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Schonthal, Benjamin, Moustafa, Tamir, Nelson, Matthew J. and Shankar, Shylashri (2016) 'Is the Rule of Law an Antidote for Religious Tension? The Promise and Peril of Judicializing Religious Freedom.' American Behavioral Scientist, 60 (8). pp. 966-986.

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Although “rule of law” is often regarded as a solution for religious conflict, this article analyzes the role of legal processes and institutions in hardening boundaries and sharpening antagonisms among religious communities. Using case studies from Sri Lanka, India, Malaysia, and Pakistan, we highlight four specific mechanisms through which legal procedures, structures, and instruments can further polarize already existing religious conflicts. These mechanisms include the procedural requirements and choreography of litigation (Sri Lanka), the strategic use of legal language and court judgments by political and socioreligious groups (India), the activities of partisan activists who mobilize around litigation (Malaysia), and the exploitation of “public order” laws in contexts framed by antagonism targeting religious minorities (Pakistan).

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: law, religion, conflict, South Asia, Malaysia
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Politics & International Studies
Legacy Departments > Faculty of Law and Social Sciences > Department of Politics and International Studies
ISSN: 00027642
Copyright Statement: © 2015 SAGE Publications. This is the version of the article accepted for publication in American Behavioral Scientist published by SAGE
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 13 Apr 2016 10:51

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