Living together : case studies of the extent and ways in which interreligious associations in France promote human rights and democracy

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Coral, Audrey
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In multi-religious and multi-cultural modern societies, the interreligious dialogue can be used as an instrument of diplomacy at the international, national and local level, to ensure peace and social cohesion, promote the right of religious minorities and the freedom of thought, conscience and religion but also to transmit the values of democracy in order to strengthen the living together. In France, interreligious associations operate in the framework of laïcité, entrenched in the 1905 law that institutionalized the separation of the state and the churches, and under the auspices of religious institutions sometimes criticized for not implementing human rights. This thesis analyses how and to what extent four French interreligious associations promote human rights and democracy. The first part of the thesis explains how the different historical, political and social contexts, impacts the human right approach of the various interreligious organizations created since the end of the Second World War. From the Philo-Semitism and the Jews-Christians’ dialogue established just after the war, to the end of the French decolonization in the 1960’s when North African Muslim and Jewish immigrants settled down in France, inaugurating a Christianity/Islam relationship, and the latest development in 1990’s when the three Abrahamic religions collaborate, history shows an evolution in the ways human rights are encompassed. The second part analyses the four case studies. The Amitié Judéo Chrétienne de France uses interreligious dialogue to reconciliate Christians and Jews, fighting against past and present anti- Semitism. The Fraternité d’Abraham gathers Christians, Muslims and Jews to promote peace in the Middle East and some economic and social rights. The last case studies are the Amitié Judéo- Musulmane de France and C.I.E.U.X. Created in the 2000’s, the two associations emphasize the values of democracy and human rights. They address minorities and the youth especially, but use different methods to fight against discrimination and achieve the living together. Finally, this thesis analyses the outcomes suggesting avenues for future research about how the state of France increasingly supports interreligious initiatives to promote human rights and democracy, thus maybe developing what may be called a new laïcité.
Second semester University: University of Southern Denmark/Danish Institute for Human Rights
religion, multiculturalism, France, intercultural relations, human rights, freedom of religion, religious minorities, democracy, social cohesion