Istanbul Workshop on Freedom of Religion and Expression
The Oslo Coalition on Freedom of Religion or Belief held its third workshop on the freedom of religion and expression in the Islamic tradition in Istanbul, August 22-24, 2014.
Blue mosque dome in Istanbul. Photo: Moyan Brenn, Flickr Commons
Reform of blasphemy and apostasy law
At the seminar, eleven Muslim scholars and engaged intellectuals from around the world discussed conditions and arguments for reform of blasphemy and apostasy law.
Speakers explored the historical construction of these punishments in Islamic thought, including their relation with state power and gendered authority, and the dissenting voices of Islamic scholars objecting to them. They also presented case studies on the current law and politics of such punishments in Iran, Pakistan, and Indonesia.
The workshop heard that harsh penalties for beliefs and expressions contradict values found in the religious textual sources, as well as democratic values that are widely held in Muslim societies today.
Upcoming book based on workshop series
This was the third and final workshop in a process that started in Oslo in 2012.
The Oslo Coalition is preparing a book on the freedom of religion and expression in the Islamic tradition based on the workshop series.