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Resources on religious freedom

Article 18 UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Posted 21 October 2016. Updated 12 December 2016.

Freedom of religion and belief, usually abbreviated as "Religious freedom", as set out in Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is a fundamental human right. No country that seriously restricts religious freedom can call itself free, and I would never voluntarily live in such a country.

There are many excellent resources on freedom of religion. I have created this page to help readers find some of them. It will grow as I add more resources to it.

If you believe a particular resource should be added, please supply the link using the comments facility below.

Religious Freedom in the World - 2014

Aid to the Church in Need is a Pontifical Foundation of the Catholic Church. They are understandably concerned about the persecution of Christians which occurs in many countries, but their interest in religious freedom extends beyond Christians.

Their report "Religious Freedom in the World - 2014" provides detailed information on the state of religious freedom in many countries.

Freedom of Religion or Belief Toolkit

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) is the UK's equivalent of the US State Department.

As religious freedom is a sensitive issue in many countries, the FCO publishes guidance for its staff with background information, and links to many resources. In particular the FCO document "Freedom of Religion or Belief Toolkit How the FCO can help promote and protect this human right" downloadable from the linked page contains excellent background material and clickable links to many additional resources.

I read a hard copy recently, and recommend the document to everyone interested in religious freedom.

Freedom Declared - All Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom of Religion or Belief

All Party Parliamentary Groups ("APPGs") are informal cross-party groups that have no official status within Parliament. They are run by and for Members of the Commons and Lords, though many choose to involve individuals and organisations from outside Parliament in their administration and activities.

Freedom Declared exists to raise awareness and profile of international freedom of religion or belief as a human right among Parliamentarians, media, government and the general public in the UK, and to increase the effectiveness of the UK’s contribution to international institutions charged with enforcing this human right.

Their website has a number of reports, and you can subscribe to their email information list.

My own pages on religious freedom

Several of my website pages focus specifically on religious freedom issues.

Religious freedom is fundamental for a free society
Because we have it, Britons take religious freedom for granted. The best definition of religious freedom is in Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Religious freedom is of course incompatible with theocracy. However there are limits to religious freedom, and your religious beliefs do not entitle you to harm other people.
Lecture: The Quran recognises religious freedom
In April 2016 I gave the second Annual Religious Freedom Lecture of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society UK and Ireland Chapter. The United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights article 18 sets the global standard for freedom of thought, conscience and religion and it has my full support. I used the lecture to explain how the Declaration is consistent with the Quran. My approach was to first explain the basic sources of Islam before going on to show how some key principles of Islam, which are clearly stated in the Quran, support religious freedom. 40 min audio recording with self-advancing PowerPoint slides.
Blasphemy should never be a crime
Blasphemy features prominently in the news from time to time. Many believe that blasphemy should be a criminal offence everywhere, as it already is in some countries. In the UK the blasphemy law only ever applied to Christianity, and has been abolished. I believe it should remain abolished. In my view Islam does not prescribe any penalty in this world for blasphemy.
Muslims misguided enough to abandon Islam are free to do so
Apostasy is a controversial subject, and this item generated more comments than any other blog I have written.


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