Notable legal minds gathered in Hyderabad to discuss the role of religion in peace, stability and sustainable world development. BYU Law of International Center for Law and Religious Studies, ICLRS, partnered with NALSAR University. Diverse viewpoints and backgrounds were represented in the conference. Attendees hailed from the highest levels of community. The conference was held on January 13-15
BYU Law School is a college of BYU. BYU is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
W. Cole Durham, Jr., Founding Director for the International Center for Law and Religion Studies, BYU Law School was a featured speaker. Mr. Durham drew compelling correlations between freedom of religion worldwide with a host of other freedoms and social nuances. Namely, there is a direct coorelation between the free practice of religion and political freedom, civil liberties, gender empowerment, lower % of GDP spent on military, longevity of democracy, lower levels of armed conflict, lower poverty, higher % of GDP spent of public health, lower inflation, lower income inequality, more foreign direct investment, higher earned income for women & men, and an overall higher GDP.
“Religion is good for the economic sector”, explained Cole Durham.
The guest of honor, the Hon’ble Mr. Justice Madan B. Lokur, Supreme Count Judge said, “Social integration is significant for sustainability and is possible only if community values, beliefs, customs, religious practices are considered in making business decisions.”
Professor Brett Scharffs of BYU stated the following: "Religious freedom today is viewed more like the forgotten step child rather than the grand parent of a number of other rights. Freedom of association, assembly, the press, privacy, human cilvi rights and freedom of speech".
The collective knowledge and experience regarding freedom of religion and how that effects the world in a variety of ways was simply astounding.
Arif Mohammad Khan, former Minister of State was well stated in explaining, "Religion is not about laws, it is about divine commands"!
Protection of all religions and minorities is vital for a peaceable world.
“We are all minorities” when one looks at all the countries, said Neera Chandhoke professor emeritus at the University of Delhi.
Jan Figel, Special Envoy and Former European Commissioner for Education, Training & Culture stated that "religious freedom is indeed a litmus test for almost all other freedoms enjoyed by humans".
The importance of religious freedom and the need to safe guard these freedoms in a world of increasing conflict have never been more important. All attendees left with that commitment in their hearts and the words of M. Gandhi-ji on their lips. Said he, "I believe in the spiritual identity of people, not the physical identity. The physical identity divides us into different peoples, races, societies, classes and castes and levels of society. But the spiritual identity reveals that all of us, the entire human family, are children of the same God, brothers and sisters in the literal sense".