Religious freedom as a contested human right
Author: Farhood Badri
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Helmut Breitmeier
With its focus on the global norm of religious freedom the PhD-project is located within the critical norm research program of International Relations (IR). Against the background of the global discursive contestedness and its huge variance in compliance with the norm, the project asks: Why and under which conditions states violate the global norm of religious freedom? To answer this question, the project is divided into two parts. The first part deals with the reconstruction of the global discourse on religious freedom, in detail, how it evolved and is contested within the United Nations (UN). This is complemented by the reconstruction of marginalized bodies of knowledge, mainly focusing on reformist Muslim voices that bring about an alternative Islamic genealogy of universal religious freedom. In the second part the project empirically analyzes religious freedom in the Islamic Republic of Iran. It first captures variations in norm violations in between non-Muslim religious minorities during the Khatami and Ahmadinejad period (1997-2013) and then seeks to identify causal explanations for these norm violations in in-depth case studies on each minority. While most empirical studies on religious freedom and religious minorities only provide correlations, the project’s qualitative, interpretative approach intends to unveil context-specific causal mechanisms, influential discourses and hegemonic narratives.