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POL3114 (8)

Bhargava reading notes.doc

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Political Science
David Rangdrol

In short western conceptions of political secularism do not appear to have travelled all that well to other societies What is surprising is that such conceptions and the secular states they underpin are coming under strain even in Europe where only some time back they were believed to be firmly entrenched and secureIt is true that substantive secularization of European societies has also brought in its wake extensive secularization of European states Regardless of their religious affiliation citizens have a large basket of civil and political rights unheard of in religioncentered states past or present But still two problemsRemainFirst migration from former colonies and an intensified globalization have thrown together on western public spaces preChristian faiths Christianity and Islam The cumulative result is unprecedented religious diversity the weakening of the public monopoly of single religions and the generation of mutual suspicion distrust hostility and conflict This is evident in Germany and Britain but was dramatically highlighted by the headscarf issue in France and the murder of filmmaker TheoanvGogh in the Netherlands shortly after the release of his controversial film about Islamic cultureSecond despite substantial secularization the formal establishment of the dominant religion does little to bolster better intercommunity relations or reduce religious discrimination in several European states As it turns out the widespread belief of a secular European public sphere is a myth The religious biases of European states have become increasingly visible with deepening religious diversity European states have continued to priv
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