An Open-Minded View of Faith in International Politics
Before the Court
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30  EU Accession to the ECHR
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Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.
John Milton
, Areopagitica, 1644
NEWSLETTER January 20, 2012
An Open-Minded View of Faith in International Politics

"At the start of a new decade, it is time to take religion seriously. ... There will be no peace in our world without an understanding of the place of religion within it." — Tony Blair

With his new Faith Foundation, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair follows other prominent political personalities who have used the platform that respect and renown have provided them to champion a worthy cause, in his case the causes of religious freedom and understanding. ... more

Before the Court
Before the Grand Chamber

Chiragov and Others v. Armenia (no. 13216/05) – Grand Chamber Admissibility Decision 9 January 2012. Azerbaijani nationals allege that they were forced to leave their homes as a result of actions of Armenia-backed Karabakh forces and have been prevented from returning to their properties by these occupying forces. They complain under Article 1, Protocol 1 of interference with the right to peaceful enjoyment of their possessions. They further complain, under Article 8, of infringement of the ... more

Conscientious Objection Cases

Feti Demirtaş v. Turkey (no. 5260/07) - Chamber Judgment 17 January 2012. The applicant, Mr Feti Demirtaş, is a Turkish national who was born in 1981 and lives in Istanbul. He was baptised as a Jehovah’s Witness at the age of 20 and refuses to perform his military service. He has declared his willingness to perform alternative civilian service. Relying on Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment), Mr Demirtaş complained of an endless series of prosecutions and ... more

Court Holds that Abu Qatada Deportation Would Violate Article 6

Othman (Abu Qatada) v. United Kingom (no. 8139/09) - Chamber Judgment 17 January 2012. The applicant, Omar Othman (Abu Qatada), is a Jordanian national suspected of having links with al-Qaeda. He is currently detained in Long Latin prison in Worcestershire, England. He was granted asylum in the United Kingdom in 1994 on the basis of having been detained and tortured in Jordan. In May 1998 the applicant applied for indefinite leave to remain in the United Kingdom. This application had not been ... more

News and Opinions Europe: 11 November 2011 – 20 January 2012

Please click the date to review the entire news item. Note that the opinions expressed in articles, or biases reflected in news items, do not necessarily reflect opinions or attitudes of members of the Strasbourg Consortium. We strive for balance in presenting issues of potential interest to our readers.

20 January 2012Russia: Prisoner of conscience freed but not exonerated. (Felix Corley, Forum 18 News Service)

19 January 2012. European human rights court bans Al Qaeda preacher's ... more

Religious Freedom and the New Hungarian Constitution - January 2012

7 January 2012. 82 churches ask to be recognized in Hungary. (Associated Press via
4 January 2012. US diplomat: Hungary could lose its EU membership. (EurActiv)
4 January 2012. New Hungarian constitution revokes nation's recognition of Islam & other religions. (Ahlul Bayt News Agency)
4 January 2012. Hungary's leaders accused of power grab. ... more

Tony Blair Says Religion in the Public Realm Is Vital

"For years, it was assumed, certainly in the West, that, as society developed, religion would wither away," said Tony Blair in a 2 January 2012 blogpost "Faith in a Globalized Age," published on New Europe Online. But it hasn't," said the former British Prime Minister," and, at the start of a new decade, it is time to take religion seriously." To that end Blair has created a Faith Foundation, "to create greater understanding ... more

The Future of Christians in the Middle East

From Europe Infos: Christian Perspectives on the EU, January 2012.

On 18 and 19 November 2011, a group of MEPs from different European Parliament party groups organised the first top-level parliamentary conference on the theme "The future of Christians in the Middle East."

Lebanon had been chosen as the host country for this debate because – in the words of His Holiness Pope John-Paul II ... more

U.S. High Court Decides Landmark "Ministerial Exception" Case

Europeans interested in religion-state issues may wish to take note of an opinion delivered by the United States Supreme Court on 12 January 2012. The decision in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has been termed the most significant U.S. religious freedom case in half a century. In a unanimous opinion, the Court held that employment discrimination suits against leaders and teachers of religious organizations impermissibly interfere with the internal governance of religious organizations and thus violate the U.S. Constitution's Free Exercise and Establishment Clauses. ... more

Islam, Europe and Emerging Legal Issues

Edited by W. Cole Durham Jr., Rik Torfs, 
David M. Kirkham, and Christine Scott
Ashgate Publishers 2012

Islam, Europe and Emerging Legal Issues brings together vital analysis of the challenges that Europe poses for an expanding Islam and that Islam poses for Europe, within their ever-evolving religious, legal, and social environments. This book gathers some of the best thinking on Islam and the law affecting current and contested issues that can no longer be ignored, particularly as they have found their way before the European Court of Human Rights. Contributors include leading authorities who are working at the heart of this generation's law and religion questions in Europe and across the world. This book outlines implications for all those who look to Europe--from both within and without--for models of human rights implementation and multi-cultural accommodation.

First Issue of Oxford Journal of Law and Religion Now Available Online

Advance access  to the first issue of The Oxford Journal of Law and Religion is now available online, with print publication to follow shortly. The Journal presents a range of articles treating social, legal, and political issues involving the relationship between law and religion in society. Expert contributors offer comparative law perspectives on the relationship between religion and state institutions, track developments regarding human and constitutional rights to freedom of religion or belief, and explore the relationship between religious and secular legal ... more

Global Christianity: A Pew Forum Report

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life has announced results of a demographic study of more than 200 countries, tracking the size and distiribution of the world's Christian population. According to the study, released on 21 December 2011, "there are 2.18 billion Christians of all ages around the world, representing nearly a third of the estimated 2010 global population of 6.9 billion. Christians are also geographically widespread - so far-flung, in fact, that no single continent or region ... more

American–Western European Values Gap: Pew Research Report

The Pew Research Center has on 17 November 2011 released the results of a new survey study exploring how Americans differ from Europeans in their views on religion. The survey by the Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project compares American attitudes on religion with those of residents in Britain, Spain, France, and Germany.  ... more

HRWF Issues Report Documenting Curtailment of Freedom of Religion in Japan

Human Rights Without Frontiers International (HRWF Int'l), an independent nongovernmental organization, has released a 62-page report that documents the abduction and confinement of Japanese citizens for the purpose of religious de-conversion, and the failure of Japanese police and judicial authorities to investigate and prosecute those responsible ... more

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