Islamism, Secularism, and the Future of Religious Freedom

Daniel Mark, Villanova University

  • Date Sep 15, 2016
  • Venue Warner Memorial Library
    Eastern University
    1300 Eagle Road
    Saint Davids, PA 19087

So-called Western civilization is challenged from without and within. Looking outward, the West faces radical Islam and the question over whether an Enlightenment will take hold that will overwhelm the forces of violence and extremism. Looking inward, the West confronts a struggle for its soul between more traditional and more progressive elements in society. The outcomes of these clashes will have major consequences for Western values in general and religious freedom in particular. Surprisingly, the difficulties in meeting these two challenges may be related as in both cases we must decide what exactly the West stands for and whether it is worth defending.



Dr. Daniel Mark is the Vice Chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom and is an assistant professor of political science at Villanova University in Pennsylvania. He teaches political theory, philosophy of law, American government, and politics and religion. At Villanova, he is a faculty associate of the Matthew J. Ryan Center for the Study of Free Institutions and the Public Good. He holds the rank of battalion professor and serves as the university representative to the performance review board for Villanova’s Navy Reserve Officers’ Training Corps unit. He is the faculty adviser to the mock trial team and to the men’s club lacrosse team, and he is a mentor in the university’s Faith and Learning Scholars Program. He also serves on the Jewish Religion and Culture Lecture Committee and the Graduate Committee of the Department of Political Science.

In addition, Dr. Mark is an assistant editor of Interpretation: A Journal of Political Philosophy; a fellow of the Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, NJ; and a contributor to Arc of the Universe: Ethics and Global Justice. He has published on topics related to international religious freedom in US News & World ReportInvestor’s Business DailyForeign AffairsThe Hill, and the Philadelphia Inquirer, and he has appeared on CNN, Al Jazeera America, CBS radio in Philadelphia, and KNUS radio in Denver.

He holds a BA (magna cum laude), MA, and PhD from the Department of Politics at Princeton University. He wrote his dissertation under the direction of Professor Robert P. George on the subject of “Authority and Legal Obligation.”  There, he participated in the Program in Law and Public Affairs and the Penn-Princeton Bioethics Forum. He was also affiliated with the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions and served as coordinator of its Undergraduate Fellows Forum.