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USCIRF Issues New Study of OIC Country Constitutions

August 3, 2012 | by USCIRF

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom today issued a new report, “The Religion-State Relationship & the Right to Freedom of Religion or Belief: A Comparative Textual Analysis of the Constitutions of Majority Muslim Countries and Other OIC Members.”

This study is especially timely given that a number of these countries, including some that top the U.S. foreign policy agenda, currently are redrafting or revising their constitutions. A constitution’s text is important as both a statement of fundamental law and national aspirations, and a tool for those seeking to enforce its promises.

The study, which updates a 2005 USCIRF study, analyzes how constitutions of countries belonging to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) treat issues of human rights and religious freedom. Specifically, it compiles and analyzes the constitutional provisions currently in place regarding the relationship between religion and the state, freedom of religion or belief, and related human rights. The study focuses on 46 countries with majority Muslim populations and 10 other countries that, while not majority Muslim, are OIC members. The study finds that these countries, stretching from Europe to Africa through the Middle East and into Asia, encompass a variety of constitutional arrangements addressing the role of Islam and the scope of religious freedom and other related human rights.

To read the full report (with or without appendices), a two-page summary of the report, and a summary of the international standards for constitutional religious freedom protections (in English or Arabic), please click here.

To interview a USCIRF Commissioner, contact Samantha Schnitzer at SSchnitzer@uscirf.gov or 202-786-0613.