This paper focuses on management of Islam by the French State since the state of emergency declared in 2015. We analyze the legal actions of the State using a law-in-context approach and theorize secularism as the State’s management of religion. We focus on the Senate Report (2016) concerning Muslim worship, the legal changes wrought by the state of emergency, and the institutions formed to govern Islam and secularism. We examine whether there has been a change in the French State’s approach to Muslim worship. Rather than remaining neutral, the French State has become even more actively involved in the field of religion by adopting a reformist attitude intended to transform not the principles of laïcité but the Muslims in France. In this period, the State has taken concrete steps and built institutions both to support the formation of a secularized French Islam and to govern the boundaries of laïcité.
Proposals abound in Israel to address the question of pluralistic access to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall. Each of these proposals has been a source of great controversy. In this article, we propose a Swiftian solution of privatization. We propose that the government of Israel sell the Temple Mount, the Western Wall, and many other holy sites to specific faith groups that will then operate them as private property, with the ability to restrict various rights within them. This proposal is based on a model adopted and implemented in Salt Lake City, Utah, to address various questions regarding access to property purchased by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
This paper analyzes the conditions under which the sharing of sacred sites in Turkey is still possible despite the serious Sunnification campaign of the akp regime. I argue that ideological, cultural, and pragmatic motivations led the Turkish state to refrain from interfering in practices the ruling party deems sacrilegious and distasteful.
In this paper, we put forward a realist account of the problem of accommodation of conflicting claims over sacred places. Our argument takes its cue from the empirical finding that modern, Western-style states necessarily mould religion into shapes that are compatible with state rule. At least in the context of modern states, there is no pre-political morality of religious freedom that states ought to follow when adjudicating claims over sacred spaces. Liberal normative theory on religious accommodation which starts from the assumption of a pre-political morality of religious freedom is therefore of limited value. As an alternative, we suggest that the question of contested sacred places should be settled with reference to the purposes of the state, at least as long as one is committed to the existence of modern states. If one finds the treatment of religion by the state unsatisfactory, our argument provides a pro tanto reason for seeking alternative forms of political organization.
The main argument of this paper is that the sacred time and space of the nation has displaced the meaning of sacredness of the religious sites, and legitimized the national community. By comparing the Temple Mount and Ayodhya disputes, the paper exposes the tensions between two polarities, sacred/profane and religious/political, which helps explain the influence of national identities on the contested sacredness of religious sites. The competition over the Temple Mount is nested within a “thicker” context of conflicting political claims over Jerusalem and national territory between Jewish groups on one hand and between Jews and Muslims on the other. The Ayodhya disagreement is related to the political tensions between the dominant and the minority religions, which have turned the religious dispute over a holy site into a debate on the sacredness of the national community.
This article explores the neglected topic of the value of sacred places of various religions. The great value that adherents of these religions ascribe to these places cannot account for their public political value, given that the duty to treat such places with respect falls on all citizens, whatever their faith. The article considers and rejects three views regarding the value of sacred places: that they are protected by cultural rights, that damaging them would hurt the feelings of religious believers, and that they are the collective property of religious groups. It then considers the right to religious liberty, which has been argued in recent scholarship on religious accommodation to be best defended through the value of integrity and by honoring one’s religious commitments. Although integrity is too individualistic a concept to explain the value of sacred places directly, the way in which these places embody sacredness here on earth helps enable integrity by showing what one’s commitments are invested in. This view of the value of sacred places can account for the value of non-religious sacred places and for the duty to respect them all.
Since 1988 a group of Jewish women in Israel, who later organized as the “Women of the Wall,” have been battling to realize what they see as their right to hold a public prayer service, while wearing prayer shawls and phylacteries and reading from a Torah scroll, in the women’s section of the Western Wall Plaza. Some of the Orthodox are fiercely opposed to the WoW and its project. This issue has reached the Israeli courts several times and has repeatedly engaged the political system. This article examines whether one of the two positions can draw on constitutional arguments that would justify a ruling in its favor.
On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared covid-19—the disease caused by the novel coronavirus—a global pandemic. As this coronavirus spread throughout the world, most countries implemented restrictions on public gatherings that greatly limited religious communities’ ability to engage in collective worship. Some religious leaders objected to these regulations, opining that faith would spare their congregants from illness or that their religious freedom is paramount to public health. Meanwhile, growing numbers of covid-19 infections were being traced back to religious leaders or gatherings.
This article explores how governments have balanced freedom of worship and public health during the 2020 pandemic. Through the comparison of controversies in South Korea, India, Brazil and the United States, it highlights the paradoxes in debates about whether to hold religious communities accountable for the spread of this highly contagious and deadly disease.
This paper explores the connection between the activity of Catholic Church and the covid-19 pandemic through the case of a bishop ordination held in Ruteng, Indonesia. The ordination Mass took place on March 19, 2020, against the background rising numbers of covid-19 cases globally and in Indonesia. The Mass, which was attended by four thousand participants, led to criticisms of the Catholic Church in Ruteng. The Church was accused of jeopardizing the health of the community and failing to adhere to government advisories. It was labeled as selfish and stubborn. This paper discusses the urgency of both the covid-19 situation in Indonesia and of the bishop ordination in Ruteng. Ordination of a new bishop symbolizes a climax in the journey of the Catholic Church in Ruteng. It is a resolution of past conflicts and controversies in the history of the Church in the region. The Church needed ordination as a way of gaining power and legitimacy.