Claiming Truth: Heresy and Blasphemy in Religion, Law and Literature Colloquium


March 3, 2019 - 2:00pm to March 4, 2019 - 3:30pm

Prosecutions based on alleged violations of “anti-blasphemy laws” continue to grab international headlines, as evidenced by Asia Bibi’s acquittal by the Pakistani judiciary. But Pakistan is not alone. Today, dozens of states across the globe still have anti-blasphemy laws on the books, and a good number continue to enforce those laws. Several others, like Ireland, have decided to get rid of their anti-blasphemy laws altogether.

Please join the Cardozo Law Institute in Holocaust and Human Rights (CLIHHR) to further explore the motivations behind these laws, their consequences, and the challenges faced by those working to abolish them. All events take place in the Jacob Burns Moot Court Room. 

The colloquium will convene three expert panels to further discuss these issues, and will feature a keynote address by Professor Deborah Lipstadt.

Sunday, March 3

2:00PM - Introduction

2:30PM - Panel I: Blasphemy Past and Present: From the Universal Problematic to Two National Approaches Professors Richard Weisberg (Cardozo), Eric Freedman (Cardozo) & Ditlev Tamm (University of Copenhagen)

4:30PM - Keynote Address, “Antisemitism: An Existential Threat to Democracy” Professor Deborah Lipstadt (Emory University) and Q&A with Professor Richard Weisberg

6:00PM - Reception

Monday, March 4

10:00AM - Panel II: United Nations Initiatives against Blasphemy Laws Christen Broecker (Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights), Simona Cruciani (UN Office for Genocide Prevention and R2P) & Professor Faraz Sanei (Cardozo)

12:00PM - Lunch

1:00PM - Video message, Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief

1:30PM - Panel III: Surveying Blasphemy Laws Around the World Elizabeth Cassidy (United States Commission for International Religous Freedom), Joelle Fiss (Member, OSCE Panel of Experts on FoRB) and Professor Jocelyn Getgen Kestenbaum (Cardozo School of Law)

3:30PM - Closing Remarks and Reception

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