Emory Report
February 23, 2009
Volume 61, Number 21



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February 23
, 2009
Lectures tackle genocide, terrorism, more

By April BoglE

Religious leaders will discuss difficult legal, moral and ethical issues facing their religious communities for the Center for the Study of Law and Religion’s lecture series, “When Law and Religion Meet.” Free and open to the public, the lectures will take place at Emory Law’s Tull Auditorium throughout March.

“We are bringing to our lectern distinguished religious leaders to discuss how state law challenges their religious communities and how their religious communities might, in turn, challenge state law,” says John Witte Jr., Jonas Robitscher Professor of Law and CSLR director. “We shall be confronting some of the hardest legal, political and moral questions that face us today, questions of life and death, of war and terror, of faith and freedom, of church and state, of marriage and family, and much more.”

Genocide prevention March 16

Irwin Cotler, Canadian Member of Parliament and McGill University law professor, discusses his efforts to prevent genocide on March 16 at 7:30 p.m. in the inaugural Harold J. Berman Lecture lecture.

World renowned for his pursuit of human rights, including the release of Natan Sharansky from the Soviet gulag in 1986, Cotler’s current focus is holding Iran legally accountable for genocidal incitement against Israel. He has issued a Responsibility to Prevent petition, which calls for a series of legal actions by the United Nations and international legal community.

Cotler was first elected a Canadian Member of Parliament in 1999 with 92 percent of the vote. He served as Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada from 2003-2006. A constitutional and comparative law scholar, he has served as counsel to prisoners of conscience, including Nelson Mandela, and has been honored for his dedication to humanitarian causes with the Order of Canada and many other awards, including nine honorary doctorates.

“The Danger of a Genocidal and Nuclear Iran: The Responsibility to Prevent” is sponsored by the Henry Luce Foundation in honor of Emory Law Professor Harold J. Berman, the pioneer of the field of law and religion, who died in 2007.

Islamic v. English law March 18
Mona Siddiqui, professor of Islamic studies and public understanding at the University of Glasgow, lectures March 18, at noon, about the stark differences between Islamic law and English law. Her lecture, titled “Islamic Law in Britain: A Minor Problem or a Problem for a Minority?” outlines her experiences as an expert witness in anti-terrorism cases. Abdullahi Ahmed An-Naim, Charles Howard Candler Professor of Law and CSLR senior fellow, will respond.

Siddiqui joined the University of Glasgow in 1996, where she founded the Center for the Study of Islam in 1998 to develop the religious studies program. Her areas of research include classical Islamic law, and she has applied her research in anti-terrorism cases and issues relating to Muslim family law in the United Kingdom. Siddiqui is also a well-known public figure in the U.K., where she works for a wide range of public bodies and media. Her lecture is sponsored by the Luce Foundation.

Gay civil rights March 30
The Right Rev. V. Gene Robinson, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire, delivers the CSLR’s annual Currie Lecture in Law and Religion March 30 at 7:30 p.m. He will address the divide in the Episcopal Church caused by his election as bishop in 2003 in a lecture titled “Why Religion Matters in the Quest for Gay Civil Rights.”

CSLR Senior Fellow Mark Jordan, Richard Reinhold Niebuhr Professor of Divinity at Harvard Divinity School, will respond.

Robinson was elected bishop in 2003 after serving as Canon to the Ordinary for nearly 18 years. He is the first openly gay, noncelibate priest to be ordained a bishop in a major Christian denomination believing in the historic episcopate. Since his election, theologically conservative parishes have aligned themselves with bishops outside the Episcopal Church in the United States, a movement called the Anglican realignment.