Religion & Law

This section includes literature on religious freedom in constitutional, human rights and international law.

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.

Asman, Asman and Tamrin Muchsin, ‘Maqasid Al-Shari’ah in Islamic Law Renewal: The Impact of New Normal Rules on Islamic Law Practices during the Covid-19 Pandemic’ (2021) 20(1) Mazahib: Jurnal Pemikiran Hukum Islam 77–102
Jurisdiction: Indonesia
Abstract: The vast and multidimensional impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has forced all countries to establish policies to prevent the transmission of Covid-19, including Indonesia. Not a few countries are not ready to make decisions to find new, more effective ways to prevent Covid-19. In Islamic law, ijtihad is part of lawmaking in the implementation of worship and muamalah, which solves problems that arise and mitigates policy implementation. This article uses a normative juridical approach to the issue because it can showcase the benefit of Islamic law for humans. Moreover, it aims to generate ideas in the renewal of Islamic law, especially in the implementation of worship and mu`amalah (social transaction/relation), and inform the government to make decisions that intersect with Islamic law during the Covid-19 pandemic. The focus of this research is how does covid-19 affect the practice of Islamic law in worship and mu`amalah? This study finds that government policies and regulations are currently in line with Islamic law. The most critical considerations in determining the compatibility of government policies and rules with shari’a are maintaining the soul’s safety, maintaining the continuity of religion through rukhshah, and maintaining the economy. Also, the Islamic rulings (fatwa) issued by ulama in response to government policies and rules are expected to guide worship and mu`amalah, build awareness and solidarity of Muslims, and relate to the people’s economy today.

Asni, Fathullah, Ahmad Yusairi Yusli and Amirah Izzati Umar, ‘The Role of The Perlis State Mufti Department in Restraining Covid-19 Through Fatwas and Legal Guidelines’ (2021) 11(10) International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences 311–328
Abstract: The spread of COVID-19 has had a detrimental effect on various sectors, especially on the health sector, where it has resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths being recorded worldwide. The spread of this epidemic has led the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare COVID-19 a pandemic. Specifically, in Malaysia, the number of infected individuals is 1.8 million cases, and the number of deaths is 17,000 cases. Various parties comprising the Federal Government and the authorities have taken various approaches to curb the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic from continuing spread. Meanwhile, in the state of Perlis, among the bodies responsible for curbing the spread of this epidemic is the Perlis State Mufti Department which is responsible for issuing fatwas for Islamic religious affairs to be followed by Muslims, especially in the state of Perlis. Based on this background, this study would like to examine the role of fatwas issued by the Perlis Mufti Department in curbing the spread of COVID-19. This study uses a qualitative approach involving a literature review covering books, journals, fatwas and related circulars. The data obtained will be analyzed using document analysis methods. The study results show that there are four official fatwas and four legal guidelines issued related to COVID-19. The study results found that all fatwas and legal guidelines issued were aimed at curbing the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic and based on strong Islamic arguments. The study ended with some suggestions for improvement after a discussion was done on the study results.

Assahary, Salman, Nilda Efelmi and Sarbaitinil Sarbaitinil, ‘Islamic Sharia and New Normal Covid-19 in the Sense of Political Communication in West Sumatra’ (2021) 8(10) International Journal of Multicultural and Multireligious Understanding 51–57
Abstract: Islamic sharia in the form of Islamic lifestyle terminology in political communication by MUI Sumatera Barat is opposite to the new normal terminology of the central government. This is a dilemma for people in West Sumatra. This study aims to know the model of political communication conducted by the MUI of West Sumatra and the central government related to the handling of the Covid-19 pandemic. Furthermore, the study was designed to search for the supporting factors and inhibitors as well as the response of the community in West Sumatra. Qualitative research methods are used in this study with a descriptive case study approach. Primary data collection techniques are carried out with interviews and observations. Meanwhile, secondary data is obtained through literature studies conducted on a variety of relevant reading sources according to the topic of research. The results showed that the model of political communication conducted by MUI of West Sumatra in addressing the new normal terminology of the central government is an interactional model by integrating Islamic values and customs. Meanwhile, the communication model of the central government is a model of the effect hierarchy that teaches knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors by learning, feeling, and doing. The supporting factors of MUI terminology in West Sumatra are Islamic community organizations and Minangkabau indigenous communities and supporters of central government terminology of all elements of nationalist society. Factors inhibiting MUI terminology have not yet applied Islamic qanun sharia in West Sumatra while socialization from the central government is considered to be minimal. Some people respond to Islamic lifestyle terminology but some respond to the new normal terminology Covid-19 from the central government.

Aziz, Norazlina Abdul et al, ‘Is the Covid-19 Vaccine Halal? Revisiting the Role of National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) and JAKIM’ (2021) 6(10) Malaysian Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities (MJSSH) 413–428
Abstract: The urge to be vaccinated has increased rapidly during the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Resorting vaccine products is seen as the only way to break the chain of COVID-19 spread and eventually stop the pandemic. To this dire need, many consumers face the dilemma to be vaccinated or to opt-out of the vaccination program when the safety issues of vaccine products are widely circulated. The Muslim consumers, particularly, experiences double worry on the issue of safety and halal status of the vaccine product. Due to the emergency call to have the vaccine in the market as soon as possible, the innovation and production were carried out in an expedited manner, and the necessity to have the vaccine be certified as halal was bypass. When the news on the vaccine product uses non-halal ingredients reaches the Muslim community in Malaysia, they were taken aback and demanded immediate answers from the authorities. Thus, in addressing this issue, this study intends to critically analyse the role of NPRA and JAKIM in ensuring the safety and halal status of a product with the aim of suggesting a review of the existing role. This article adopts a qualitative research methodology where interviews will be the supporting method to a library-based and doctrinal study.

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.

Ballano, Vivencio O, ‘Analyzing the Morality of Owning and Suspending Patent Rights for COVID-19 Vaccines in the Light of Catholic Social Teaching’ (2021) The Linacre Quarterly (advance article, published online 8 December 2021) [pre-print available on SSRN]
Abstract: Using the Roman Catholic Church’s set of moral principles on social concerns called Catholic social teaching (CST) and utilizing some secondary data and scientific research literature, this article examines the morality of India and South Africa’s request to the World Trade Organization (WTO) to temporarily suspend the property rights and patents of top pharmaceutical companies to their vaccines to allow low-income countries to locally manufacture them to save the lives of the poor during this COVID-19 pandemic. Applying the theological method of ‘See-Judge-and-Act,’ this article argues that the suspension of patents for COVID vaccines is morally justifiable in the light of CST’s principles on the universal destination of earth’s goods, the common good, and preferential option for the poor. The top pharmaceutical companies cannot claim absolute ownership to their vaccines as they do not totally own and fund the entire development and production process. Furthermore, the right to private ownership and patents has a social dimension and must serve the common good and welfare of the poor, especially in times of global emergency such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Patent holders have a moral obligation to promote the common good and save the lives of the poor which must prevail over their capitalist quest for profit. This article recommends that Catholics and Christians must join this crusade for the suspension of patents as part of their spirituality of social transformation., Summary: Applying the Roman Catholic Church’s set of moral principles on social concerns called CST and utilizing some secondary data and scientific research literature, this article examines the morality of India and South Africa’s request to the World Trade Organization to temporarily suspend the property rights and patents of top pharmaceutical companies to their vaccines to allow low-income countries to locally manufacture them to save the lives of the poor during the current pandemic. Applying the theological method of ‘See-Judge-and-Act,’ this article argues that the suspension of patents for COVID vaccines is morally justifiable in the light of CST’s principles on the universal destination of earth goods, the common good, and preferential option for the poor. It recommends that Catholics and Christians must join this crusade for the suspension of patents as part of their spirituality of social transformation., Short Summary: This article argues that patents of the top pharmaceutical companies to their COVID-19 vaccines must be suspended as requested by India and South Africa in the WTO in the light of CST’s moral principles on the universal destination of earth’s goods, the common good, and preferential option for the poor.

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.

Collings, Justin and Stephanie Hall Barclay, ‘Taking Justification Seriously: Proportionality, Strict Scrutiny, and the Substance of Religious Liberty’ (2022) 63(2) Boston College Law Review 454–520
Abstract: Last term, five Justices on the Supreme Court flirted with the possibility of revisiting the Court’s First Amendment test for when governments must provide an exemption to a religious objector. But Justice Barrett raised an obvious, yet all-important question: If the received test were to be revised, what new test should take its place? The competing interests behind this question have become even more acute in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. In a moment rife with lofty rhetoric about religious liberty but riven by fierce debates about what it means in practice, this Article revisits a fundamental question common to virtually all approaches to the issue: What must a government do to justify restrictions on religious exercise? Every extant adjudicatory framework--including proportionality and strict scrutiny approaches--purports to require such governmental justification. But they do so through different frameworks and with dramatically different degrees of rigor. In our view, it is rigor and not labels that really counts--the rigor with which courts require governments to justify religious restrictions. Differences in rigor cannot be explained in terms of the underlying adjudicatory framework. Neither the proportionality framework that prevails internationally nor the strict scrutiny framework prominent in the United States suffices, standing alone, to require governments to meaningfully justify restrictions on religious exercise. To require genuine justification, courts must: (1) require governments to treat religiously-motivated conduct in an evenhanded way vis-à-vis analogous secular conduct; (2) oblige governments to show, with evidence, that the religious restrictions are necessary; and (3) avoid redefining a controversy’s theological stakes in ways that minimize the religious claimant’s dilemma. Proportionality and strict scrutiny are both capable of incorporating these three factors, but courts applying the two tests do not always do so. In this Article, we survey how courts across several jurisdictions have succeeded or failed in this regard, paying particular attention to conflicts arising in the COVID-19 context. We also suggest some possibilities of convergence that will help both proportionality courts and strict scrutiny courts to better protect the core substance of religious liberty.

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.

Conklin, Michael, ‘Life Hangs in the Balance: Weighing Coronavirus Church Closings Against the Religious Freedom and Restoration ActNorthwest University Law Review, NULR of Note (21 May 2020)
Abstract: On March 27, the Hillsborough County Emergency Policy Group unanimously issued an order restricting the gatherings of non-essential businesses and services. The Rev. Rodney Howard-Browne responded that he would only cancel church services for the Rapture and that pastors who canceled services were ‘pansies.’ After holding church services on March 29, Howard-Browne was arrested for unlawful assembly and violating the public health emergency order. This paper analyzes how Florida’s strict RFRA statute would likely apply to such an act.

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.

Du Plessis, Georgia Alida, ‘COVID-19 and Limitations to the International Right to Freedom of Religion or Belief’ (2021) 63(4) Journal of Church & State 619–647
Extract from Introduction: The largest pandemic outbreak in the twenty-first century to date is the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), causing, as of October 6, 2020, 1,051,475 deaths worldwide.1 This has caused countries worldwide to institute drastic regulations that are affecting human rights, economics, health, and politics. The right to freedom of religion or belief (FORB) as contained in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) has been challenged and affected by the unique and urgent circumstances created by the COVID-19 pandemic and the immediate threats posed to society. The article proceeds by discussing the general international human rights framework regarding FORB. Two possible instances of limitation during COVID-19 are analyzed in depth. The possibility of derogation from some elements of FORB during public emergencies under the notions of freedom of assembly, freedom of association and religious minority rights is investigated. Thereafter, the limitation of FORB during COVID-19 and under Article 18, on two of the listed grounds—namely, ‘public health’ and ‘the rights and freedoms of others’—and the resulting doctrine of proportionality, will be scrutinized. The aim is to indicate the process of establishing the proportionality of ‘social distancing’ limitations to FORB under COVID-19. Finally, recommendations are given as to the responsibilities of States Parties toward FORB in the event of proportional limitations during COVID-19.

Earley, Brady, ‘Contagions, Congregations, and Constitutional Law: Comparing Religious Freedom in the 1918 and 2020 Pandemics’ (SSRN Scholarly Paper ID 3908624, 20 August 2021)
Abstract: This article undertakes a comparison of legal restrictions on religious gatherings in the United States during the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic and the COVID-19 pandemic. After contextualizing each pandemic within its legal, political, and social culture, the analysis distills prevailing principles between the two health crises and their approach to religious liberty. Evidence suggests that courts in both periods relied upon proportionality and equality to resolve disputes between government bans on worship services and conscientious objectors. However, the experience of multiple local governments in 1918 models a better way. Instead of using proportionality or equality, these local officials relied on reciprocity between government and religious groups. Their approach tended to produce fewer bans, fewer deaths, and fewer cases during the 1918 pandemic and offers a useful precedent for government officials currently managing the religious freedom concerns of COVID-19.

Erokhina, Yulia, ‘Stereotyping of the Russian Orthodox Church in Fake News in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Semiotic and Legal Analysis’ (2022) International Journal for the Semiotics of Law (advance article, published 23 February 2022)
Abstract: Fake news is created as ordinary news stylistically but it consists of deliberate disinformation or hoaxes (aimed at misinforming or deceiving people). The text is generally constructed to cause negative emotions and feelings in readers: fear, panic, distrust, and paranoia. It is done to manipulate the opinion and consciousness of a large number of people and eventually leads to changes in the values, ideas and attitudes that already exist in the public awareness. The result is a schism that has already gone beyond the usual spiritual strife. Moreover, its expansion has weakened the defining feature of Russian Orthodoxy which lies in trust and support of the state and authorities. The Russian Orthodox Church has to deal not only with public health crisis but also with profound differences within its ranks over the churchgoers’ behavior in the conditions of a pandemic. The article analyzes legal regulations and mechanisms for countering fake news about the Russian Orthodox Church, and provides examples from the judicial practice. It also determines the mechanisms of the worshippers’ reaction to the fake news involving the Russian Orthodox Church. Using semiotic methodology, the author reveals re-encoding of the symbolic meaning of such signs as ‘Russian Orthodox cross’ and ‘red cross’. The connotative meaning of these signs leads to contradictions in the conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fides et Libertas: The Journal of the International Religious Liberty Association (2021) (Special Edition on COVID-19 and Religious Liberty)
This open access special issue includes the following articles:
  • Kathleen A. Brady, ‘Covid-19 and Restrictions on Religious Worship: from Nondiscrimination to Church Autonomy’ 23
  • Louis-Leon Christians, ‘Covid-19, Law and Religion in Belgium’ 65
  • Alejandro González-Varas, ‘Law, Religion, and Coronavirus Between the United States and the European’ 71
  • Dwight Newman, ‘Covid-19, State Guidance Documents on Religious Services, and the Potential of Pre-Infringement Engagement with Religious Communities’ 90
  • Christopher C Lund, ‘Quarantines, Religious Groups, and 81 Some Questions About Equality’ 100
  • Daniel Bennett & Andrew R. Lewis, ‘The Coronavirus Pandemic and Restrictions on Churches: Evaluating the Christian Legal Movement’s Role in Polarizing Religious Freedom’ 117
  • Mala Corbin, Caroline, ‘Religious Liberty in a Pandemic: Constitutional Challenges to Mass Gathering Bans’ 130
  • Michael J. Deboer & Jeffrey B. Hammond. ‘Conflicts Between Public Health Measures and Religious Freedom in a Period of Pandemic’ 142

Figueroa, Daniel, ‘Diminishing Religious Liberties: COVID Under the First Amendment’ (SSRN Scholarly Paper 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.

Gur-Arye, Miriam and Sharon Shakargy, ‘Solidarity, Religious Freedom and COVID-19: The Case of the Ultra-Orthodox Sects in Israel’ (2021) Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy (forthcoming)
Abstract: The paper discusses the tension between social solidarity and religious freedom as demonstrated by the refusal of the ultra-Orthodox sects in Israel to comply with Covid-19 regulations. The paper provides a detailed description of the refusal to comply with the regulations restricting mass prayer services in synagogues and studying Torah in the yeshivas, thus interfering with the ultra-Orthodox religious life. The paper suggests possible explanations for that refusal, based on either religious beliefs or a socio-political claim to autonomy, and discusses whether the polity should be willing to tolerate such a refusal on the basis of the cultural defence. The paper concludes that the drastic restrictions which the regulations posed on religious life were justified by the need to reduce the spread of the pandemic. Under such circumstances, the enforcement of social distancing regulations must be given priority over religious freedom.

Harniati, Sri Harniati Sri and Nasri Hamang Nasri Hamang, ‘The Impact of Covid-19 on the Resilience of Families of Parepare Nusantara Port Transport Workers: Islamic Marriage Law’ (2021) 2(1) Al-Iftah: Journal of Islamic studies and society 81–94
Abstract: This study discusses the impact of Covid-19 on the resilience of the families of port workers at Nusantara Parepare in the perspective of Islamic marriage law.With the problem of how the impact Covid-19 on the resilience of the families of Nusantara port transport workers in Parepare City. This type of study is a field study, namely a study that collects data directly from labor community informants. This study was conducted using a phenomenological approach. The results of this study indicate that 1) The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has caused the economy of the port worker community to be increasingly difficult and deprived. At the time of the closure of the Nusantara port, many of the port workers family conditions were not harmonious because their income was greatly reduced and decreased drastically;2) Condition family resilience due to the Covid-19 pandemic has greatly impacted port workers because the familys economy is increasingly depressed, making it very vulnerable to conflict in the family, and 3) The resilience and harmony of a family since the Covid-19 pandemic has led to disputes and conflicts due to the non-fulfillment of the necessities of life. And the families of port transport workers during the Covid-19 pandemic have become problematic families.

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.

Käsehage, Nina (ed), Religious Fundamentalism in the Age of Pandemic (Transcript, 2021)
[open access book]
Contents:
  • Yaakov Ariel, ‘Cultural Wars and Communal Perseverance: Jewish Fundamentalism in Our Time’ 25 - 46
  • Anastasia Mitrofanova, ‘The Impact of Covid-19 on Orthodox Groups and Believers in Russia’ 47 - 80
  • Nina Käsehage, ‘Towards a Covid-Jihad – Millennialism in the field of Jihadism’ 81 - 106
  • Uran Botobekov, ‘How Central Asian Salafi-Jihadi Groups are Exploiting the Covid-19 Pandemic: New Opportunities and Challenges’ 107 - 148
  • Olga Torres Díaz, ‘Islamic Fundamentalism Framing Politics in Mali: From the Middle Ages to the Age of Pandemic’ 149 - 178
  • Miguel Alvarez Ortega, ‘Global Virus, International Lamas: Tibetan Religious Leaders in the Face of the Covid-19 Crisis’ 179 - 220
  • Barbara Lucini, ‘Dismantling Prejudices on Muslim Communities in Italy in Times of Pandemic: not just Religious Fundamentalism’ 221 - 250
  • Peter Antes, ‘Religious Fundamentalism – A Misleading Concept?’ 251 - 262

Kastanas, Ioannis, ‘The Autonomy of Religious Communities and the Freedom of Worship in the Coronavirus Era: The Example of the Orthodox Church of Cyprus’ (2021) 33(1) Cyprus Review 99–126
Abstract: The freedom of worship constitutes the quintessence of religious freedom and is also affiliated with the autonomy enjoyed by church organisations. In the times of a pandemic, the freedom of worship is subject to restrictions in accordance with the requirements of the principle of proportionality. This topical version of religious freedom is influenced significantly by the autonomy enjoyed by the different religious denominations in line with the current State, which outlines the relationships between them. In Cyprus, where the homotaxy system applies to the autocephalous Orthodox Church of Cyprus, a remarkable autonomy pursuant to the State and canon law is generally enjoyed. This is evidenced by the management of the restrictive measures imposed on the freedom of worship during the lockdown phase and the period of the gradual easing of the restrictive measures.

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 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.

Levine, Samuel J, ‘The Supreme Court’s Hands-Off Approach to Religious Questions in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond’ (2022) 24(1) Journal of Constitutional Law 276–312
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. Although the Court’s approach is based in well-grounded prudential and jurisprudential concerns revolving around the role and capacity of judges to adjudicate religious issues, the Court has expanded the contours of the hands-off approach to the point that some scholars have found parallels in the political question doctrine, accordingly dubbing the Court’s approach the ‘religious question doctrine.’ Whatever the title, the Court’s expansion of the hands-off approach has prompted substantial scholarly criticism, as well as notable instances of dispute—if not disregard—by prominent judges, likewise on both prudential and jurisprudential grounds. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, these issues have repeatedly been brought to the forefront of legal, political, and popular discourse, as courts across the United States, including the Supreme Court, have faced difficult and often unprecedented—and, heretofore unforeseeable—questions about the place of religion and religious practice in American law and society. Concomitant with disputes over limitations on religious gatherings due to the pandemic, in July of 2020, near the end of a term that was extended because of the virus, the Supreme Court decided two important cases turning on religious doctrine. More recently, confronted with cases of its own over religious gatherings amid the pandemic, rather than issuing decisions that provide clear guidance, the Supreme Court has produced contentious and fractured rulings that stand as but further illustrations of unsettled and unsettling aspects of these ongoing controversies. This Article suggests that, taken together, judicial rulings and rhetoric in these cases demonstrate that the hands-off approach remains, at once, both vibrant and vulnerable. Specifically, the Supreme Court’s July 2020 decisions both reinforced and extended the scope and impact of the hands-off approach, elucidating the basic elements of the Court’s approach while at the same time exemplifying some of the problems latent in judicial failure or refusal to decide issues of significant import. The religious gathering cases, in turn, offer a poignant example of the difficulties the hands-off approach imposes on judges when the proper resolution of a case seems to require, at least in part, a measure of inquiry into the substantive doctrine underlying a religious practice. Part I of the Article briefly outlines the contours of the hands-off approach, highlighting the development and evolution of the doctrine and identifying some of the concerns, justifications, and critiques that have influenced and accompanied the Court’s analysis. Part II of the Article turns to the two important Religion Clause cases the Court decided in July 2020, during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, demonstrating the continuing centrality of the hands-off approach, both enriching and complicating judicial decision making. Part III examines cases in which religious claimants challenged governmental limitations on religious gatherings, finding that differences in attitudes toward the hands-off approach and other forms of judicial deference may help explain stark differences in judicial rulings and judicial rhetoric. On the basis of these assessments, the Article concludes that taken together, these cases demonstrate the abiding relevance—and limitations—of the hands-off approach to questions of religious practice and belief, in both ordinary and extraordinary times. As such, the Article closes with the hope that the Supreme Court will closely examine the critiques, acknowledge the underlying problems, and consider some of the proposals that, for decades, scholars, dissenting justices, and others have offered, toward a more workable, more effective, and more uniting approach to questions of religious practice and belief.

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.

Mansyuroh, Firqah Annajiyah and Rahmat Fadillah, ‘Opportunities and Threats of Online Loans During the Covid-19 Outbreak: The Importance of Disseminating Sharia Economic Law to South Kalimantan Society’ (2022) 3(1) Proceeding International Seminar of Islamic Studies 687–694
Abstract: During the covid-19 outbreak, there was a drastic decrease in income with living expenses that still had to be met, causing people to finally decide to take out loans to meet their daily needs. This also happened to the people of South Kalimantan, where there were cases of illegal online loans that violated sharia economic law in various aspects. This paper examines the importance of disseminating sharia economic law during the covid-19outbreak.This topic is theoretically and practically important in legal culture. Public Understanding of the opportunities and threats of online loans cannot be separated from the intensity of dissemination and counseling carried out to society. This research combines empirical legal analysis with survey method to see how the opportunities and threats of online loans are according to South Kalimantan’s people. The results of this study will show that public welfare and the principle of legal fiction must be supported by the dissemination of law to the entire public of South Kalimantan.

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.

Movsesian, Mark, ‘Law, Religion, and the COVID Crisis’ (2022) Journal of Law and Religion (Advance article, published online 2 February 2022) [pre-published version available on SSRN]
Abstract: This essay explores judicial responses to legal restrictions on worship during the COVID pandemic and draws two lessons, one comparative and one relating specifically to US law. As a comparative matter, courts across the globe have approached the problem in essentially the same way, through intuition and balancing. This has been the case regardless of what formal test applies, the proportionality test outside the US, which expressly calls for judges to weigh the relative costs and benefits of a restriction, or the Employment Division v. Smith test inside the US, which rejects judicial line-drawing and balancing in favor of predictable results. Judges have reached different conclusions about the legality of restrictions, of course, but doctrinal nuances have made little apparent difference. With respect to the US, specifically, the pandemic has revealed deep divisions about religion and religious freedom, among other things—divisions that have inevitably influenced judicial attitudes toward restrictions on worship. The COVID crisis has revealed a cultural and political rift that makes consensual resolution of conflicts over religious freedom problematic, and perhaps impossible, even during a once-in-a-lifetime 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.

Mu’in, Fathul et al, ‘Reinterpretation of Livelihoods in Marriage Law and its Implications on Family Resistance in the Time and Post COVID-19’ (2021) 1(2) SMART: Journal of Sharia, Traditon, and Modernity 113–127
Jurisdiction: Indonesia
Abstract: The rules regarding a living in Law Number 1 of 1974 concerning Marriage and the Compilation of Islamic Law imposes the obligation to earn a living only on the husband. These two regulations create problems in society. Many wives demand a living from their husbands. Not a few wives also have jobs and income, but they are spent on their own needs, including for consumptive things, channeling hobbies and others because they think that fulfilling a living is not part of their obligations. This condition is coupled with the interpretation of a number of verses of the Qur’an and the traditions of the Prophet which are still patriarchal. The marriage law and a number of verses of the Qur’an and the Prophet’s hadith need to be reinterpreted. This is because the development of an increasingly advanced era makes the role of women not only as wives who only take care of the household, but also as one of the contributors to the economy. This research uses the library research method. This study concludes that the livelihoods in these two laws and regulations need to be updated to be relevant to current conditions. Supposedly, the wife also has the same obligation in matters of livelihood. The reinterpretation of livelihood using the interpretation of mubadalah is to produce the principle of mutuality. The wife can even be the main breadwinner under certain conditions. This interpretation has implications for the fulfillment of the family’s economy during the pandemic and post-covid-19 pandemic. Because, in difficult economic conditions, the wife participates in helping the family economy on a macro basis or even as the main provider in the household who changes places with her husband.

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.

Parmet, Wendy E, ‘From the Shadows: The Public Health Implications of the Supreme Court’s Covid-Free Exercise Cases’ (2021) 49(4) Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics 564–579
Abstract: This article analyzes the Supreme Court’s ‘shadow docket’ Free Exercise cases relating to COVID-19. The paper highlights the decline of deference, the impact of exemptions, and the implications of the new doctrine for vaccine and other public health laws.

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.

Priambudi, Zaki et al, ‘An Analysis of The Imposition of Criminal Sanction to COVID-19 Vaccination Objectors Through the Lens of Criminal Law and Qiyas Shafi’i Mazhab in Indonesia’ (2022) 20(1) Pena Justisia: Media Komunikasi dan Kajian Hukum 60–73
Abstract: This article aims to answer whether vaccination is a right or an obligation and how criminal law and Qiyas Shafi’i Mazhab views the basic provisions of criminal law against vaccination objectors. By combining doctrinal and socio-legal research method, this article concludes that vaccination is an obligation because a person’s personal right to choose health services, especially COVID-19 vaccination has turned into a public right. Vaccination is the government’s obligation to protect public health as part of meeting health needs, following the mandate of the constitution and human rights. According to the relative punishment theory, the application of criminal sanctions is an effort made to maintain public order and peace of society, not as a means of repaying the perpetrator’s mistakes. Thus, the sanctions imposed on the perpetrator are solely to provide fear so that they do not repeat their actions and other people do not follow them. There are three main objectives of relative theory, namely prevention, prevention, and reform. Whereas Qiyas Shafi’i Mazhab puts forward the application of qiyas as a justification for imposing criminal sanctions against vaccination objectors. Because a person is prohibited from doing something that endangers himself and others, punishment according to the Qiyas Shafi’i Mazhab can be applied. There are similarities between criminal law and Qiyas Shafi’i Mazhab to a view of the obligation to vaccinate, that is, both allow the reduction of individual human rights for the sake of common interests. Ultimately, this article recommends the need to regulate the handling of COVID-19 vaccination objectors through act so that vaccination and law enforcement can run comprehensively, not partially.

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.

Rachmawati, Irma and Mohd Zakhiri Md Nor, ‘Legal and Shariah Framework of Crowdfunding in Batling Covid-19: Some Observation in Indonesia’ (2021) 6(2) BiLD Law Journal 1–9
Abstract: Crowdfunding provides a group with an alternative investment option. Its existence makes it simple for people in an organisation who have limited funds. Especially for those who have been afflicted by the COVID 19 pandemic. Crowdfunding can be an alternative financing method for Indonesian small and medium-sized businesses. The purpose of this study is to investigate the legal and Shariah framework for crowdfunding in Indonesia. This paper also investigates how Crowdfunding can benefit the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) sectors during Covid-19 in Indonesia. The report employs qualitative legal research as its methodology. A descriptive and analytical process is used to analyse the data. This paper found that Crowdfunding benefits the MSMEs sector during the Covid-19 period. Some models of crowdfunding are based on the Shariah principles of wakaf, zakat, waqf, and sadaqah. There is no clear law governing online crowdfunding. Online crowdfunding is also vulnerable to fraud, hijacking, and illegal activity. As such, it is critical to improve Indonesia’s legal and regulatory framework for crowdfunding activities.

Ramadhani, Rahmat, ‘Eradication of Soil Mafia in the Post-Covid-19 Pandemic Based on National Law and Islamic Law’ (2022) 3(1) Proceeding International Seminar of Islamic Studies (INSIS) 678–686
Jurisdiction: Indoensia
Abstract: The land mafia takes advantage of land scarcity with land related parties for various purposes. The Ministry of Agrarian Affairs and Spatial Planning (ATR)/National Land Agency (BPN) as the institution most responsible for land administration is still paying attention to the existence of the land mafia. It is necessary to know about the workings of the land mafia who will always seek information about the development of land prices in certain areas by the Local Government such as the Regional Government. This research uses normative law research methods (Normative Law Research). In accordance with the type and nature of the research, the data sources used are secondary data consisting of primary legal materials and secondary legal materials consisting of books, scientific journals, scientific papers and articles that can provide an explanation of primary legal materials. Various efforts were carried out by the government to achieve the goal of eradicating the land mafia, among others through the implementation of land registration as regulated in PP No. 24 of 1997 concerning Land Registration. Indonesia’s national law that discusses the eradication of the land mafia is contained in the Technical Instructions of the Ministry of Agrarian Affairs and Spatial Planning/National Land Agency on Prevention and Eradication of Land Mafia. The land mafia is an act of usurping the rights of others, in Islam it is threatened to be hung around his neck from the seven layers of the earth. Sheikh Abdul Azhim bin Badawi al-Khalafi quoted from the Almanhaj page. said, from Sa’id bin Zaid radhiyallahuanhu, he said, "I heard the Messenger of Allah sallallaahu 'alaihiwasallam say ‘Whoever takes a little land in an unjust way, then (Allah) will hang it from the seven layers of the earth’. From Salim from his father Radhiyallahuanhuma, he said, "The Prophet sallallaahu 'alaihiwasallam said: "Whoever takes a small amount of land in a way that is not justified, then he is immersed in the soil on the Day of Resurrection up to seven layers of the earth.”

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 R, ‘Vaccines Mandates and Religion: Where Are We Headed with the Current Supreme Court?’ (2021) 49(4) Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics 552–563
Abstract: This article argues that the Supreme Court should not require a religious exemption from vaccine mandates. For children, who cannot yet make autonomous religious decision, religious exemptions would allow parents to make a choice that puts the child at risk and makes the shared environment of the school unsafe — risking other people’s children. For adults, there are still good reasons not to require a religious exemption, since vaccines mandates are adopted for public health reasons, not to target religion, are an area where free riding is a real risk, no religion actually prohibits vaccinating under a mandate, and policing religious exemptions is very difficult.

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.

Rusydianaa, Aam Slamet, Aisyah As-Salafiyah and Muhammad Isa Mustafa, ‘Covid-19, Maqasid Sharia & Islamic Economic Law: VOSviewer Application’ (International Proceeding: Law and Development in the Era of Pandemic, Faculty of Law, Universitas Islam Indonesia, 28 November 2020, 2021) 47–58
Abstract: This study aims to determine the map of the development of research on the theme of Islamic economic law from the point of view of the maqashid sharia in the Covid-19 pandemic published by indexed journals. The study was conducted in November 2020. The data analyzed were more than 50 published papers. The object of study is a published journal published in 2020. The data is then processed and analyzed using the VOSviewer application program to determine the bibliometric mapping of the development of Islamic economic law research from the perspective of maqashid sharia in the Covid-19 pandemic. The results showed that the research development map of this theme was divided into 6 clusters. Cluster 1 consists of 10 topics, cluster 2 consists of 10 topics, cluster 3 consists of 8 topics, cluster 4 consists of 7 topics, cluster 5 consists of 6 topics and cluster 6 consists of 4 topics. The findings from this study indicate that the sharia economy and its instruments and products are in accordance with the maqashid sharia, all the aspect of maqashid sharia must be guarded by all parties involved in Islamic economic activities, especially the government in charge of managing state finances while maintaining a balance of prices and can be applied and this concept even become a solution during the Covid-19 pandemic, where the objectives of each sharia economic instrument become more focused and their usefulness in this field can be optimized. All economic instruments in Islam that are based on maqashid sharia are expected to be a solution that reduces the impact of the economic crisis due to the Covid-19 pandemic and can continue to be utilized in a sustainable manner.

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.

Severin, Adrian, ‘Protection of Religious Freedom in Romanian and International Law, with Special Reference to the Case Of The Romanian Orthodox Church’ (2020) 14 Conferința Internațională Educație și Creativitate pentru o Societate Bazată pe Cunoaștere - DREPT 10–21
Abstract: The establishment of the state of emergency, followed by the state of alert, in Romania, amid the Covid 19 pandemic, raised the issue of the relationship between the state and the church, as well as that of the legal regime of religious freedom in Romania. In this context, several key questions were asked. What is the distinction between right and its exercise, given that, at most, the exercise can be limited? Who establishes the content of the right to practice a religious cult? The church or the state? Is a law that requires the modification of religious beliefs, even if only in their outward expression, compatible with the principle of religious freedom? May church hierarchs be required to cooperate in enforcing such a law? What are the procedural and substantive conditions regarding the regulation of religious activity? May religious freedom be restricted in some way? If the direct limitation is not allowed, according to the Constitution, could indirect limitations be accepted? This study attempts to answer all of these questions. In essence, the answer is that the state has a wide margin of maneuver in establishing the framework for the manifestation of religious freedom, including the hygienic-sanitary measures imposed by the fight against a pandemic, but it has strict limits. In any case, religious freedom cannot be restricted in any way.

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.

Shukor, Syahirah Abdul, Noor Osman and Atira Musa, ‘Governing Teaching and Learning Syariah And Law During Covid-19: Some Reflections’ (International Convention on the Basic Structure of Constitution (ICOBAC 2021)-E-Proceedings) (2022) 281–288
Jurisdiction: Malaysia
Abstract: The unprecedented pandemic of Covid-19 not only effect the economic and administrative of the country, but it also has pushed to the closure of schools and universities. As a result, the emergence of e-learning or conducting classes via the teaching tools available online such as Microsoft team, google classroom, Zoom and Webex become so imminent to teachers and students. With pandemic of COVID-19, it seems global partnership is urgently needed with teaching and learning are done in a flexible manner by mean of distance learning using the teaching tools provided via the Internet. This article addresses the challenges faced by the university, particularly, in teaching and learning subjects of Syariah and law which need hand-on training and face-to-face lecturers and tutorials. This paper will examine the debates of protecting the public health in cases of COVID-19 as the world is still facing with the uncertainties brought by this dangerous virus. The new norms due to this pandemic introduced new practices such as no mass gathering which include no mass lecture or tutorials, social distancing and regular cleaning regime that are being addressed by the Ministry of Health to public. Hence, it begs to think how teaching and learning Syariah and Law can be materialized in this new norm? As a university which promotes integration of the concept of Naqli and Aqli Knowledge (iNAQ), a revisit to the current situation in facing COVID-19 is essential for the long-term planning of the higher education as well as short term approaches in dealing with its impact. The quality of the assessment made to the students by the lecturers are also crucial in addressing arising issues in teaching and learning during this pandemic. This paper ends with some possible suggestions in maintaining the qualities of teaching and learning of Syariah and Law in this trial time.

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. :

Stevens, Patrick A, ‘Constitutional Interpretation Remains Unsettled After Sixth Circuit’s Preliminary Assessment of University Vaccine Mandate’ (2022) 83 Ohio State Law Journal Sixth Circuit Review Article 001
Abstract: At the beginning of the 2021 school year, Western Michigan University (WMU) instituted a policy requiring student-athletes to be vaccinated against COVID-19, and sixteen student-athletes requested religious exemptions to this requirement, which the university denied. Barred from participation in team activities, these student-athletes sued WMU in federal court for allegedly violating their rights under the First Amendment. The case reached the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals as WMU sought a stay of the district court’s preliminary injunction, which kept the school from enforcing the vaccination requirement against the plaintiffs. Because the likelihood of success of a plaintiff’s claim is typically the determinative factor when the Sixth Circuit decides whether to stay a district court’s preliminary injunction, the court declined to stay the preliminary injunction in Dahl v. Board of Trustees of Western Michigan University. 5 The court’s analysis in Dahl delineates the distinctions between WMU’s vaccination requirement and mandates that are constitutionally valid. This decision also spotlights the precarious balance between proper deference to sincerely held religious beliefs and misguided deference to what may instead be political and social ideologies masquerading as—or entangled with religious beliefs.

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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