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Orthodox Christianity and Human Rights in Europe

A Dialogue Between Theological Paradigms and Socio-Legal Pragmatics



This collective book aims at examining in what terms, and to what extent, the "reception" of the Human Rights doctrine takes place in Eastern Orthodox countries, as well as in the Orthodox diaspora. A series of questions are raised regarding the resources and theological structures that are mobilized in the overall Human Rights’ debate and controversy, the theological "interpretation" of Human Rights within the Eastern Orthodox spiritual tradition, and the similarities and/or divergences of this "interpretation", compared to the other Christian confessions. Special attention is given to the various Orthodox actors on the international arena, aside the national Orthodox churches, which participate in the Ecumenical dialogue, as well as the dialogue with the European and international institutions.

Religious freedom, as a fundamental Human right, guaranteed by the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR), constitutes a key-issue that contributes to broadening the reflections on the overall Human Rights-related problematic between East and West, by shading light on the more complex issue pertaining to the conceptualization and implementation of Human Rights in countries belonging to the Eastern Orthodox tradition.

The present volume studies the diversity that characterizes the Orthodox theological traditions and interpretations regarding Human Rights, not only in terms of an "external", or a "strategical" approach of socio-political and ecclesial nature, but also through a reflexive analysis of theological discourses.

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How Can One Both Apply Sharia Law in Greece and Deny Building a Mosque in Athens? (Dimitris Christopoulos)


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How Can One Both Apply Sharia Law in Greece and Deny Building a Mosque in Athens?1


Why does building a mosque in Athens appear like a “mission impossible”? What makes the Greek State so rigid in this regard, whereas the former seems rather tolerant vis-à-vis the application of the Sharia by its Muslim-Turkish minority? Why is it that, in Greece’s Western Thrace, the region inhabited by this minority, ever since the former has been annexed to Greece, function approximately 300 mosques and mescits2 for a number of one hundred thousand Greek citizens of Muslim faith, whereas there is no mosque functioning in any other part of the country? What might explain this prima facie paradoxical situation at the second decade of the 21th century? The present chapter attempts to bring an answer to all the above mentioned questions. ← 137 | 138 →

1.  Introduction: Islam as a local alien

Despite essentialist judgments and easy stereotyping, Islam is not alien to Greece, or, at least, it should not be regarded as such. Islam and Orthodoxy share centuries of cohabitation on Greek soil, either in terms of peaceful coexistence, or in terms of revival and violent antagonism. Still, it is only over the last years that the Greek legal Academia has delivered significant work on the position of Islam into the Greek legal order. Of paramount importance in this production comes the work of K. Tsitselikis3, which traces...

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