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When we refer to the ‘management of religions’, we are primarily referring to the ways in which modern liberal states have responded to ‘public religions’ and in particular to the revival of Islam. The specific issues surrounding Muslim minorities in non-Muslim secular states can be seen as simply one instance of the more general problem of state and religion in modern societies. In this context, there is an increasing awareness of the limitations of the Westphalian constitutional solution, the Hobbesian social contract and Lockean liberalism as political strategies to manage conflicting religious traditions (Spinner-Halevy 2005). Unfortunately, Richard Hooker's ecclesiastical polity (1594–1597) and his plea that we should concentrate on those doctrines that unite rather than divide us has little relevance in societies that are deeply divided by cultural difference. This situation typically confronts the state because religion is often inseparable from ethnic identity, so that debates about secularization and liberalism cannot be separated from the question of citizenship in multicultural societies. These debates are significant because in societies that are divided along ethno-cultural lines, citizenship and religion are the main contenders to provide the social solidarity necessary to offset those divisions.


Institute for Religion, Politics, and Society

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Journal Article

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