Religious freedom and diversity in a comparative European perspective
Title: Religious freedom and diversity in a comparative European perspective
Author: ROY, Olivier
Citation: Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern studies, 2017, Vol. 19, No. 1, pp. 86-89
ISSN: 1944-8961; 1944-8953
The Balkan states are relatively young nation-states that achieved independence through a succession of bloody wars, either civil (the dissolution of Yugoslavia after the fall of Communism), regional (the Balkan wars at the turn of the nineteenth-twentieth century) and/or global (the end of the two world wars). All of them now claim, or aspire, to be modern, democratic and secular states, and are on their way to integration with their more ‘mature’ Western European counterparts. The debate over progress of democratization and their capacities to integrate into the EU has brought to the fore issues of political ‘maturity’ in terms of good governance, and the protection of minorities and other human rights. The harsh and sometimes bloody legacy of nation- and state-formation, amidst plural ethno-religious divisions, seemed to be an impediment to achieving the status of democratic states. Religious and ethnic tensions were seen as particularly worrying. Specifically, these states had to face simultaneously at least two major constraints: on the one hand, guaranteeing religious freedom and equal treatment for all citizens; on the other hand, holding on to the religion of the nation, which had kept the nation intact when the state disappeared. After 1990, the challenge then was to set up new institutional compromises and suitable balances that could combine (1) religious freedom, (2) state neutrality and (3) the majoritarian or ‘traditional’ basis of nationhood.
Published online: 03 Jan 2017
Grant number: FP7/269860/EU
Type of Access: openAccess
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