Intellectual and philosophical debate on religious freedoms and tolerance have a long history, witnessing significant conceptual evolution under the forces of modernity and the rise of the nation state. In many parts of the world over the last three centuries, national, ethnic and religious minorities have been marginalized or oppressed by majority populations and/or exploited by colonialist and post-colonialist powers. No serious or legal measures were taken by the international community until the United Nations’ 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and 1992 Declaration on the Rights of Minorities. Yet to this day, these legal structures remain far from being respected in most parts of the world.
It is now more urgent than ever to focus on promoting minority rights and freedoms. The Arab uprisings in 2011 and their aftershocks have brought on even more aggressive violations of minority rights and freedoms. The region is witnessing severe violations in states experiencing civil wars, such Syria, Libya and Yemen, and in other states beleaguered by increasingly repressive governance.
Advocating for minority rights and freedoms requires attention to the following issues: the recognition of the very existence of minorities, the dismantling of structural discrimination, the provision of multicultural education and media, ensuring minority access to the public or political sphere, and upholding minority freedom to openly practice religious or cultural values without prosecution or harassment from governments or majority populations.
Rowaq Arabi, an electronic magazine specialised in human rights studies in the Middle East and North Africa, is calling for contributions addressing these issues, under the theme of ‘Protecting Religious Freedoms and Religious Minorities in the Middle East and North Africa’. Submissions, which include papers, analyses, and book reviews, are accepted from now until the 31st of March 2020 in Arabic or English. Abstracts, along with a recent list of previously published articles are to be sent to [email protected]. Contributors with no previous publications are welcome and encouraged to send complete articles. Once published, authors will be financially compensated for their contributions.
Rowaq Arabi suggests the following sub-topics for contributors while welcoming other suggestions relevant to the main theme of this call:
- Constitutional and legal protection of religious freedoms and religious minorities
- The protection of religious freedoms including conversion, interfaith marriage, and apostasy and its legal implications
- Jurisprudence on religious freedoms and the protection of religious minorities
- Analysis of political actors, including Islamist discourses
- Muslim and Arab scholars’ debates within and outside of Islamic jurisprudence
- The development of international human rights law in the realm of religious freedoms and religious minorities
- The protection of religious freedoms and religious minorities under regional human rights mechanisms and interactions of regional governmental organisations such as the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the League of Arab States
- Discussions and analyses of debates on the interrelationship between religious freedom, freedom of expression and the legal prohibition of blasphemy
- Religion-state relations and religious freedom
- Debates and legal implications concerning religious symbols and dress in the West.
To read more about Rowaq Arabi, its history in print since 1996 and its ongoing online transition, in addition to our publication guidelines, please refer to this link.
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