“Islamophobia, the Media and Echoes of 9/11” (Sept. 7, 2011)

Lawrence Joseph will participate in an upcoming discussion at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism entitled Islamophobia, the Media and Echoes of 9/11. The event is being hosted by Granta magazine in association with South Asian Journalists Association and Voice of Witness, and will explore Islamophobia, media rhetoric and how society remembers the events of September 11, 2001. The discussion will take place on September 7, 2011, at 5 p.m.

Pew Forum Reports Rise in Restrictions on Religion

The well-regarded Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life has updated its report on restrictions on religion around the world.  Pew counts not only laws and official policies that limit the exercise of religion, but also “social hostilities,” defined as private acts like mob violence and other sorts of intimidation.  Pew reports that restrictions on religion increased substantially for one-third of the world’s population in the three years between 2006 and 2009.  The Middle East/North Africa had the largest proportion of countries with a rise in government restrictions; Europe had the largest proportion of countries with a rise in social hostilities.  The full report is here.  — MLM

Bilchitz on “Religious Associations” and Discrimination

David Bilchitz (University of Johannesburg) has posted Should Religious Associations Be Entitled to Discriminate?  The piece is an interesting intervention dealing with South African constitutional law and provides a counterpoint to some of the current debates involving the ministerial exemption in this country.  I have put the term “religious associations” in quotation marks because it is not the way I am accustomed to refer to religious institutions, though I recognize that the South African and U.S. contexts are probably very different (and I believe that there are some scholars in this country who might favor this terminology).  The author takes equality to be the overriding value in these kinds of cases — see, e.g., footnote 23 on page 8, where he cites to a law review piece for the proposition that “even in the United States” some have argued that “equality [should] be regarded as the value to which primacy should be attached.”  The abstract follows.  — MOD

Should religious associations be allowed to engage in acts of discrimination on grounds prohibited in the Constitution where they claim their religious doctrines require it? This paper argues for this question, in general, to be answered in the negative and seeks in the process to explore the tension between advancing equality in South African society whilst recognizing the autonomy of private associations. Read more