Legal personality, minority religions and religious accommodation in Eastern Europe

Mcfaul, Hugh (2017). Legal personality, minority religions and religious accommodation in Eastern Europe. Culture and Society. Journal of Social Research, 8(2) pp. 13–30.



An important aspect of religious accommodation in the public sphere is the willingness or otherwise of the State to accommodate religious groups, as well as individuals professing religious beliefs. The accommodation of religion in the public sphere can depend upon law and policy makers choosing to recognise certain beliefs and practices as religious beliefs and practices and, in certain contexts, this recognition is contingent upon religious groups acquiring legal personality. Achieving this recognition has proved to be problematic for minority religious groups, especially in Eastern European jurisdictions.
This paper seeks to consider State responses to regulating minority religions, including new religious movements, in Eastern Europe by reference to a number of recent cases before the European Court of Human Rights. It will pay particular attention to the extent to which approaches to the acquisition of legal personality for religious groups may restrict or undermine religious freedom and accommodation.

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