Religious segregation: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Religious segregation is the separation of people according to their religion. The term has been applied to cases of religious-based segregation occurring as a social phenomenon,[1] as well as to segregation arising from laws, whether explicit or implicit.[2]

The similar term religious apartheid has also been used for situations where people are separated based on religion,[3] including sociological phenomena.[4]


Bosnia and Herzegovina

Jonathan Steele of The Guardian has argued that Bosnia and Herzegovina is "a dependent, stifled, apartheid regime". In his view, the U.N. control of Bosnia under the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, which he described as "UN-sanctioned liberal imperialism", creates "dependency, stifles civil society, and produces a highly visible financial apartheid in which an international salariat lords it over a war-wounded and jobless local population."[5]


Indian society is divided into several thousands of caste and sub-caste. In the Indian caste system, a Dalit, often called an untouchable, or an outcaste, is a person who according to traditional Hindu belief does not have any "varnas". In the context of traditional Hindu society, Dalit status has often been historically associated with occupations regarded as ritually impure, such as any occupation involving killing, handling of animal cadavers or night soil (human feces). As a result, Dalits were commonly banned and segregated from full participation in Hindu social life (they could not enter the premises of a temple), while elaborate precautions were observed to prevent incidental contact between Dalits and other Hindus.[6]

The Indian Constitution has outlawed caste-based discrimination, in keeping with the socialist, secular, democratic principles that founded the nation.[7] Caste barriers have mostly broken down in large cities,[8] though persist in rural areas of the country. The caste system, in various forms, does continue to play a major role in the Indian society and politics.[9][10] With the prominence of Hindu reform movements in the 19th century, as well as the rising political power of Dalits in Independent India, Constitutional Laws have been passed banning the practice of segregation of Dalits, and affirmative action has been implemented in an attempt to equalize the historical imbalance and underrepresentation of Dalits in society.


Islam is the official religion of Iran, which is a theocracy led by an Ayatollah, a clerical position. Iran consigns non-Muslim monotheists to the status of dhimmis, both officially and by custom.[11] The U.S. State Department has identified "reports of imprisonment, harassment, intimidation, and discrimination based on religious beliefs" in Iran.[12]

The Muslim Network for Bahá'í Rights has reported cases of Bahá'í students being expelled from university due to their religion.[13][14][15] According to the Times Higher Education, Bahá'í educators are required to renounce their faith in order to teach in Iranian universities.[16] Bahá'í is not among the recognized "recognized religious minorities" in the Constitution of Iran.[17] The Bahá'í faith is considered apostate in Iran[18][19] because it believes in a prophet (Bahá'u'lláh) more recent than Muhammad.[20]

Saudi Arabia

Road sign on a highway into Mecca, stating that one direction is "muslims only" while another direction is "obligatory for non-muslims". Religious police are stationed beyond the turnoff on the main road to prevent non-Muslims from proceeding into Mecca.[21]

Prior to March 1, 2004, the official Saudi government website stated that Jews were forbidden from entering the country.[22][23][24]

In the Holy Cities of Mecca and Medina, both of which are located in Saudi Arabia, only Muslims are allowed. Non-Muslims may not enter or travel through Mecca; attempting to enter Mecca as a non-Muslim can result in penalties such as a fine;[21] being in Mecca as a non-Muslim can result in deportation.[25]

This restriction has caused problems for Western companies providing services in these cities, as they must hire only Muslims to perform work within the city, or else find ways for its employees to do their work from outside city limits. Bell Canada, which provided telephone service to Mecca and Medina in the 1980s,[26] had offices outside city limits to house its non-Muslim employees.[27] The company was brought before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal in the late 1970s for discriminating in employment on the basis of religion (as well as gender).[28]

United Kingdom

London is more segregated on religious grounds than by race. 25% of London's seven million residents live in religiously segregated neighbourhoods out of choice, not by law.[29][30]

See also


  1. ^ Knox, H. M. (10 1973). "Religious Segregation in the Schools of Northern Ireland". British Journal of Educational Studies.  "...[S]egregated schooling, although in theory open to all, is in practice availed of by virtually only one denomination...." Also refers to pre-Partition religious schools which retained their exclusively Catholic demographics after Partition.
  2. ^ Norgren, Jill; Nanda, Serena (2006). American Cultural Pluralism and Law. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 132. ISBN 0275986926. , quoting U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in Board of Education of Kiryas Joel Village School District v. Grumet: "...[D]rawing school district lines along the religious lines of the village impermissibly involved the state in accomplishing the religious segregation."
  3. ^ Akkaro, Anta (2000-09-01). "Pakistan's Christians Demand End to 'Religious Apartheid' at Polls". Christianity Today. Retrieved 2008-08-18. 
  4. ^ "Religion In Schools". The Big Debate. 2008-01-29. 0:09:29 and 0:11:52 minutes in. , in which Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain says (at 0:09:29): "If you have separate Jewish, Catholic, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu schools, essentially you’re segregating children, you’re separating children" and (at 0:11:52): "It’s a religious apartheid society we’re creating."
  5. ^ Steele, Jonathan. Today's Bosnia: a dependent, stifled, apartheid regime. The Guardian, November 11, 2005.
  6. ^ India: ‘Hidden Apartheid’ of Discrimination Against Dalits (Human Rights Watch, 13-2-2007)
  7. ^ BBC profile, India
  8. ^ BBC, Religion and ethics, Hinduism
  9. ^ Bayly, Susan (July 1999). Caste, Society and Politics in India from the Eighteenth Century to the Modern Age. Cambridge University Press. doi:10.2277/0521264340. ISBN 9780521264341. 
  10. ^ "Caste-Based Parties". Retrieved 2007-05-17. 
  11. ^ International Federation for Human Rights (2003-08-01). "Discrimination against religious minorities in Iran". Retrieved 2006-10-20. 
  12. ^ U.S. Department of State (2005-09-15). "International Religious Freedom Report 2006 - Iran". U.S. Department of State. Retrieved 2006-11-08. 
  13. ^ "Baha’i children in Egypt not being admitted to schools because of their faith". Muslim Network for Bahá'í Rights. Retrieved 2008-08-03. 
  14. ^ "School's Out for the Bahá'ís". Mideast Youth. Retrieved 2008-08-03. 
  15. ^ "Confidential Iran memo exposes policy to deny Bahá'í students university education". Bahá'í World News Service. Retrieved 2008-08-03. 
  16. ^ "Segregation in Iran". Times Higher Education. TSL Education Ltd.. Retrieved 2008-08-03. 
  17. ^ "Discrimination against religious minorities in IRAN". FIDH. p. 6. Retrieved 2008-08-03. 
  18. ^ "Iran: Religious minority reports arson attacks". Persian Journal. Retrieved 2008-08-03. 
  19. ^ "Islam and apostasy". The Religion Report. ABC Radio National (Australia). Retrieved 2008-08-05. 
  20. ^ "Bahá'í believers know freedom and oppression". Clarion Ledger. Retrieved 2008-08-03. 
  21. ^ a b Sandra Mackey's account of her attempt to enter Mecca in Mackey, Sandra (1987). The Saudis: Inside the Desert Kingdom. W. W. Norton & Company. pp. 63–64. ISBN 0393324176. 
  22. ^ "The official tourism website stated that Jews were banned from entering the country; however, it was not enforced in practice." United States Department of State. Saudi Arabia, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices - 2004, February 28, 2005.
  23. ^ "Jews barred, said Saudi Web site". CNN. February 28, 2004. Retrieved 2008-06-02. 
  24. ^ at the Internet Archive
  25. ^ Cuddihy, Kathy (2001). An A To Z Of Places And Things Saudi. Stacey International. pp. 148. ISBN 1900988402. 
  26. ^ Orr, David (1987-11-12). "BCI One Year Extension Of Saudi Contract". Bell Canada Enterprises. 
  27. ^ Mackey, Sandra (1987). The Saudis: Inside the Desert Kingdom. pp. 63–64. 
  28. ^ "In the matter of the complaint of Canadian Human Rights Commission alleging discrimination in employment by Bell Canada". Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. 1981-01-30. 
  29. ^ London's neighbourhoods 'segregated by religion'
  30. ^ Britain 'sleepwalking to segregation'

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