The Status of and Threats to International Law on Freedom of Religion or Belief

W. Cole Jr. Durham, Matthew K. Richards and Donlu D. Thayer

in The Future of Religious Freedom

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199930890
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199980581 | DOI:
The Status of and Threats to International Law on Freedom of Religion or Belief

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This chapter provides a sweeping overview of the status of international law on religion and explores threats to its realization. It demonstrates that freedom of religion or belief is firmly incorporated in international law but that the consensus behind it is weakening in the face of secular trends and overweening states. It surveys the evolution of international covenants, national constitutions, statutes, and norms, showing that the international regime recognizes religious freedom as a universal right. But the chapter also examines systematically the challenges to this international regime by secularist apathy, competing values, identity politics, or intrusive state actions, both by democratic nations and authoritarian ones. It concludes with an eloquent appeal to uphold this pillar of freedom in the face of broad non-compliance, both in the interest of human justice but also the stability and peace of the global order

Keywords: religious freedom; religious markets; international law; constitutional models; human rights; threats to religious rights; global security; Islamic experience

Chapter.  18814 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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