Freedom of religion is an issue of universal interest and scope. However, in the last two centuries at least, the philosophical, religious and legal terms of the question have been largely defined in the West. In an increasingly global world, widening our knowledge of this right’s roots in different cultural and legal systems becomes a priority. This Handbook seeks to attain this goal through a better understanding of the historical roots and expressions of the right to freedom of religion on the one hand and, on the other, of its theological background in different religious traditions. History and theology provide the setting for the analysis of the politics of freedom of religion, that is, how this right is used in the context of the dialogue/confrontation between countries placed in different cultural regions of the world, and of the legal strategies and tools that have been developed and are employed to protect and foster the right to freedom of religion. Behind these legal and political strategies, there is an ongoing debate about the nature of this right, whose main features are explored in the final section.
Global, historical and interdisciplinary in approach, this book studies the new relevance of freedom of religion worldwide and develops suitable categories to analyze and understand the role that freedom of religion can play in managing religious and cultural diversity in our societies. Authored by experts, through the contributions collected in these chapters, scholars and students will be able to broaden and deepen their knowledge of the right to freedom of religion and to develop the ability to go beyond the borders of the different cultural environments in which this right took shape and developed.
Table of Contents
Introduction. Locating the right to freedom of religion or belief across time and territory
Mark Hill QC
Part I History of the right to freedom of religion or belief
The right to freedom of religion: an historical perspective from the West
John Witte, Jr.
The right to freedom of religion: an historical perspective from Asia
Kevin YL Tan
The right to freedom of religion: an historical perspective from Africa
Ahmed Salisu Garba
The right to freedom of belief: an historical perspective on secular humanism
Part II The right of religious freedom from the religions’ perspective
Buddhist Perspectives on Freedom of Religion and Belief
Religious freedom: Christian perspectives
Hindu perspectives on the right to religious freedom
Laura Dudley Jenkins and Kristina M. Teater
The right of religious freedom in contemporary Islamic thought
Wael Saleh and Patrice Brodeur
Building an inter-religious notion of the right to freedom of religion: Dangers, opportunities and goals
Part III Geopolitics of the right to freedom of religion
Geopolitics of the right to freedom of religion. Western perspectives
Freedom of religion: Asian perspectives
Jaclyn L. Neo and Arif A. Jamal
The right to freedom of religion and belief: African perspectives
Idowu A. Akinloye
Part IV Mapping the right to freedom of religion
Freedom of religion: constitutional patterns of protection
Johan D. van der Vyver
The right to religious freedom in international human rights law: a brief overview and exploration of its positive dimension
Laurens Lavrysen and Eva Brems
The right to freedom of and from religion for and among indigenous peoples
Part V The dynamics of the right to freedom of religion
The organic unity of human rights and the place of freedom of religion or belief: challenge and response
The dialectics of the right to freedom of religion or belief
Peter G. Danchin
Silvio Ferrari is Professor of Law at the University of Milan, Italy.
Mark Hill QC is Associate Professor at the Centre for Law and Religion, Cardiff University; University of Pretoria; Notre Dame University Law School, Sydney; and King’s College, London. He lectures in law at the Open University.
Arif A. Jamal is Associate Professor and Deputy Director of the Centre for Asian Legal Studies at the Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore.
Rossella Bottoni is Associate Professor of Law and Religion at the Faculty of Law of the University of Trento, Italy.