Religious Diversity, State, and Law

National, Transnational and International Challenges


Globalisation, migration, and (de-)secularisation have fundamentally transformed the concepts of religion, state, and law during the last decades. The main goal of this interdisciplinary approach is to clarify the multifaceted theoretical and practical challenges of religious diversity and socio-political pluralism in Europe.

In twenty-two chapters, the contributions to this volume revisit basic concepts, structures and institutional settings such as sovereignty; the dogma of the separation of state, church and/or religion; human and minority rights; gender and religion; varieties of fundamentalisms; interreligious dialogue and peacebuilding; and, not least, religious education.

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Joseph Marko, Dr. juris, Mag.phil. (1977), University of Graz, is Professor emeritus of Public Law and Political Sciences at that university. He has published monographs, edited volumes and more than 120 articles on comparative constitutional law and politics, nationalism, power-sharing and minority protection, recently Human and Minority Rights Protection by Multiple Diversity Governance. History, Law, Ideology and Politics in European Perspective (Routledge, 2019, co-edited with S. Constantin).

Maximilian Lakitsch, Ph.D. (1982), University of Graz, is Lecturer at the Institute of the Foundations of Law (Department of Global Governance). He has published monographs and articles on the issues of authority, legitimacy, religion, and violence in International Relations and Peace and Conflict Studies.

Wolfgang Weirer, Dr. theol. (1993), University of Graz, Associate Professor for Religious Education at the University of Graz. His most important publications deal with the topic of "Interreligious Education" and the further development of RE in Austria.

Franz Winter, DDr. (1999 and 2005), is Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Graz. He has published monographs, edited volumes, and articles on the entangled religious history of Asia and Europe from antiquity to modernity, including the Handbook of East Asian New Religious Movements (edited together with Lukas Pokorny; Brill, 2018).

Kerstin Wonisch, Ph.D. (2022), University of Graz, is researcher at Eurac Research Bolzano and holds a background in law (Mag.jur. 2015) and religious studies (MA 2017). Her research focuses on the governance of religious diversity, as well as on religion and gender. She has published several edited volumes and scholarly articles on these topics in international journals.
1 Introduction: State, Law, and Religious Diversity
  Joseph Marko, Maximilian Lakitsch, Wolfgang Weirer, Franz Winter and Kerstin Wonisch

Part 1
Religion, State, Law, and Secularism
2 Human Rights and the Osmosis between Secular and Religious Legal Systems The Post-modern European Right to Freedom of Religion through the Prism of the Islamic Veil
  Alessandro Ferrari

3 Protection or Persecution? The State, the Law, and Minority Religion
  Eileen Barker

4 Historicizing the Secularization Debate A Helpful Illustration from Bosnia and Herzegovina
  Dino Abazović

5 Russian Conservatism and Human Rights in Europe
  Mikhail Antonov

6 Multiculturalizing Secularism
  Tariq Modood

Part 2
Islamic Concepts of Law and Politics
7 Beyond the State Law Versus God’s Law Dilemma: A Genealogical Approach to Islamic Concepts of Law, Politics, and Sovereignty
  Jocelyne Cesari

8 Religious Diversity, Secularisms, and Ideologies ComparingWestern and Muslim Countries
  Ahmet T. Kuru

9 Is a Comparative History of Western and Islamic Political Thought Possible?
  Joseph Marko

Part 3
The Varieties of Religious Fundamentalisms
10 Islamic Fundamentalism: Beyond Islamism, Extremism, and Political Islam
  Rüdiger Lohlker

11 Fundamentalisms Old and New? Intra-religious Developments and Inter-denominational Alliances in the New Christian Right in Austria
  Katharina Limacher

12 The Varieties of Fundamentalism: A Comparative Approach to the Use of a Very Popular Term with a Buddhist Side-Step
  Franz Winter

Part 4
Gender and Religion
13 Religion, Gender, and Law: A Tense Relationship
  Kerstin Wonisch

14 Critical Reflections on the Androcentrism of Religious Norms: The Heteronomy of the Female Body
  Dana El-Omari

15 Canon and Tradition in Transition: The Case of Gender in Israel
  Henriette Dahan Kalev

Part 5
Religion and Education
16 Religion, Human Rights and Education in Pluralistic Societies Re-visiting John Rawls and Jürgen Habermas
  Manfred L. Pirner

17 The Question of Truth within the Context of (Religious) Plurality A Challenge for Religious Education
  Andrea Lehner-Hartmann

18 Pluralistic Society as a Challenge for Islamic Education An Example from Austria
  Zerkirija Sejdini

19 Religious Education in a Pluralistic Society Opportunities, Challenges, and Legal Conclusions
  Wolfgang Weirer

Part 6
Interreligious Dialogue and Peacebuilding
20 Reconsidering the Transnational Dimension of Religion and Conflict
  Maximilian Lakitsch

21 Interreligious Dialogue in a Pandemic Reality Between Priority and Luxury
  Mohammed Abu-Nimer

22 Religious Perspectives and their Relevance for Peace: A Few Concluding Remarks on Interreligious Dialogue
  Maximilian Lakitsch and Franz Winter


Academics (from students to professors) and practicioners with a background in the humanities, law, and social sciences and an interest for the inter- and transdisciplinary issues of religious diversity and cultural pluralism in the political world of the 21st century.
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