuse and the refusal of companies to do business with same-sex couples. For example, the classic and much contested argument, where racism is equated with homophobia, is used to describe the refusal of companies to do business with same-sex couples. For the author "this is as extreme as religious liberty get" (231). Based on such examples, the purpose of the book is made clear - a call "for a return to commonsense religious liberty" (i). However, no criteria are provided for determining what "common-sense" and "extreme" entails.