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  • Print publication year: 2013
  • Online publication date: May 2013

Introduction by Bryan S. Turner


Introduction: The Westphalian System

Although religion and politics may appear to belong to different orders of social reality, they are in fact intimately connected. For example, the church and the state make significant, often contradictory, claims upon believers and citizens, and often they are exclusive. citizens may not be permitted to have dual citizenship in two separate states and few citizens have the luxury of possessing several passports. Religions often claim to possess a universal Truth that rules out adherence to other faiths. Apostasy may be regarded as a serious crime and conversion to another faith may, in some societies, be illegal. While the tension between religion and politics has a long history, with contemporary globalization conflicts between religions and between religion and politics are set to become more, rather than less, problematic. To take one recent well-known example, in 2012, a network of anti-Muslim conservatives in california produced an amateurish film on Youtube which presented offensive images of the Prophet. When this product was eventually translated into Arabic in the days leading up to September 11, it caused a global conflict spreading across the Muslim world. this event, though tragic, is now a common problem of international relations.

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