Liberty and Tolerance in an Age of Religious Conflict

September 9, 2011
9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. EDT
Location: Berkley Center Third Floor Conference Room Map

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. This conference 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 the book Abraham’s Children: Liberty and Tolerance in an Age of Religious Conflict (2012). The conference 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? 

This conference was convened by the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs and Calvin College with the generous support of the John Templeton Foundation.


September 8

Keynote Lecture: The Wounds of GodNicholas Wolterstorff

September 9

Welcome | Tom Banchoff, Kelly Clark

Keynote: Religious Liberty in Islam | Hedieh Mirahmadi

Panel: Muslim Perspectives | Tom Banchoff, Rana Husseini, Hedieh Mirahmadi, Aziz Abu Sarah

Keynote: The Educational Stakes | Nurit Peled-Elhanan

Panel: Jewish Perspectives | Arik Ascherman, Michael Cromartie, Nurit Peled-Elhanan, Leah Shakdiel 

Panel: Christian Perspectives | Zainab Al-Suwaij, Kelly James Clark, Ziya Meral, Hanna Siniora, Nicholas Wolterstorff

September 10

Interfaith Dinner and Discussion

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Other Participants

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