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April 16, 2014  |  About RFP  |  Directions to the Center  |  Subscribe
 
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THEME

An adequate understanding of the contemporary significance of religious freedom requires a grasp of its history and institutionalization over time. While the idea of religious freedom grows out of the Classical and Judeo-Christian traditions, it became a major social and political issue during and after the Reformation. Over the past two centuries, the idea of religious liberty has advanced against fierce opposition, both religious and secular, and has found diverse forms of political expression. Understanding the persistence of discrimination against and persecution of religious communities in the contemporary world -- and countering it effectively -- requires a deeper understanding of history. The project will bring together leading scholars to examine the evolution of the idea of religious liberty, its institutionalization, and contemporary relevance.



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...
Egypt

Religious Freedom in the Wake of the Arab Spring


Despite the solidarity Egyptians displayed in the Tahrir Square protests that sparked the Arab Spring, subsequent months have witnessed a dangerous increase in violence against religious minorities, especially the Coptic Christian community. As Egypt, Tunisia, and now Libya seek to construct new democratic governments, their respective approaches to religion-state issues will be critical to their success. Can these and other democratic aspirants in the region hope for stability without granting religious freedom to all their citizens? Or is the notion of religious freedom a Western concept, inapplicable to countries with different histories and cultures?   >> more

Publication

Citizens or Martyrs?  The Uncertain Fate of Christians in the Arab Spring
2011
A tense subplot of the Arab Spring is the increasing endangerment of the region’s Christians. In Egypt, Coptic Christians, 10% of the population, have been attacked repeatedly by Salafist Muslims unleashed – many literally released from prison -- by the fall of President Hosni Mubarak. No wonder...


Event

What's So Special About Religious Freedom?
November 17, 2011
Religious freedom has been called America’s “first freedom.” But does it warrant such a special status? What, if anything, distinguishes religious freedom from other protected rights like the freedom of speech or assembly? Is religious freedom a right that stands on its own, or is it a subset of...


Scholar Essays

Daniel Philpott on Islam: A Friend or Foe of Democracy in the New Egypt?
June 3, 2011
Will Islam impel or impede democracy in Egypt? There is probably no question whose answer is less clear and more hotly debated than this one in the context of Egypt’s current transition. It is worth remembering that, especially in the Islamic world, democratic institutions that involve elections...


Monica Duffy Toft on Three Models of Religious Freedom for the New Egypt
June 3, 2011
As the heady days of public demonstrations fade into history, key questions about Egypt’s future remain. Will Egypt move towards a more open democratic system? Will the rights of religious minorities (e.g. atheists, Copts, non-Muslims, secularists) be respected? Or, will Egypt move toward a...


Roger Trigg on Religious Freedom in Egypt
June 3, 2011
As Egypt moves towards democracy, the issue of religious freedom is of central importance. Such freedom has to be at the root of all democracy. If individuals are not free to hold or put into practice beliefs about what is most important in life, and what is most worth pursuing, they cannot...


Timothy Samuel Shah on a Fully Free Egypt
June 3, 2011
There will be no moving toward a truly free and stable democracy in Egypt unless Egypt also moves toward religious freedom. But what does it mean to insist that Egypt move to respect religious freedom in its current political transition? On May 19, 2011, President Obama—to his credit—talked...


William Inboden on US Religious Freedom Policy in the New Egypt
June 3, 2011
The Obama Administration’s challenges in responding to the Arab Spring fall into two categories. The first is developing an actual region-wide strategy for these unprecedented upheavals. The Administration’s responses to the convulsions thus far can charitably be described as ad hoc and reactive....