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Pluralism and Religious Freedom in Orthodox Countries in Europe (PLUREL)
Start date: Sep 1, 2010, End date: Feb 28, 2013 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"A snapshot of European societies today reveals the importance of religious minority treatment and the grave potential that the latter can carry for instability and even social unrest in a situation of rapidly increasing religious diversity. Most conspicuous are the reactions of Muslim groups against what they perceive to be intolerant majorities, but other (less attended by the mass media) religious minority reactions are no less compelling in localities across Europe. A lack of spaces for worship (and especially of mosques), and other such limitations of religious freedoms form a fundamental aspect of religious minority experiences in Europe. Such limitations of religious freedoms are particularly prominent in Orthodox majority countries in Europe, where poor track records in terms of religious freedoms violations are evident in the disproportionately high number of religious freedoms convictions against Orthodox majority states in the European Court of Human Rights. What is the reason behind this state of affairs? Is there something intrinsic to Orthodoxy as a religious and social institution that makes it intolerant towards minorities? Or are there historical and political particularities in individual Orthodox majority countries that underlie the barriers to religious freedoms in each case? The proposed project seeks to understand and explain limitations of religious freedoms for minority faith groups in majority Orthodox countries in Europe. It will entail systematic, comparative, empirical and interdisciplinary research on the instances and nature of religious rights violations in Orthodox contexts, and on the factors and mechanisms influencing the latter. As such, in policy terms it will contribute to our understanding of the healthy balance point between the principle of subsidiarity, on the one hand and of pluralism, on the other. Further, this study of Orthodox context offers important insights for theories of secularisation and of multiple modernities."

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