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Proselytism and Ostentation: a Critical Discourse Analysis of the European Court of Human Rights’ Case Law on Religious Symbols

In: Journal of Religion in Europe
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  • 1 Dept. of Media and Communication, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, evolvi@eshcc.eur.nl
  • | 2 Dept. of Legal Studies, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy, m.gatti@unibo.it
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Abstract

This article focuses on the European Court of Human Rights’ (ECtHR) case law about religious symbols (N=27) from 2001 to 2018, exploring the following questions: What discourses does the ECtHR employ in cases about religious symbols? How do ECtHR’s discourses about religious symbols evolve in time? The data is innovatively analyzed through critical discourse analysis and leads to two findings: first, the ECtHR tends to endorse ‘Christian secularism,’ considering Christian symbols as compatible with secularism but not Muslim symbols; second, ECtHR discourses occasionally become more favorable to Muslim applicants over time, but the evolution of case law is not linear.

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