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This article analyzes modern religious life in Ukraine, specifically the relations between religious organizations and government bodies in state and social domains. Particular attention is given to the concrete territorial and historical evolution of state Christian doctrines and church relations in Ukrainian lands. The article also examines the main problems and conflicts regarding the registration and functioning of the largest religious organizations in the country, and relations between them. Special attention is paid to the role that religious organizations play in the democratic processes, and to their effect on the relations between state and church. These relations have unfolded against the background of the political events of the last 15 years in Ukraine and the region: internal social conflicts, the general trend toward pro-European democratization, and the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.

In: Journal of Law, Religion and State
Author: Afsoun Afsahi

This paper examines two cases of deliberation on the issue of religious arbitration in Canada: first, the Sharia law debate in Ontario (deliberation in the larger public sphere); and second, a deliberation on religious arbitration in British Columbia (deliberation in a small-scale structured setting). Relying on both secondary and original data, this article demonstrates that while the Sharia law debate failed to fulfill the key functions of a deliberative engagement, the small-scale deliberation was able to achieve all three functions: participants had the chance to express their opinions; there was ample dialogue and communication evident by increased empathy, perspective-taking ability, and knowledge gains; and finally, participants were able to come to a decision, however broad, together. Through this comparison, the article highlights key barriers to deliberation across differences and concludes with some suggestions for carrying out such engagements in the future.

In: Journal of Law, Religion and State

The toleration of religious minorities is changing in the Netherlands. In this paper we analyze three recent developments in Dutch society that are important for understanding the way the Dutch regime of religious tolerance is adjusting to 21st century circumstances. The first one concerns the growing homogenization of Dutch society and the emergence of a secular and liberal majority. The second is the dominance in policy and public debate of a “Protestant” conception of what religion amounts to. The third development is the fragmentation of religion and its simultaneous combination into new networks and groups made possible by new information and communication technologies. These developments pose challenges to constitutional rights and principles. There are no simple solutions to these challenges, but the Dutch tradition of consociationalism, as a liberal tradition in its own right, may provide some valuable perspectives.

In: Journal of Law, Religion and State
Authors: Janosch Prinz and Enzo Rossi

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.

In: Journal of Law, Religion and State

Ethnic and religious plurality is inextricably linked with Ambonese history. The conflict of 1999–2003 disrupted this stability and caused great damage, segregation, and radicalization. Reestablishing peace proved difficult because of complex social, economic, political, and religious factors, and parties struggled to address deep-rooted issues such as intergroup distrust and hatred. The Baku Bae Peace Movement (gbb) was an informal movement with humble beginnings, which quickly developed into a community effort and reignited intergroup fraternity by deploying a series of effective strategies. This article examines the gbb, its key strengths and weaknesses, and the contextual factors that led to its success. The success of the gbb may be attributed to inclusive grassroots participation and the invocation of shared moral values. This article concludes that although the gbb is difficult to replicate elsewhere, its core values can be implemented in other conflict regions to minimize or resolve religious violence, polarization, and fundamentalism.

In: Journal of Law, Religion and State
In: Journal of Law, Religion and State

The purpose of this research is to identify the peculiarities of religious legal consciousness and to review the conflicts, gaps, and additional specific problems arising amidst a convergence of peoples confessing Islam within the European legal-cultural domain. Approaching this question from the perspective of Russian scholarship, the authors evaluate and apply methods of inquiry such as sociological surveys and analysis of law enforcement practices, together with historical, dialectico-materialistic, interdisciplinary, and logical approaches. The given article highlights problems of cultural interaction with special reference to the role of religion in this process, including relative degrees of legal implementation of religion and the influence of religion on personality formation. Here religion is regarded both as a means of social regulation and as a reflection of the specific characteristics and cultural environment of a particular community with its concepts of justice, legality, and ethics. In general, modern secular states fail to take into account the different roots of religious legal consciousness in different cultures, instead perceiving the legality of a juridical fact through the prism of their own respective cultures. Nonetheless, understanding the mechanisms through which legal consciousness forms – including the impact of religion on such formation – represents an important tool for addressing and resolving a number of grave social problems.

In: Journal of Law, Religion and State
Author: William Kenny

The decision in Alberta and Hutterite Brethren of Wilson Colony refocused attention on the role played by the final limb of the Oakes test when considering the proportionality of the limitation of a Charter right. This article seeks to re-examine this decision and challenge the structural discrimination it created by requiring minorities whose belief gives a religious value to a facially utilitarian practice which may not be apparent when considered from a secular perspective. In particular it examines the potential benefits of allowing a liberal perspective of group rights to inform the weight courts’ give to the detriment faced by a community and argues that this revised approach to balancing would result in outcomes more reflective of the values codified in the Charter.

In: Journal of Law, Religion and State

The Argentinian Constitution of 1853 established a religious policy based on two main principles: freedom of religion and the privileged status of the Catholic Church. In 1966, an agreement with the Catholic Church eliminated the power of the government to interfere in ecclesiastical matters, but maintained the privileged status of Catholicism. Today, the religious configuration of Argentinian society differs greatly from that of the 19th century. Amidst increasing religious diversity, some legal changes point to the transformation of the Argentinian regime from a nearly confessional state into a multi-confessional, yet not an egalitarian one.

In: Journal of Law, Religion and State

Ritual immersion in Israel has become a major point of contention between Israeli-Jewish women and the state-funded Chief Rabbinate of Israel. In order to conduct a religious household, Orthodox Jewish women are required to immerse in a ritual bath (mikveh) approximately once a month. However, in Israel, these are strictly regulated and managed by the Chief Rabbinate, which habitually interferes with women’s autonomy when immersing. The article presents the case, then moves to discuss two models of religion-state relations: privatization and evenhandedness (roughly the modern version of nonpreferentialism), as two democratic models that can be adopted by the state in order to properly manage religious services, ritual baths included. The discussion also delineates the general lessons that can be learned from this contextual exploration, pointing to the advantages of the privatization model, and to the complexities involved in any evenhanded approach beyond the specific case at hand.

In: Journal of Law, Religion and State