Religious Freedom in Global Context


  • Jessica Giles The Open University



human rights, religious freedom, universalism, theological rationale


This article examines the concept of universalism as it relates to the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion (FoRB). To this end it explores the extent to which the refinement of the jurisprudence surrounding FoRB in Western Liberal democracies may threaten the conceptualisation of religious freedom as a universal right, when compared to the understanding of the concept outside Western contexts. Having identified a gap between Western and other contexts, it questions whether FoRB can still be considered, aspirationally at least, as a universal fundamental right. It considers whether the more recent international religious freedom accords stemming from the Muslim world provide the tools to bolster a core understanding of FoRB such that its claim to universalism might be supported on an ongoing basis.

Author Biography

  • Jessica Giles, The Open University

    Jessica Giles, The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK.


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How to Cite

Giles, J. (2019). Religious Freedom in Global Context. Implicit Religion, 21(3), 239-270.