Date of Award

5-4-2022

Author's School

School of Law

Degree Name

Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD)

Degree Type

Dissertation

Abstract

This dissertation compares freedom of religion in France, the United States, and Saudi Arabia to the United Nations’ jurisprudence. It studies the question of how the relationship between state and religion in these three countries influences how their policies towards freedom of religion compare and contrast with the United Nations. The relationship between state and religion has shaped the scope and the limit of freedom of religion in these countries, and it is not possible to understand their jurisprudence for freedom of religion without taking the religionstate relationship in consideration. The dissertation studies France as an example of a country that has developed the relationship between state and religion to protect the state from religion, the United States as an example of a country that regulates the relationship between state and religion to protect the state and religion from each other, and finally it studies Saudi Arabia as an example of a country that pursues protecting the state and society with religion, namely Islam. The next section explains briefly the relationship between state and religion in these three countries.

This dissertation uses the United Nations’ freedom of religion model as a baseline to compare and contrast these three countries because of the universal nature of this approach. The United Nations’ approach to freedom of religion aspires to protect the right to freedom of religion for all human beings despite their race, gender, national, culture, or religion.8 It is true that the United Nations’ approach to freedom of religion was criticized for being Eurocentric; but the United Nations’ approach is the least cultural approach to freedom of religion since that its texts and jurisprudence have been developed by people from different religions, cultures, and nations.9 It t is the first universal approach that provides comprehensive protection for freedom of religion in human history.10 Different countries justify their policies and laws about freedom of religion based on their history or their culture, but the United Nations instead emphasizes that the cultural or historical differences among countries must not be used as a ground to violate individuals' rights to freedom of religion.

Chair and Committee

John Inazu, Supervising Professor, Gregory Magarian, Examining Professor, Sunita Parikh, Examining Professor

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