From September 16–17, University College Dublin School of Law will host Law, State and Religion: An Inter-Disciplinary Conference in Honour of Shirin Ebadi.

Dr. Ebadi, the first woman to achieve Chief Justice status in Iran, lost her post in the Tehran City Court after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.  The revolutionaries’ interpretation of Islam forbade women from holding such prominent public positions; thus, they demoted her from judge to an administrative position.  Since then, among her many accomplishments—winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003, publishing innumerable books and articles, promoting international human rights, and advocating an interpretation of Islam that treats women as equals (“Whenever women protest and ask for their rights, they are silenced with the argument that the laws are justified under Islam.  It is an unfounded argument.  It is not Islam at fault, but rather the patriarchal culture that uses its own interpretations to justify whatever it wants.”)—she has been a practicing lawyer (a hard-won accomplishment for a woman in present-day Iran), taking on controversial defenses that have, at times, so aggravated Iranian authorities as to land her in prison.

The Nobel Foundation’s awarding institutions selected Dr. Ebadi for the Peace Prize because of her efforts to safeguard Iranian women, refugees, and children.  She was the first Iranian and first Muslim woman to receive the Award.

The Conference will feature Dr. Ebadi as keynote speaker.  Symposia include the intersection between rights, religion, and the law; human rights, religion, and the state; Islam and gender; and civil society, religion, and the Irish state.  Registration is available from €40–€75, for anyone lucky enough to be in Dublin in two weeks.  This CLR fellow looks forward to the scholarship and dialogue this Conference will certainly produce.

—DRS, CLR Fellow

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