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Beyond Religious FreedomThe New Global Politics of Religion$
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Elizabeth Shakman Hurd

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780691166094

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691166094.001.0001

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Minorities under Law

Minorities under Law

(p.85) Chapter 5 Minorities under Law
Beyond Religious Freedom

Elizabeth Shakman Hurd

Princeton University Press

This chapter explores the implications of adopting religion as a category to draw together individuals and communities as corporate bodies that are depicted as in need of legal protection to achieve their freedom. It draws on an extended case study of the Alevis in Turkey. Ongoing uncertainty about the legal and religious status of the Alevis opens a space in which to explore claims to the category of religious minority, constructs of religious freedom, and the implications of contemporary legal approaches to managing religious difference. The chapter begins with a short introduction to the Alevis, a social group that was formally constituted as a single community relatively recently as part of the Turkish nation-building project. It then evaluates two legal definitions of Alevism by the Turkish state and the European Court of Human Rights. These distinct institutional contexts produce different constructions of Alevism with significant legal and political implications for arbitrating major social issues in Turkey, such as who is a Muslim, who is a minority, and what is religion.

Keywords:   religious freedom, religion, Alevis, Turkey, religious minority, Alevism

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