eurel     Données sociologiques et juridiques sur la religion en Europe et au-delà


  • August 2017 : Religion and Law in the Netherlands

An article from Sophie Bijsterveld shows that religion remains an influential force in our time despite the prophecy of secularization theory which argued that religion would fade away. In the context of migration, this expectation hardly came through, even in Europe where secularization is deeply rooted, because the presence of Muslim and other faith groups poses many challenges. This article examines the trajectory of state-religion relations in the Netherlands and looks at its impact on Muslims in this country. Traditionally, the state’s position has been marked by an open and friendly attitude towards religion. In recent years, however, debates on religion in the public, political, and academic domains have taken a sharper edge, and the questions that now arise with regard to religion in the public domain have become more controversial. Three elements of this new dynamic are mentioned : (1) the renewed attention to the “values” side of religion, especially in cases where these values do not easily mesh with the dominant values in Dutch society, (2) rising concerns on the balance between pluralism and social cohesion, and (3) new discussions on the functioning of fundamental rights in general and of freedom of religion in particular.

Sophie van Bijsterveld (2015), "Religion and law in the Netherlands", Insight Turquie, 17-1, p. 121-141.


  • August 2017 : Debate on Islam

Van Liere’s article deals with the role of ‘Islam’ in contemporary Dutch political discourses on tolerance. It displays how Islam is described as an ideology (and not as a religion) competing with liberal values. The author argues that political disputes are not at all about Islam as a living religion, but about ‘Islam’ as a culturally presumed menace to, or negative projection of, dominant Dutch imaginaries, such as tolerance and free speech, that are taken as elementary conditions for a liberal democratic state. The first part of this article deals with the staging and development of ‘Islam’ in Dutch politics since the 1970s. Part two develops a theoretical understanding of the framing of ‘Islam’ as the opponent of ‘tolerance’ and argues that this position shows a typical modern stance.

Lucien van Liere (2014), "Teasing ‘Islam’ : ‘Islam’ as the Other Side of ‘Tolerance’ in Contemporary Dutch Politics", Journal of Contemporary Religion, 29-2, p. 187-202.

  • August 2017 : Ritual slaughtering

In 2011, the Dutch House of Representatives voted for the first time in its history for banning the practice of unstunned ritual slaughter in accordance to Jewish and Islamic rites. How should this remarkable vote be understood ? In order to answer this question, a critical discourse analysis has been carried out. Three discourses are discerned in the debate : ‘unstunned ritual slaughter as an outdated practice’, ‘ritual slaughter as a form of ritual torture’ and ‘unstunned ritual slaughter as a legitimate religious practice’. The growing parliamentary support for the first two mentioned discourses is related to recent changes in the Dutch political landscape. In a wider context, it is related to a shift in the national self-conception of the Netherlands and, linked to that, to a change in the perceived position of traditional religious minorities within Dutch society in the aftermath of 9/11 and the ‘Fortuyn revolt’.

Sipco J. Vellenga (2015), "Ritual Slaughter, Animal Welfare and the Freedom of Religion : A Critical Discourse Analysis of a Fierce Debate in the Dutch Lower House", Journal of Religion in Europe, 8, p. 1-25.

D 9 août 2017    ASipco Vellenga

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