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This article aims to bring into comparative resonance and contrast, aspects of the “Dissenting Academies” of 17th–19th centuries of English history and aspects of the contemporary experience of Muslim educational institutions in the UK. The paper emerges out of thinking and reflection around the intersection between four principal sources, namely: relevant research and publications relating to historical dissenting Christian Academies; relevant research relating to contemporary Muslim educational institutions; personal positioning within a religious tradition related to the historical Dissenting Christian traditions; and professional experience as an external examiner working with contemporary Muslim (and other religious-based) educational institutions, as an external panellist on panels to validate some of the awards at such institutions and, as University manager exploring possible collaborative partnerships with such. On the basis of bringing these sources and perspectives together, the paper then seeks to undertake a comparison between contexts of historical Dissenting Academies and contemporary Muslim institutions out of which critically to explore and discuss what might be learned from the resonances and contrasts identified.

In: Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion, Volume 32
In: Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth
In: Christian Identity
In: Religious Freedom in Secular States
In: South Asians in the Diaspora
In: The Unity of the Church
In: Restoration through Redemption: John Calvin Revisited
In: Christian Faith and Violence 2
In: Christian Faith and Violence 2


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.

In: Religion & Human Rights