Catholic University law school Professor Robert Destro was among three prominent speakers for “The Role of Religious Law in America: Interfaith Perspectives on Islam, Shari’ah and the U.S.” held on July 16 at the National City Christian Church in downtown Washington, D.C.
The public forum was sponsored by Karamah: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights.
The event’s description read:
“American Muslims currently experience the fastest growing rate of religious discrimination in the United States. This growth is paralleled by questions about Islamic law (Shari’ah), Islamic practices and lifestyle.
What does Shari’ah mean for American Muslims, and what does it have to do with religious freedom? How do these issues affect Christian and Jewish communities in the United States?
We invite you to join us for a town hall discussion on American Muslims, Shari’ah and religious freedom. During the event, three respected leaders from the country’s three largest faith traditions will speak and take questions from audience members. Participants will be encouraged to ask candid questions about Islam in the U.S.”
Destro’s opening remarks provided the audience with insights into historical issues of religious prejudice in the U.S. against various faith groups, making clear that the U.S. Constitution guarantees freedom of religious practice for everyone so long as those freedoms do not infringe on the civil rights of others.
Fellow speakers on the panel included Dr. Azizah Y. al-Hibri, the founder and chair of Karamah: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights and professor emeritus at the T. C. Williams School of Law at the University of Richmond; and Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. Also an attorney, Rabbi Saperstein teaches seminars both in First Amendment Church-State Law and in Jewish Law at Georgetown University Law School.
Professor Destro is director and founder of the Interdisciplinary Program in Law and Religion at Catholic University’s Columbus School of Law. Destro is co-author of Religious Liberty in a Pluralistic Society (Carolina Academic Press, 2d edition 2002), the leading law school textbook in the United States on the subject of religious liberty.