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The Governance of Religious Diversity More or Less Secularism?

Conference, 10-12 June 2015

Sala Europa, Villa Schifanoia

via Boccaccio, 121 – Firenze


Anna Triandafyllidou
Anna Triandafyllidou

Raphael Cohen-Almagor

Raphael Cohen-Almagor | University of Hull


02Rochana Bajpai Picture

Rochana Bajpai | SOAS London


03Marie Claire

Marie Claire Foblets | Max Planck Institute


04Levey Geoffrey

Geoffrey Brahm Levey | University of New South Wales, Sydney


05Haldun Gulalp

Haldun Gülalp | Yildiz Technical University, Istanbul


06Helen Ting 2014 Nov

Helen Ting Mu Hung | Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia


07gambar 3

Che Wan Ahmad Zawawi | University of Malaysia / Brunei


08kuru A

Ahmet T. Kuru | San Diego State University, CA


09Gurpreet Mahajan

Gurpreet Mahajan | Jawaharlal Nehru University, India


B.UNi SS Festrival Selected

Tariq Modood | University of Bristol



Tariq Ramadan | Oxford University


13alfred Stepan

Alfred Stepan | Columbia University, New York



Joseph Weiler | European University Institute


15Yahya Color Large2

Maha Yahya | Carnegie Middle East Center, Lebanon



Religion and religious diversity appear to be among the most critical diversity challenges that European societies face today in their search for identity, equality and cohesion. In an increasingly globalised world, old paradigms of republicanism or multiculturalism seem to be in crisis. Still a “third road” between laïcité and state religion is not yet on the horizon.

  • More religion in the public sphere vs radical secularism: Which is the best way to deal with religious diversity?
  • Should the context or the specific issue at hand determine the choice, or is there a principled, normative answer to this question?
  • In the Middle East and Asia religious plurality has for long periods been the norm rather than the exception. What can we learn from their policies and practices?
  • Is religion a good fit for democratic societies? What are the “battlefields” of religious diversity in the years to come?

Form more information: Francesca Elia – francesca.elia@eui.eu



Wednesday, 10 June 2015

16:15 Opening Remarks

LaffanBrigid Laffan is Director of the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, and Director of the Global Governance Programme, EUI since August 2013.Prior to that she was Professor of European Politics, Vice-President at the School of Politics and International Relations, University College of Dublin. She was the founding director of the Dublin European Institute from 1999 and member of the Royal Irish Academy (2004). She is a member of the Board of the Mary Robinson Foundation for Climate Justice, the Fulbright Commission (until 2013) and is Visiting Scientist for the EXACT Marie Curie Network (2013).



Anna_TriandafyllidouAnna Triandafyllidou is professor at the EUI’s Robert Schuman Centre’s Global Governance Programme, where she coordinates the Research Area on Cultural Pluralism. Previously, she was part time professor at the RSCAS (2010-2012) and Senior Fellow at the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (2004-2012). She has been Visiting Professor at the College of Europe in Bruges since 2002 and a member of the Spinelli Group since its foundation. She is the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Immigrant and Refugee Studies. She serves as national expert and evaluator of research for several national and international projects and networks and agencies.

16:15-19:00 The Governance of Religious Diversity in India: Some Reflections

Chairperson: Bhikhu Parekh, House of Lords, UK

Multiculturalism and Moderate Secularism

Tariq Modood is Professor of Sociology, Politics and Public Policy at the University of Bristol and the founding Director of the Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Citizenship. His latest books include Multiculturalism: A Civic Idea (2nd ed; 2013); and as co-editor Tolerance, Intolerance and Respect (2013), Religion in a Liberal State (2013) and Multiculturalism Rethought (2015). He is currently a member of the Commission on Religion and Belief in Public Life. His website is www.tariqmodood.com


Secularism: Open Space and Visible Diversity

Tariq Ramadan is Professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies teaching in two Faculties of Oriental Studies and Theology at Oxford University; Senior Research Fellow at St Antony’s College (Oxford) and Doshisha University (Kyoto, Japan); Visiting Professor at the Faculty of Islamic Studies, (Qatar); Director of the Research Centre of Islamic Legislation and Ethics (CILE) (Doha, Qatar) and President of the think tank European Muslim Network (EMN) in Brussels. 
He holds an MA in Philosophy and French literature and PhD in Arabic and Islamic Studies from the University of Geneva. In Cairo, Egypt he received one-on-one intensive training in classic Islamic scholarship from Al-Azhar University scholars (ijazat teaching license in seven disciplines).   Through his writings and lectures Tariq has contributed to the debate on the issues of Muslims in the West and Islamic revival in the Muslim world. He is active at academic and grassroots levels lecturing extensively throughout the world on theology, ethics, social justice, ecology and interfaith as well intercultural dialogue.
He is the author of Au péril des idées with Edgar Morin; The Arab Awakening: Islam and the New Middle East; The Quest for Meaning: Developing a Philosophy of Pluralism; Radical Reform: Islamic Ethics and Liberation; In the Footsteps of the Prophet: Lessons from the Life of Muhammad; and Western Muslims and the Future of Islam.
Website : http://www.tariqramadan.com

Secularism, Tolerance And Accommodation: Considering The Ethic Of Responsibility

Gurpreet Mahajan is Professor at the Centre for Political Studies, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University. She teaches courses in Philosophy of Social Sciences, Political Thought and Theory, Hermeneutics and Multiculturalism, and has written extensively on issues relating to minorities, cultural diversity, religion and state, secularism, civil society and notions of public and private. Her publications include Explanation and Understanding in the Human Sciences (OUP 1992; 1997; 2011), Identities and Rights: Aspects of Liberal Democracy in India (OUP 1998), Accommodating Diversity: Ideas and Institutional Practices (ed.) (OUP 2011) and India: Political Ideas and the Making of a Democratic Discourse (Zed Books 2013).

Reconciling personal and collective secular practices with personal and collective religious identities

Joseph H.H. Weiler  is President of the European University Institute (EUI). Previously he served as Professor of Law and Jean Monnet Chair at Harvard Law School and subsequently as Director of the Jean Monnet Center at the New York University School of Law. Weiler is Editor-in-Chief of the European Journal of International Law and the International Journal of Constitutional Law. He is also an Honorary Professor at University College London and the University of Copenhagen, and Co-Director of the Academy of International Trade Law in Macao, China. He holds a PhD. in European Law from the EUI, Florence and honorary degrees from various European universities. He is the author of several books and articles, notably “The Constitution of Europe: Do the new clothes have an emperor?” (Cambridge University Press, 1999) and “Un’Europa cristiana: Un saggio esplorativo” (BUR Saggi, Milano, 2003), both of which have been widely translated. He is also the author of the novella, “Der Fall Steinmann” (Piper, München, 2000) and is currently completing a book entitled “Reconsidering the Trial of Jesus – A Reading for our Times”.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

9:00-13:00 The Governance of Religious Diversity in the Public Space: Perspectives from Asia

Chairperson: Olivier Roy, EUI

The Governance Of Religious Diversity In The Public Space: Indonesia In Comparative Perspective

Alfred Stepan is the Wallace Sayre Professor of Government and the Director of the Center for the Study of Democracy, Toleration and Religion at Columbia University. With Juan J. Linz he is the author of Problems of Democratic Transition and Consolidation: Southern Europe, South America and Post-Communist Europe. With Linz and Yogendra Yadav he wrote Crafting State-Nations: India and Other Multinational Democracies (2011). He co-edited with Charles Taylor The Boundaries of   Toleration (2014) and with Mirjam Künkler, Democracy and Islam in Indonesia, (2013). He is the author of “ The World’s Religions and Democracy: Crafting the ‘Twin Tolerations’”.


The Governance of Religious Diversity in Malaysia: Evolving and Emerging Contestations in a ‘Plural Society’

Che Wan Ahmad Zawawi  (PhD, Monash, Melbourne), a Malaysian social anthropologist, is professor, Sociology and Anthropology programme (Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences) and Institute of Asian Studies, Universiti Brunei Darussalam .He has researched and published on pluralism and globalisation in South East Asia; Malay peasantry, plantation labour and indigenous communities of Malaysia; voices of AIDS and Penan storytelling; Identity, ethnicity and multiculturalism in Sarawak, Borneo; new media and civil society in Malaysia, and Contemporary Malaysian popular music (including Nasyid) and new Malaysian cinema. His current research is on contemporary Islamic cinema in Indonesia and Malaysia.

The Governance of Religious Diversity in India: Some Reflections

Rochana Bajpai is Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in the Department of Politics at SOAS University of London. She received her graduate degrees from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi and the University of Oxford and has held research positions at Oxford. Her work has largely centred on India, and examined the politics of religion and caste with reference to constitutional and policy debates. Her first book Debating Difference: Group Rights and Liberal Democracy in India (2011, third impression 2014), demonstrated the importance of the practice of argument and debate in the context of demands of group equality and national unity. Bajpai’s current research funded by a Leverhulme Research Fellowship (2013-15), explores the theory and practice of political representation with particular reference to minority representation in Indian Parliament. She has also written on comparative affirmative action, with a focus on policy debates in India and Malaysia, as well as approaches to comparative political thought.

Governing Religious Diversity through Principled Pragmatism. The Case of Australia

Geoffrey Brahm Levey is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow and Associate Professor in Political Science at the University of New South Wales, Sydney. His recent publications include, as editor, Authenticity, Autonomy and Multiculturalism (Routledge 2015) and The Politics of Citizenship in Immigrant Democracies: The Experience of the United States, Canada and Australia, with Ayelet Shachar (Routledge 2015). He is co-editor of Secularism, Religion and Multicultural Citizenship, with Tariq Modood (Cambridge University Press, 2008).

14:15-16:15 The Politics of Religious Diversity: Areas of Tension and Examples of Accommodation

Freedom of Religion in Europe: Finding the golden mean between too little and too much protection

Marie-Claire Foblets, Lic. Iur., Lic. Phil., Ph.D. Anthrop. (Belgium) is professor of Law at the Universities of Leuven (Louvain in Belgium) and since 2012 also Director of the Department of ‘Law & Anthropology’ at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle/Saale (Germany). She has held various visiting professorships both within and outside Europe. She has conducted extensive research and published widely on issues of migration law, including the elaboration of European migration law after the Treaty of Amsterdam, citizenship/nationality laws, compulsory integration, anti-racism and non-discrimination, etc. In the Field of anthropology of law, her research focuses on cultural diversity and legal practice, with a particular interest in the application of Islamic family law in Europe, and more recently in the accommodation of cultural and religious diversity under State law.

Islamism vs Freedom of Religion in Turkey. The JDP’s regulation of religious diversity

Haldun Gülalp taught sociology at Hamilton College (NY) and Boğaziçi University (Istanbul) and held visiting positions at George Washington University, Northwestern University, Oxford University, UCLA, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and others. He recently retired as professor of political science from Yıldız Technical University (Istanbul) and currently chairs the Global Studies and Class Strategies (GSCS) Research Group in Istanbul, Turkey. He has published widely in the fields of political sociology, sociology of religion, secularism and citizenship.

16:30-18:30 Governing Religious Diversity and Gender Relations

Chairperson: Anna Triandafyllidou, EUI

Governing Religious Diversity in Malaysia: The Gender Dimension

Helen Ting Mu Hung (PhD in Political Science, Sciences Po, Paris) is a research fellow at the Institute of Malaysian and International Studies (IKMAS), National University of Malaysia (UKM). Her research interests include the politics of national identity, national integration, and history education. Among her publications are “Race paradigm and nation-building”, “Social cohesion in Malaysia”, “Gender Discourse in Malay Politics: Old Wine in New Bottle?”, and a co-edited book with Susan Blackburn, Women in Southeast Asian Nationalist Movements – A biographical Approach.


The Monopoly of Jewish Orthodoxy in Israel and Its Effects on the Status of Women

Raphael Cohen-Almagor received his DPhil in political theory from Oxford University. He is Professor and Chair in Politics, University of Hull. He was member of the Israel Press Council; Founder and Director of the Center for Democratic Studies, University of Haifa, and Founder and Director of the Hull Middle East Study Group. Raphael was Fulbright-Yitzhak Rabin Visiting Professor at UCLA School of Law, Visiting Professor at Johns Hopkins University, and Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Among his more recent books are The Right to Die with Dignity (2001), Speech, Media and Ethics (2001, 2005), The Scope of Tolerance (2006, 2007), and Confronting the Internet’s Dark Side (2015). Web: http://www.hull.ac.uk/rca. Blog: http://almagor.blogspot.com  

Friday 12 June 2015

9:00-11:00 The Governance of Religious Plurality in the Middle East

Chairperson: Nida Alahmad, EUI

Islamic Ethics, and Democracy: Why Did the “Turkish Model” Fail?

Ahmet T. Kuru is an associate professor of political science at San Diego State University. He received his PhD from the University of Washington and was a postdoctoral scholar at Columbia University. Kuru is the author of Secularism and State Policies toward Religion: The United States, France, and Turkey (Cambridge University Press), which was given the distinguished book award from the SSSR and translated into Turkish and Arabic. He is also the co-editor (with Alfred Stepan) of Democracy, Islam, and Secularism in Turkey (Columbia University Press). His recent publications include “Authoritarianism and Democracy in Muslim Countries: Rentier States and Regional Diffusion,” Political Science Quarterly (Fall 2014).

Citizen Sect: Religion as a reified order for managing Lebanon’s diversity

Maha Yahya is a senior associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center focusing on issues of citizenship, pluralism and social justice as a major component of the political change in the Arab world. Yahya joined Carnegie from the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, where she worked on social justice and participatory development. Prior to ESCWA she worked with a host of international agencies, as well as public and private sector institutions. Her areas of expertise include socioeconomic development, post-conflict reconstruction, and citizenship issues in a number of countries including Lebanon, Pakistan, Oman, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. Yahya holds two doctorates in the social sciences and humanities from the Architectural Association in London and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Among other publications, she is director and principal author of The Promises of Spring: Citizenship and Civic Engagement in Democratic Transitions (2013); director and principal author of The Lebanon National Human Development Report: Toward a Citizen’s State (2009); and co-editor of Secular Publicities: Visual Practices and the Transformation of National Publics in the Middle East and South Asia (2010).

11:30-13:30 Roundtable: Identifying Battlefields for the Next Decade

Chairperson: Anna Triandafyllidou, EUI


Olivier Roy (1949) is currently joint-chair at the RSCAS and SPS department of the EUI. Previously he has been senior researcher at the French CNRS and Professor at the EHESS (Paris). He headed the OSCE’s Mission for Tajikistan (1993-94) and was a Consultant for the UN Office of the Coordinator for Afghanistan (1988).

He has been heading the ERC funded project “ReligioWest” since 2011. His field works include Political Islam, Middle East, Islam in the West and comparative religions.

Prof. Roy received an “Agrégation de Philosophie”  (1972) and a Ph.D. in Political Sciences. In 2008-2009 he has been a visiting Professor at Berkeley University.

He is the author, among other books, of “Globalized Islam” (Columbia University Press), 2004,  and “Holy Ignorance” (Oxford UP), 2010. His last book is “En Quête de l’Orient perdu” (Seuil 2014). He is presently working on “Islamic norms in the public sphere”, conversions and apostasy and comparative religions.


Bhikhu Parekh is an eminent political theorist in Britain and an active member in the House of Lords. Educated at the Universities of Bombay and London, he taught at the London School of Economics and the University of Glasgow before taking up a long term position at the University of Hull. Between 1981 and 1984 he was Vice-Chancellor at the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda in India. He also held the Centennial Professorship in the Centre for the Study of Global Governance at the London School of Economics and a professorship of political philosophy at the University of Westminster. In 2002, he served as president of the Academy of Learned Societies in the Social Sciences. Parekh has also served on the Commission for Racial Equality (including a spell as Vice-Chairman) and has held membership of a number of bodies concerned with issues of racial equality and multiculturalism – most notably as Chairman of the Commission on the Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain from 1998 to 2000. The report of this body (often referred to as the “Parekh Report”) has been the basis for much of the debate on multiculturalism in the UK in the early 21st century.  Lord Parekh is the author of several books on political philosophy, the latest being A New Politics of Identity: Political Principles for an Interdependent World (2008). He is Vice-President of The Gandhi Foundation, a trustee of the Anne Frank Educational Trust, and a member of the National Commission on Equal Opportunity. Professor Parekh has received many awards throughout his distinguished career including the BBC’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 1999; the Sir Isaiah Berlin Prize for Lifetime Contribution to Political Philosophy by the Political Studies Association (2002); and the Padma Bhushan honours in the 2007 Indian Republic Day Honours list.

Effie Fokas

Effie Fokas is a Research Fellow at the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP), where she is Principal Investigator of the European Research Council-funded research programme on Religious Pluralism and Grassroots Mobilisations in the Shadow of European Court of Human Rights Religious Freedoms Jurisprudence (Grassrootsmobilise). She was founding Director of the London School of Economics Forum on Religion (2008-1012) and is currently Research Associate of the LSE Hellenic Observatory.