Liberty and Tolerance in an Age of Religious Conflict

Religious liberty and tolerance are among the most central global issues facing us today. Too often scholars have approached them solely as philosophical questions or abstract universal imperatives, obscuring their meaning and significance within specific religious traditions. Any effort to deepen appreciation for religious liberty and tolerance while excluding religious voices is bound to fail. In conjunction with Calvin College, the Berkley Center convened scholars and practitioners from Christian, Jewish, and Muslim backgrounds to examine and compare resources supportive of religious freedom and tolerance within their own traditions. The participants were among the contributors to a forthcoming book, Abraham’s Children: Liberty and Tolerance in an Age of Religious Conflict (Yale University Press). The conference, made possible through the generous support of the John Templeton Foundation, concluded with an interfaith service in commemoration of September 11, 2001.
Each of the panels addressed the following questions:

1. Historically, how has your tradition been exploited by opponents of religious liberty and tolerance? Does such exploitation persist, and why?
2. What are the major resources within your tradition supportive of religious liberty and tolerance? What do they add to dominant secular human rights discourse?
3. How can interfaith dialogue and activism advance the liberty and tolerance agenda? What dangers and pitfalls do you see along the way?


Thursday, September 8

7:00pm Keynote Lecture, McNeir Auditorium
Nicholas Wolterstorff, "The Wounds of God"

Friday, September 9, Berkley Center 3307 M St.

9:00am-9:15am: Welcome, Tom Banchoff and Kelly Clark

9:15am-11:00am Muslim Perspectives
Keynote: Hedieh Mirahmadi, "Religious Liberty in Islam"
Panel discussion with Rana Husseini, Hedieh Mirahmadi, Aziz Abu Sarah, moderated by Tom Banchoff

11:00am-11:15am: Coffee Break

11:15am-1:00pm Jewish Perspectives
Keynote: Nurit Peled-Elhanan, "The Educational Stakes"
Panel discussion with Arik Ascherman, Nurit Peled-Elhanan, and Leah Shakdiel, moderated by Michael Cromartie

2:30pm-4:00pm Christian Perspectives
Ziya Meral, Kelly James Clark, Hanna Siniora, Nicholas Wolterstorff, moderated by Zainab Al-Suwaij

4:00pm-4:45pm Reception

Saturday, September 10

Interfaith Dinner & Discussion, 8:15 PM at Truro Church
Undercroft Meeting Room, 10520 Main Street, Fairfax, VA 22030

>> To compare faith traditions across ethical issues visit the Berkley Center's Religious Perspectives Database.

For another Muslim perspective, see here.

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