FC College talk: ‘We must learn from historic charters on religious freedom’

Lord Bishop of Rochestor charts out history of religious freedom.


Our Correspondent December 12, 2012

LAHORE:


Historic charters were, and are, the most important basis of religious freedom, which we must learn from and follow, Bishop Dr Michael Nazir Ali said on Wednesday.


Ali, lately the Lord Bishop of Rochester in the United Kingdom, was delivering a lecture at Forman Christian College on the topic of “Religion and Freedom in the East and the West.”

Bishop Michael Nazir Ali charted the history of religion freedom; from Persian King Cyrus’s Cylinder in the 6th century BC to the Roman Emperor Constantine’s Edict of Milan in 313AD and the Accord of Medina by the Prophet Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him) in the 7th century AD.

Bishop Michael Nazir Ali linked the debate on religious freedom to the development of the concept of ‘inalienable rights.’

He said this concept stemmed from the idea of the inherent dignity of human beings, which Abrahamic faiths believe have been formed in the image of God.

Dr Michael Nazir Ali

He said that freedom of conscience and consent are integral parts of the argument. “Therefore, Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which enshrines freedom of conscience, religion and belief, is the basis of any framework for the protection of human rights,” he said.

Bishop Michael Nazir Ali said the threats to religious freedom included narrow interpretations of religion.

He said that whenever someone said to him that they were forming an Islamic country, he would ask them “Will it be an Islamic State based on the Constitution of Medina by the Prophet (pbuh)?”

“The rise of illiberal liberalism was another grave threat to religious freedom,” he said, referring to Western countries.

“A reasonable accommodation of religious beliefs and a re-articulation of freedom of conscience are needed in the West, or a new kind of totalitarianism will emerge,” Bishop Michael Nazir Ali concluded.

Bishop Dr Michael Nazir Ali was introduced by Forman Christian College Rector Dr James A Tebbe, who’s PhD thesis Dr Ali had examined.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 13th, 2012.

COMMENTS (1)

Secondary Perspective | 9 years ago | Reply

Here in this talk Freedom is just a deceptive word. What meaning it applies is subjective for individuals but to make a common understanding; meaning is being given behind a veil for the masses. This new type of co-religion-ism is an act of desperation. A weak theology whose basis are weak and its basic questions are cleared by debates of philosophers of later generation are prone to this attack. They are weak and they compromise or change by time due to Herd Mentality or the societal moral shifts. Pathetic attempts to reconcile or to get a small room in the new big castle(i.e. new secular/materialist world) to survive would do them no good. just look at the desperate call--"A reasonable accommodation of religious beliefs"--. Islam has no such problems NO Islam itself has none of these... Only sects or majority of followed traditional Islam share this same threat. But for those who understand the basic interpretative methodology of Islamic texts know that its no threat. And for them there is no need for conceptualization of a weaker approach to a problem's solution.

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