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Religion and State in Belgium

This article focuses on the complex question of state-religion relations in Belgium and examines definition of laicism/secularism in the constitutional or juridical texts to show the main characteristics of official discourses. It also looks at how the state manages religious institutions and education in a secular context with reference to public funding and curriculum issues. This article comes to a conclusion by analysing the position of Islam and Muslims in Belgium.

Religion and State in Belgium
Sikh immigrants protest on October 28, 2014 in Brussels against the closure of the Guru Nanak Sahib Sikh temple in Vilvoorde. AFP PHOTO / BELGA / KRISTOF VAN ACCOM
 

Church and State relationships in Belgium are largely governed by the Constitution of 1831, an historic compromise between Catholics and Liberals. Constitutional rights and liberties also apply to various religious matters, for example freedom of education (Article 24) or freedom of the press (Article 25). The Belgian constitution of 1831 does not define the relationships between religion and the State. But the Constitution does specifically provide for the freedom of religion as such. Four specific articles are devoted to this topic.

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