Hefner Speaks at Conference on Islam and Religious Freedom

November 14, 2019

Robert HefnerProfessor of Anthropology and International Relations at the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University, attended a November 11-12, 2019 international conference on “The Islamic Case for Religious Freedom,” in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Sponsored by the International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies (Malaysia), the Fatayat Nahdlatul Ulama Indonesia (the women’s wing of the 70 million strong Nahdulatul Ulama), and the Religious Freedom Institute (Washington DC), the conference brought together 80 Muslim and non-Muslim scholars from some 20 countries to explore religious and legal supports for an Islamic approach to freedom and religious diversity.

The conference examined the question of whether religious freedom is an exclusively Western and “liberal” value or one that has resonances in Islamic civilization and modernity — a topic that has been fiercely debated in recent years.

Robert Hefner has directed 19 research projects and organized 18 international conferences, and authored or edited nineteen books.  He is former president of the Association for Asian Studies.  At CURA, he directed the program on Islam and civil society since 1991; coordinated interdisciplinary research and public policy programs on religion, pluralism, and world affairs; and is currently involved in two research projects: “The New Western Plurality and Civic Coexistence: Muslims, Catholics, and Secularists in North America and Western Europe”; and “Sharia Transitions: Islamic Law and Ethical Plurality in the Contemporary World.” You can read more about him here

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