Religious Freedom and the Reconstruction of Citizenship
The Institute of Citizenship and Diversity Management at Adyan Foundation, in partnership with the Lebanese American University (LAU), with the support of the Church of Sweden and Missio (Aachen, Germany), is organizing an international conference on “Religious Freedom and the reconstruction of citizenship”.
The conference brings together thirty academics, researchers, religious scholars and decision makers, including politicians, diplomats and public opinion makers from the international scene with the purpose of holding a comprehensive academic and policy debate on religious freedom, its relation to citizenship, to local and international political and legislative frameworks, to the religious discourse, to education and to media and their incidence on social cohesion and political stability.
In the past decades much light has been placed on the freedom of religions and beliefs in cultural, political, legal and theological spheres, with the creation of observatories, governmental and intergovernmental bodies to follow up on the situation of religious freedom in the world and the development of both the international discourse and the religious discourse in that direction. Polls such as those undertaken by the Pew forum show a decrease in restrictions and hostilities towards religions worldwide , yet recent events demonstrate that the question of religious freedom needs to be given more attention. The exacerbation of sectarian conflicts and religiously motivated wars in the Middle-East, are resulting in mass persecution of religious groups and even in the oppression of diverging or critical voices within the same group. In the west, challenges to deal with religious and cultural diversity in the public sphere are constantly growing and becoming more complex.
In fact, freedom of religion and belief needs to be tackled in relation to a reformulation of the social contract and reconstruction of citizenship on an inclusive basis.
Besides the incidence of the concept on the political and legislative dimensions, religious freedom has incidences on cultural, philosophical and religious dimensions as well, since it calls for definitions of what a religion is, for a definition of the relation between religious freedom and freedom of thought and expression, and challenges religious thought in questions related to diversity and to the relation between religion and State.
- Tackling the issue of freedom of religion and belief on the philosophical, political, legal, cultural and religious dimensions, and fostering dialogue between the different approaches.
- Fostering international reflection and collaboration on religious freedom both conceptually and on the level of policy making
Contributing to the reflection process about the development of more inclusive citizenship framework for the management of cultural and religious diversities.
- Developing scientific literature that can increase awareness on religious freedom and that can help spread a grassroots culture of freedom of religion and belief.