ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Freedom of Religion

The time is now opportune to argue forcefully that the best guardian of freedom of religion, and the most effective guarantor that unfair conversions, particularly on a collective basis, shall not take place, will be not the state but civil society, or, better still, the two in association. This is at the moment only an idea: it will need serious effort to work it out, particularly if communal dissensions are acute as they are now. Also to be kept in mind is the issue of the role of the secular state in other contexts. Secularism, understood as the attitude of mutual toleration among the religious communities comprising the nation, and of neutrality or non-discrimination on the part of the state in its dealings with the citizens, irrespective of their religious identity, apparently protects freedom of religion. Two problems must be addressed, however. First, is the secular state neutral through engagement, that is by being respectful towards all religions, or through disengagement, that is by erecting a wall, as it were, between itself and the religious life of the citizens? Secondly, what is involved in a community's conception of the profession and practice of its religion?

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