Religion & Law

This section includes literature on religious freedom.

Aimonetti, Justin W and Christian Talley, ‘Religious Exemptions as Rational Social Policy’ (2021) 55 University of Richmond Law Review 25–60 [pre-print]
Abstract: In its 1963 decision Sherbert v. Verner, the Supreme Court interpreted the Free Exercise Clause to permit religious exemptions from general laws that incidentally burdened religious practice. Sherbert, in theory, provided stringent protections for religious freedom. But those protections came at a price. Religious adherents could secure exemptions even if they had no evidence the laws they challenged unfairly targeted their religious conduct. And they could thereby undermine the policy objectives those laws sought to achieve. Because of such policy concerns, the Court progressively restricted the availability of religious exemptions. In its 1990 decision Employment Division v. Smith, the Court then abandoned the Sherbert regime altogether. Incidental burdens would no longer suffice for Free Exercise exemptions. Instead, Smith predicated future exemptions on litigants’ showing that laws unfairly targeted religious practice or granted exemptions to secular entities that were arbitrarily withheld from religious comparators. Smith’s revision, this Article contends, subtly but profoundly changed how public policy interacts with the Free Exercise Clause. Smith created a world in which religious exemptions often promote, rather than impede, rational policy. Smith’s framework helps detect laws that are rooted in animus, rather than reason, or that impede their own efficacy with gratuitous secular exemptions. Applying that insight to recent religious liberty litigation contesting coronavirus lockdowns, this Article contends that many of those suits made state responses to COVID-19 more rational. Despite the scholarly criticism religious litigants endured, their suits exposed both irrational over-enforcement of lockdown measures against religious entities and irrational under-enforcement of those measures against their secular counterparts.

Al-Astewani, Amin, ‘To Open or Close? COVID-19, Mosques and the Role of Religious Authority within the British Muslim Community: A Socio-Legal Analysis’ (2021) 12(1) Religions Article 11
Abstract: A whirlwind of developments have unfolded in the UK since the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has subsequently instigated an intensely animated debate among British Muslim religious leaders about the contentious and sensitive topic of mosque closure, producing a rich and sophisticated spectrum of responses. These responses emerged within the dramatic global background of an imminent closure of Islam’s most cherished mosque to international pilgrims, namely the sacred precinct in Mekkah. The stakes were, therefore, high for British Muslim religious leaders considering mosque closure, facing the stark dilemma of compromising the sacrosanct status of the mosque and congregational worship in Islam or putting the lives of British Muslims in their hundreds of thousands at risk. This paper seeks to analyze the role of religious authority within the British Muslim community through the lens of the responses of the community’s religious leaders to the COVID-19 closure of mosques. It builds upon a Special Issue published by this journal on leadership, authority and representation in British Muslim communities. The issue of COVID-19 mosque closure in the UK presented an excellent case study for this papers analysis, manifesting as it does the dynamic way in which religious authority in the British Muslim community continues to evolve. This paper thus seeks to use this case-study to further enrich the literature on this topic.

Al-Gorany, Sameer Mohammed, ‘Covid-19 Pandemic and Religion: Islamic Law Perspective: A Mini Review’ (2021) 3(1) Global Journal of Public Health Medicine 315–326
Abstract: At the moment, humanity lives in chaos and panic as a result of what is being spread about COVID-19 pandemic through media, including TV’s and social networks. This mini review displayed the procedures and the measures to deal with the diseases and pandemics according to the Islamic Shari’a concept. It also addressed the responsibility of the patient and the doctor in such situations as well as against other diseases. In addition, this review addressed the causes and the symptoms of COVID-19 pandemic and how it could spread, avoided and treated by following and committing to the recommendations of the Islamic religion and through the application of holy Quran verses as well as the prophet’s speech. This is due to the fact that the Islam is a comprehensive religion that can effectively well handle all the humanity issues and solve all of its scientific and practical implications.

Al-Sheyab, Loiy Ahmad et al, ‘The Rule “Al’aadah Muhakkamah” (Tradition Was Basic of Law) and Its Impact on Jordanian Social Customs; COVID-19 Model’ (2021) 58(1) Psychology and Education Journal 994–1011
Abstract: This study aims to shed light on social phenomena and find out the implications for society, as this study is the first - to the extent of my knowledge - especially since it was researched from a legitimate perspective and the development of solutions and treatment them. However, societies stuck to them despite their negative effects,to come virus Covid 19 to change the compass. The study addressed the role of the jurisprudential rule "habit" in dealing with social phenomena in the time of Covid19, in an attempt to identify the aspects of these phenomena and know the extent of these phenomena and their causes and effects, to find a clear vision in societies by determining the extent of the penetration of these phenomena and their impact. However, the applications of these phenomena in the time of Covid 19 made the research and its results mainly in taking preventive and therapeutic measures and adhering to what is said by The Shariah, and the ability of societies to see these phenomena and customs. The study provided suggestions to ensure the continued elimination of these phenomena and overburdened habits, which were overcome in Covid 19.

Azmi, Amylia Fuziana, Nik Salida Suhaila Nik Saleh and Zaharuddin Zakaria, ‘Jurisdictional Conflicts in Facing COVID-19 Pandemic: An Analysis of Hibah Cases in Negeri Sembilan Syariah Courts’ (2020) 3(1) INSLA E-Proceedings 622–628
Jurisdiction: Malaysia
Abstract: This study investigates the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on the number of hibah cases brought before the Syariah Courts in the state of Negeri Sembilan. In 2020, statistic reveals that a total number of 30 hibah cases have been registered in the Negeri Sembilan Syariah Courts. Interestingly, the total number of cases registered this year has decreased as compared to 51 cases for the previous year. This study discovers that the Covid-19 pandemic has an effect on the number of registered and resolved cases pertaining to hibahin Negeri Sembilan Syariah Courts. This study recommends that electronic method such as e-proceeding to be fully implemented so as to enable the public to access the court easily. It is hoped that findings of this study will shed light on the issue of jurisdictions concerninghibahand beneficial in providing clear and precise information on the jurisdiction of the Syariah Courts in deciding hibah matters.

Babie, Paul T and Charles J Russo, ‘If Beer and Wrestling Are “Essential,” So Is Easter: COVID-19, Freedom of Religion or Belief, and Public Health in Australia and the United States—Why Rights Matter’ (2020) 55 New England Law Review 45
Abstract: This article contains four parts. Part I sets out how FoRB concerns raised by opponents of the restrictions that have been raised in a variety of locations would be dealt with under the Australian Constitution. We begin with this Australian analysis first because it serves as a proxy for a jurisdiction which has no constitutional protection of fundamental rights and freedoms, such as FoRB. This analysis suggests that these excesses might go without remedy when rights are not protected. The American analysis demonstrates what happens when rights are protected. Part II turns to an analysis of the same restrictions pursuant to the American First Amendment right to free exercise of religion. This part, too, serves as a proxy for how these restrictions can be dealt with in a jurisdiction which provides for comprehensive constitutional protection of fundamental rights and freedoms. Our objective is to demonstrate that when rights are protected, the correct approach to dealing with the restrictions is to balance the need to preserve public health while respecting the right to FoRB for all. Part III provides concluding reflections on why protecting FoRB matters. Safeguarding religious freedom matters because in the absence of protection for rights, the sorts of excesses which encroach on FoRB might, almost imperceptibly, creep far beyond the violation of but one right to deny many rights which form the core principles of liberty, freedom, and the rule of law itself—concepts which underpin the very nature of democratic government.

Baharuddin, Ahmad Syukran et al, ‘Offense of Spreading Infectious Disease and Methods of Proof Through Forensic Science’ (2020) 3(1) INSLA E-Proceedings 340–350
Abstract: Since 1988, a specific Act has been enacted concerning the prevention and control of infectious diseases. This Act is known as the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988. The preamble to this Act states that it was enacted to amend and consolidate laws relating to the prevention and control of infectious diseases and to provide for other matters relating thereto. In this Act, there are several types of actions that if committed can be convicted as an offense under this Act, among them include acting in a manner that can spread infectious diseases. This study discusses matters related to offense causing the spread of infectious diseases from the view of civil and Syariah law. It also covers scientific methods to prove such offense. This qualitative study has collected relevant data through primary and secondary documents and subsequently analysed it using the document analysis method. The result of this study found that the act of exposing others to the risk of infection is an offense and it is forbidden in Islam. Several scientific methods can be used in convicting this offense; among them are medical reports, travel records, physical examinations, CCTV footage, and biological examinations. This study suggests that the aspect of proof for such cases should be emphasized because such studies have not yet been conducted by previous researchers

Baharuddin, H, ‘Parenting Styles During the Covid-19 Pandemic: A Conception of Islamic Family Law’ (2021) 5(1) Al-Bayyinah: Jurnal of Islamic Law 13–28
Abstract: The covid-19 pandemic situation has led to many changes in living conditions and various activities that are mostly carried out at home in order to reduce and prevent the chain of transmission of the corona-19 virus. This study aims to provide an illustration of the role of parents at home during the Covid-19 pandemic situation by providing the rights that must be given to children by correlating them with the concept of childcare in Islamic family law. The urgency in education studies in the review of Islamic family law is to emphasize the position of parents who are not only responsible for providing a living, including in matters of success in education. This is a conceptual study, which seeks to explore the concept of childcare that is built in Islamic family law. The findings in this study indicate that childcare according to Islamic family law in the covid-19 pandemic situation, namely: 1) teaching children to do good and keep away from badness, this is done by way of parents giving examples and accompanying children when learning, 2) Parenting with affection, this care is done by providing safety and guidance to children, 3) Fulfilling the needs of children. In the conception of Islamic family law it is known as hadanah rights or child care which is widely understood, both in terms of livelihood to children’s intelligence. The implication of this finding is that during the pandemic, parents have a significant role, in addition to living needs, parents are also required to ensure children’s intelligence through the fulfillment of education.

Barak Corren, Netta and Lotem Perry-Hazan, ‘Bidirectional Legal Socialization and the Boundaries of Law: The Case of Enclave Communities’ Compliance with COVID-19 Regulations’ (Hebrew University of Jerusalem Legal Research Paper (forthcoming), 4 March 2021)
Abstract: COVID-19 has challenged people worldwide to comply with strict lock-downs and meticulous healthcare instructions. Can states harness enclave communities to comply with the law in such crucial times, even when compliance conflicts with communal sources of authority? We investigated this question through the case of Israeli ultra-Orthodox schools compliance with COVID-19 regulations. Drawing on semi-structured interviews with school principals, documents and media sources, and a field survey, we found that the state has the capacity to quickly internalize new norms and harness the cooperation of previously suspicious communities. At the same time, we found that communal authorities were able to shield widespread communal defiance from legal enforcement. These findings expose the bidirectionality of legal socialization: As the community uses its defiance power to attenuate the law, it socializes public authorities to accede to their bounded authority. As public authorities come to realize that the community cannot be brought to full compliance, they curtail enforcement efforts and socialize the community to operate outside the law. This paper was prepared for the Journal on Social Issues special issue on legal socialization, marking the first 50 years of research on this highly influential theory. Our findings animate the reciprocity assumption in legal socialization theory and highlight one of the crucial tasks for the next 50 years of research: to examine the bidirectionality of legal socialization and discover its socio-legal effects.

Berg, Thomas C, ‘Religious Freedom Amid the Tumult’ (University of St. Thomas (Minnesota) Legal Studies Research Paper No 20–13, 17 August 2020)
Abstract: The Supreme Court Term ending in summer 2020 was action-packed for religious freedom. The Court decided six cases pertaining to the issue—double, even triple the usual number—in contexts from school choice to public-health closures of churches to clashes between religious liberty and nondiscrimination laws. The decisions also came at a time of extraordinary stress and turbulence in society, and they relate in striking ways to those forces of turbulence. This Article discusses religious freedom in relation to three Ps of turbulence: Pandemic, Polarization of culture and politics, and Protests over racial injustice. In each of these areas, the Article aims to explain the Court’s approach and defend religious freedom today as a vital aspect of human dignity. Among many lessons from today’s crises is that religion, freely chosen and exercised, is a vital aspect of human identity. Religious exercise provides individuals with strength and comfort in the stresses of a pandemic. Religious belief motivates service to others in schools and social-service agencies; credible legal threats to those organizations aggravate our already dangerous polarization. Now as much as ever, it is vital to defend religious freedom for all. Despite some mixed signals, the current Supreme Court seems willing to shoulder that task. But to defend religious freedom credibly means recognizing rights for others too. Christian conservatives must support religious liberty and equality for Muslims as well. A credible defense of religious freedom also calls for confronting rather than denying the problems of racial inequality. And it calls for drawing careful lines so that LGBT people can participate in economic life and traditionalist religious organizations can follow their religious identity.

Billauer, Barbara Pfeffer, ‘Religious Freedom vs. Compelled Vaccination: A Case-Study of the 2018–2019 Measles Pandemic: or The Law as a Public Health Response’ (SSRN Scholarly Paper ID 3775590, 29 January 2021)
Abstract: Following the recent decision in Roman Catholic Diocese v. Cuomo, clear guidance regarding the state’s powers to act during a pandemic is wanting. I look here to the 2018-2019 measles epidemic for that guidance.Measles rates increased dramatically during the 2018–2019 season, both in the United States and globally. This phenomenon reflects a general decline in worldwide vaccination and an increase in vaccine resistance stoked by anti-vax groups. In the United States, the epidemic targeted ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities, as it did in Israel. This Article evaluates the legal response to vaccination in the two countries, and between two neighboring ultra-Orthodox localities in New York. The research demonstrates the efficacy of differing legal responses, a novel approach to empirically assessing the impact of legal intervention. In so doing, the Article demonstrates the power of the law to help quash epidemics, demonstrating its use as a public health tool. The Article also reaffirms the constitutionality of protecting public health via governmental measures that might trespass on individual rights, such as mandating vaccination. I also discuss legal challenges mounted by the anti-vax community. Finally, and critically, this article demonstrates the importance of lawyers being knowledgeable with epidemiological terms and principles when mounting defenses to governmental initiatives.

Billauer, Barbara Pfeffer, ‘Fundamentalism in Roman Catholic Diocese v. Cuomo: The Court’s Farrago of Religious Freedom, Public Health Law, and Scientific (Il)Literacy’ (SSRN Scholarly Paper ID 3787319, 17 February 2021)
Abstract: On October 6, 2020, shortly before the Simchat Torah holiday, New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo promulgated extensive lockdown requirements which all but eviscerated worship in areas heavily affected by COVID-19. The Executive Order instigated a suit by the Roman Catholic Diocese and the Agudath Israel of America claiming their religious rights had been violated. Turning its back on 225 years of public health law affirming the states police powers to protect the public health – even if this trespassed on constitutional rights, the dicta of the majority hagiographizes and expands constitutional rights to levels not seen before. This essay first contextualizes the decision in light of its timing. I then examine the dicta, contrasting judicial sentiment here to past historical decisions evaluating quarantine in prior epidemics. I then compare similar lockdown orders in Israel which did not invite the same religious push-back, and finally I examine the significant lacuna in scientific understanding demonstrated by the majority as significantly affecting the outcome.

Blackman, Josh, ‘The “Essential” Free Exercise Clause’ (2021) 44(3) Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy 637–760

Abstract: The article details the evolving history of the U.S. Supreme Court’s caselaw in applying the Free Exercise Clause to the restrictions on religious gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic. It traces the Court’s shift from a regime that was deferential to such restrictions to one that rules in favor of the free exercise of religion. Court cases mentioned include South Bay Pentecostal Church v. Newsom, Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley Church v. Sisolak, and Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn v. Cuomo.

Brady, Kathleen, ‘COVID-19 and Restrictions on Religious Worship: From Nondiscrimination to Church Autonomy’ (2021) Fides et Libertas (forthcoming)
Jurisdiction: USA
Abstract: Religious litigants challenging COVID-19 restrictions on in-person worship services typically argue that these restrictions discriminate against religion in violation of the Free Exercise Clause. Demands for equal treatment have intuitive appeal, and they also fit with the Supreme Court’s current religion clause jurisprudence. However, there are a number of drawbacks to approaches that focus on equal treatment. It can be difficult to identify the appropriate secular benchmarks for determining whether discrimination has taken place, and religious congregations are usually not actually asking for equal treatment. What they really want is to maximize their ability to gather together safely in person.In Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, New York v. Cuomo, the Supreme Court granted applications for emergency injunctive relief in two cases challenging 10- and 25-person limits on houses of worship in COVID-19 hotspots in New York. The Court found that New York’s rules favored secular activities over religious practice and failed to satisfy the strict scrutiny required of discriminatory action under the Free Exercise Clause. However, many of the examples of discrimination given by those in the majority seemed strained, and the justices appeared less interested in the threshold showing of discriminatory treatment than in applying heightened scrutiny to significant restrictions on religious worship. The Court’s shift in focus from discrimination to close scrutiny of worship restrictions is the right one, but those in the majority neither acknowledged this shift nor signaled a new framework or approach that would explain or guide it. In this short essay, I argue that the appropriate framework for analyzing restrictions on religious worship is the doctrine of church autonomy that has been emerging in the Court’s recent religion clause jurisprudence. Viewing conflicts over COVID-19 restrictions through this lens can better clarify what is at stake when clashes occur as well as better inform the scope and limits of institutional freedom in this context.

Burke, Ciarán, ‘Abusus Non Tollit Usum? Korea’s Legal Response to Coronavirus and the Shincheonji Church of Jesus’ (2020) 4(5) The Journal of CESNUR 64–85
Abstract: The legislative framework crafted by the Korean government in response to the MERS outbreak in 2015 informed its approach when COVID-19 appeared on its territory. This framework conferred broad powers upon the authorities to react promptly and effectively to the pandemic as it developed. However, the relevant legislation suffered for a lack of human rights safeguards, and was ultimately rather opportunistically employed by the government to target an unpopular religious community, raising questions about Korea’s commitment to the rule of law and human rights standards.

Bussey, Barry W, ‘Contagion: Government Fear of Religion during the COVID-19 Crisis’ [2020] Revista General de Derecho Canónico y Derecho Eclesiástico del Estado 54
Abstract: This paper examines emerging trends in the responses of governments and religious communities to the COVID-19 health crisis. It reviews the initial measures taken by the authorities, along with the early compliance of churches, observing that mutual collaboration represents the ‘finest hour’ in recent church-state relations. However, as questions arose over the potency of the disease, perceived inconsistency of policies, and political acquiescence to racial protest movements, dynamics began to shift. A minority of religious communities appealed to the sovereignty of divine law in order to resist extended prohibitions on communal worship. This paper analyzes the implications of such resistance, urging that governments could better achieve their objectives by treating religious communities as essential, autonomous partners striving towards a shared goal.

Christians, Louis-Léon, ‘Covid-19, Law and Religion in Belgium’ in International Conference on Covid-19 Pandemic & Religious Freedom: Reports from North America and Europe, University of Portsmouth (UK), 2-3 December 2020 (2020)
Abstract: The paper introduces to some specificities of the Belgian regulation of religious liberty during the COVID-19 crisis.The Belgian regime of recognised religions has had very few ‘advantages’ during the COVID-19 crisis, apart from maintaining the salaries of priests and other religious ministers. Even towards recognized religions, a lack of empathy has been shown by public authorities — even in their public speeches. Nevertheless, religious officials maintained a position of support for the government’s health measures, although legal challenges have been filed by some of the more radical devotees.

Colombo, Ronald J, ‘When Exemptions Discriminate: Unlawfully Narrow Religious Exemptions to Vaccination Mandates by Private Colleges and Universities’ (Hofstra University Legal Studies Research Paper (forthcoming 2021))
Abstract: Numerous colleges and universities have imposed COVID-19 vaccination mandates upon their students. Most of these mandates have been accompanied by the purported recognition of medical and religious exemptions. With regard to religious exemptions, some are unjustly discriminatory. Most notably, they give preference to students who are members of organized religions over students who are not. And even facially neutral exemptions can be administered in an unjustly discriminatory way by, for example, giving preference to one set of religious denominations over another, or by engaging in ‘religious profiling’ (whereby students of a particular denomination are held completely beholden to the beliefs of that denomination (as ascertained by the school’s administration), despite their own sincere and genuine religious beliefs to the contrary).Students attending public colleges and universities have federal constitutional and statutory protections against such discrimination; students attending private institutions do not. Rather, students attending private colleges and universities are at the mercy of state law and afforded only those protections against discrimination recognized by the state in which their institution is located.Although the research and insights presented herein should be applicable, in whole or in part, to any state with antidiscrimination laws protecting college students, this paper’s focus will be on New York’s Human Rights Law. It will demonstrate the ways in which religious exemptions can and do violate the law by illegally discriminating against students upon the basis of religion. It will examine one particularly ill-advised and unlawful policy (Hofstra University’s) and showcase one that comports with best practices (that of Syracuse University’s). For the present, there exists significant uncertainly regarding the promulgation of COVID-19 vaccination mandates. Private vaccination mandates may or may not be lawful, and religious exemptions thereto may or may not be required. But what is clear, however, is that in New York, and most likely in any other state where students are protected against discrimination, a religious exemption to a private college or university vaccination mandate must be nondiscriminatory.

Cooper, Levi, ‘Pandemics in the Promised Land: The Hasidic Experience’ (2020) 33 Australian Journal of Jewish Studies 5–26
Abstract: This study recounts how in 1786 a community in the Ottoman Empire faced a pandemic. This community, a group of Hasidim from Eastern Europe, had arrived in the Land of Israel in 1777, significantly boosting the local Jewish population. The outbreak created hardships for the fledgling community, which was forced to make decisions in its bid to survive. As an addendum to the account, I reproduce annotated primary text: A Hebrew letter written after the pandemic had subsided. The current COVID-19 pandemic forms the backdrop for the study, adding a layer of relevance and meaning to this historic episode.

Corbin, Caroline Mala, ‘Religious Liberty in a Pandemic’ (SSRN Scholarly Paper No ID 3634084, Social Science Research Network, 23 June 2020)
Abstract: The coronavirus pandemic caused an unprecedented shutdown of the United States. The stay-at-home orders issued by most states typically banned large gatherings of any kind, including religious services. Churches sued, arguing that these bans violated their religious liberty rights by treating worship services more strictly than analogous activities that were not banned, such as shopping at a liquor store or superstore. This short Essay examines these claims, concluding that the constitutionality of the bans turns on the science of how the pathogen spreads, and that the best available scientific evidence supports the mass gathering bans.

Cranmer, Frank, ‘October 2020–January 2021’ (2021) 23(2) Ecclesiastical Law Journal 223–228
Abstract: The period under review continued to be dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Westminster Government and the devolved administrations issued a joint statement on 16 December 2020 outlining a series of relaxations on social contacts between 23 and 27 December but even so it seemed that there were mixed feelings about any relaxation. The Scottish First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, continued to stress that the Scottish Government’s recommendation was to celebrate Christmas at home and to keep interactions with other households to a minimum. The Welsh Government decided that social interactions should be limited to two households only, to be followed by a further lockdown from 28 December.

Cranmer, Frank, ‘Government and Parliamentary Report: February-May 2020’ (2020) 22(3) Ecclesiastical Law Journal 361–367
Abstract: Reviews parliamentary and regulatory developments of relevance to ecclesiastical lawyers, including: how coronavirus-related legislation has affected the conduct of religious services, the progress of the Brexit negotiations, and the Church of England (Miscellaneous Provisions) Measure 2020.

DeLoach, Andrew R, ‘What’s the Use of Religious Freedom?’ (2020) 10(2) Journal of Christian Legal Thought 1–12
Abstract: This brief essay considers the question whether the Constitutional right and international human right to religious freedom is under threat, particularly in the time of COVID-19 and government-ordered restrictions on religious worship. It surveys a potential drift toward secularism in the United States by comparison with the French system of laïcité, and responds to this drift with recommendations for the robust use of religious freedom.

Figueroa, Daniel, ‘Diminishing Religious Liberties: COVID Under the First Amendment’ (SSRN Scholarly Paper No ID 3753678, 22 December 2020)
Abstract: The coronavirus has caused an unprecedented shutdown of biblical proportions. As the world manages a pandemic, of similarities of the 1918 Influenza, that has caused a shutdown of the United States, gatherings like religious services have been subjected to sweeping stay-at-home orders banning congregation. This piece examines the claims of Churches who have faced restrictive and violative enforcement of government order that has allowed homologous activities, such as shopping or dining, at the expense of religious liberties, past to present.

Ganarin, Manuel, ‘Specific Application and Potential of Canon Law during the Pandemic in Italy’ (2021) 61(121) Ius Canonicum 199–243
Abstract: In light of the decrees issued by the President of the Council of Ministers to combat and contain the spread of Covid-19, the Catholic Church in Italy worked with the civil authorities to ensure that gatherings in church settings would not increase the risk of infection. The purpose of this paper is to provide an in-depth analysis and assessment of the measures taken by ecclesiastical authorities – the Holy See, Italian Episcopal Conference, Regional Episcopal Conferences, Diocesan Bishops – within the intrinsically flexible framework of ius Ecclesiae, enabling solutions that would avoid gatherings while also ensuring full freedom to enact the salvific mission of the Church, which is expressed above all in the liturgy and the sacraments.

Gold, Azgad, ‘Are Healthcare Workers Obligated to Risk Themselves during the COVID-19 Pandemic According to Jewish Law? A Response to Solnica et Al’ (2020) 46(11) Journal of Medical Ethics 736–737
Abstract: Solnica et al argue that ‘Jewish law and modern secular approaches based on professional responsibilities obligate physicians to care for all patients even those with communicable diseases’. The authors base their viewpoint on the opinion of Rabbi Eliezer Waldenberg and apply it to suggest that physicians are obligated to endanger themselves during epidemics, such as COVID-19. It is argued that Solnica et al’s analysis of Rabbi Waldenberg’s text and their conclusion that healthcare workers are obligated to endanger themselves while treating patient who suffer from contagious illness during epidemics according to Jewish law suffer from various shortcomings. Indeed, Jewish law looks favourably on healthcare workers who take a reasonable risk in treating their patients in the context of epidemics. However, it is considered a voluntary supererogatory act—not obligatory. Solnica et al may express a legitimate ethical viewpoint. However, it does not seem to represent the mainstream approach of what Jewish law would demand as obligatory from its practitioners.

Greene, Alan, ‘Closing Places of Worship and COVID-19: Towards a Culture of Justification?’ (2021) 25(3) Edinburgh Law Review 393–400
Introduction: In Reverend Dr William JU Philip and others for Judicial Review of the closure of places of worship in Scotland (Philip), Lord Braid in the Court of Session upheld a challenge by the leaders of several Christian denominations to the Scottish Government’s COVID-19 regulations that required the closure of all churches for congregational worship and private prayer. The closures were in response to increasing COVID-19 cases and the particular risk posed by the new B117 variant which emerged in late 2020. The petitioners raised two distinct issues: firstly, that the respondents lacked any constitutional power to restrict the right to worship in Scotland; and secondly, that even if it did have that power, the closure was nevertheless an unjustified infringement of their right to manifest their religious beliefs under Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights (‘ECHR’) and to associate with others under Article 11 ECHR. As to the first question regarding the constitutionality of the measures, the applicants highlighted the separation between church and state as affirmed in the Acts of Union and Article IV of the Declaratory Articles appended to the Church of Scotland Act 1921. This was dismissed by the court, noting that if the state’s civil power could allow for a more draconian interference with worship such as the imposition of a curfew, then logically, a less draconian interference must also be permissible. The principal question for the court therefore was not whether to draw a clear demarcating line between church and state but rather a question of proportionality as to where the line must be drawn. Here, the court assessed the proportionality of the measures’ impact on the petitioners’ right to manifest their religious beliefs under Article 9 read in conjunction with their right to associate with others under Article 11 ECHR. The court found that these measures were a disproportionate interference with the right to freedom of religion under Article 9 ECHR as the Government failed to show that no less intrusive means other than the closure of places of worship were available to address the legitimate aim of reducing the risk of the spread of COVID-19 by a significant extent. On its face, this looks like a victory for human rights enforced by a muscular judiciary scrutinising closely the justifications proffered by the political branches of government; yet overall, the judgment is unsettling as to the conception of human rights and the rule of law being protected.

Hasan, Hamzah, ‘Pros and Cons of Online Criminal Case Settlement During the Covid-19 Pandemic: Study on Islamic Criminal Law’ (2021) 1(1) Jurnal Al Tasyri’yyah 15–26
Jurisdiction: Indonesia
Abstract: The online criminal trial discourse has become a hot discussion topic by criminal law practitioners, especially regarding the obscenity case in Petamburan that involved the suspect, HRS. HRS himself and his lawyer refused to hold the online trial for being contrary to the Criminal Procedure Code (KUHAP) although there is a Memorandum of Understanding between the Supreme Court, Attorney General’s Office, Police, and the Directorate General (Ditjen) of Corrections regarding the Implementation of Criminal Trial Proceedings via video conferencing as efforts to prevent the spread of Covid-19 on April 13, 2020. This study aims to provide an answer that Islamic criminal procedural law can accommodate models of virtual criminal case resolution because it considers emergency situations. Moreover, the reason for the emergency has to do with humanity. The data used as materials for data analysis was library research which were taken from fiqh books, written documents, laws and other regulations. The results show that Islamic criminal law can consider its feasibility.

Hodge, James G, Hanna Reinke and Claudia M Reeves, ‘Balancing Religious Freedoms and Public Health Protections During the COVID-19 Pandemic’ (SSRN Scholarly Paper No ID 3619427, 4 June 2020)
Abstract: Extraordinary responses to the COVID-19 pandemic are generating substantial debates over the scope and reach of public health powers and religious freedoms. Emergency declarations at every level of government to limit societal impacts of COVID-19 may shift constitutional norms, but do not completely negate rights to free exercise or assemble. Yet, no one has an unmitigated right to harm others in pursuit of their faith. Somewhere between individual religious rights and communal public health objectives lies a legally viable balance. Finding it during the pandemic is controversial. Among the most contentious issues are governments’ temporary orders suspending large religious gatherings to maintain social distances. While many religious leaders have complied, others have vociferously objected. Reaching accord begins with an assessment of legal principles of separation of church and state, especially concerning claims of religious rights to assemble despite unprecedented public health risks.

Ilmih, Andi Aina, Kami Hartono and Ida Musofiana, ‘The Financing Restructuring Legal Analysis for Debtors Affected by Covid-19 in Sharia Multifinance Institutions’ (2021) 8(2) Jurnal Pembaharuan Hukum 172–183
Jurisdiction: Indonesia
Abstract: This study focuses on problematic financing by debtors affected by Covid-19 at Islamic multi-finance institutions in Semarang City, with the aim of finding the reality of the form of problematic financing experienced by debtors during the Covid-19 Pandemic. This study uses an empirical juridical approach, data analysis using descriptive-analysis methods. Based on the research that has been done, the regulation of the Financing Restructuring Law is guided by POJK Number 11/POJK.03/2020 concerning National Economic Stimulus as a Countercyclical Policy on the Impact of Coronavirus Disease 2019 which regulates asset determination, financing restructuring and provision of new funds. The impact arising from the existence of a financing restructuring policy for debtors affected by Covid-19 can be viewed from the following aspects: (1) Juridical Aspect, meaning that there are no sanctions for the financing institution as a creditor if it does not follow or apply, only based on the willingness of the creditor; (2) Economic Aspect, can help debtors to recover and stabilize the economy so that they can fulfill promises (achievements) to creditors; and for creditors the impact on financial activities or transactions that occurred during the Covid-19 pandemic can still be stable; (3) Psychological Aspects, meaning that one side fosters a strong mentality and confidence for creditors/financing customers to fulfill their obligations, and on the other hand, the existence of the presence of financial institutions is maintained in the future.

Ismail, Wan Abdul Fattah Wan et al, ‘The Admissibility of Digital Document According to Syariah Law: A Preliminary Analysis’ (2020) 3(1) INSLA E-Proceedings 471–480
Abstract: Major shifts in the science and technology landscape have made the collection and analysis of digital evidence an increasingly important tool in resolving crimes as well as preparing the case for the trial in the court. Digital documents are known as electronic documents and it can be used as a means of proof in court. Also, digital documents can be used as evidence in the category of documents based on the definition given in Section 3 of the Syariah Court Evidence (Federal Territories) Act 1997 [Act 561]. However, the digital document as a means of proof is still needed to be discussed in detail regarding its admissibility in the Syariah court. This is because there is no specific provision according to Syariah Court Evidence law on the use of it. This study, therefore, focuses on the concept of digital documents as evidence according to Syariah Law. This study aims to discuss from the Islamic legal perspective on digital documents as a means of proof from the holy Quran, hadith, legal maxims and acts. This study also will focus on the admissibility of the digital document as evidence in the Syariah court in Malaysia. The methodology of this study is a qualitative approach by using document analysis of article papers, journals, statutes and also related document references. The results show that the need to accept the admissibility of digital document as evidence very high, especially for use in the Syariah court. Studies show that the use of the digital document as evidence serves to support other evidence presented in court.

Jamaruddin, Wahida Norashikin and Ruzian Markom, ‘The Application of Fintech in The Operation of Islamic Banking Focussing on Islamic Documentation: Post-COVID-19’ (2020) 3(1) International Seminar on Syariah and Law (INSLA) E-Proceedings 31–43
Abstract: FinTech is innovation, and it is developing rapidly as part of current human need dealing with financial transactions in daily life, embracing the banking industry as convenience instruments to the consumers. Adapting FinTechin Islamic banking is challenges in terms of Shariah-compliant as the essential elements of riba’,maysir, and gharar prohibited from forming part of the FinTechcomponent. Islamic finance institutions in the world face problem in dealing with financial transactions as well as saviour during pandemic COVID 19, where most countries in the world are affected and declared lockdown as an emergency solution to cutthe chain of COVID 19. Concerning the pandemic crisis, problems on the operation of Islamic banking adopted Islamic Fintech need to explore, which also concerning the conduct of legal firms in managing Islamic banking documentation. The objective of this paper is to identify the application of Islamic fintech in Islamic banking, the legal framework of Islamic fintech, issues in managing the operation and Islamic banking documentation at legal firms, and analysethe suitability of Islamic fintech in the service of Islamic banking during the Movement Control Order. The methodology used in attaining the objectives is qualitative by utilizing the library as the data centre, review the journals and articles, including collecting data from books and available reports. As a result of the study, the paper suggested new norms need a new approach by Islamic finance and any legal institution since the operation heavily relies on the adherence to Syariah requirements and guidelines issued by Bank Negara Malaysia and Security Commission. The support from the government in providing an adequate legal framework for fintech’s instrument to operate needs attention, and consultation among the experts is much welcome by the fintech community.

Jauhari, M Sofwan and Abdul Ghoni, ‘The Level of People’s Obedience to MUI Fatwas (COVID-19, Bank Interest, and Interfaith Marriage)’ (2020) 20(2) AHKAM : Jurnal Ilmu Syariah 233–256
Abstract: Indonesian Ulama Council (MUI) is an organization for Muslim scholars who provide guidance for the Muslim community in the form of fatwās on a particular situation on which the community can rely. In the ongoing situation relating to the COVID-19 pandemic since March 2020, MUI released a fatwā as to how to face the pandemic. This research is aimed to measure the level of people’s obedience to the fatwā. To obtain an accurate measurement, this research involves two others MUI’s fatwās - a fatwā related to bank interest and a fatwā related to interfaith marriage – by way of making a comparison. This research uses mixed methods which combined the quantitative method using SPSS and the qualitative method. This research finds that the young unmarried Muslim, mostly under-25- year-old university students, have the highest level of obedience to the fatwā related to COVID-19. The fatwā related to interfaith marriage is the most obeyed fatwās, and fatwā related to COVID-19 is the least one among three fatwās in this research.

Khalil, Muhammad Ainul Hakim Muhammad et al, ‘Advantages of Temporary Waqf in Combating COVID-19 Pandemic in Malaysia’ (2020) 3(1) INSLA E-Proceedings 167–180
Abstract: Waqf is a form of charity which is highly recommended in Islam. In Malaysia, most of the states impose solely on perpetuity property based on Shafiᶜiy school of law view as stated in State Administration of Islamic Law Enactment and State Waqf Enactment. However, there are certain states allowed the implementation of temporary waqf such as Johor, Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, and Sarawak. In 2020, most of the country across the world including Malaysia are affected by deadly disease which is known as COVID-19. The World Health Organization (WHO) declare it as pandemic on January 2020. Malaysia Government has issued Movement Control Order (MCO) as a preventive measures to overcome this contagious disease. Many institutions and employment sectors are ordered to stop their operation temporarily. The negative impact of MCO affected daily life routine, public safety and security, education, and business. Thus, the objective of this paper is to study the concept of temporary waqf from the Islamic perspectives and to explore the advantages of temporary waqf in combating COVID-19. This paper has conducted inductive and deductive methods. In this qualitative research, data has been collected by using library research, observations, and interview. The result of this paper shows that temporary waqf products brought many advantages as compared to perpetuity waqf in combating this pandemic COVID-19.

Laws (2021) 10 (Special Issue: ‘The Crisis of Religious Freedom in the Age of COVID-19 Pandemic’)
Hill, Mark, ‘Coronavirus and the Curtailment of Religious Liberty’ (2020) 9(4) Laws Article 27
Abstract: Even public health emergencies must be handled within the framework of the rule of law. The alternative is social chaos. Every nation on earth has been touched by the impact of COVID-19, a deadly pandemic that has changed; perhaps permanently; the manner in which we are governed and live our daily lives. This paper addresses the effect of the State’s response to the threat of Coronavirus upon the enjoyment of religious liberty, both directly and indirectly.
Haynes, Jeffrey, ‘Donald Trump, the Christian Right and COVID-19: The Politics of Religious Freedom’ (2021) 10(1) Laws Article 6
Abstract: This paper examines the issue of religious freedom in the USA during the coronavirus pandemic of 2020–2021, during the presidency of Donald Trump (2017–2021). It contends that the ability of state governors to close religious places of worship illustrates both the limits on the power of the president and that public health can take supremacy over religious freedom in today’s America. The paper is organised as follows: first, we identify the importance of religious freedom for the more than 20 million Americans who self-classify as Christian evangelicals. Second, we assess the transactional importance that President Trump placed on Christian evangelicals’ religious freedom. Third, we look at one kind of Christian evangelicals—that is, Christian nationalists—to see how they regarded restrictions on their religious behaviour caused by COVID-19. Fourth, we briefly examine several recent legal cases brought against the governors of California and Illinois by the Liberty Counsel, the leading Christian evangelical legal firm in the USA. Led by Matthew Staver, Dean of the Liberty University Law School, Liberty Counsel regularly represents Christian nationalists who challenge state-imposed restrictions on religious gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic.
Chopko, Mark, ‘The Constitutionality of Providing Public Funds for U.S. Houses of Worship during the Coronavirus’ (2021) 10(1) Laws Article 8
Abstract: U.S. constitutional jurisprudence precludes the direct government funding of religious activity. At the same time, the jurisprudence surrounding the U.S. First Amendment Religion Clauses has evolved to support the general inclusion of religious entities in programs through which a government advances some overarching public interest, such as health care or social services, but does not involve the Government in advancing religion per se. Moreover, the most recent U.S. Supreme Court cases hold that it is a violation of the First Amendment to exclude a religious actor, solely because it is religious, from a general public program and funding on equal terms with secular actors. Pandemic relief from the federal government has been made available to houses of worship (churches, mosques, synagogues, etc.) to mitigate the economic impact of government lockdown orders and public health restrictions on assembly, by offsetting loss of revenue and avoiding the suspension or termination of employees. The extension of such relief sits precisely at the crossroads of debated legal questions about whether such assistance is aid to religion—prohibited—or neutral disaster relief on equal terms with other community-serving entities—permitted. This article concludes that the inclusion of houses of worship is constitutional, given the trend and direction of U.S. law, although the matter will continue to be debated as the effects of the pandemic recede.
Baumgardner, Paul, ‘Immunizing the Flock: How the Pandemic Court Rewrote Religious Freedom’ (2021) 10(1) Laws Article 12
Abstract: When coronavirus began to descend upon the United States, religious freedom advocates across the country sounded the alarm that citizens’ religious practices and institutions were under threat. Although some of the most extreme arguments championed by these advocates were not validated by our legal system, many were. This article explores the underappreciated gains made by religious freedom advocates before the U.S. Supreme Court over the past year. As a result of the ‘Pandemic Court’, religious freedom in the United States has been rewritten. This promises to radically change the educational, employment, and health prospects of millions of Americans for the rest of the pandemic and long afterwards.
Androutsopoulos, George, ‘The Right of Religious Freedom in Light of the Coronavirus Pandemic: The Greek Case’ (2021) 10(1) Laws Article 14
Abstract: The purpose of this article is to take into consideration the impact of unprecedented restrictions due to COVID-19 on the exercise of religious freedom according to the Greek legislation and case-law. The crucial fact to be examined is the proportionality of the exceptional measures of the Greek State. At the beginning of the pandemic, religious ceremonies were allowed only in the presence of clerics, but nowadays they are permitted on the condition that the measures of ‘social distancing’ are being followed strictly. As it is generally accepted, the Greek State managed to deal with the pandemic without deviations from constitutional order and protection of fundamental rights, in accordance with a ‘pressing social need’. In this context, the case-law of the Greek courts is of great importance, which ruled that the above mentioned restrictions did not offend the principle of proportionality, especially because of their temporary and short-term character. Nevertheless, these restrictive measures must be revised from time to time, considering the updated, epidemiological data in order to be selected the most appropriate and less stringent on a case-by-case basis. Consequently, these judgments do not give government a blank cheque regarding the management of the pandemic, but rather provide them with a clear framework which is able to guarantee the measures’ accordance with the Greek Constitution. However, the potential risk that people may become used to the restrictions imposed after the crisis has passed must not be overlooked.
Fornerod, Anne, ‘Freedom of Worship during a Public Health State of Emergency in France’ (2021) 10(1) Laws Article 15
Abstract: This paper analyses three key decisions issued by the French State Council in 2020 following emergency proceedings concerning the impact of pandemic-related measures on the freedom of worship. The Council interestingly recalls that the freedom of worship is a fundamental freedom, but shows, too, how it is influenced by circumstances when determining whether the measures limiting the freedom to practice one’s religion are proportionate to the goal of protecting public health.
Ahmad, Nehaluddin, ‘Protecting the Rights of Minorities under International Law and Implications of COVID-19: An Overview of the Indian Context’ (2021) 10(1) Laws Article 17
Abstract: The concept of majority rule and respect for minority rights is demonstrated in several constitutions of the world. Oppression by the majority of the minority is barred by articles of these respective constitutions. Today, democracy is mostly a method of government of the people that is ruled by the people. The issue of minority rights is at the center of the concept of civic rights. Minority protection, thus, operates on the hypothesis that religious, cultural, and linguistic affiliations are essential features of the very notion of a civic, just society. This paper offers an alternative account of why minority rights have international significance and more information on the value of an international, socially just process for the allocation of resources by states. By this approach, international minority rights speak to the wrongs that international law itself produces by organizing international political reality into a legal order. This article focuses on the uncertain effect of religious autonomy in India and the outcome of democracy in the country. While the Indian constitution guarantees autonomy to its religious minorities and promises minorities their freedoms, Indian democracy, which was once considered remarkable in scale and duration, has been weakened by the rise of xenophobic nationalism and threats to religious minorities. Even the safety and religious freedom of minorities have been compromised during COVID-19. In the last few decades, these trends have been clear; however, they have dramatically increased in the last few years, and the administration has turned a blind eye.
Tengatenga, James, Susan M Tengatenga Duley and Cecil J Tengatenga, ‘Zimitsani Moto: Understanding the Malawi COVID-19 Response’ (2021) 10(2) Laws Article 20
Abstract: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has unsettled societies and economies of people and countries all over the world. Malawi is no exception. As such, the COVID-19 pandemic is more than just a health crisis. Countries have responded by instituting lockdowns and other restrictive measures among the populace. These have, in turn, elicited negative responses and legal challenges; most of which are rights-based. The main challenge has been that of the restriction of individual and religious freedoms. It is, thus, no surprise that reactions against government decrees restricting religious gatherings in the wake of the pandemic have been challenged in the courts. We will explore the Malawian traditional religious concept of healing and wholeness, give a chronological outline of government decrees and the responses to the pandemic, and conclude with an analysis using some reflections on Ferdinand Tönnies concepts of Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft and recollection of traditional religion and critique of the new evangelicalism leading to an understanding of the Malawian response to the pandemic.

Leathers, William, ‘Tandon in Light of Lukumi, and Smith in Light of Them Both: Value Judgments, Levels of Generality, and the General Applicability Standard’ (SSRN Scholarly Paper ID 3863451, 9 June 2021)
Abstract: This Article makes three arguments, all rooted in Lukumi’s value-judgment justification for the general applicability standard. First, Lukumi’s value-judgment justification is much broader than Lukumi itself suggests, and potentially so broad as to be unworkable. Second, this broad standard means both that Tandon was rightly decided and that Smith itself was not—according to the logic of Lukumi and Tandon, the very law in Smith was not generally applicable. And third, in addition to showing that Smith was wrongly decided on its facts, this value-judgment justification fundamentally undermines the general applicability rule itself. First, Lukumi grounds the general applicability standard in a rule against value judgments: the government may not devalue religious conduct in the pursuit of its interests. But government interests come in different levels of generality. As an example, the government’s interest in ‘Stopping the Spread’ of COVID-19 in the home serves its broader interest in ‘Stopping the Spread’ of COVID-19 more generally, which in turn serves a broader interest in public health. As applied to value judgments, these different levels of generality have two significant implications. First, the government may make value judgments in the pursuit of its interests at all levels of generality. And second, as the level of generality increases, so too does the scope of the conduct that threatens those interests. Unless analogous secular conduct must be inherently analogous to the relevant religious conduct, combining a high level of generality with all conduct that threatens it produces a theoretically justified but practically unworkable general applicability standard. Nevertheless, Tandon partially confirms this broad reading of Lukumi. While Tandon does not address whether analogous secular conduct must be inherently analogous, it casts the government’s interest at a high level of generality: stopping the spread of COVID-19 in general. As such, it is not sufficient, as the dissent suggests, that religious and secular conduct were treated alike at the interest’s lowest level of generality: stopping the spread of COVID-19 in homes. Importantly, had the general applicability analysis in Smith been conducted at this level of generality, Smith would have come out the other way. Finally, in addition to casting doubt on whether Smith was decided correctly on its facts, the value-judgment justification fundamentally undermines the rule of general applicability itself. Value judgments inhere in the very act of regulation. Before regulating religion at all, the government must calculate religious costs and adjudge those costs to be outweighed by some governmental interest. This too is a value judgment, and this too should be subjected to the strictures of strict scrutiny.

Levine, Samuel J, ‘Hands-Off Religion in the Early Months of COVID-19’ (SSRN Scholarly Paper No ID 3708424, 1 October 2020)
Abstract: For decades, scholars have documented the United States Supreme Court’s ‘hands-off approach’ to questions of religious practice and belief, pursuant to which the Court has repeatedly declared that judges are precluded from making decisions that require evaluating and determining the substance of religious doctrine. At the same time, many scholars have criticized this approach, for a variety of reasons. The early months of the COVID-19 outbreak brought these issues to the forefront, both directly, in disputes over limitations on religious gatherings due to the virus, and indirectly, as the Supreme Court decided important cases turning on religious doctrine. Taken together, judicial rulings and rhetoric in these cases illustrate ways in which the hand-off approach remains, at once, both vibrant and vulnerable to critique.

Manchin, Gayle and James Carr, ‘Don’t Let Religious Freedom Become a Casualty of Coronavirus’ in Barrie Sander and Jason Rudall (eds), Opinio Juris Symposium on COVID-19 and International Law (2020)
Abstract: Introduction: How far can a government limit religious freedom in the name of fighting the coronavirus (COVID-19) under international law? As the global pandemic continues, many national and local governments are grappling with this question. Religious gatherings are important opportunities for people to practice and share their beliefs, but they are also sites for transmission of COVID-19, endangering not only participants in these gatherings but everyone with whom they interact. Crises require decisive government action, but governments often use times of crisis to encroach on individual freedoms or target minority groups long after the crisis has passed.

Mokhtar, Mohd Na’im, ‘Reformation of Syariah Judiciary Institution During COVID-19 Pandemic’ (2020) 3(1) INSLA E-Proceedings 18–22
Abstract: In Malaysia, the pandemic of coronavirus COVID-19 has impacted almost all areas of our life. The administration of the Syariah courts is no exception. The effects of the pandemic have been felt until now. Following the movement control order (MCO) on March18, all operations at Syariah courts nationwide have been halted. However, it did not stop the administration of JKSM and the Syariah courts which have continuously discussed, using the online platforms, to formulate reforms if the MCO was finally over. If justice delayed is justice denied, the COVID-19 would seem to be a disaster for our judicial system. But eight months into the crisis, there are signs that what is slowing courts overall is actually accelerating reforms in procedures. This is undoubtedly the hikmahor the positive side of COVID-19. When the pandemic finally ends, we hope that some of the changes that have been introduced will continue to be endured by the Syariah judicial system, and the efforts for reforms will continue.This speech explains the impact of covid-19 pandemic on Syariah judiciary, particularly on its operation and how has the institution, i.e. the Syariah courts dealt with it and the reforms that are taken in making sure the continuity of its service during the pandemic.

Muhsin, Sayyed Mohamed and Muhammad Mumtaz Ali, ‘Facing COVID-19 in The Light of The Maxim “No Harm Shall Be Inflicted or Reciprocated”’ (2020) 3(1) INSLA E-Proceedings 450–458
Abstract: The Islamic legal maxim (al-qāʿidah al-fiqhiyyah) ‘no harm shall be inflicted or reciprocated’ has become particularly significant in this era of pandemic. In the current context, this legal maxim is reasonably expected, provided that if they are adequately employed, to influence people’s choices and guide them to make certain decisions which are simultaneously religious and applicable for preservation of human life. This maxim is construed as prohibition of all actions that carry the notion of wronging, infringing on other’s rights, frustrating, overpowering, or setting back some party’s interests. In this article, we attempt to discern what Islamic jurisprudence has to say in this crucial combat which causes this global crisis. In light of the mentioned Islamic legal maxim, a flowchart that represents the sequence of the certain steps is derived, which is beneficial to be taken into consideration in the choices, decisions and actions related to or in the time of COVID-19.

Muthmainnah, Yulianti and Revoluna Zyde Khaidir, ‘An Islamic Legal Hermeneutics on Nafāqah during the Covid-19 Pandemic’ (2020) 1(2) _Ulumuddin Journal of Islamic Legal Studies_
Abstract: Those who work and earn money in the public sphere are obliged to find alimony and provide a living (nafāqah). The assumption that has been believed by the Muslim society is that alimony is a man’s duty (husband to wife, father to family). This assumption has been influenced by several factors such as language construction, state policies and the normative religious understanding. During the Covid-19 pandemic, this one-sided assumption has not only continued discriminatory for women and kept them away from such fair and equal economic access, but also it has tended to take Muslim families’ economy into the risks. This article aims to examine the complexities of working women position in the Islamic legal jurisprudence and provide an alternative narrative of Islamic legal hermeneutics ensuring that the livelihoods do not become the domain of men alone. Accordingly, it can be argued that the alimony might be considered to become the obligation of both men and women equally. Interviews with a number of women at the grassroots level prove that women are being able to play roles in earning a living.

Nurdin, Ridwan, Muhammad Ridwansyah and Zakyyah Iskandar, ‘Reconsidering Nafaqah of Family Resilience During the Covid-19 Pandemic in Islamic Legal Perspective’ (2021) 45(1) MIQOT: Jurnal Ilmu-ilmu Keislaman 27–41
Jurisdiction: Indonesia
Abstract: The main goal of this research is to comprehend deeply the relation between husband and wife relating to the responsibilty of nafaqat in their family. The methodology used is juridical-sociological; where the data analyzed from textual livelihood obligations conditional or current contextual forces that all family members also have a responsible role in terms of living. The results of the study are as follows: that al-Baqarah requires a husband to provide a living to his wife, but in another context, a wife or other family members can play a role in maintaining family resilience during the Covid-19 pandemic resistance. In reality, however, the nafaqat become mutual responsibility of the husband and wife without any objection.

O’Grady, Selina, ‘Black Death, HIV/AIDS and Coronavirus: Can We Do Better than Scapegoat or Tolerate?’ [2020] (3) European Human Rights Law Review 211–214
Abstract: Compares the historical responses to the Black Death and the AIDS crisis with contemporary reactions to the coronavirus pandemic, highlighting the differing reactions of Christian and Muslim communities to the Black Death, including the European persecution of Jews. Assesses whether humanity is now moving beyond blame and tolerance towards a fuller recognition of human dignity and individual rights.

Pera, Alessandra, ‘Islamic Rites and Ceremonies in the Pandemic Emergency Between Parallel Legal Orders’ (2021) 10(1) Comparative Law Review 20–37
Abstract: The essay investigates how some religious Islamic rules have been accommodated in front of the Covid emergency in some European countries and religious communities, highlighting the different and interconnected dimensions involved in this process of accommodation. The author uses the word country, having regard to the state-territorial legal order; and the word religious community, referring to the Islamic rule of law-religion model, based on a personal law conception. In particular, after some conceptual definition on some peculiar issues involved (para. 1), the analysis goes through some rules on funeral rites and ceremonies (para. 2) and on the sacred pilgrimages (para. 3).The conclusive remarks (para. 4) underline how the Covid 19’s emergency has given a chance for forms of virtuous reasonable accommodation, looking forward areas of middle ground between parallel legal systems.

Phuong, Nguyen Thi, ‘Religion, Law, State, and Covid-19 in Vietnam’ (2020) 8(2–3) Journal of Law, Religion and State 284–297
Abstract: The Vietnamese state has issued numerous measures to prevent the spread of covid-19 in the country. This paper shows how the state used the law to manage religious activities for the purpose of public health during the epidemic. We argued that because of legal, institutional, and religious factors, the Vietnamese state was successful in establishing cooperation with religious organizations to implement measures restricting religious activities to limit the spread of the epidemic in the country.

Pohlman, Zachary B, ‘“Churches” in a Time of Coronavirus’ (SSRN Scholarly Paper No ID 3704110, 2 October 2020)
Abstract: Six months after in-person church services came to a grinding halt, religious attendees are returning to the pews—but in significantly fewer numbers. This steep decline in church attendance, even if only for the short term, could have lasting effects for how we conceive of ‘churches’ as a legal and religious matter.Legally, the lack of in-person services could affect a church’s status for tax benefit purposes. I argue that a ‘church’ defined under the ‘congregational approach’—that which requires the regular, in-person gathering of individuals to engage in worship—should retain its status as a church so long as a community of religious believers intends to hold regular, in-person religious gatherings, transitory crises that make such gatherings impossible notwithstanding. Religiously, the virus-induced shutdown of in-person religious activities may in fact cause religious believers to rethink the importance of liturgy and ritual and community for what it means to be a church. This blog post focuses specifically on community and the important role that fostering church community will play in the return to normalcy for churchgoers.

Preston, Cheryl B, ‘Women in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and the COVID-19 Freeze’ (2020) 13(3) SquareTwo_
_Abstract: During the COVID-19 freeze, women in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have faced typical burdens and losses in practical terms, but more importantly, many women have faced barriers to religious observance. Although not limited to them, this has been particularly felt by single sisters. Women’s experience in religion is a significant issue.

Ra, Mohammad Syahrul, Yusuf Hamdika and Sholahuddin Al-Fatih, ‘The Impact of COVID-19 Through the Lens of Islamic Law: An Indonesian Case’ (2020) 7(3) Lentera Hukum 267–278
Abstract: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), a virus founded in China, has spread worldwide as it has become pandemic. As a result, significant and detrimental impacts are undeniable to global citizens, including those in Indonesia. With the government’s suggestions like introducing physical distancing and large-scale social restriction, they slow down economic growth. Also, they impact religious practices, particularly those performed by Muslims in Indonesia. This paper will discuss the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic through the lens of Islamic law. There are two main issues to analyze. First, what is the impact of COVID-19 on community activities in the view of Islamic law? Second, what is the impact of COVID-19 on religious communities in carrying out worship? This paper finds that the COVID-19 pandemic has adversely impacted religious worship activities in public places by considering this virus’s rapid transmission. It is followed by the closure of worship places to encourage citizens to practice their religious activities at home. Thus, the whole community was urged, and some were prohibited following the mapping zone experienced by each region. Given Islamic law believed and trusted by Muslims, in the end, the government has issued a new normal policy by opening places of worship with health protocols.

Rashi, Tsuriel and Andrew A Schwartz, ‘Contracts Capsized by COVID-19: A Legal and Jewish Ethical Analysis’ (2021) Journal of Business Ethics Advance article, published 4 March 2021
Abstract: Countless contracts have been undermined by the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 as well as government orders to contain it. Flights have been canceled, concerts have been called off, and dorms have been closed, just to name a few. Do these all count as breaches of contract—or are the parties excused due to the extraordinary circumstances? And how should the losses be allocated between the parties? The law provides one set of answers to these questions; ethics offers another. With a focus on American law (developed over the past two centuries) and Jewish ethics (developed over millennia), this paper shows that the two systems are in accord with some respects and differ in others: Both law and Jewish ethics would excuse a party who cannot complete his contract due to a force beyond his control, like the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet Jewish ethics would require that the excused party still be paid, while American law would not.

Redding, Jeffrey A, ‘Queer/Religious Friendship in the Trump Era’ (SSRN Scholarly Paper No ID 3681093, 26 August 2020)
Abstract: Shortly after Black Lives Matter protests broke out around the United States this past spring, a curious protest took place in the state of Texas. Organized in response to the Texas governor’s coronavirus-related order to close businesses devoted primarily to the serving of alcohol, an alliance of Texas bar owners staged a ‘Bar Lives Matter’ protest outside of the Texas State Capitol building in the city of Austin, while also coordinating a lawsuit challenging the governor’s order in U.S. federal court. This lawsuit instigated by the Texas Bar and Nightclub Alliance followed in the footsteps of other lawsuits brought by Christian churches around the nation challenging pandemic-related limitations on in-person religious services. In July, responding in apparent disgust to the activities of devoted drinkers in Texas and elsewhere, the well-known economist and liberal columnist Paul Krugman lamented the potentially deadly reopening situation facing U.S. schools and students in the fall, opining in The New York Times that ‘the reason we are in this position is that states, cheered on by the Trump administration, rushed to allow large parties and reopen bars. In a real sense America drank away its children’s future.’ In this (draft) essay, I aim to explore the pandemic pitting of bars against babies, and then too churches against children. Moreover, I will demonstrate that the constellation of competing interests present in the coronavirus pandemic—the defining moment of the Trump presidency—cannot be broken down along neat political affiliations or dispersed across predictable camps on either the left or right. Rather, what we are seeing again is the crisscrossing of political, religious, and sexual interests defying easy categorization. These days, indeed, it seems almost as if Gayle Rubin’s ‘80s-era ‘bar dykes’ have managed to commandeer the contemporary Texas Bar and Nightclub Alliance, and that Paul Krugman could have been writing for Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum rather than for The New York Times.

Reiss, Dorit Rubinstein and Madeline Thomas, ‘More Than a Mask: Stay-At-Home Orders and Religious Freedom’ (2020) 57(4) San Diego Law Review (pre-print)
Abstract: COVID-19 has changed our legal universe. Many states are responding by issuing stay-at-home orders, and as cases rise, may have to prohibit gatherings again. One issue states and courts have to grapple with is what is the relationship between stay-at-home orders and religion. Stay-at-home orders that require closing down churches may be challenged as violating the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious freedom. Under our current jurisprudence, these cases may be handled under a highly deferential standard or under strict scrutiny – depending on the specific order in question, as well as on whether the state has a RFRA. We recommend, in either case, that orders be carefully crafted to impose the minimum prohibitions needed to prevent outbreaks, according to the situation, and that crafters address, generally, the specific things that increase the risk of transmission – for example, prohibit gatherings indoors that are more than in passing, rather than specific activities. We also recommend that crafters avoid drawing value-laden lines (e.g. deciding whether gun stores are more important than churches). Finally, we suggest that courts should rule in ways that support drawing reasonable lines and providing essential information. A separate question is whether stay-at-home orders that exempt churches violate the Establishment Clause’s separation of church and state; we explain why the answer is, probably, no.

Ricca, Mario, ‘Don’t Uncover That Face! Covid-19 Masks and the Niqab: Ironic Transfigurations of the ECtHR’s Intercultural Blindness’ [2020] International Journal for the Semiotics of Law (advance article, published 30 April 2020)
Abstract: This essay, between serious and facetious, addresses an apparently secondary implication of the planetary tragedy produced by Covid-19. It coincides with the ‘problem of the veil,’ a bone of contention in Islam/West relationships. More specifically, it will address the question of why the pandemic has changed the proxemics of public spaces and the grammar of ‘living together.’ For some time—and it is not possible to foresee how much—in many countries people cannot go out, or enter any public places, without wearing a sanitary mask. In short, almost all of us, by obligation or by urgent advice from the public authorities of the various countries, will not live the public sphere with our faces uncovered. The alteration of the social context affecting many Western countries will inevitably involve also the ‘local’ perception of the Islamic veil and—as a matter of equality—the consistency of the prohibition of wearing it. What will thus become of the ban on wearing it in public places established by some countries such as France and asseverated by the ECHR? If everyone can and will have to go around with their faces covered, why should only Islamic women be discriminated against? Will not the change in boundary conditions produced by Covid-19 also induce Western people to re-categorize the meaning of the veil? And will this re-categorization not directly affect the ‘fact’ of wearing the veil, that is, its empirical perception? And still, will this psycho-semantic change not show how empirical perceptions are cultural constructs rather than ‘objective facts,’ as such allegedly independent from the observer’s point of view? Consequentially, will the plurality of perceptions and cultural meanings related to the gesture of covering one’s own face not gain renewed relevance in determining the legitimacy of wearing the veil? The socio-semantic earthquake produced by Covid-19 compels us to rethink this and other issues orbiting around the translation of ‘facts’ into legal language; furthermore, it highlights the instrumentality of many ideological/partisan and ethnocentric assumptions passed off as objectivity regarding those alleged ‘facts.’ The essay will attempt to provide an answer to the above questions by proposing a semiotic-legal approach to intercultural conflicts and, indirectly, the pluralism in law.

Riyadi, Sugeng and Suparno Suparno, ‘Legal Protection for Umrah Pilgrims During the Covid-19 Pandemic’ (Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Law, Social Science, Economics, and Education, ICLSSEE 2021, March 6th 2021, Jakarta, Indonesia, 2021)
Abstract: The Covid-19 pandemic causes religious activities to be delayed, even though, over time, religious activities are carried out adaptively to the virus. This paper discusses the legal protection of pilgrims who canceled their departure due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The method used in this study is empirical juridical, which uses a descriptive-analytical approach as an analytical knife. The data used in compiling this paper is literature and legislation data, and the analysis used is the qualitative analysis method. The study results obtained are the cancellation of Umrah’s departure in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic while the pilgrims have paid in full. Legal protection in the form of compensation reimbursement, both material and immaterial and rescheduling, is in Law No. 8 of 1999 on Consumer Protection.

Rothschild, Zalman, ‘Free Exercise Partisanship’ (SSRN Scholarly Paper No ID 3707248, 7 October 2020)
Abstract: The pandemic has put into question many assumptions about the way the world, politics, and the judiciary work. This article argues another sacred cow must be revisited: that in free exercise cases, there is no discernible correlation between judicial decision making and politics. This article surveys every merits-based federal court decision pertaining to challenges by religious institutions regarding prohibitions of religious gatherings during the pandemic. It has produced staggering findings: 0% of Democrat-appointed judges have sided with a religious institution, a sizable majority (63%) of Republican-appointed judges have sided with a religious institution, and 0% of Trump-appointed judges have sided with the state or city. Put differently, all Trump-appointed judges have sided with religious institutions and all Democrat-appointed judges have sided with the state or city.The article tracks one particular set of free exercise cases, but the startling findings have broader implications. They suggest judicial partisanship rests as much on the extent to which pertinent law is ambiguous as it does on the extent to which the issues in play are controversial. The article shows how free exercise has recently become controversial. And it explains how the currently most significant aspect of free exercise—the meaning of religious discrimination under the Free Exercise Clause—is mired in confusion. It concludes if free exercise is left in its current state of ambiguity, it will continue enabling judicial partisanship in an area that holds great consequences for other rights, including the future of LGBTQ rights and access to contraception.

Rothschild, Zalman, ‘Free Exercise’s Lingering Ambiguity’ (2020) 11 California Law Review Online 282–295
Abstract: Religious challenges to state-issued stay-at-home orders have become a staple of the litigation generated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Judges hearing these challenges have had to grapple with an old question imbued with new pandemic-related nuance: What constitutes discrimination against religion under the Free Exercise Clause? The answer—as evidenced by the wide divergence in courts’ responses—is anything but straightforward. In this article, I explore an ambiguity surrounding the meaning of religious discrimination in current free exercise jurisprudence, the role this ambiguity has played in recent religious challenges to stay-at-home orders, and how the Supreme Court next term may finally lay this ambiguity to rest.

Sandberg, Russell, ‘Is the National Health Service a Religion?’ (2020) 22(3) Ecclesiastical Law Journal 343–354
Abstract: Considers, with reference to the coronavirus lockdown, whether individuals may be legally entitled to refuse to return to the workplace on the ground that they feel that such a return will breach their belief in protecting the NHS. Discusses whether the NHS constitutes a ‘religion’ under ECHR art.9.

Satyogi, Pooja, ‘Policing and the God of Death: Legal–Religious Iconography Amidst COVID-19’ (2021) 7(1) Society and Culture in South Asia 133–140

Savage, Audra, ‘COVID-1619: A Brief History of Racism’ (SSRN Scholarly Paper No ID 3671093, 10 August 2020)
Abstract: Racism is the use of Black people to achieve the goals of white people without regard to the personhood, humanity, and agency of Blacks. This essay explores this definition of racism by tracing the influence of the twin institutions of law and religion in creating and maintaining the slave system in early colonial America. The essay then demonstrates the pernicious and persistent nature of racism by mapping this definition onto the current COVID-19 pandemic and its disproportionate impact on Black Americans.

Shemudara, Olubusola Tunde and Victor O Ayeni, ‘Law and Religion: The Challenges of Citizens as a Result of Covid-19 Pandemic In Nigeria’ (2021) 3(1) International Review of Law And Jurisprudence (IRLJ) 166–170
Abstract: Religion and law play a vital role in maintenance of peace and order in our society. Law is intrinsically related to the society likewise religion. Religion is connected with belief and we have people who are ready to die for what they believe in. Many scholars had written and philosophised on the relationship between law and religion jurisprudentially. The need to pragmatically relate these two concepts to the current greatest challenge of the world, Covid -19 pandemic necessitated this work. This paper therefore, will be a reflection on the relationship between law and religion, the impact of law if any, on the exercise of right of freedom of religion particularly during this era of Covid-19 Pandemic as a result of restriction laws on religion. It finally concludes that law as a concept in a society is much stronger than religion irrespective of their semblance and nexus; that the two are separate; although, the working together of the two will make and build a better society.

Sholeh, M Asrorun Ni’am, ‘Towards a Progressive Fatwa: MUI’s Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic’ (2020) 20(2) AHKAM : Jurnal Ilmu Syariah 281–298
Abstract: This study examines the Fatwās issued by the Indonesian Ulama Council (Majelis Ulama Indonesia/MUI) on Indonesian Muslim attitudes and practical procedures towards their religious behaviors and public demands on the government appreciation and recognition. The fatwās present logical reasoning which has attracted the government’s attention to adopting them and issue legal products based on them. With a normative legal research approach, this study is considered as qualitative research which using critical legal theory to analyze the important points in the Fatwās. As a result, this study finds four important cases in the fatwā on religious attitudes and behaviors during the COVID-19 pandemic: first, the fatwa on COVID-19 has logical reasoning which is in line with paramedical advice; second, the fatwa on COVID-19 is consistent with the government political interests concerning physical and social restrictions; third, the fatwa on COVID-19 ends the negative stigma on the political role of religious actors; and fourth, the fatwa shows the increasing role of Kiai (religious figures) from cultural brokers to actors of Islamic legal scientism.

Solnica, Amy, Leonid Barski and Alan Jotkowitz, ‘Allocation of Scarce Resources during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Jewish Ethical Perspective’ (2020) 46(7) Journal of Medical Ethics 444–446
Abstract: The novel COVID-19 pandemic has placed medical triage decision-making in the spotlight. As life-saving ventilators become scarce, clinicians are being forced to allocate scarce resources in even the wealthiest countries. The pervasiveness of air travel and high rate of transmission has caused this pandemic to spread swiftly throughout the world. Ethical triage decisions are commonly based on the utilitarian approach of maximising total benefits and life expectancy. We present triage guidelines from Italy, USA and the UK as well as the Jewish ethical prospective on medical triage. The Jewish tradition also recognises the utilitarian approach but there is disagreement between the rabbis whether human discretion has any role in the allocation of scarce resources and triage decision-making.

Solnica, Amy, Leonid Barski and Alan Jotkowitz, ‘The Healthcare Worker at Risk during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Jewish Ethical Perspective’ (2020) 46(7) Journal of Medical Ethics 441–443
Abstract: The current COVID-19 pandemic has raised many questions and dilemmas for modern day ethicists and healthcare providers. Are physicians, nurses and other healthcare workers morally obligated to put themselves in harm’s way and treat patients during a pandemic, occurring a great risk to themselves, their families and potentially to other patients? The issue was relevant during the 1918 influenza epidemic and more recently severe acute respiratory syndrome epidemic in 2003. Since the risk to the healthcare workers was great, there was tension between the ethical duty and responsibility to treat and the risk to one’s own life. This tension was further noted during the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa that left hundreds of healthcare workers dead. The AMA Code of Ethics states that physicians are to ‘provide urgent medical care during disasters…even in the face of greater than usual risk to physicians’ own safety, health or life.’1 Classic Jewish sources have dealt with this question as well. There is an obligation ‘to not stand by idly when your friends life is in danger’; however, the question arises as to whether there are limits to this obligation? Is one required to risk one’s own life to save another’s? There is a consensus that one is not required but the question open to debate is whether it is praiseworthy to do so. However, regarding healthcare workers, there is agreement for ethical, professional and societal reasons that they are required to put themselves in harm’s way to care for their patients.

Stern, Shai, ‘The Dark Side of Communities: Illiberal Religious Communities’ Compliance with COVID-19 Public Health Regulations’ (SSRN Scholarly Paper No ID 3637335, 28 June 2020)
Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic did not eliminate existing social tensions; rather, it at times intensified them. Thus it is unsurprising that the tension between the liberal state and illiberal religious communities likewise intensified, as those communities were late to comply with COVID-19 public health regulations issued by state authorities. This article suggests that alongside the behavioral and psychological explanations for individual non-compliance, illiberal religious communities’ late response to the COVID-19 threats stems out of these communities’ unique characteristics and deeply held norms. Five explanations were provided to support this argument: (1) the structural explanation that focuses on the hierarchical character of decision-making processes in such communities; (2) the communities’ social and spatial characteristics; (3) the constant struggle of illiberal religious communities to control and limit information available to their members; (4) the normative clash between social distancing and communal norms; and (5) the effects of the tension and distrust existing between the state and the communities. Each of these explanations aid in understanding why illiberal religious communities were late to respond to COVID-19 threats, and therefore suffered high rates of morbidity and mortality. This article argued that to some extent, they all result from the interventionist liberal-centric policies embraced by most western states for dealing with illiberal religious communities. Since COVID-19 is not expected to be the last health related crisis, and as other environmental, economic, or security emergencies may still require social adherence to government regulations, liberal states should rethink their policies toward illiberal religious communities. The ability to harness those communities to comply with life-saving regulations may save lives not only within these communities, but also reduce threats to areas and neighborhoods adjacent to those communities. This article suggests that the isolation and fortification processes that illiberal religious communities engage in—the same processes that prevented these communities from responding quickly and effectively to COVID-19 threats—may be mitigated if states embrace pluralistic-centric policies regarding illiberal religious communities. As the article suggests, these policies are not only normatively superior to liberal-centric policies, but they may also increase trust between the parties. Working to establish trusting relationships in times of normalcy may provide both the government and the illiberal religious communities with instruments to properly address emergencies. :

Storslee, Mark, ‘COVID-19, Neutrality, and the Free Exercise of Religion’ [2021] Journal of Law and Religion (forthcoming)
Abstract: In a series of cases over the past year, the Supreme Court upheld then struck down COVID-19 restrictions on worship in various states across the country. Those decisions clarified the meaning of the requirement that, under the Free Exercise Clause, laws burdening religion must be ‘generally applicable.’ But they were also criticized for relying on contestable claims that churches and other religious gatherings were comparable to places like grocery stores in their likelihood of spreading the virus. This Article offers a different perspective. In addition to general applicability, the Court has said the Free Exercise Clause also requires that laws be ‘neutral’ with respect to religion. The Court mostly ignored that requirement in the COVID cases. But rightly understood, it may have provided a simpler path for resolving them—and one that didn’t depend on controversial comparisons between churches and campgrounds. Instead, focusing on neutrality would have yielded a common-sense conclusion: where a law or policy grants favored treatment for activities it explicitly deems ‘essential,’ ‘critical,’ or ‘life-sustaining,’ one of those things must be religion. And understanding the rationale behind that conclusion provides important insights about the meaning of the Free Exercise Clause and several other issues at the heart of the First Amendment.

Wildan, Asep Dadan, ‘Handling the COVID-19 Pandemic through an Islamic Perspective’ (2021) 4(2) ENDLESS: International Journal of Future Studies 31–42
Abstract: COVID-19 was discovered in Wuhan, China, and has since spread exponentially and massively. Numerous casualties have been reported as a result of this outbreak. As a result, different countries implemented measures to halt the virus’s propagation. Indonesia, like other impacted countries, implemented a Large-Scale Social Restriction (PSBB) scheme. This rule regulates various aspects ranging from the implementation of education, work to worship. In the field of worship, this rule calls for the temporary elimination of worship at houses of worship and replacing them with worship at home. This legislation has both positive and negative consequences in society. Some argue that closing houses of worship is unnecessary since other public spaces, such as markets, remain open. The law is analyzed using a qualitative approach derived from library science and religious studies. This study establishes that prohibiting worship in houses of worship in the event of a pandemic does not break Islamic law. The author assumes that upholding religion by carrying out worship and possible is as important as saving lives by keeping away from disease outbreaks.

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