Ghosts from the Past? Assessing Recent Developments in Religious Freedom in South Asia
In recent years, questions about religious freedom and the rights of religious minorities have reemerged as issues of concern in Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. This conference brings together a series of academic and policy experts to consider how and why issues first debated during the crafting of these countries’ constitutions have returned to South Asia with greater urgency and consequence.
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In recent years, questions about religious freedom and the rights of religious minorities have reemerged as issues of concern in Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. This conference brings together a series of academic and policy experts to consider how and why issues first debated during the crafting of these countries’ constitutions—including the place of Islam in Pakistan, the question of cow protection in India, the meaning of secularism in Bangladesh, the significance of Article 370 in Kashmir, and the status of Buddhism in Sri Lanka—have returned to South Asia with greater urgency and consequence.
This conference is co-sponsored by the Royal Society for Asian Affairs and Taylor & Francis.
10 am - Opening remarks – Bijan Omrani, editor Asian Affairs; Michael Kugelman, Woodrow Wilson Center
10:30 am – 12:30 pm: Panel 1 - Constitutional Considerations
Mridu Rai, Presidency University Kolkata
The Indian Constitution and the Making of Kashmiri Hindus and Muslims
Dina Siddiqi, Columbia University / BRAC University, Bangladesh
Destabilizing Secularism: Constituent Assembly Debates and the Making of National Others in Bangladesh
Farahnaz Ispahani, Global Fellow, Woodrow Wilson Center
Constitutional Issues and the Treatment of Pakistan’s Religious Minorities
Christina Fink, George Washington University
Myanmar: Religious Minorities and Constitutional Questions
Moderator – Neeti Nair, University of Virginia and Woodrow Wilson Center
12:30 pm – 2 pm – Lunch
2 pm – 4 pm: Panel 2 – Contemporary Challenges
Raza Rumi, Cornell Institute for Public Affairs
Religious Freedom in Pakistan: Challenges and Prospects
Cassie Adcock, Washington University, St Louis
Cow Protection and Minority Rights in India: Reassessing Religious Freedom
Neil DeVotta, Wake Forest University
Religious Freedom in Post-Civil War Sri Lanka
Ali Riaz, Illinois State University
More than Meets the Eye: The Narratives of Secularism and Islam in Bangladesh
Moderator - Michael Kugelman, Woodrow Wilson Center
Author and former Member, Pakistan Parliament
Professor, Department of Politics and Government, Illinois State University; President of the American Institute of Bangladesh Studies (AIBS)
The Asia Program promotes policy debate and intellectual discussions on U.S. interests in the Asia-Pacific as well as political, economic, security, and social issues relating to the world’s most populous and economically dynamic region. Read more