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Religious Freedom in Islam: A Global Landscape

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This paper presents a global landscape of religious freedom in Islam, a crucial matter for resolving the contentious contemporary debate over whether Islam is a peaceful or violent religion. The landscape shows a general dearth of religious freedom in Islam. This does not mean, though, that Islam is incompatible with religious freedom, for a large percentage of Muslim countries are governed by regimes inspired by western secularism. The paper also argues that religious freedom is neither synonymous nor co-extensive with electoral democracy. Several democracies with low levels of religious freedom exist in Muslim-majority countries, while authoritarian regimes with relatively high levels of religious freedom exist but are rare.

Affiliations: 1: Professor of Political Science and Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame,


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