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International Conference: Freedom of Expression vs. Respect for the Sacred 4/13/2013


The Bediuzzaman Said Nursi Chair in Islamic Studies at John Carroll University presents:

“Freedom of Expression vs. Respect for the Sacred”

April 13, 2013

John Carroll University, Cleveland, OH

In the age of Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of instant communications, what once might have been only shared by a few, can now be heard and read instantaneously around the world. This new era creates many challenges when it comes to the important democratic principle of free expression. When the sacred is involved, this becomes all the more important and as recent events have shown, dire. This conference then aims to explore the important relationship between free expression and the sacred.

Scholars and advocates from around the world and from diverse areas including: Religion, Sociology, Ethics, and Politics will be participating, each giving his or her own perspective on this hot button issue. The event will take place on April 13, 2013 at John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio. This one day event is designed to create dialogue and foster understanding on one of the most fundamental issues facing contemporary global society.


Registration is now closed.

Conference Agenda

(To find out more about a speaker, please click on his or her name.)

8:00 am-9:00 am: Registration and Coffee, O’Malley Commons

9:00 am-9:30 am: Opening Remarks, AD 226

John T. Day, Provost and Academic Vice President John Carroll Univeristy

9:30 am-11:30 am: Panel 1, AD 226

  • Religious Perspectives on Speech and Expression
  1. Ihsan Yilmaz, Faculty Member of the Political Science and Public Administration department at Fatih University in Turkey: “Sacred, Secular, and Freedom of Expression: A Muslim Perspective”
  2. Peter Haas, Abba Hillel Silver Professor of Jewish Studies, Director of the Program in Judaic Studies, and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at Case Western Reserve University: “Do not be a Talebearer Among Your People (Lev. 19:16)”
  3. Zeki Saritoprak, Associate Professor and B.S. Nursi Chair in Islamic Studies at John Carroll University: ”Sacredness from an Islamic Theological Perspective”

Sheila McGinn, Moderator

11:30 am-1:30 pm: Lunch, Dolan Center Atrium

1:30 pm-3:30 pm: Panel 2, Dolan Center Auditorium

  • Religious Confrontations in the Public Sphere
  1. Scott Alexander, Associate Professor of Islam and Director of Catholic-Muslim Studies Program at the Catholic Theological Union: “Defending the Sacred in a Secular Age: Public Piety and the Ambiguities of Freedom”
  2. Emily Soloff, national Associate Director of Interreligious and Intergroup Relations for the American Jewish Committee: “The Nazi March on Skokie: A Peculiarly American Response”
  3. Kadir Yildirim, Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at Furman University: “Political Islam, Sacred and Freedom of Expression”

RIchard Clark, Moderator

3:30 pm-4:00 pm: Coffee Break, Dolan Center Atrium

4:00 pm-5:15 pm: Panel 3, Dolan Center Auditorium

  • Reconciling Speech, Religion, and Society
  1. David Forte, Professor of Law at the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University: “Civility and Nihilism”
  2. Desmund Cahill, Professor of Intercultural Studies at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia: “Social Cohesion, Religious Freedom and Freedom of Expression in 21st Century Australia”
  3. Amina Wadud, Professor-Emerita of Religion and Philosophy at Virginia Commonwealth University and visiting professor at the Center for Religious and Cross Cultural Studies at Gadjah Mada Universityin Yogyakarta,Indonesia: “May Muslim Women Speak for Themselves?”

Paul Lauritzen, moderator

5:15 pm-5:30 pm: Closing Remarks

Desmund Cahill

This conference is generously co-sponsored by the Niagara Foundation-Cleveland chapter.

Posted on January 28, 2013