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Common Word: The Boundaries of Religious Pluralism & Freedom: The Devil is in the Detail

SFS Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 from 9:00 AM to 4:45 PM (EDT)

Washington, DC

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Due to Hurricane Sandy and the storm's impact, the Common Word Conference scheduled for Wednesday has been cancelled. The conference will be rescheduled at a later date.




Georgetown University

Office of the President


invite you to: 

a conference:

A Common Word:

The Boundaries of Religious Pluralism & Freedom: The Devil is in the Detail

Wednesday, October 31 
9:00 a.m. - 4:45 p.m.

Georgetown University

Lohrfink Auditorium - Rafik B. Hariri Building

As the official representative of A Common Word in North America, ACMCU is hosting this conference on the fifth anniversary of the historic Common Word initiative. The program is a follow-up to A Common Word: A Global Agenda for Change, held in October 2009 and Responding to the Challenges of Religious Pluralism & Conflict Resolution, held in April 2011. This year’s conference will explore the challenge of religious pluralism and intercommunal conflicts in Christian-Muslim relations today in post Arab Spring governments in Egypt and Tunisia as well as in Nigeria and Malaysia, and their impact on religious freedom, civil liberties and security, equality of citizenship and gender relations. 


 Conference Program:

Opening John L. Esposito, Georgetown University
Welcome President John J. DeGioia, Georgetown University
A Common Word Between Us and You Seyyed Hossein Nasr, George Washington University


Panel 1: Are There Limits to Religious Freedom that Religions Agree On?

Few dispute the value and centrality of religious freedom, but religious traditions also often guard areas of faith, practice or community that they hold beyond the reach of that freedom. If religious traditions agree on the importance of religious freedom, can they agree on limitations such as apostasy, limits on building churches and missionary work?

Richard Cizik, New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good

David Law, Georgetown University Law Center & Washington University in St. Louis
Jim Wallis, Sojourners
Farid Esack, 
University of Johannesburg - South Africa

11:00-11:15am -- Coffee Break

Panel 2: Challenges to the Relationship of Law to Religion in Western Democracies and in Post Arab Spring State Building

Religious communities have had different arrangements with the (nation) states in which they exist. In Western democracies with established traditions of the separation of church and state, the relationship between state and religion and the complexities this poses for religious freedom have emerged more clearly than ever. At the same time, as Egypt, Tunisia and Libya move from revolution to state building, questions of religious freedom and its limitation are at the forefront. What will the Arab Spring mean for religious freedom? Will governments dominated by Islamic parties seek to limit it or embrace it?

Mohammad Fadel, University of Toronto

Kathleen Moore, University of California Santa Barbara
Emad Shahin, American University in Cairo - Egypt
Said Ferjani, Al-Nahda Party - Tunisia
Mohamed Yousry Salama, Al-Dostour Party - Egypt

12:45-1:45pm -- Break

Plenary: The Challenge of Religious Pluralism in Christian-Muslim Relations: The Arab Spring, Nigeria and Malaysia

However different, Muslim countries from emerging democracies in Egypt and Tunisia to the governments of Nigeria and Malaysia face the issue of guaranteeing equality of citizenship amidst religious, ethnic and regional diversity. What are the key issues and the way forward?

Chris Seiple, Institute for Global Engagement

Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Archbishop of Washington Emeritus
Zainah Anwar, Sisters in Islam - Malaysia
Abdulaziz Sachedina, University of Virginia
The Most Rev. Josiah Idowu-Fearon, Kaduna Diocese (Anglican Communion) - Nigeria

3:15-3:30pm -- Coffee Break

Panel 3: Gender & Religious Freedom in Christian-Muslim Relations
Do gender issues (for example: hijab, shariah, family laws, education) create obstacles for multi-faith understanding and relations?

Tamara Sonn, College of William & Mary

Dalia Mogahed, Gallup Center for Muslim Studies
Alfred Raouf, Almasry Alhurr (“The Free Egyptian”) Movement - Egypt
Merve Kavakci-Islam, Howard University


Free and open to the public

For a map showing the location of the Hariri Building, please visit:

For parking information please visit:
Have questions about Common Word: The Boundaries of Religious Pluralism & Freedom: The Devil is in the Detail? Contact SFS Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding

When & Where

Lohrfink Auditorium, Rafik B. Hariri Building
Georgetown University
Washington, DC 20057

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 from 9:00 AM to 4:45 PM (EDT)

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