Tag Archives: secularism

Article in Muslim World Journal of Human Rights (2011)


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:


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.’

RELIGARE Conference on ‘Secularism and Religious Diversity in Europe: Opportunities and Perspectives, Leuven & Brussels, 4 – 5 December 2012

I am pleased to pass the invitation for the above conference on to anyone interested in this topic. I had the honor to make a contribution to one of the volumes produced in the course of this project (see http://hmtennapel.weblog.leidenuniv.nl/2012/08/06/a-test-of-faith-religious-diversity-and/). Speakers during the conference include Tore Lindholm (University of Oslo), Olivier Roy (European University Institute), Abdulla An-Na’im (Professor Emeritus, Emory University), José Casanova (Georgetown University) and Heiner Bielefeldt (UN Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion).

‘RELIGARE (‘Religious Diversity and Secular Models in Europe: Innovative Approaches to Law and Policy’) is a European research project funded by the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7, 2007-2013) of the European Commission. It focuses on the coexistence and interactions of secular and religious values in contemporary Europe.

To mark the end of this 3 year project, a high level Conference will be organized on 4-5 of December 2012 to present the project’s results and recommendations. The event has been organized as follows:

4 December 2012 – Leuven (University of Leuven)
• Conference (9.00 a.m. – 6.30 p.m.):
Presentation of the research results by the project partners, accompanied by an in-depth analysis of scientific findings by invited academics and experts.
Venue: Tiensestraat 41, Law Faculty, 3000 Leuven – Auditorium Zeger Van Hee, Collegium Falconis.
• Evening debate (7.30.p.m. – 9.30 p.m.):
Featuring a panel discussion and a keynote speech by Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council.
Venue: Promotiezaal: Universiteitshal, Naamsestraat 22, B-3000 Leuven.

5 December 2012 – Brussels (Centre Albert Borchette, European Commission)
• Conference (9.00 a.m. to 5.30 p.m.): Day two focuses on the EU policy relevance of the RELIGARE results, and aims at stimulating discussion and feedback between researchers and EU policymakers.
Includes the participation of Mr. Lázló Surján, Vice-President of the European Parliament, who will deliver a Keynote Speech at 2 p.m.

Venue: Albert Borschette Conference Centre, 36 Rue Froissart, Brussels


The RELIGARE Steering Committee (on behalf of the RELIGARE project)

Prof. Marie-Claire Foblets, University of Leuven (Coordinator of the RELIGARE project)
Prof. Veit Bader, University of Amsterdam
Dr. Sergio Carrera, Centre for European Policy Studies
Prof. Silvio Ferrari, University of Milan
Prof. Francis Messner, National Centre for Scientific Research (PRISME-University of Strasbourg)
Prof. Jørgen Nielsen, University of Copenhagen
Prof. Mathias Rohe, University of Erlangen-Nürnberg
Dr. Prakash Shah, Queen Mary, University of London
Prof. Rik Torfs, University of Leuven’

You can access the full programme, and register for this event at http://religareproject.eu/content/religare-conference-secularism-and-religious-diversity-europe-opportunities-and-perspectives.

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 .’

Paper-presentation during conference on ‘Religion and Civil Society’, Harvard Law School

I will be attending the conference on ‘Religion and Civil Society; The Changing Faces of "Religion" and "Secularity"’ this week, organized by the Institute for Culture and Society (ICS) of the University of Navarra (Pamplona, Spain), at Harvard Law School. For the conference, which was announced earlier on this blog, I co-authored a paper with Jaco van den Brink on ‘The State, Civil Society and Religious Freedom’. The final program appears below:  

7th June



"The changing faces of religion and secularism"
Mary Ann Glendon
Learned Hand Professor of Law at Harvard University Law School, Cambridge.


"Parenthood in God and civil society"
Rafael Alvira
Professor of History of Philosophy at ICS University of Navarra


"Religious civilization and civil religion in a multicultural world"
Carmelo Vigna
Professor of Moral Philosophy at Università Ca Foscari of Venice

12:30 Lunch



Workshop 1
Religious Freedom in Contemporary Juridical Context

Chair: Francisca Pérez Madrid, Professor of Law. University of Barcelona

Crosses and Culture: State-Sponsored Religious Displays in the United States and Europe
Mark L. Movsesian
Frederick A. Whitney Professor and Director at the Center for Law and Religion, St. John’s University, New York.

The State, Civil Society and Religious Freedom
Hans-Martien ten Napel
Assistant Professor of Constitutional and Administrative Law at Leiden University.

A Cookbook of Ways to Dissolve Religious Associations through Law
Iain T. Benson
Senior Associate Counsel of Miller Thomson LLP in Canada. University of the Free State of South Africa.

Freedom of Religion and Belief: Is there a Role for the European External Action Service?
Pasquale Annicchino
Research Fellow at Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, European University Institute, San Domenico di Fiesole.

Forum Internum and Forum Externum and the Negotiation of the Public-Private Divide in Canon Law and Public International Law with a Particular Reference to the Jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights
Peter Petkoff
Research Fellow. Director of Law, Religion and International Relations Programme. Regent’s Park College, Oxford. Brunel University Law School, West London.

Religious freedom and the cultural dimension of religion
Francisca Pérez Madrid
Professor of Law at University of Barcelona.


Workshop II
Medieval Political Theology: Theory & Practice.
Chair: Jaume Aurell. Dean of the School of Philosophy and Social Studies, University of Navarra

How did "Political Theology" exist in the Middle Ages?
Montserrat Herrero
Associate Professor of Political Philosophy at ICS, University of Navarra.

Ernst H. Kantorowicz and Gabriel Naudé: from "Mysteries of State" to "Coups d’État"
Antonio Bento
Associate Professor of Political Philosophy at University of Beira Interior.

Places of Power: the City and the Court in Late Medieval Iberia
Rita Costa Gomes
Associate Professor of Medieval History at Towson University

Just War and Criticism of Crusade in Western Medieval Society
Martin Aurell

Professor of Medieval History at University of Poitiers. Institut Universitaire de France

King Peter of Aragon Self-coronation (1336) and its Historical, Liturgical and Iconographical Representations
Jaume Aurell
Associate Professor of Medieval History at University of Navarra

The iconology of breaking medieval seal matrices
Alfons Puigarnau
Associate Professor of Theory of Art at International University of Catalunya

18:30 Dinner



"Culture and Civil Society"
Robert Royal
Faith & Reason Institute, Washington, D.C.

8th June



Defending Civil Society: Religious Advocacy in American National Politics
Allen Hertzke
Presidential Professor of Political Science at University of Oklahoma


Why Religion and ‘the Secular’ cannot be Separated
Jean Bethke Elstain
Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Social and Political Ethics at the Divinity School. Department of Political Science and the Committee on International Relations at the University of Chicago


The Theologico-Political Problem Today
Russell Hittinger
William K. Warren Professor of Catholic Studies. Research Professor of Law at University of Tulsa

12:30 Lunch



Workshop III
Liberalism, Capitalism and Religion

Chair: Raquel Lázaro, University of Navarra

David Hume and True Religion
Gordon Graham
Henry Luce III Professor of Philosophy and the Arts at Princeton Theological Seminary

Living toguther differently: beyond the liberal synthesis
Adam Seligman
Professor of Religion at Boston University. Research Associate at Institute for Study of Economic Culture, Boston University.

The role of Religion according Mandeville and Hutcheson
Julio Seoane
Associate Professor of Philosophy at University of Alcalá

The Ethical Gap in Modern Ideals of Citizenship: A Diagnosis and a Proposal
David Thunder
Visiting Assistant Professor at Villanova University

An analysis of the history of Western Man: Personhood, Individuality & Transformation
Robert de Simone
Research Fellow at ICS at University of Navarra-New York

God and Religion in a commercial society, according to Adam Smith
Raquel Lázaro
Associate Professor of Modern Philosophy at University of Navarra


Workshop IV
The Media and the Process of Secularization of Society
Chair: Mercedes Montero and Mónica Codina, University of Navarra

Freedom of speech as naturalized religious freedom: historical antecedents and views from social pragmatism
Mariano Navarro
Chief of Communication Research Division at Panamericana University, México D. F.

Free speech and the rationality of public communication in a changing era
Mónica Codina
Associate Professor of Ethics and Communication at University of Navarra

˜Without religion, there is no peace". Religious freedom in the catholic and liberal newspapers in Mexico City (1833-1857)
Inigo Fernández
Research Fellow at Panamericana University, México D. F.

The secularization of society and the role of the media. The "agenda-Gramsci" in the Spanish newspaper El Pais
Mercedes Montero
Associate Professor of Journalism History at ICS, University of Navarra


Workshop V
Monotheism & Violence
Chair: Alejandra Vanney. Austral University of Buenos Aires. (Argentina)

Monotheistic Trinitarianism, Theological Exclusivism, and Nonviolence: An Overlooked Alternative
Peter D. Anders
Instructor in Theology at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary Boston

Monotheism and Political Violence: Reflections on the Argumentative Sustainability of a Causal Claim
Govert Buijs
Lecturer in Social and Political Philosophy at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Islam, Intolerance and Violence; a view from the West
Javier Gil
Ph D. ICS, University of Navarra

The One True God: Making the Truth about Monotheism Count
Alejandra Vanney
Associate Professor of Political Science at the Austral University of Buenos Aires

20:00 Dinner

Source: http://www.unav.es/centro/religion-sociedad/programa-congreso-harvard.