On Friday, September 9, WORDE President Hedieh Mirahmadi presented a keynote address on “Religious Liberty in Islam” at a day-long conference at Georgetown’s Berkley Center. Organized with Calvin College and the support of the John Templeton Foundation, the conference addressed “Liberty and Tolerance in an Age of Religious Conflict” and was attended by Christian, Jewish, and Muslim scholars and practitioners.
The conference was designed to move interreligious dialogue beyond a celebration of commonalities to a hard look at different approaches to freedom and coexistence within traditions. The participants, listed below, were contributors to Abraham’s Children: Liberty and Tolerance in an Age of Religious Conflict (Yale University Press, forthcoming).
“We are looking forward to this important conference,” said Berkley Center Director Thomas Banchoff. “Any effort to deepen appreciation for religious liberty and tolerance while excluding religious voices is bound to fail.”
“Many religious believers are skeptical of liberal defenses of religious tolerance that ignore or dismiss their religious convictions,” said Kelly James Clark, editor of Abraham’s Children. “Religious believers must, then, find within their own traditions the essential ingredients of tolerance and liberty.”
1. Rabbi Arik Ascherman: Executive Director of Rabbis for Human Rights.
2. Nurit Peled-Elhanan: Israeli peace activist, prof. at Hebrew University. 2001 Sakharov prize for Human Rights and the Freedom of Speech.
3. Leah Shakdiel: Peace activist and feminist involved in Oz V’Shalom/Netivot Shalom, MachsomWatch, Darom4Peace and Mirkam Ezory.
4. Nicholas Wolterstorff: Noah Porter Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at Yale University, former President of the Society of Christian Philosophers and the American Philosophical Association, author on justice.
5. Hanna Siniora: Co-CEO of the Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information. Awarded the Peace Prize of Honor from the Order of the Knights of Malta and the Papal Silver Olive Branch for Peace.
6. Ziya Meral: Turkish Christian writer, researcher, academic and an expert on religious freedom in the Middle East. Currently, Joseph Crapa Fellow at the US Commission on International Religious Freedom.
7. Hedieh Mirahmadi: President of the World Organization for Resource Development & Education assists moderate Muslim communities resist the ideological onslaught of Islamist extremism.
8. Rana Husseini: Internationally recognized and award-winning journalist and human rights defender; author of Murder in the Name of Honor.
9. Aziz Abu-Sarah: Co-Director of George Mason University’s Center for World Religions, Diplomacy, and Conflict Resolution. Recipient of the Eliav-Sartawi Award for Middle Eastern Journalism, the Goldberg Prize for Peace in the Middle East, and the Eisenhower Medallion.
To view WORDE President Dr. Mirahmadi’s keynote address, skip to 15 minutes.