Freedom of Religion in the 21st Century

A human rights perspective on the relation between politics and religion


Freedom of religion consists of the right to practice, to manifest and to change one’s religion. The modern democratic state is neutral towards the variety of religions, but protects the right of citizens to practice their different religious beliefs. Recent history shows that a number of religious claims challenge the neutral state. This happens especially when secularity is rejected as the basis of the modern state. How can conflicting interpretations of the relation between religion and state be balanced in our world? This book reflects on conflicts that seem to be implied in the freedom of religion, on its causes and how they can be overcome.

Contributors are: Katajun Armipur, Ernst Hirsch Ballin, Ian Cameron, Susanne Döhnert, Leslie Francis, Carsten Gennerich, Handi Hadiwitanto, Mandy Robbins, Prof. Hans Schilderman, Stefanie Schmahl, Carl Sterkens, Alexander Unser, Johannes A. van der Ven and Hans-Georg Ziebertz.
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Biographical Note

Hans-Georg Ziebertz, PhD theol. 1990 Nijmegen, PhD rer.soc Tübingen 1993, is holding the chair of Practical Theology /Religious Education at the University of Würzburg, Germany. Recently he published books on Youth in Europe, Gender in Islam and Christianity, and on Religion and Human Rights ( Menschenrechte, Christentum und Islam, LIT, Münster 2010).

Ernst Hirsch Ballin (1950) is Professor of Human Rights Law at the University of Amsterdam and Professor of Dutch and European Constitutional Law at Tilburg University. He was the Netherlands Minister of Justice from 1989-1994 and 2006-2010 and held several other public offices. In 2005 he was elected to the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences.

Table of contents


Hans-Georg Ziebertz and Ernst Hirsch Ballin
Notes on Contributors

Chapter 1 Reflections on the Categorization of International Human Rights
Stefanie Schmahl
Chapter 2 Freedom of Religion and Competing Human Rights Systems
Iain Cameron
Chapter 3 The Quest for Quality of Life. The Complex Relationship of Healthcare, Human Rights and Religion
Hans Schilderman
Chapter 4 “La ikraha fi’l-din – There Is No Compulsion in Religion” – Or Is There?
Katajun Amirpur
Chapter 5 Religious Citizens: On the Relation between Freedom of Religion and the Separation of Church and State
Ernst Hirsch Ballin
Chapter 6 Attitudes toward Human Rights and Religiosity among Adolescents in England and Wales. Replicating and Extending a Study in Turkey

Chapter 7 The Influence of the Socio-Cultural Environment and Personality on Attitudes towards Civil Human Rights
Alexander Unser, Susanne Döhnert and Hans-Georg Ziebertz
Chapter 8 Empirical Models of the Relationship between Religion and State in Indonesia. How Religious Beliefs Define the Relation between Religion and State
Carl Sterkens and Handi Hadiwitanto
Chapter 9 Human Rights and Value Priorities
Carsten Gennerich and Hans-Georg Ziebertz
Chapter 10 Women’s Socio-Economic Rights and Religion among Christian, Islamic and Non-Religiously Affiliated Students in England and Wales
Leslie J. Francis, Mandy Robbins and Ursula McKenna
Chapter 11 On the Brink of Death. Euthanasia from the Angle of Law, Morality and Religion: A Cross-Cultural Perspective
Johannes A. van der Ven



Scholars of Human Rights, Theology and Religious Studies, empirical research in religion and Human Rights.