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The Real Battle? Religious Freedom v. Terrorism

October 15, 2009-The root cause behind terrorism in the 21st Century and how to curtail it could involve putting restrictions on freedom of religion. The University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law will host a symposium on October 23 from 8:30 to 11:00 a.m. focused on religious rights, counter-terrorism and national security. The half-day event is based on Professor Amos N. Guiora’s new book “Freedom from Religion: Rights and National Security.”

“In the book I invite policymakers and concerned citizens to consider addressing the threat of terrorist attacks by curtailing religious freedom,” says Guiora. He goes on to explore different terrorism-related policies and challenges in five countries-the U.S., the U.K., the Netherlands, Turkey, and Israel-and draws on an advisory board made up of scholars from all five of the countries under review.

Guiora maintains the book’s objectivity by addressing not just Islamic extremism but also Christian and Jewish extremism, and he challenges conventional wisdom on this issue by exploring issues as diverse as the ideas driving Fundamental Latter Day Saints (FLDS) in Texas and the Rabin assassination in Israel.

The symposium will feature Utah College of Law faculty and guests exploring the issue of religious freedom as it relates to terrorism and asking whether the threat of new terrorist attacks might be reduced by curtailing religious extremism.

Guiora notes that, “The conference represents an extraordinary opportunity to address these issues – frankly and candidly- with a unique group of scholars and a distinguished Presbyterian clergyman.”

In addition to Guiora, participants will include Scott Matheson, Jr., a professor at the S.J. Quinney College of Law; William Deal, severance professor of the history of religion and professor of cognitive science at Case Western Reserve University; and Pastor John Lentz of Forest Hills Presbyterian Church, Cleveland Heights, Ohio. Terry Kogan, also a professor at the College of Law, will moderate.

In addition, the symposium will be available to off-site participants who wish to view the discussion, submit symposium-related questions, and participate in an on-line forum on the issues under discussion. The URL for the live event is

The event is free and open to the public. Parking is available free of charge at the Rice-Eccles Stadium lot. For more information, visit