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Religious Education and Freedom of Religion and Belief

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Stephen Parker, Rob Freathy and Leslie J. Francis

What opportunities and challenges are presented to religious education across the globe by the basic human right of freedom of religion and belief? To what extent does religious education facilitate or inhibit ‘freedom of religion’ in schools? What contribution can religious education make to freedom in the modern world? This volume provides answers to these and related questions by drawing together a selection of the papers delivered at the seventeenth session of the International Seminar on Religious Education and Values held in Ottawa in 2010. These reflections from international scholars, drawing upon historical, theoretical and empirical perspectives, provide insights into the development of religious education in a range of national contexts, from Europe to Canada and South Africa, as well as illuminating possible future directions for the subject.

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Foreword by Julian Stern

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Foreword The International Seminar on Religious Education and Values (ISREV, http://www.isrev.org) is the most important international association in the field of Religious Education. It is an association of 233 Religious Education scholars from 36 countries. A major seminar session is organized in a dif ferent country every two years, with the seventeenth having taken place in Canada in 2010. ISREV was founded in 1978 by John M. Hull, the distinguished Australian academic (currently Honorary Professor of Practical Theology at The Queen’s Foundation, and Emeritus Professor of Religious Education at the University of Birmingham), and John H. Peatling, then of the Character Research Project in Union College, Schenectady, New York. The first meeting had research papers from thirty- two scholars attending from ten countries. The seventeenth meeting, in Ottawa, Canada, had research papers from 110 scholars attending from over thirty countries. ISREV has no religious basis or test itself, and has members specializing, for example, in Protestant and Catholic Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and secular traditions. Educationists and policy makers from across the world are interested in the work of ISREV, with members of the government in host countries regularly attending the seminars. In this time of conf lict over religion in almost every country of the world, dialogue is needed more than ever. Each seminar has a broad theme, and the theme for the Ottawa meeting was Religious Education and freedom of religion and belief. That theme is a clear marker of the deliberate attempt of researchers to inf luence...

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