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Contractual Religious Freedom

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Chapter Summary

Historically, human rights can be explained within a very precise framework underpinned by some basic ideas regarding the role of the state and the position of the individual. Two factors contributed to the relative decline of human rights in the Western value scale. First, the events of 11 September 2001 did not pass without lasting consequences. Second, lasting problems concerning the elaboration of a solid, multicultural society in Western Europe had its consequences for the relationships between religion and state. Security concerns and problems connected with the elaboration of multiculturalism means that restrictions to human rights have become a real issue. These restrictions can be the traditional ones, including a narrow definition of religion or an extension of limitations to religious freedom. Yet, another method can be used as well; namely, contractual religious freedom. This technique offers possibilities for monitoring religious activities in an offensive rather than a defensive way.

Keywords: contractual religious freedom; human rights; multiculturalism; Western Europe



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