(C13) Integration of Muslims as a Factor of Transformation for the Relationship between Church and State in Great Britain?

In all European countries, church and state relations are a matter strongly shaped by history, which is under pressure to change due to the arrival of Muslim immigrants. For France and Germany freedom of religion and the prohibition against discrimination on religious grounds are to be seen as legal instruments which deal with this process of change. For the United Kingdom the question has not been investigated more closely.

The historical experiences unique to each European country have produced different models in the different countries of the relationship between spiritual and worldly power, ranging from the strict laicistic separation along the lines of the French model to the national church structures in Great Britain. In France and Germany, questions about the integration of Muslims are frequently treated from the point of view of religious freedom and the prohibition against discrimination. This is certainly also due to the fact that the institutional law regulating the relationship between spiritual and worldly power was always connected to the Christian churches and came about in accordance with their requirements or consciously in repudiation of them.

An investigation into the relationship between the structures of institutional church and state relations and the basic right of freedom of religion appears of interest especially for the United Kingdom, since religious tolerance has a long historical tradition there, but at the same time the national church structures of the Anglican church appear to be necessarily in conflict with a consistently neutral position by the state. What are the concrete instruments with which these conflicting aims are reconciled? Are the patterns of argument used in constitutional law also effective here or is it possible in the United Kingdom to find solutions to the religious aspect of the integration problem that operate outside of strict legal structures and patterns of argument? A comparative analysis that contrasts the English development to the French and German does not only promise to explain the various mechanisms of integration but would also deepen the understanding of the countries’ respective legal thinking.