September 9, 2011
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
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
Aziz Abu Sarah is the Co-Executive Director of George Mason University’s Center for World Religions, Diplomacy, and Conflict Resolution. He was also recently named as a National Geographic emerging explorer for 2011. As a result of his work Aziz...
Following the September 11 terror attacks, Zainab left her teaching position at Yale to co-found the American Islamic Congress (AIC). An outspoken advocate for women’s equality and interfaith understanding, she has directed AIC’s women’s...
Rabbi Arik Ascherman is the Executive Director of Rabbis for Human Rights (RHR), an organization that gives voice to the Jewish religious tradition of human rights for Israelis, Palestinians, and foreign workers alike. In this role Ascherman has...
Kelly James Clark is Professor of Philosophy at Calvin College and former Executive Director of the Society of Christian Philosophers. He has held postdoctoral fellowships at Oxford University, the University of St. Andrews, and the University of...
Michael Cromartie is Vice President at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, where he directs the Faith Angle Forum and the Evangelicals in Civic Life programs. He is also a senior advisor to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, a Senior...
Rana Husseini is an award-winning journalist for the Jordan Times and human rights defender. She has focused on the brutal crimes that are committed against Jordanian women in the name of family honor, culminating in the book Murder in the Name of...
Ziya Meral is a Turkish Christian writer, researcher, and a PhD candidate in Politics at the University of Cambridge; he is also a research associate with the Foreign Policy Centre. Meral is a 2010-2011 Joseph Crapa Fellow at the US Commission on...
Hedieh Mirahmadi is an attorney, author, and founder and president of the World Organization for Resource Development & Education (WORDE), which works to improve communication between Muslim and non-Muslim communities in order to reduce social...
Dr. Nurit Peled-Elhanan is a Lecturer in Language Education at Hebrew University in Jerusalem specializing in discourse in Israeli education with emphasis on visual and verbal presentation of Palestinian and non-western Jews. Since the death of...
Leah Shakdiel is an Israeli peace activist and feminist scholar. Through teaching and continued activist work with Israeli human rights NGOs like Machsom Watch, Mirkam Azori, Darom4Peace, and Rabbis for Human Rights, Shakdiel works to bring the...
Hanna Siniora is co-CEO of the Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information (IPCRI), publisher of the Jerusalem Times, and general manager of Biladi Advertising Agency. Siniora has been a member of the Palestinian National Council since...
Nicholas Wolterstorff is the Noah Porter Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at Yale University and currently a senior research fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia. Active in teaching and research at...