Tag Archives: religious symbols

Signatory to Amicus effort in Lautsi case before European Court of Human Rights (2010)

In 2010, Notre Dame Professor of Law Paolo Carozza led ‘a group of more than 50 law professors from 15 countries who have submitted written comments asking the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights to overturn a seven-judge panel’s ruling that crucifixes may not be displayed in Italian classrooms. (…)

“The challenges of religious pluralism in contemporary Europe can’t be resolved through the false premise that banning religious symbols from public spaces is somehow a ‘neutral’ position,” Carozza said. “Pluralism must be achieved through a genuine dialogue among the religious traditions of the European peoples, a dialogue that becomes impossible if the symbols representing the historic traditions of the continent are excised from public life, including education.”

Working with European colleagues, Carozza assembled a coalition of prominent legal scholars from across Europe, including former constitutional court judges from three countries, to intervene as amicus curiae in the case. The group is being represented by The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. (…)

In their friend-of-the-court brief, the law professors argue that the panel’s ruling needlessly threatens the wide variety of religious symbols on display on public property all over Europe, including national flags, coats of arms, and public art. The professors also warn that the panel’s decision risks setting off a widespread conflict between government and religion. Given the wide diversity of religious practices across Europe, it makes little sense to try to create a secularist “common denominator.” Rather, they contend, the Court should give states substantial leeway to structure the church-state relationship in harmony with tradition, history and culture.

“One of the cornerstones of the construction of modern Europe was precisely the acceptance of a wide variety of practices regarding religion and public life in the various states of the region,” Carozza said. “The European Court of Human Rights has in its best moments been protective of that rich and important diversity of cultures among the peoples of Europe, but the Chamber in this case betrayed that ideal by imposing a very narrow and uniform model of what is required of the state.”’

Source: https://italianstudies.nd.edu/news/law-professor-carozza-organizes-amicus-effort-in-european-crucifix-case/.

You can read the brief, to which I was a signatory and which was rejected by the Court, here:

See also:

A Test of Faith? Religious Diversity and Accommodation in the European Workplace

Article in Muslim World Journal of Human Rights (2011)

Chapter in volume on Law and Religion in the 21st Century. Relations between States and Religious Communities (2010)

Panel Chair and Presenter, First Annual Conference, European Academy of Religion, Bologna, 5-8 March, 2018

‘The European Academy of Religion (EuARe) is a research initiative launched under the high patronage of the European Parliament which offers an exchange platform to academies and scientific societies; associations; research centers and institutions; university labs, clusters, and departments; journals, publishers, media and scholars coming from Europe and the surrounding regions’ (see https://www.europeanacademyofreligion.org/missionstatement).

With over 900 participants, the new research initiative was off to an impressive start this week. Some of the highlights for me included:

Panel on ’The Future of Freedom of Religion: International Perspectives’, chaired by Ana Maria Celis (Chile, President of the International Consortium for Law and Religion Studies), with Mark Hill (Cardiff University), Elizabeth Clark (Brigham Young University, Provo), Asher Maoz (Peres Academic Center, Tel Aviv) and Juan Navarro Floria (Pontificia Universidad Católica, Buenos Aires) presenting.

Panel on ’Commonwealth as Crossroads: Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) in the Commonwealth of Nations’, with Fabio Petito (University of Sussex), Erin Wilson (University of Groningen), Monica Toft (Tufts University), Ahmed Garba (Bauchi State University, Nigeria) and M. Christian Green (Commonwealth Initiative for Freedom of Religion or Belief)  as speakers.

Panel on ‘Religious Universities and Professional Education: Positive Influence or Prejudicial Effect?’, chaired by Jessica Giles (The Open University), with Elizabeth Clark (Brigham Young University) and Michael P. Moreland (Villanova University) presenting

I am furthermore grateful for the extraordinarily valuable feedback received after the presentation of my paper on ‘Comparative Constitutional Law and Natural Law’ during my own panel ‘Courts and Religion. Approaches and Perspectives’:

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Courts and Religion. Approaches and Perspectives

Chair: Hans-Martien ten Napel (Leiden Law School)

Speakers:
• Mason Taylor (The Open University), The European Court of Human Rights: Substantive and Institutional Shifts Towards Religious Symbols

• Hans-Martien ten Napel (Leiden Law School), Comparative Constitutional Law and Natural Law

Language: English

10.30-12.30 Aemilia Hotel, Sala Bibiena

 

See also:

Upcoming Speaking Engagement: Annual Conference of the European Academy of Religion, Bologna, March 5-8, 2018

Press Release: ‘Twelve ILS seed money grants for frontier research at Leiden Law School’

Podcast of the Law and Religious Freedom Book Panel at the Annual Meetings of the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Biblical Literature in Boston, MA

Article in Muslim World Journal of Human Rights (2011)

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The abstract of this article, entitled ‘The Judicial Protection of Religious Symbols in Europe’s Public Educational Institutions: Thank God for Canada and South Africa’, reads as follows:

‘How should judges deal with the manifestation of religious symbols in public educational institutions? In light of the important role of human rights in our legal and political system, courts should grant maximum protection under the freedom of religion or belief. The central thesis of this article is that the European Court of Human Rights fails to live up to this standard. In order to reach this conclusion, the article analyzes relevant case law of the European Court and compares its case law with that of the high courts of Canada and South Africa. In addition, the article assesses the case law of all three courts from the angle of interpretation theory and particularly Cass R. Sunstein’s theory of judicial minimalism. Adoption of a more consistently minimalist methodology by the European Court might lead to a greater protection granted to individuals and groups. However, a wide and deep ruling is first required to overturn the current line of reasoning. The European Court can draw inspiration from Canada and South Africa for such a judgment.’

For order information of the article, which was co-authored with Florian H. Karim Theissen, see:

http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/mwjhr.2011.8.issue-1/1554-4419.1216/1554-4419.1216.xml.

About the journal:

‘Muslim World Journal of Human Rights offers a medium for scholarly debate on various aspects of the question of human rights as it relates to the Muslim World. Edited by an international board of leading Islamic studies, Middle Eastern studies and human right scholars from around the world, MWJHR promises to serve as a forum in which barriers are bridged (or at least, addressed), and human rights are finally discussed with an eye on the Muslim world, in an open and creative manner.

The choice to name the journal, “Muslim World Journal of Human Rights” reflects a desire to examine human rights issues related not only to Islam and Islamic law, but equally those human rights issues found in Muslim societies that stem from various other sources such as socio-economic and political factors, as well the interaction and intersections of the two areas.’

Chapter in volume on Law and Religion in the 21st Century. Relations between States and Religious Communities (2010)

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‘This book brings together leading international scholars of law and religion to provide an overview of current issues in State-religion relations. The first part of the collection offers a picture of recent developments in key countries and regions. The second part is focused on Europe and, in particular, on the Nordic States and the post-communist countries where State-religion systems have undergone most profound change. The third and final part is devoted to four issues that are currently debated all over the world: the relations between freedom of expression and freedom of religion; proselytism and the right to change religion; the religious symbols; and the legal status of Islam in Europe and Canada.
The work will be a valuable resource for academics, students and policy-makers with an interest in the interaction between law and religion.’

My own chapter, co-authored with Florian H.K. Theissen, is entitled: ‘The European Court of Human Rights on religious symbols in public institutions – a comparative perspective: maximum protection of the freedom of religion through judicial minimalism?’.

Order information:

http://www.ashgate.com/isbn/9781409411437.

 

A Test of Faith? Religious Diversity and Accommodation in the European Workplace

Pleased to learn, upon my return from vacation, that the above book, edited by Katayoun Alidadi, Marie-Claire Foblets and Jogchum Vrielink, all at the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium, is now available from Ashgate Publishing. The flyer of the book, to which I contributed a chapter entitled ‘Beyond Lautsi: An Alternative Approach to Limiting the Government’s Ability to Display Religious Symbols in the Public Workplace’, contains the following information: 

‘Religion and modernity meet in the European workplace. The implications are many and varied. The contributions to this timely volume are concerned with the legal dimensions of these encounters. They merit very careful scrutiny.’ – Grace Davie, University of Exeter, UK

‘Throughout Europe, religion in the workplace is perceived as self-evident in some contexts, and as hugely problematic in others. The increasing number of legal scholars and practitioners who confront this issue, will find in this book numerous pathways along which to form their own legal opinion, and to help shape the as yet undecided legal approaches in many European countries.’ – Eva Brems, Ghent University, Belgium

Issues of religious diversity in the workplace have become very topical and have been raised before domestic courts and the European Court of Human Rights. Examining the controversial and constantly evolving position of religion in the workplace, this collection brings together chapters by legal and social science scholars and provides a wealth of information on legal responses across Europe, Turkey and the United States to conflicts between professional and religious obligations involving employees and employers.

Contributors: Katayoun Alidadi, Marie-Claire Foblets, Jogchum Vrielink, Lucy Vickers, Saïla Ouald Chaib, Kristin Henrard, Hans-Martien ten Napel, Titia Loenen, Yves Stox, Mine Yildirim, Rim-Sarah Alouane, Efrat Tzadik, Gabrielle Caceres, Amandine Barb, Julie Ringelheim.

To order, please visit: www.ashgate.com. All online orders receive a discount. Alternatively, contact our distributor: Bookpoint Ltd, Ashgate Publishing Direct Sales, 130 Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon, OX14 4SB, UK. Tel: +44 (0)1235 827730 Fax: +44 (0)1235 400454. Email: ashgate@bookpoint.co.uk.

August 2012, 382 pages, Hardback, 978-1-4094-4502-9, £75.00, www.ashgate.com/, isbn/9781409445029. Sample pages for published titles are available to view online at: www.ashgate.com

Contents: Introduction; Part I European Components of the Religion and Workplace Debate: Section I Religion, Workplace Accommodations and the Case Law of the European Court of Human Rights: Section II New Player Joining In: the European Union and Religious Discrimination: Part II Identity, Neutrality, Secularism: Case Studies and Comparative Perspectives: Section I Country Studies: Turkey, France and Belgium: Section II Comparative Perspectives In the Public and Private Workplace: Index.

Full contents listing is available on the website: http://www.ashgate.com/default.aspx?page=637&calctitle=1&pageSubject=501&title_id=11755&edition_id=15297 .’