Perparim Uxhi

Religious illiteracy, religious minorities, and religious diplomacy. 

A legal analysis of the European Union’s action on the protection and promotion of religious minority rights as a way to combat religious illiteracy 

Perparim Uxhi

perparim.uxhi@unimore.it

The ignorance about the doctrines and practices of religious minorities easily generates tensions and conflicts. However, religious illiteracy is not only a matter of insufficient information and knowledge, but also a matter of exclusion of that religion from participation in the public life and the possibility to contribute in its own way to the building of an inclusive and cohesive society. Therefore, the antidote to this kind of illiteracy consists in creating the political, legal and social conditions that allow religious minorities to manifest their identity in the public space and contribute to the pursuing of the common good. The European Union’s “religious diplomacy” – an expression that encompasses diplomatic, political and legal actions – aimed at promoting minority rights within and outside the EU borders has a significant impact on the issue of religious illiteracy. By reversing the prevailing approach which considers EU internal and external actions separately, this research will jointly consider both of them as it is not possible to advocate for the respect of religious minority rights outside the EU borders without advocating the same rights within the EU borders. Therefore, the research question of this project can be formulated in the following terms: how has the EU, through its internal and external action of “religious diplomacy”, been able to address the demands of religious minorities and to answer the quest for religious literacy?