NEWSLETTER
ICLARS - N° 1   November 2016
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TABLE OF CONTENTS

- The ICLARS Routledge series of law and religion. A short but promising history
- Declaration of THE LATIN AMERICAN CONSORTIUM FOR RELIGIOUS LIBERTY regarding the Inter-American Convention Against all Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance.
- PAY LESS, GET MORE: discount for ICLARS members

 
 
 
 
EDITORIAL

RESOURCES

The ICLARS Routledge series of law and religion. A short but promising history Books & Journals
The agreement to publish the ICLARS series of books was made in July 2014. In just over two years, it has produced six books, with a further 11 under contract. This is an outstanding achievement – most series begin with a few publications and slowly build over several years. The relatively rapid growth of the ICLARS series is testament to the wealth of scholarship and exciting research activity in this area along with the enthusiasm and hard work of the series editors.  
The books are wide-ranging both in topics covered and approaches taken. They include edited collections such as Religion and Equality: Law in Conflict, Cole W. Durham, Jr., and Donlu D. Thayer, eds, (2016). Here, leading scholars and experts consider issues and tensions arising in contemporary debates over religion and equality in many parts of the world. Divided into two sections, the first focuses on the anti-discrimination dimension of religious freedom norms. The second presents case studies exploring the contemporary issue of same-sex marriage and how it affects religious groups and believers. In similar style, Religion as Empowerment: Global legal perspectives, Kyriaki Topidi and Lauren Fielder, eds, (2016) examines how and why legal empowerment is conducive to people acting as fully-fledged legal subjects with regard to the rights stemming from their freedom of belief. The authors look beyond the rule of law orthodoxy in its consideration of the freedom of religion as a human right and place this discussion in a more plurality-sensitive context. The book thus sheds more light on the informal and/or customary mechanisms that explain the limited impact of law on individuals and groups.
The series also includes monographs such as Church and State in Scotland: Developing Law, Francis Lyall (2016). As the first country to adopt Presbyterianism, Scotland has developed a system of church government which is now in world-wide use. This book examines the development and current state of the relevant Scots law and assesses the impact of human rights and various discrimination laws. The book makes comparisons between Scotland and other legal and religious jurisdictions in the wake of globalization.
Perhaps unsurprisingly Islamic law is well represented in the series. In 2016 we will publish three works looking at various aspects. Already available, Religions and Constitutional Transitions in the Muslim Mediterranean: The Pluralistic Moment, Alessandro Ferrari and James Toronto (eds) investigates the role of Islam and religious freedom in the constitutional transitions of seven North African and Middle Eastern countries. The book offers a dynamic picture of the role played by Islam and religious freedom in the process of state-building in a globalized age in which human rights and pluralism are crucial dimensions.
The monograph Blasphemy, Islam and the State: Pluralism and Liberalism in Indonesia, Stewart Fenwick (2016) explores the interaction between law and religion in a democratic state where religion plays a significant role in public life, using post-Soeharto Indonesia as a case study. Exploring faith, law and the right to religious freedom in the world’s largest democracy after India and the United States, the book contributes to understanding the role of religion in the development of democracy in the world’s largest Muslim nation.
In November we will release Islam and Women's Income: Dowry and Law in Bangladesh, Farah Deeba Chowdhury. This examines the interrelationship between law, culture, patriarchy and religion in the context of contemporary Bangladesh. Taking a socio-legal approach, it analyses the changing nature of the dowry practice and its relation to women’s increasing paid labour force activity.
Four further titles are due for publication in 2017. Again, these include a variety of types of book and subjects. In the monograph Proportionality, Equality Laws and Religion: Conflicts in England, Canada and the USA, Megan Pearson takes a comparative approach to consider how the law should manage conflicts between the right of religious freedom and that of non-discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. Further releases planned for next year include the edited collection Religion, Pluralism, and Reconciling Difference, Cole W. Durham Jr., and Donlu D. Thayer. We also have two more monographs:  Liberal Theory and Islam: Religion, Law and the State in Muslim Contexts, Arif Jamal; and Law and International Religious Freedom: The Rise and Decline of the American Model, Pasquale Annicchino.
So far, a further seven titles are planned for 2018-19. We are particularly excited about the Routledge Handbook on Religious Laws, edited by Silvio Ferrari, Rossella Bottoni and Russell Sandberg and due for publication in Spring 2018. Other titles planned for this period include Law and Religion – Leading Works, Russell Sandberg and Celia G. Kenny (2018); Theology and Contemporary Legal Issues: Lutheran Perspectives, Marie Failinger and Ronald W. Duty (2018); `Compensation Culture’ in Civil Litigation, Restorative Justice and Reconciliation: The Blame Game, Alexander Forsyth, (March 2018); Atheist Exceptionalism: The Making of an American Judicial Definition of Atheism, Ethan Quillen (2018); Immigration and Religious Freedom: A comparative survey of the legal framework in the UK and Italy, Vincenzo Pacillo (2018); The Disestablishment of the Church of England: A Legal Analysis, Meryl Dickinson (2019).
As these books become available, we expect awareness of the series to grow which in turn should lead to an increased volume of new proposals and publications. Each proposal is carefully considered by the managing editors and publisher and, if considered suitable, sent to two independent peer reviewers. On delivery, manuscripts are also reviewed. This supports our aim only to publish books of a consistently high standard.
I have been genuinely impressed by the rapid growth and output of the series and I look forward to seeing it develop further. Details of the series and forthcoming titles can be found on Routledge website
We are always delighted to hear about new research and welcome new proposals.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Alison Kirk
Religion and Equality. Law in Conflict
Book
Religions and Constitutional Transitions in the Muslim Mediterranean. The Pluralistic Moment
Book
Proportionality, Equality Laws and Religion. Conflicts in England, Canada and the USA.
Book
Vergentis
Journal

Links

 

Declaration of THE LATIN AMERICAN CONSORTIUM FOR RELIGIOUS LIBERTY   PAY LESS, GET MORE: discount for ICLARS members
 

Declaration of THE LATIN AMERICAN CONSORTIUM FOR RELIGIOUS LIBERTY regarding the Inter-American Convention Against all Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance.


The Latin American Consortium for Religious Freedom expresses its concern regarding the Inter-American Convention Against All Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance (hereinafter the "Convention"), adopted by the Organization of American States (hereinafter "OAS"). The Convention has been sent for signature to countries in the region and is being considered for ratification by some signatory states. 

The Convention contains elements undoubtedly of great value. In relation to the main object of our concern, we appreciate that the Convention confirms the condemnation of any form of discrimination based on religion. However, we believe that this protection is overshadowed by other aspects of the Convention more difficult to accept.

It is worth mentioning that neither the Consortium nor its members approve in any way intolerance or discrimination in any of its forms, as such forms of discrimination have already been defined in existing instruments in the inter-American human rights system and its universal counterparts. However, we believe that the Convention, as has been written, does not properly reconcile the objective of combating unfair discrimination and the protection of the already recognized human rights of freedom of expression, conscience and religion.It also seems to us that the Convention is inconsistent with other existing international human rights instruments and doctrines. In that vein, the Consortium shares the serious objections raised by other third parties regarding the incompatibility of the Convention with the existing regulations of the countries in the OAS regarding the protection of the human rights mentioned above.

The Convention creates two innovations that are, in our view, of particular concern: the first is its extremely broad and all-encompassing definition of "intolerance" which creates an uncertain and vague legal concept, and which provides its interpreters with an extreme degree of discretion; and the second is the creation of a "new human right" of protection against the aforementioned intolerance. Thus, on its face, the Convention creates for the member states of the OAS that become parties to the Convention, the obligation to "eliminate, prohibit and punish all acts and manifestations of discrimination and intolerance," even by and among private actors, with the potential result of infringing freedom of expression of thought, conscience and religion, all of which are precious to the inter-American human rights system.These provisions do not exclude religious organizations, including with regard to their internal relationships among their members and between the members and the organizations.

Traditionally, anti-discrimination laws seek to provide protection to people whose fundamental human rights are violated for reasons linked to so-called “suspect categories,”  such as race, ethnicity, religion or sex. The basic intent of these rules is to ensure to all people, and especially those who are vulnerable, equal access to legal rights protected by human rights treaties, without arbitrary discrimination.In the Convention, however, intolerance stands by itself in an autonomous manner as conduct to punish, and can be established merely by issuing an expression that someone considers as intolerant, without any underlying right being affected.In other words, the Convention would require the adopting States to punish and censor speeches or activities that may fall within the definition of intolerance, that is, either involving disagreement with or opposition to the opinion of a third party, without the need to demonstrate any prejudice to other rights, based on the mere fact that the opinion expressed is denounced by others as being intolerant.

It is a basic tenet of almost all religions the fundamental belief that human actions can be contrasted with standards or codes of conduct that the religions and their adherents recognize, and that based on those standards or codes conduct can be determined to be good or bad according to the commandments of faith.The Convention would require States to punish any religious teaching that implies a moral judgment about human behavior, even expressed in the abstract or with respect to various religious denominations’ own members.Even though the Convention may not have been intended to violate freedom of conscience and religion, or of expression, it is very likely that this will be the result of its strict application.We believe that the Convention as it has been drafted seriously affects freedom of expression; and also fundamentally affects religious freedom.  The latter (religious freedom), which the Inter-American Court of Human Rights has defined as "one of the foundations of democratic society",  in conjunction with freedom of expression, undoubtedly includes the freedom to express moral judgments and to present, spread and defend religious and moral doctrine, even though some people may feel affected by such judgments and doctrineormay consider that such judgments are not sufficiently tolerant.

Finally, by creating a "new human right" (the right to be protected from all forms of intolerance, in the broad sense that the term has in the Convention), this instrument would have the potential effect of leaving unprotected the human rights -- protected by the Pact of San José de Costa Rica -- to freedom of expression, conscience and religion, assembly, association, and movement and residence, because they are all subject to be restricted to protect the rights of others not be victims of intolerance.Before the creation of this new human right -- which unlike the others, does not appear to be subject to any restrictions, without regard to the widespread recognition that there are no absolute rights-- the content and protection of all those human rights will be reformulated on the basis of the Convention and subordinated to the new law, which would have absolute primacy. In short, freedom of expression, conscience and religion, and other freedoms, will cease to exist as we have previously known them.

It is for these reasons that the Latin American Consortium for Religious Freedom, having carefully analyzed the text of the Convention, and having deliberated internally in an informed manner, has institutionally resolved to issue this statement, which invites Member States of the OAS not to ratify the Convention, at least in its current state.


Juan G. NAVARRO FLORIA - Secretario
Dra. Carmen ASIAIN PEREIRA - Presidente
 
www.libertadreligiosa.org

 

We are glad to inform the ICLARS members that Routledge will apply a 50% discount on all the books of the Routledge ICLARS series. The discount will be effective starting from the payment of the 2017 ICLARS membership dues.

 
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Newsletter editor: Cristiana Cianitto.

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