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Discussing religion, spirituality and values. Amy Umble is the religion reporter for The Free Lance-Star. You can email her at
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Religious Freedom

This is last minute, I know. But if you’re looking for something to do tonight, there’s a lecture at the University of Mary Washington. It will feature Martin Marty and Seyyed Hossein Nasr. And they’ll talk about Thomas Jefferson’s Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom. Specifically, they’ll talk about how the statute relates to the Christian and Muslim faiths.

Annually, the university’s department of classics, philosophy and religion celebrates the anniversary of the statute with a talk on religious freedom. This year, professors wanted speakers to focus on the statute itself.

The lecture will be at the Dodd Auditorium in George Washington Hall at UMW. It will be at 7:30 p.m.


  • Gene

    The “Jefferson Statute” (Religious Freedom) discussion hosted by MWU was excellent

    George Washington University Professor Seyyed Nasr, a most articulate and learned defender of Islam, clearly exposed numerous of Islam’s root conflicts with the concept defining “freedom of religion”. University of Chicago Professor Emeritus Marty Martin’s, and Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s teacher and friend, did not clarify any of these conflicts for our Islamic friends nor defend Biblical Christianity as non-hierarchical.

    If I understood Dr. Nasr, Islam does not differentiate between or have a hierarchy in their “ecclesiastical” and the “civil law” and both are equally administered (exercised) under the authority of the Koran. As such, it is a foreign concept for a person, free from (outside their) faith, to be equal (or superior) in exercising any rule in their lives. Thus, a Muslims obedience to an “outsider’s authority” is by acceptance through coercion from a superior force or by intellectual reasoning that it is not in conflict with their faith.

    Hence, any country’s “civil law impartial to all religions being accepted and supported by all citizens and inhabitants while allowing and protecting all religions (with their various laws and tenets) to equally coexist without interference” is a foreign concept for a Muslim.

    Thomas Jefferson’s ingenious statute was another stroke of providential guidance which Judeo-Christians and most of this country’s patriots easily understand and accept

  • S Ahmad

    I was not present in that gathering to be in position to discuss what was said there. However, from my understanding, Islam advocates and guarantees freedom of religion. Holy Quran says ” there should be no compulsion in religion ” 2:257.  Everyone should and must have the right to adopt and practice what one chooses for himself.

    It is also obligatory upon Muslims to obey who is in authority.  So Its mandatory rather than any coercion/un willing. Muslims must be loyal to their respective countries because this loyalty also is part of faith.  In Islam, there is separation of mosque from state.
    Muslims must respect the law of the land and obey it and be law abiding peaceful citizens. 

    To learn more please visit
    Www. Alislam. Org


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