2015 | 18 | 85-97
Article title

Cities of Refuge: Harassing Nation-States’ Legal Systems for a More Inclusive Religious Stance

Title variants
„Miasta Schronienia”: nękanie systemów prawnych państw narodowych o bardziej inkluzywną postawę religijną
Languages of publication
On 2 September 2004, at the start of the new school year in France, a law was enacted banning all religious symbols and garb in public schools. The media interpreted this law as focused on the khimar (headscarves) that Muslim girls wear as part of hijab (modesty). On 14 September 2010, a ban on covering one's face in public followed. Such legal action, limiting religious freedom, is gaining traction among European nation-states partly due to their inability to deal with religious diversity in a constructive way, partly fuelled by a fear of religious extremism. According to the developing study of complexity theory in philosophy, however, dealing with religious diversity in such a way will only lead to a larger rift between nation-states and religious extremists; decreasing the meaningfulness and limiting the resilience of societies. This paper, attempts to track ways around such limiting legal moves by revisiting Derrida’s 1996 speech at the International Parliament of Writers published as On Cosmopolitanism. Employing an idea from Derrida’s address and supplementing it with one from Žižek, I will show how cities might become spaces that challenge austere and protective legal measures, enacted against religions, by European nation-states.
W dniu 2 września 2004 roku, na początku nowego roku szkolnego, została we Francji uchwalona ustawa zakazująca noszenia ostentacyjnych symboli i strojów religijnych w szkołach publicznych. Media przyjęły, że zakaz ten koncentruje się na chustach (khimar), które muzułmańskie dziewczynki noszą jako część hidżabu. W dniu 14 września 2010 roku, wszedł w życie kolejny zakaz obejmujący zakrywanie twarzy w miejscach publicznych. Tego rodzaju działania, ograniczające wolność religijną, zyskują zwolenników w państwach europejskich. Dzieje się tak częściowo ze względu na trudności w radzeniu sobie z różnorodnością religijną w sposób konstruktywny, a częściowo napędzane jest przez strach wobec religijnego ekstremizmu. Jednakże według rozwijających się badań teorii złożoności w filozofii, radzenie sobie z różnorodnością religijną w taki sposób, doprowadzi jedynie do radykalizacji podziałów społecznych.
  • Department of Christian Dogmatics and Ethics, University of Pretoria, RSA
  • Berdoulay, Vincent, and Olivier Soubeyran. “Reflexive Strategies in Planning for Adaptation to Environmental Change.” L’Espace Géographique (English Edition) Volume 41, no. 2 (June 01, 2013): 162-73.
  • Cilliers, Paul. Complexity and Postmodernism: Understanding Complex Systems. London; New York: Routledge, 1998.
  • Cilliers, Paul. “Difference, Identity, and Complexity.” Philosophy Today 54, no. 1 (2010): 55-65. doi:10.5840/philtoday201054135.
  • Cunnnig-Bruce, Nick, and Steven Erlanger. “Swiss Ban Building of Minarets on Mosques.” New York Times, November 30, 2009.
  • Derrida, Jacques. On Cosmopolitanism and Forgiveness. New York: Routledge, 2004.
  • Erlanger, Steven. “France Enforces Ban on Full-Face Veils in Public.” New York Times, April 12, 2011.
  • Ferrari, Silvio. “Between ‘geo-Law’ and ‘theo-Law’. Considerations on Religions as Transnational Centres of Identity.” In Proceedings of the EUREL Conference “Religion and Territory,” edited by Anne-Laure Zwilling. Manchester, UK, 2012.
  • Guardiola-Rivera, O. “Law, Globalisation, and Second Coming.” Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge 11, no. 1 (2013): 33-56.
  • “Iranians Rename Danish Pastries.” BBC News, February 17, 2006.
  • Isin, Engin F. “City.State: Critique of Scalar Thought.” Citizenship Studies 11, no. 2 (May 2007): 211-28. doi:10.1080/13621020701262644.
  • Lefebvre, Henri. Writings on Cities. Edited and translated by Eleonore Kofman and Elizabeth Lebas. Cambridge, Mass.: Blackwell, 1996.
  • Leustean, Lucian N., and John T. S. Madeley. “Religion, Politics and Law in the European Union: An Introduction 1.” Religion, State and Society 37, no. 1-2 (March 2009): 3-18. doi:10.1080/09637490802693072.
  • Milton-Smith, Melissa. “Installing the Game: Gameplay in the Installation T_Visionarium.” Symploke 17, no. 1-2 (2009): 197-203. doi:10.1353/sym.2009.0021.
  • Nielsen, Jørgen S. “Islam and Secular Values in Europe: From Canon to Chaos?” In Religion, Rights and Secular Society, edited by Peter Cumper and Tom Lewis, 271-92. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2012. doi:10.4337/9781781953495.
  • Petrig, Anna. “Expansion of Swiss Criminal Jurisdiction in Light of International Law, The.” Utrecht Law Review 9 (2013).
  • Sciolino, Elaine. “The Reach of War: Religious Symbols; Ban on Head Scarves Takes Effect in a United France.” New York Times, September 03, 2004.
  • Sucharitkul, Sompong. “Liability and Responsibility of the State of Registration or the Flag State in Respect of Sea-Going Vessels, Aircraft and Spacecraft Registered by National Registration Authorities.” The American Journal of Comparative Law 54, no. Fall (2006): 409-42.
  • Swyngedouw, Erik. “Post-Democratic Cities for Whom and for What.” In Regional Studies Association Annual Conference. Budapest, 2010.
  • “US Congress Opts for ‘Freedom Fries’.” BBC News, March 12, 2003.
  • Ward, Graham. “Christian Political Practice and the Global City.” Journal of Theology for Southern Africa 123, no. November (2005): 29-41.
  • Wilson, Edward O. Sociobiology: The New Synthesis. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2000.
  • Žižek, Slavoj. Violence: Six Sideways Reflections. New York: Picador, 2008.
Document Type
Publication order reference
YADDA identifier
JavaScript is turned off in your web browser. Turn it on to take full advantage of this site, then refresh the page.