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Effie Fokas

Abstract

This contribution considers the impact of Kokkinakis at the grassroots level: to what extent do grassroots level actors know about the case of Kokkinakis and see in it an opportunity to further their own religion-related rights claims? To what extent has the case inspired social actors such as rights activists, cause lawyers or faith group members to mobilise for their own religion-related rights, whether in court, in the halls of government, or in the streets? Has Kokkinakis left a mark on the individual citizen with concerns to do with religious freedoms? These questions are addressed through empirical research conducted on the indirect effects of ECtHR religion-related case law, including Kokkinakis, at the grassroots level in Greece.

Jeroen Temperman

Abstract

Whereas the bulk of Article 2 Protocol i cases concerns aspects of the public-school framework and curriculum, this article explores Convention rights in the realm of denominational schooling. It is outlined that the jurisprudence of the Strasbourg Court generally strongly supports the rights of parents not to send their child to state-organized schools and hence to establish or avail of private, denominational schooling instead. In this area of private schooling, the Strasbourg Court could build a stronger body of jurisprudence against discriminatory funding policies. The Court is right in seeing no state duty to fund denominational schools, but where intricate funding policies serve to privilege the state or dominant religion and their schools, at the disadvantage of minority religion schools, the Court should come into action.

Sophie van Bijsterveld

Abstract

Dissenting opinions in European Court of Human Rights judgments are a familiar phenomenon. Nevertheless, they receive little or no systematic attention. This essay presents a typology of dissenting opinions in religion cases in the Grand Chamber of the European Court. It identifies patterns of dividing lines within Grand Chamber decisions in religion cases and discusses these patterns.

Yanshuang Zhang

The proliferation of social media in China has provided traditional religious authorities with multifarious digital features to revitalise and reinforce their practices and beliefs. However, under the authoritative political system different religions pick up the new media to varying degrees, thereby showing different characteristic and style in their social media use. This paper examines the public discourse about Buddhism and Christianity (two of the great official religions in China) on China’s largest microblogging platform-Sina Weibo, and seeks to reveal a distinct landscape of religious online public in China. Through a close look at the social media posts aided by a text analytics software, Leximancer, this paper comparatively investigates several issues related to the Buddhism and Christianity online publics, such as religious networks, interactions between involved actors, the economics and politics of religion, and the role of religious charitable organizations. The result supports Campbell’s proposition on digital religion that religious groups typically do not reject new technologies, but rather undergo a sophisticated negotiation process in accord with their communal norms and beliefs. It also reveals that in China a secular Buddhism directly contributes to a prosperous ‘temple economy’ while tension still exists between Christianity and the Chinese state due to ideological discrepancy. The paper further points out the possible direction for this nascent research field.

Seyedeh Behnaz Hosseini

This article presents a nuanced approach for qualitative research on the Internet, based on the synthesis of qualitative data-gathering methodologies both online and offline, and contributes to recent knowledge of changing practices within Yārsāni communities around the world. Yārsān is a religious belief of Indo-Iranian origin that traces back to Hooraman, a region in Iranian Kurdistan. Yārsān thought, which Islamic Shiite authorities treat as heretical, has extensively used processes of adaptation and strategies of survival throughout the course of its history.

The research presented here makes a case for the significance of the Internet and, more specifically, social network sites in connecting Yārsānis in their homelands and in the diaspora. How does Facebook provide a new space for this minority group to disclose their beliefs to the world, thereby reassessing the clandestine nature of their religion, which is a tenet required by traditional belief and defined by their adage, “don’t tell the secret”?

Polikarpos Karamouzis and Emmanuel Fokides

This study analyzes the profile of Greek university students who will be teaching courses related to religion when they become practitioners at primary school and high school level, in relation to their views on technology. For this purpose, four factors were examined: religious beliefs, use of technology, attitude towards technology, and their views regarding the use of technology for the dissemination of religious beliefs. The sample comprised of 570 students studying at Departments of Theology and Primary School Education at Greek universities. The data analysis revealed that participants, in general, are not highly religious. Both believers and non-believers seem to have a positive attitude towards technology, which they are willing to use in an educational context. Furthermore, they do not believe that religion and technology contradict each other. The implications of the findings are also discussed.