“Around Town” (Events of Note)

“Which Model, Whose Liberty?: Differences between the U.S. and European Approaches to Religious Freedom,” Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, Georgetown University, October 11, 2012.

“Religious freedom is in the headlines on both sides of the Atlantic. Although some have written of a “Western model” of religious liberty, is that label a myth? This conference—cosponsored by the RFP [Religious Freedom Project] and the International Center for Law and Religion Studies at Brigham Young University’s School of Law—examined the historic and emerging differences in how religious freedom was conceived and has been implemented on both sides of the Atlantic.”

“What Do We Make of Extremism After Wisconsin?” New America Foundation, August 23, 2012.

“On August 6, a mosque in Joplin, Missouri, was burned down. The day before, a gunman entered a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, killing six worshipers and wounding several others. These incidents point to a broader pattern of right-wing domestic terrorism. In fact, since the September 11th attacks, a number of Sikhs have been targeted, whether because they are confused for Muslims or to advance an anti-immigrant agenda — not to mention rising Islamophobia. What do we make of these attacks, and how do we tackle the problem of domestic terrorism? Are government and law enforcement paying attention, or are we too focused on the threat of Islamic extremism to notice what’s happening?”

“‘Western Education Is Abomination’: Boko Haram and the Challenge of National Unity in Nigeria,” Institute for Policy Research, Catholic University of America, April 12, 2012.

“Boko Haram, a relatively unknown Islamic fundamentalist sect that originated in northeastern Nigeria, came to attention in 2002. Since then, it has gained national and international prominence, especially with the bombings of the United Nations building in Abuja, St. Theresa’s Church on Christmas Day, and the Police and Security building in Kano. Boko Haram targets innocent civilians and Nigeria’s security forces. It challenges Nigeria’s national unity and poses peace and security threats in the region and beyond. The symposium will address the socio-historical context of Boko Haram, its linkages and the current efforts taken to address its threat.”

“Rethinking Secularism,” Social Science Research Council, American Academy of Religion, November 20, 2011.

A discussion of Rethinking Secularism, a recently published volume co-edited by Craig Calhoun, Mark Juergensmeyer, and Jonathan VanAntwerpen. The so-called “resurgence” of religion in the public sphere has forced scholars to reconsider both classical theories of secularization and a range of contemporary secular assumptions. Presenting groundbreaking work from an interdisciplinary group of leading scholars, Rethinking Secularism surveys these efforts and helps to reframe discussions of religion in the social sciences by drawing attention to the central issue of how “the secular” is constituted and understood. Panelists: Robert N. Bellah, University of California, Berkeley, Saba Mahmood, University of California, Berkeley. Respondents: Craig Calhoun, Social Science Research Council and New York University, Mark Juergensmeyer, University of California, Santa Barbara.

“What’s So Special About Religious Freedom?” Religious Freedom Project, Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, & World Affairs, Georgetown University, November 17, 2011

“On Thursday, November 17, 2011, the Religious Freedom Project hosted a keynote debate at Georgetown University on the question of the uniqueness of religious freedom. Debating this critical issue were Harvard Law Professor Noah Feldman and Stanford Law Professor Michael McConnell. Coinciding with the debate, the event featured two related panels to examine the meaning and reach of religious freedom. The morning panel explored the Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, and secular influences on religious freedom in the West. The afternoon panel addressed the universality of religious freedom and its compatibility with non-Western cultures.”

“The 2011 American Values Survey Launch,” Public Religion Research Institute and Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, Georgetown University, November 8, 2011

“One year out from the 2012 presidential election, Public Religion Research Institute released the findings of the 2011 American Values Survey, a major new public opinion survey that provides a window into what Americans think about the state of the economy, the GOP primary field, and the Obama presidency. This major new survey, along with PRRI’s panel of experts, explored the consequences of the misgivings some key groups have toward Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith, and examined the roots of unfavorable evaluations of the Obama presidency. The survey also provides new findings on attitudes about economic inequality and equal opportunity, values that animate the swell of public protests in the Occupy Wall Street movement.”

“The Interplay Between Religious Freedom, Extremism, and Security: The Implications for U.S. Foreign Policy,” United States Commission on Religious Freedom, July 29, 2011.

“A panel of experts will discuss the interplay between religious freedom, extremism, and security with a particular focus on U.S. policy toward Egypt, Nigeria, and Pakistan. Three of the panelists, Daniel Philpott, Tim Shah, and Monica Duffy Toft, will present findings and offer policy recommendations from their recently published book, God’s Century: Resurgent Religion and Global Politics. Current USCIRF Fellow Ziya Meral will speak about patterns of ethno-religious violence with case studies from countries he recently visited, Egypt and Nigeria.”

“A Great Divide: How Muslims and Westerners See Each Other,”
Carnegie Endowment for Peace, July 21, 2011.

“Ten years after the September 11 attacks and the start of the war in Afghanistan, it is important to consider how the relationship between Western and Muslim publics has evolved, and what this means for policymakers. A panel of experts discussed a new Pew Research Center report on how Western and Muslim publics perceive each other, based on a survey conducted this spring by the Pew Global Attitudes Project. Pew’s Andrew Kohut presented the new findings, followed by a discussion with Georgetown University’s Samer Shehata and the Atlantic Council’s Shuja Nawaz. Carnegie’s Marwan Muasher moderated.”