Special Issue "Religious Freedom in the Global South"

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 January 2019)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Waheeda Amien

Department of Public Law, University of Cape Town, Private Bag X3, RONDEBOSCH 7701, South Africa
Website | E-Mail

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Literature on freedom of religion appears to be populated by global north perspectives, which largely dominate the mainstream discourse on religious freedom. The purpose of this special edition of the journal Religions is to create a space for contributions on religious freedom within the global south, particularly from Africa, the Arab States, Asia, Central America, the Commonwealth of Independent States, Europe, Pacific, and South/Latin America.

In this special edition, which aims to embody an inter- and multidisciplinary approach, the following (and other) questions are invited to be explored: Do the approaches of countries in the global south to freedom of religion reflect a plurality of perspectives or do the commonalities outweigh the differences? How has history assisted in shaping the discourse on freedom of religion in global south countries? How do the legal frameworks of global south countries protect, promote or deny the right to freedom of religion, and what are the reasons for this? Is the right to freedom of religion in global south countries conceived as an individual, collective, associational and/or as a group, right? How do global south countries address potential conflicts when the right to freedom of religion undermines or is undermined by other human rights for example, sex/gender equality? To what extent, if any, do politics, religion, culture and law intersect in influencing and developing the narratives on religious freedom in the global south? Which other factors impact on how global south countries have developed their discourse on freedom of religion?

Scholars working in various disciplines in the area of religious freedom are invited to submit paper abstracts of no more than 500 words, which address any or all of the above questions and/or questions relating to freedom of religion in the global south that have not been included in this concept note. A focus on a single country or comparative perspectives between or among different countries is equally welcome.

Dr. Waheeda Amien
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Freedom of religion
  • human rights
  • pluralism
  • law
  • politics
  • culture
  • global south

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Sufi and Bhakti Performers and Followers at the Margins of the Global South: Communication Strategies to Negotiate Situated Adversities
Religions 2019, 10(3), 206; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10030206
Received: 13 January 2019 / Revised: 12 March 2019 / Accepted: 15 March 2019 / Published: 18 March 2019
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Abstract
Throughout the globe (particularly in the global South), religious orthodoxy and their discriminatory intolerances are negatively impacting religious freedom of underserved populations, particularly those who practice/follow alternate spiritual praxis, like the Sufi and Bhakti performers from rural and geographically remote spaces of South [...] Read more.
Throughout the globe (particularly in the global South), religious orthodoxy and their discriminatory intolerances are negatively impacting religious freedom of underserved populations, particularly those who practice/follow alternate spiritual praxis, like the Sufi and Bhakti performers from rural and geographically remote spaces of South Asia. Hindu and Islamic fundamentalist discourses/doctrines are propagating their conservative religious agendas and thereby creating tensions and separatism across the subcontinent. Such religious extremism is responsible for the threatening and even murdering of nonsectarian torchbearers, and their free thoughts. This study focused on various alternate communication strategies espoused by Sufi and bhakti performers and followers in order to negotiate and overcome their marginalized existence as well as to promote the plurality of voices and values in the society. This article identified the following communication strategies—innovative usages of language of inversion or enigmatic language; strategic camouflaging of authors’/writers’ identity, and intergenerational communication of discourses and spiritual values to ensure freedom and survival of their traditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religious Freedom in the Global South)
Open AccessArticle Church-State Separation and Challenging Issues Concerning Religion
Religions 2019, 10(3), 197; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10030197
Received: 24 January 2019 / Revised: 9 March 2019 / Accepted: 11 March 2019 / Published: 15 March 2019
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Abstract
In its declaration of principles, the 1987 Philippine Constitution provides for the separation of Church and State. While the principle honors distinctions between temporal and spiritual functions, both Church and State maintain a unique and cooperative relationship geared towards the common good. However, [...] Read more.
In its declaration of principles, the 1987 Philippine Constitution provides for the separation of Church and State. While the principle honors distinctions between temporal and spiritual functions, both Church and State maintain a unique and cooperative relationship geared towards the common good. However, traditional boundaries governing political and religious agency have been crossed during Duterte’s presidency causing a conflict between leaders of government and the Catholic hierarchy. In the process, the conflict has resurfaced issues about the principle of Church-State separation. What accounts for the changing Church-State relations in the Philippines? How will this conflict affect State policy towards religion, religious freedom, and religious education? In the present study we discuss the present context of the Church-State separation principle in the Philippines. We argue that institutional relations between Church and State remain stable despite the Duterte-Catholic Church conflict. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religious Freedom in the Global South)
Open AccessArticle Is Gabola a Decolonial Church or Another Trajectory of Freedom of Religion in Post-Colonial South Africa? Rethinking Ethical Issues in Religious Praxis
Religions 2019, 10(3), 167; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10030167
Received: 30 January 2019 / Revised: 13 February 2019 / Accepted: 26 February 2019 / Published: 7 March 2019
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Abstract
In this paper, I interrogated the Gabola church in terms of its origins, purpose and its distinctiveness as a postcolonial manifestation of freedom of religion in South Africa. I answered two questions, is Gabola church a representation of a decolonial church and could [...] Read more.
In this paper, I interrogated the Gabola church in terms of its origins, purpose and its distinctiveness as a postcolonial manifestation of freedom of religion in South Africa. I answered two questions, is Gabola church a representation of a decolonial church and could it be a manifestation of trajectories of the postcolonial ill-defined freedom of religion? In responding to these questions, I used decoloniality, a theory whose agenda among many others is geared to usher a future free from oppression, where all can participate in modernity and in postmodernity. Data was generated through participatory action research. The approach enabled us to unearth the theology of Gabola, philosophy and the gap they seek to fill in the religious space. Ten Gabola church members and five church members from a mainline Christian movement participated in this research. The findings indicated that Gabola church presents a new religious movement that is socially inclusive, that seeks to promote social justice and social transformation. On the other hand, the research revealed that the lack of a regulating body for religious movement is the reason for the rise of questionable movements such as Gabola, a serious threat in the praxis of the Christian faith. To this end, I concluded that while freedom of religion is a good idea in line with the decolonial move, there is a need for participative and collaborative regulation of religious movement to eliminate criminal elements that overshadowed the beauty of religion manifested through ‘unthinkable’ ethical irregularities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religious Freedom in the Global South)
Open AccessArticle The “Abhorrent” Practice of Animal Sacrifice and Religious Discrimination in the Global South
Religions 2019, 10(3), 160; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10030160
Received: 31 January 2019 / Revised: 11 February 2019 / Accepted: 26 February 2019 / Published: 6 March 2019
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Abstract
In September 2018, the majority Buddhist government of Sri Lanka approved draft legislation banning animal sacrifice at Hindu Temples. The Cabinet referred to these sacrifices as a “primitive” practice that can cause physical and mental harm to society. Similarly, the Federal Supreme Court [...] Read more.
In September 2018, the majority Buddhist government of Sri Lanka approved draft legislation banning animal sacrifice at Hindu Temples. The Cabinet referred to these sacrifices as a “primitive” practice that can cause physical and mental harm to society. Similarly, the Federal Supreme Court of Brazil is presently evaluating the constitutionality of a proposed bill banning animal sacrifice in the state of Rio Grande do Sul. Proponents of this bill argue that animal rights supersede the religious freedom of the adherents of Afro-Brazilian faiths who perform these sacrifices. They further contend that the practice of animal sacrifice poses a threat to public health. Through the evaluation of these cases, this article will consider the relationship between animal sacrifice and religious freedom in the Global South. Using Brazil and Sri Lanka as examples, it will explore how laws and litigation protecting animal welfare can often be a guise for racial discrimination and religious intolerance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religious Freedom in the Global South)
Open AccessArticle Religious Freedom and the Limits of Propagation: Conversion in the Constituent Assembly of India
Religions 2019, 10(3), 157; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10030157
Received: 12 December 2018 / Revised: 23 February 2019 / Accepted: 26 February 2019 / Published: 5 March 2019
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Abstract
In discussions about religious freedom in India, the country’s conflict regarding conversion plays a central role. The Constitution’s freedom of religion clause, Article 25, grants the right “freely to profess, practise and propagate religion,” but this has generated a dispute about the meaning [...] Read more.
In discussions about religious freedom in India, the country’s conflict regarding conversion plays a central role. The Constitution’s freedom of religion clause, Article 25, grants the right “freely to profess, practise and propagate religion,” but this has generated a dispute about the meaning of the right ‘to propagate’ and its relation to the freedom to convert. The recognition of this right is said to be the result of a key debate in the Constituent Assembly of India. To find out which ideas and arguments gave shape to this debate and the resulting religious freedom clause, we turn to the Assembly’s deliberations and come to a surprising conclusion: indeed, there was disagreement about conversion among the Assembly members, but this never took the form of a debate. Instead, there was a disconnect between the member’s concerns, objections, and comments concerning the draft article on the one hand, and the Assembly’s decision about the religious freedom clause on the other. If a key ‘debate’ took this form, what then could the ongoing dispute concerning conversion in India be about? We first examine some recent historiographical accounts of the Indian conflicts about conversion and proselytization. Then we develop a hypothesis that aims to make sense of this enduring conflict by identifying a blindness at its core: people reasoning against the background of Indian traditions see ‘propagation of religion’ as the human dissemination of tradition; this is incompatible with a religious conception where conversion and propagation of faith are seen in terms of God’s intervention. These two ways of seeing ‘propagation’ generate two conflicting experiences of the Indian dispute about religious freedom and conversion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religious Freedom in the Global South)
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