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Religious Freedom Project

Georgetown University's Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs has received a $2 million grant from the John Templeton Foundation to support the interdisciplinary study of religious...

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PROJECT LEADERS

Thomas FarrThomas Farr

Thomas F. Farr is director of the Religious Freedom Project at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs and a visiting associate...

Timothy ShahTimothy Shah

Timothy Samuel Shah is associate director of the Religious Freedom Project at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs and...

ASSOCIATE SCHOLARS

Ilan AlonIlan Alon

Ilan Alon is the George D. and Harriet W. Cornell Chair of International Business and director of the China Center at Rollins College, as well as a...

José CasanovaJosé Casanova

José Casanova is one of the world's top scholars in the sociology of religion. He is a professor at the Department of Sociology at Georgetown...

Jean Bethke ElshtainJean Bethke Elshtain

Jean Bethke Elshtain was the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Social and Political Ethics at the University of Chicago from 1996 until her...

Anthony GillAnthony Gill

Tony Gill is a professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Washington, adjunct professor of sociology at the UW, and a...

William InbodenWilliam Inboden

William Inboden is associate professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs and executive director of the Clements Center for History, Strategy, and...

Timur KuranTimur Kuran

Timur Kuran is professor of economics and political science, and Gorter Family Professor in Islamic Studies at Duke University. Kuran’s research...

David NovakDavid Novak

David Novak holds the J. Richard and Dorothy Shiff Chair of Jewish Studies as Professor of the Study of Religion and Professor of Philosophy at the...

John M. OwenJohn M. Owen

John M. Owen is the Ambassador Henry J. and Mrs. Marion R. Taylor Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia. He is the author of Liberal...

Daniel PhilpottDaniel Philpott

Daniel Philpott, a Professor of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for Peace Studies, specializes in the...

Ani SarkissianAni Sarkissian

Ani Sarkissian is an assistant professor of political science at Michigan State University, where she is a core faculty member of the Muslim...

Mona SiddiquiMona Siddiqui

Mona Siddiqui is professor of Islamic and inter-religious studies and assistant principal for religion and society at the University of Edinburgh....

Monica Duffy ToftMonica Duffy Toft

Monica Duffy Toft is professor of government and public policy at Oxford University's Blavatnik School of Government. She previously was associate...

Roger TriggRoger Trigg

Roger Trigg, of St Cross College, Oxford, is senior research fellow in the Ian Ramsey Centre, University of Oxford, and a member of Oxford's...

Robert WoodberryRobert Woodberry

Robert Woodberry is an Associate Professor of Political Science and the Director of the Project on Religion and Economic Change (PREC) at the...

PROJECT STAFF

Kyle Vander MeulenKyle Vander Meulen

Kyle Vander Meulen joined the Berkley Center in January 2011. Before coming to the center, he completed his master's studies in Divinity at the...

Claudia WinklerClaudia Winkler

Claudia Winkler joined the Berkley Center in February 2014. Before joining the center, Claudia completed her master's degree in German at...
Book_religiousfreedomwhynow

March 1, 2012

Religious Freedom: Why Now? Defending an Embattled Human Right

This event celebrated the rollout of a new book, Religious Freedom: Why Now? Defending an Embattled Human Right, authored by RFP Associate Director Timothy Shah, under the auspices of the Witherspoon Institute’s Task Force on International Religious Freedom, chaired by RFP Director Thomas Farr. The event was co-sponsored by the Religious Freedom Project and the Witherspoon Institute. The keynote address was delivered by Robert P. George of Princeton University. Panels featured a wide range of participants, including noted Muslim scholar Sheikh Hamza Yusuf.
Why now? Religious freedom is under sustained pressure today around the world. In some places, it is fair to say that religious freedom is under siege. The publication of Religious Freedom: Why Now? is a response to that sobering fact. Although scant attention is paid by governments, the academy, or the media, the implications of this crisis—and we contend that it is a crisis—are quite serious. A worldwide erosion of religious freedom is causing large-scale human suffering, grave injustice, and significant threats to international peace and security.

For the last three years, the Witherspoon Institute’s Task Force on International Religious Freedom – under Tom Farr’s chairmanship -- has examined the various dimensions of the challenge faced by religious freedom, and has deliberated on the most effective policy responses by the United States and other governments around the world. In May 2011, the Witherspoon Institute convened an unprecedented interdisciplinary meeting in Princeton, New Jersey of more than thirty experts on the subject, from the fields of psychology, sociology, law, philosophy, theology, political science, and international relations. They included academics, policy analysts, and journalists, as well as advocates and adherents from a variety of religious traditions. The result was a focused discussion over two days of the basis of religious freedom, its present condition, and the prospects for its future.

Religious Freedom: Why Now? is the Task Force’s considered statement on these matters. Drafted by RFP Associate Director Timothy Samuel Shah, with contributions from the Witherspoon Institute’s Matthew J. Franck and the members of the Task Force, it is informed by insights from all these academic disciplines and religious traditions.

A special event following the lecture brought keynoter Robert P. George, Princeton University’s McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence together with Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, co-founder of Zaytuna College, the first accredited Muslim institution of higher learning in the United States. The two discussed the roots of religious freedom in Islam and critical religious freedom issues facing Muslims today. An RFP publication on this special event can be found here.

Event Schedule
11:45am-12:15pm Lunch

12:15-1:30pm Keynote Lecture
Speaker: Robert P. George

1:45 - 3:15pm Panel 1: Why Religious Freedom? The Challenge of Grounding Religious Liberty
Panelists: William A. Galston, Wilfred M. McClay, Timothy S. Shah, and Amy Sullivan

3:30-5:00pm Panel 2: Why Now? The Urgency of Advancing Religious Liberty in the Muslim World
Panelists: Thomas F. Farr, Allen Hertzke, Ed Husain, and Hamza Yusuf

Featuring

Robert P. George

Robert P. George

Robert P. George is McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and founding director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University. He teaches constitutional law and jurisprudence, civil liberties, and philosophy of law. A member of the President’s Council on Bioethics during the George W. Bush administration, George previously served as a presidential appointee to the US Commission on Civil Rights and remains a corresponding member of UNESCO’s World Commission on the Ethics of Science and Technology. A former Judicial Fellow at the Supreme Court of the United States, where he received the Justice Tom C. Clark Award, he is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and in July 2013 was elected chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. George's books include, among others, Conscience and Its Enemies: Confronting the Dogmas of Liberal Secularism (2013), Embryo: A Defense of Human Life (2008), and The Meaning of Marriage: Family, State, Market, And Morals (2006).

Participants

Thomas Farr

Thomas Farr

Full List of Publications

Thomas F. Farr is director of the Religious Freedom Project at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs and a visiting associate professor of religion and international affairs at Georgetown’s Edmund A....
William A. Galston

William A. Galston

William A. Galston holds the Ezra Zilkha Chair in the Brookings Institution’s Governance Studies Program, where he serves as a Senior Fellow. He is also College Park Professor at the University of Maryland. Prior to January 2006 he was Saul Stern...
Allen Hertzke

Allen Hertzke

Allen Hertzke is Co-Chair of the “Christianity and Freedom” initiative’s Steering Committee and the David Ross Boyd Professor of Political Science at the University of Oklahoma. He is one of America’s most distinguished scholars of religion and...
Ed Husain

Ed Husain

Ed Husain is Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. His work focuses on international threats from radicalization, extremism, and terrorism. Previously, Mr. Husain was cofounder and codirector of Quilliam Foundation, the world’s first...
Wilfred McClay

Wilfred McClay

Wilfred McClay holds the SunTrust Bank Chair of Excellence in Humanities and is a professor of history at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He also holds a position on the National Council on the Humanities and the advisory board for the...
Timothy Shah

Timothy Shah

Timothy Samuel Shah is associate director of the Religious Freedom Project at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs and visiting assistant professor in the Government Department, Georgetown University. He is a political...
Amy Sullivan

Amy Sullivan

Amy Sullivan is a reporter specializing in the relationship between religion and politics. She is a contributing editor to Time Magazine where she writes for the magazine’s political blog, Swampland. She has also written for the Washington Post,...
Hamza Yusuf

Hamza Yusuf

Shaykh Hamza Yusuf is an American-born Muslim scholar and educator and president of Zaytuna College, which he co-founded in 1999 as America’s first accredited Muslim institution of higher learning. It was preceded by the 1996 founding of the...