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Religious Minorities and Freedom of Religion or Belief in the UK

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By particular reference to the polity of the UK, this article discusses issues and options for groups identified as “religious minorities” in relation to issues of “religious freedom”. It does so by seeking to ensure that such contemporary socio-legal discussions are rooted empirically in the full diversity of the UK’s contemporary religious landscape, while taking account of (especially) 19th century (mainly Christian) historical antecedents. It argues that properly to understand the expansion in scope and substance of religious freedom achieved in the 19th century that account needs to be taken of the agency of the groups that benefited from this. Finally, it argues this history can be seen as a “preconfiguration” of the way in which religious minorities have themselves acted as key drivers for change in relevant 20th and 21st century UK law and social policy and could continue to do so in possible futures post-Brexit Referendum.

Affiliations: 1: Emeritus Professor, University of DerbyUnited KingdomProfessor, Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations, Coventry UniversityUnited KingdomResearch Fellow in Religion and Society, Regent’s Park College, University of Oxford OxfordUnited Kingdom


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