Lectures & Panels South Africa – Navigating Religious Rights in a Constitutional Democracy
Fatima Essop will discuss how South African citizens have navigated their religious and cultural rights within South Africa's constitutional democracy.
Dr. Fatima Essop, South African attorney and Visiting Fellow at the Program on Law and Society in the Muslim World, will discuss how South African citizens have navigated their religious and cultural rights within South Africa’s constitutional democracy.
South African courts have been tasked with balancing rights of equality with the rights of different groups to exercise their religious and cultural beliefs and practices. For example: Is a Rastafarian lawyer entitled to use marijuana as a religious and cultural practice? Is a Hindu female student entitled to wear a nose stud in her public school as an expression of her beliefs? Muslim family law, as practiced by the country’s Muslim minority, may also be the subject of judicial review that may find certain provisions to be in violation of women’s right to equality.
We will discuss these dilemmas and difficult choices, and the approach of South African courts in balancing citizens’ constitutional rights.
Moderated by Salma Waheedi, Human Rights Attorney and Associate Director of the Program on Law and Society in the Muslim World.
Co-sponsored by the Human Rights Program and the Harvard African Law Association.