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Freedom of Religion and the Accommodation of Religious Diversity: Multiculturalising Secularism

Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Citizenship, School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1TU, UK
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Academic Editors: Silvio Ferrari, Roberta Medda-Windischer and Kerstin Wonisch
Religions 2021, 12(10), 868; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12100868
Received: 3 August 2021 / Revised: 30 August 2021 / Accepted: 31 August 2021 / Published: 13 October 2021
The classical liberal concern for freedom of religion today intersects with concerns of equality and respect for minorities, of what might be loosely termed ‘multiculturalism’. When these minorities were primarily understood in terms of ethno-racial identities, multiculturalism and freedom of religion were seen at that time as quite separate policy and legal fields. As ethno-religious identities have become central to multiculturalism (and to rejections of multiculturalism), specifically in Western Europe in relation to its growing Muslim settlements, not only have the two fields intersected, new approaches to religion and equality have emerged. We consider the relationship between freedom of religion and ethno-religious equality, or alternatively, religion as faith or conscience and religion as group identity. We argue that the normative challenges raised by multicultural equality and integration cannot be met by individualist understandings of religion and freedom, by the idea of state neutrality, nor by laicist understandings of citizenship and equality. Hence, a re-thinking of the place of religion in public life and of religion as a public good and a re-configuring of political secularism in the context of religious diversity is necessary. We explore a number of pro-diversity approaches that suggest what a respectful and inclusive egalitarian governance of religious diversity might look like, and consider what might be usefully learnt from other countries, as Europe struggles with a deeper diversity than it has known for a long time. The moderate secularism that has historically evolved in Western Europe is potentially accommodative of religious diversity, just as it came to be of Christian churches, but it has to be ‘multiculturalised’. View Full-Text
Keywords: multiculturalism; secularism; religious diversity; accommodation; ethno-religious minorities; Western Europe multiculturalism; secularism; religious diversity; accommodation; ethno-religious minorities; Western Europe
MDPI and ACS Style

Modood, T.; Sealy, T. Freedom of Religion and the Accommodation of Religious Diversity: Multiculturalising Secularism. Religions 2021, 12, 868. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12100868

AMA Style

Modood T, Sealy T. Freedom of Religion and the Accommodation of Religious Diversity: Multiculturalising Secularism. Religions. 2021; 12(10):868. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12100868

Chicago/Turabian Style

Modood, Tariq, and Thomas Sealy. 2021. "Freedom of Religion and the Accommodation of Religious Diversity: Multiculturalising Secularism" Religions 12, no. 10: 868. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12100868

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