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The Emergence and Structure of Religious Freedom in International Law Reconsidered


The starting points of liberal theorizing are never neutral as between conceptions of the human good; they are always liberal starting points. And the inclusiveness of the debates within liberalism as to the fundamental principles of liberal justice reinforces the view that liberal theory is best understood, not at all as an attempt to find a rationality independent of tradition, but as itself the articulation of an historically developed and developing set of social institutions and forms of activity, that is, as the voice of a tradition. Like other traditions, liberalism has internal to it its own standards of rational justification. Like other traditions, liberalism has its set of authoritative texts and its disputes over their interpretation. Like other traditions, liberalism expresses itself socially through a particular kind of hierarchy.

Alasdair MacIntyre

Liberalism, when applied to the issues of citizenship and community … is caught in a paradox: while it must assume the existence of nation-states in order to have communities within which principles of individual liberty and value neutrality can hold sway, it must at the same time studiously ignore the normative basis of such communities, since to do otherwise would be to admit that nonliberal principles of exclusion and intolerance are fundamental to a liberal state.

Omar Dahbour

The nature and scope of the right to freedom of religion in international law is an increasingly contested and divisive question. While virtually all scholars from an array of traditions insist that the right itself is universal, they assert quite different foundations for and often widely divergent conceptions of that right.

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Journal of Law and Religion
  • ISSN: 0748-0814
  • EISSN: 2163-3088
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-law-and-religion
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