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16. Prayers, Planners and Pluralism:Protecting the Rights of Minority Religious Groups

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Chapter Summary

The modern inequities of Western statutory frameworks and local government policy are aimed at quietly perpetuating colonial 'blemishes of the past' which sought active 'Christianisation' of ethno-religious minority groups. Freedom of religious worship is a well-established theoretical principle of both regional and international human rights instruments. This chapter focuses on pluralism and tolerance of other people's views rather than on the protection of religious beliefs of individuals. Where the concept of 'sacred space' requires translation into actual physical space however, most minority groups will be unable to demonstrate either legal or equitable ownership. Future legislative reforms might avoid strict judicial scrutiny by focusing upon religious ritual and non-traditional land usage. Although case law on religious land use refusals is sparse, it is far from insignificant.

Keywords: ethno-religious minority groups; human rights; pluralism; prayers; religious worship

10.1163/ej.9789004158269.i-576.97
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