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Public Islam on the Balkans in a wider Europe context

Evstatiev, Simeon
Secularized Europe can no longer be taken as a rule, but should be seen as the exception in the modern and post-modern world. The separation of state and religion, so important to Thomas Jefferson, has been torn apart and religion is once again playing an important role in political and public life. Given the strong relationship between religious identity and political and social stability in the Balkans it is of fundamental importance that policy analysis and design should not rely on a strategy which only sees religion as a problem and to set it apart from the public sphere. This paper aims to contribute to these debates by suggesting directions for inter-disciplinary research on Islam and Muslim identity in the public sphere, particularly in the Balkans, but also in the Middle East and within the EU. It asks whether European secularism is still relevant to contemporary realities, whether Muslims can achieve modernisation without abandoning their religion, and in particular what kind of European strategies could be developed by the Balkan states a Balkan states d the EU in order to curb the potential for conflict which stem from the political and cultural problems related to Islam.
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Contributor: International Policy Fellowships - http://www.soros.org/initiatives/ipf
Topic: Culture and Civil Society
Country: Bulgaria
Document Type: Social Analyses
Year: 2006
Keywords: Conflict Avoidance, Democracy, Islam, Minorities, Religion
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