India, Malaysia and Singapore recognise constitutional rights to profess, practise and propagate religion. Little attention has been paid so far to the first of these compared to the other two. I explore the concept of profession and argue that the right to profession is logically prior to the other two, because the act of profession constitutes one’s identity, of which practice and propagation are simply manifestations. I argue that the right to profession comprises not only the right to hold and state a faith, but also the right that the State recognise such a statement. The significance is that such professions, like any other statements, fall to be interpreted according to rules of evidence; to contain implicatures; and to be imputed. This provides an analytical framework which, I argue, illuminates the case law on various topics relating to religion, from Malaysian cases on conversion, to Singaporean cases involving national security, to the Indian ‘essential features doctrine’.
Our next Annual Conference will take place from July 6-9, 2021. It will be held in a completely novel way as a fully online Conference: ICON•S Mundo.
The Call for Papers for ICON•S Mundo is available here. Submissions for papers and panels must be made by May 1, 2021.
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