Religious Diversity and Education for Democratic Citizenship: The Contribution of the Council of Europe

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Abstract

Issues about the study of religion in public education are being discussed internationally as never before. The discussions include not only specialists in religion but also many outside the professional field of religious education – politicians, civil servants, NGOs and other groups within civil society as well as educators concerned with fields such as citizenship and intercultural education. This is partly due to the global attention given to religion as a result of the events of September 11, 2001 in the United States, their causes, on-going consequences and associated incidents that have affected people in many parts of the world. In Europe, it also relates to the challenge of transcultural diversities (Robins, 2006) and the growing climate of racism in some states (MacEwen, 1995), much of it directed against Muslims, exacerbated by 9/11 and its consequences (Modood, Triandafyllidou, & Zapata-Barrero, 2006).