Discussions about the relationship between 'religion' and 'human rights' often focus on the problems that arise from 'religion'. Within a European historical perspective this is understandable since one of the most important aspects of the historical development of the 'human rights' tradition in the Europe has been the struggle for the right not to believe.However, the concept of the 'secular' is also not unproblematic. Thus this article explores the contested relationship between 'human rights' and 'religion' by bringing into focus also the relatively hidden factor of the 'secular'. This is done by exploring the forms of secularity exemplified in the traditions and approaches that are found in the USA, France, Turkey, the Netherlands and India. Finally, reference is made to traditional Islamic models for integrating cultural and religious plurality, before concluding with some discussion of the thought of Marc Luyckx in relation to the future of Europe.