Blog

Justice Scalia’s Influence on the Religion Clauses Part I: Free Exercise Law

John E. Taylor - 12th March 2016

The “big three” issues in Religion Clauses jurisprudence are: (1) whether and how judges should decide claims to free exercise exemptions from generally applicable laws; (2) when government religious speech violates the Establishment Clause; and (3) when even-handed funding of religious organizations and activities violates the Establishment Clause.  In all three areas, the Supreme Court […]

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Pakistan: A Paradoxical Divinity

Ayesha Malik - 2nd February 2016

The 4 January 2016 marked five years since the Punjab governor Salman Taseer was killed by a member of his own security detail in a popular market in Pakistan’s capital city. His self-confessed assassin, 26-year-old Mumtaz Qadri, told interrogators he had killed the governor for his calls to reform Pakistan’s blasphemy law and for his […]

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Hate Speech in Sri Lanka: How a New Ban Could Perpetuate Impunity

Gehan Gunatilleke - 11th January 2016

In June 2014, an altercation between a Buddhist monk and two Muslims resulted in a public rally in Aluthgama—a small town on the Southern coast of Sri Lanka known for its ethnic and religious diversity. Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thero, the Secretary General of Bodu Bala Sena, a radical Sinhala-Buddhist movement responsible for numerous hate campaigns against Muslims, […]

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Conscientious Objection or Conscious Oppression?: The Uphill Battle to Access Abortion Services in Uruguay

Lucia Berro - 11th September 2015

In October 2012, Uruguay passed Law 18,987 that waives criminal penalties for abortion in the first 12 weeks of gestation. Where the pregnancy results from rape, abortion is permitted in the first 14 weeks of gestation provided certain procedural requirements are met. No time constraints apply if the health of the mother is endangered or […]

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The Indian Supreme Court and the Missing Connection between Faith and Dress

Ashleigh Pinto and Talweez Senghera - 9th September 2015

The Indian Supreme Court’s recent comments trivialising the importance of religious dress to faith have troubling implications. The Court has rejected a bid to quash guidelines prohibiting candidates from wearing certain forms of dress to the All India Pre-Medical/Pre-Dental Entrance Test. The Students Islamic Organisation of India (SIO) and three exam candidates had filed a […]

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Santhara: Jains’ Right to Exit with Dignity

Kriti Sharma - 7th September 2015

The Jain religion of India has been embroiled in legal controversy surrounding the practice of Santhara or Sallekhana. The Jains, a religious minority in the country, believe in the immortality of the soul and practice renunciation of the world when the body has served all its function, achieved through the gradual giving up of food […]

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‘Absolute Neutrality’ or ‘True Neutrality’? Atheism, Religion and the Supreme Court of Canada

Ravi Amarnath - 1st June 2015

What happens when an atheist individual contests the validity of a religious prayer traditionally recited at city council meetings? Is this individual granted constitutional protection on the basis of freedom of religion, and must the council refrain from reciting prayer? The Supreme Court of Canada has answered both questions in the affirmative. In Mouvement laïque […]

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Jamaican Marijuana Reform, Rastas and Rights

Dionne Jackson Miller - 18th March 2015

In 1997, Dr. Dennis Forsythe, described in Forsythe v Director of Public Prosecutions and Attorney General (1997 34 J.L.R. 512) as a sociologist, holist, author, Rastafarian and attorney-at-law, petitioned the Supreme (High) Court for a declaration that his constitutional rights to freedom of conscience and freedom of religion had been infringed by the Dangerous Drugs […]

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A Veiled Attempt at Conformity? Recent Cases Test the Bounds of Canada’s Commitment to Multiculturalism

Ravi Amarnath - 13th March 2015

The boundaries of Canada’s multicultural society have been tested in two recent cases involving religious attire in public forums. In February 2015, a federal court judge struck down portions of a federal policy that prevented a Muslim woman from taking an oath for Canadian citizenship while wearing a niqab. Zunera Ishaq is a Pakistani national […]

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UN Strategy to Combat Religious Intolerance, Discrimination and Violence: Is It Fit for Purpose?

Marc Limon, Nazila Ghanea and Hilary Power - 10th March 2015

According to a recent report by the Pew Research Center, violence and discrimination against religious groups by governments, as well as social hostilities by a variety of actors, have reached new heights in all regions except the Americas. These problems are not new. Combatting religious intolerance and discrimination has been once of the international human […]

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Law Society of Canadian Province Nova Scotia is Found to Have Overstepped its Mandate, Violating Religious Freedoms

Ravi Amarnath - 10th February 2015

The first of a series of decisions that will shape how the balance is to be struck between Canada’s constitutionally protected rights of equality and freedom of religion has held that the latter cannot be unduly interfered with by a private institution. Recently, a judge of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia held that the […]

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