7th Conference (Jakarta)

Islamic Case for Religious Freedom

Religious freedom is the civic right of persons and religious communities to practice, express, change, renounce and spread their religion. Free expression of religion allows pluralistic religious organizations to exist within modern nation states. They provide volatile societies with models of peaceful coexistence. To ensure religious freedom, most governments provide constitutional safeguards and institutions.

Islam recognizes religious freedom on the basis of Quranic evidence such as “There shall be no compulsion in religion” (2:256). Religious freedom was later affirmed and demonstrated through the ‘Charter of Medina’, signed by Prophet Muhammad and the citizens of Medina guaranteeing religious liberty for all communities.

This Conference is needed especially now, due to the growth of illiberalism at the political, economic and social levels, and not just within Muslim majority countries. As national security becomes a predominant concern, it is often used as an excuse for curbing civil freedoms, including religious freedom. We believe that this conference will help in the promotion of equality and human rights and their enforcement in Muslim majority countries. It will also help in improving general understanding about perceived gaps between Islam and religious freedom