On entendra par « culte » la religion dans ses dimensions exprimées individuellement et collectivement. Le mot « culte » est privilégié dans le droit français, à la différence des autres pays qui emploient « religion ». Mais, on note que l'usage juridique de « culte » en France est fait « à la lumière » du droit des libertés. Il revient au même que « liberté de religion », expression en usage dans le droit international des droits de l'homme (P. Rolland, « Liberté religieuse et liberté des cultes dans le régime français de séparation des Eglises et de l'Etat », 2008)

On dira donc ici « culte musulman » ou « islam » au sens de religion musulmane en tant qu'elle fait l'objet de régulations publiques.

Dans le domaine de l'éducation comme dans les autres domaines, l'islam, religion de nouveaux venus en Europe occidentale (pour le gros de ses membres) depuis une cinquantaine d'années, s'est inscrit dans les régulations publiques préexistantes. Si les divers pays proclament la liberté de religion et l'égalité des individus devant l'Etat, ils ont des systèmes publics de gestion du religieux assez différenciés. Certains ont même une religion d'Etat (Danemark, Grèce). Ces différences se répercutent dans les systèmes éducatifs, lesquels sont en outre très différemment organisés, ce qui n'est pas sans conséquence sur le traitement d'éventuelles demandes de prise en compte de l'islam. On fera en première partie de l'exposé une présentation cursive des grands types de gestion de l'islam dans les systèmes éducatifs d'Europe occidentale.

 

Dans ce contexte, le système français est à la fois singulier et banal. Plus complexe en tout cas qu'une idée simple de l'idéologie républicaine pourrait le laisser attendre. C'est ce qu'on examinera en deuxième partie.

 

 

1. Données comparatives en Europe occidentale

● (1) En règle générale, les pays européens reconnaissent la liberté de l'éducation. L'école n'est pas obligatoire, c'est l'instruction qui l'est. Il est partout possible pour un collectif, voire pour une personne, d'ouvrir des établissements privés ayant des projets éducatifs spéciaux, par exemple musulmans. Il suffit de répondre à des règles générales d'hygiène, de protection des enfants et de qualification de l'encadrement. En France, l'agrément pour l'ouverture est donné conjointement par la préfecture et le rectorat (organe de direction régionale de l'Education nationale). Le financement est alors entièrement privé.

En revanche, les pays diffèrent selon la solution qu'ils accordent à une gestion scolaire de l'islam sur fonds publics.

On en trouve trois grandes variantes :

● (2) Il peut être fait une place au culte musulman dans l'enseignement public, dans le cadre d'horaires spéciaux et par des personnels spéciaux (enseignement de religion musulmane). Cela se fait par extension à l'islam d'une formule dont les religions plus anciennement implantées sont déjà bénéficiaires. La sélection des enseignants et l'établissement du curriculum sont alors les dossiers litigieux :

cas de divers Länder d'Allemagne, Belgique, Autriche

● (3) Les autorités responsables de l'éducation (Etat ou collectivités locales) peuvent subventionner des écoles musulmanes, moyennant certaines conditions portant sur les personnels enseignants et le curriculum :

cas des Bays-Bas principalement. On verra plus loin que la France offre marginalement une variante de ce cas de figure.

● (4) Enfin, les autorités responsables de l'éducation peuvent développer un enseignement destiné à tous d'éthique et culture religieuse (dénomination québécoise, pour un programme initié à la rentrée 2008, suite à la suppression des cours de religion et l'instauration d'une laïcité pluraliste), dans laquelle l'islam est présenté en tant que culture religieuse dans une matière commune avec les autres dénominations religieuses, et par des personnels non religieux. Cette formule correspond à l'évolution récente de formules antérieures d'enseignement de la religion, dans un sens inclusif et universaliste (« laïcité pluraliste » dit-on au Québec) pour faire place à l'islam notamment (mais pas exclusivement).

Outre le Québec, c'est le cas de la Grande Bretagne, et de certains Länder d'Allemagne.

 

 

2. Le cas français

L'arrivée massive de l'islam dans le paysage religieux français n'a pas amené dans le domaine scolaire un nouvel énoncé de politique.

En revanche, la situation qu'ont trouvée les musulmans est plus complexe que ne le laisse prévoir l'idéologie du modèle républicain. Il y a en effet en France deux modèles normatifs de la diversité religieuse qui s'articulent dans le domaine scolaire, et non pas un comme cela est souvent dit. Il faut penser l'existence, aux côtés du réseau qui répond au « modèle républicain », d'un important réseau d'enseignement privé, majoritairement religieux, conventionné avec l'Etat, qui accueille quelque 15% des élèves.

Dans cette configuration composite, les musulmans peuvent être à l'initiative de projets scolaires. Ils le sont en petit nombre. En dehors de ces cas, les musulmans et l'islam ne sont pas directement l'objet de politiques scolaires au sens stratégique du terme. Ils sont plutôt l'objet de réactions diverses de la part des agents scolaires sur le terrain. Ces réactions sont parfois positives, mais au total l'école française demeure en état de crispation vis-à-vis de la religion musulmane. Elle est d'ailleurs en difficulté plus largement avec la transmission des valeurs morales fondamentales : l'absence de politique à l'égard de l'islam doit aussi être mise en relation avec les grandes règles qui président en France à la sélection et à la gestion des apprentissages scolaires.

Au total,

- La variante (1) est réalisée, mais donne généralement lieu à conflit localement

- La variante (2) est exclue, au nom de la laïcité du programme enseigné dans l'enseignement public

- La variante (3) est possible par « régularisation » de situations d'établissements correspondant au cas (1), au bout d'au moins cinq ans de fonctionnement

- La variante (4) a été discutée, mais n'est pas mise en place.

Le développement ci-après donne une description plus détaillée des dynamiques observées.

 

 

1. Modèles scolaires normatifs de la diversité religieuse en France.

Il n'y a pas en France un modèle normatif central qui régulerait l'expression scolaire de la diversité religieuse, mais au moins deux, bien distincts et résultant chacun d'une histoire politique et institutionnelle spécifique. Ils sont dotés chacun d'une consistance institutionnelle forte. Le principe et les grandes modalités de leur coexistence sont désormais stabilisés.

 

Le premier modèle (auquel on réduit parfois « le modèle français ») est une déclinaison particulière à l'école du principe de neutralité étatique (ou de laïcité). Selon ce modèle, l'école n'a pas à se mêler d'autre chose que de connaissance scientifique, la religion n'en relève pas - elle relève des convictions privées - sauf exception : il sera question des religions dans l'enseignement de l'histoire, pour autant qu'elles sont actrices de la « grande histoire ». L'enseignement de la littérature française ne frappe pas d'interdit des auteurs religieux (Pascal, Bossuet) ou des œuvres religieuses (Esther de Racine), mais en les rapportant à l'histoire des idées et des styles (Note : on ne les lit plus guère en classe aujourd'hui).

Aux temps premiers du système républicain (avant la première guerre mondiale), il y eut une réflexion autour de la notion de neutralité. Certains s'opposaient à une conception soustractive de la neutralité scolaire. La neutralité, disaient-ils, n'interdisait aucun objet, même pas la croyance religieuse, elle obligeait simplement l'école à ménager les convictions de tous ses usagers. On pouvait (il fallait) enseigner de façon neutre des choses non neutres. Ce type de réflexion se prolonge aujourd'hui dans les systèmes scolaires de certains pays, à propos de l'enseignement sur les religions ou sur les problèmes sociaux controversés, par l'échange entre élèves et le débat réglé au sein de la classe (Québec, Grande-Bretagne). En France, de telles réflexions se sont taries dans l'entre-deux guerres, lorsque les programmes « républicains » ont été bien installés et que la pédagogie a disparu de l'enseignement universitaire (où Durkheim l'avait introduite) pour être cantonnée aux Ecoles normales (organes départementaux de formation des instituteurs et institutrices).

 

 

Le second modèle consiste à ménager aux côtés de l'enseignement public un enseignement privé conventionné avec l'Etat, au nom de l'intérêt général bien compris (loi Debré de 1959 : ce système a été instauré à l'époque gaulliste au nom de la nécessité d'aider l'Etat à faire face au gonflement des effectifs dans le second degré)[1]. Dans ces établissements, le programme dispensé est conforme au programme officiel, le recrutement ne prend pas en compte la religion des élèves, mais les enseignants ne sont pas forcément des laïcs (contrairement à l'enseignement public), on peut voir des signes religieux dans l'environnement matériel, et des activités à orientation religieuses sont accessibles en option.

L'enseignement privé conventionné, très majoritairement géré par l'Eglise catholique, accueille en moyenne 20 % des élèves du second degré. En flux, d'après certaines recherches, 50 % des familles y auraient recours à un moment ou un autre de la carrière scolaire de leurs enfants. C'est ce cadre qui accueille aussi les familles musulmanes qui souhaitent scolariser leurs enfants dans un établissement où les valeurs religieuses sont présentes.

 

● Cas particulier du système de reconnaissance des religions dans l'enseignement public en Alsace-Moselle (droit local) : enseignement de la religion analogue au système allemand.

 

 

 

2. Pratiques scolaires de la diversité religieuse en France : des tensions nouvelles associées à la présence de l'islam

La configuration évoquée ci-dessus, avec ses deux sous-systèmes répondant à deux modèles normatifs distincts, est stable dans l'ensemble, aucun collectif (ni professionnel ni politique ou religieux) ne la conteste aujourd'hui. Le dernier épisode de politisation/contestation de cet équilibre date de 1981-1984 (« grand service publique unifié laïque de l'Education nationale »). Il s'est soldé par l'abandon de l'objectif d'unification. Par contre, depuis cet épisode, l'émergence de l'islam comme grande religion de France a introduit de nouvelles tensions dans la régulation scolaire de la diversité religieuse. Ces tensions touchent à chacun des deux modèles normatifs que l'on vient de distinguer.

 

Du côté de l'enseignement privé conventionné :

L'aménagement, pour des organisations se réclamant d'une religion, d'espaces d'autonomie scolaire financés par l'Etat moyennant le respect de règles publiques fondamentales, est mis au défi par :

Obstructions et difficultés rencontrées par les musulmans pour bénéficier des dispositions publiques :

A ce jour, 3 établissements privés musulmans seulement ont ouvert en métropole, le dernier en 2007 dans la banlieue de Lyon après un an d'obstructions de la part du rectorat. Un seul est conventionné, depuis 2008, le collège-lycée Averroès de Lille (il faut cinq ans d'existence pour soumettre un dossier à l'agrément). Le collège-lycée La Réussite d'Aubervilliers (banlieue parisienne) est quant à lui en difficulté financière sévère.

Le caractère récent de l'implantation d'une forte population musulmane en France, sa faiblesse organisationnelle et financière et ses divisions internes sont parmi les causes de cette rareté. Mais l'obstruction qu'oppose l'administration à ces projets joue un rôle aussi. On l'a vu dans le cas du collège-lycée al-Kindi de Decines, où l'obstruction conduite par le rectorat de Lyon a suscité une effervescence sociale et médiatique en 2006 (le ministère de l'Intérieur et les autorités locales étaient favorables à l'ouverture, ainsi que les autorités catholiques), pour se terminer par le renvoi du recteur Morvan (voir livre L'Honneur et les honneurs. Souvenirs d'un recteur karcherisé. Grasset, 2008). A contrario, le conventionnement récent du lycée Averroès à l'été 2008 n'a pas été politisé, il a bénéficié d'un consensus entre l'administration scolaire, le ministère de l'Intérieur et la mairie de Lille.

 

● Du côté de l'enseignement public

En ce qui concerne la réserve sur la religion dans les établissements publics, au nom de la laïcité et du positivisme, on peut mentionner deux tendances de contestation :

▪ Des initiatives de la part d'élèves, tendant à arborer des signes d'identification musulmane.

Initialement autorisés dans certaines limites sur la base d'un avis du Conseil d'Etat (nov. 1989), ces comportements ont été finalement interdits par la loi à l'issue d'un long épisode de manœuvres politiques et d'effervescence médiatique (mars 2003-mars 2004 ; loi du 15 mars 2004). Le débat a visé tout particulièrement la tolérance à l'égard du port du foulard musulman par les élèves filles, et au-delà de cela, une variété de manifestations de l'appartenance musulmane en France dans l'espace scolaire et aussi ailleurs. Les filles concernées se sont soumises à la loi, les litiges ont été rares dès la première année d'application. Une partie d'entre elles en ont conçu de la frustration, et ont développé une analyse critique de leur situation de musulmanes en France (discriminations et racisme - cf film Un racisme à peine voilé, 2005).

Avec la nouvelle législation qui restreint drastiquement les droits à l'expression religieuse des élèves, le niveau des droits des élèves en ce domaine rejoint celui des personnels : la liberté de conscience qui leur est reconnue ne doit se manifester publiquement dans l'espace scolaire qu'avec une extrême retenue.

Non sans relation avec ces nouvelles conduites d'élèves, certains experts ont fait pression pour sortir la religion de la censure positiviste/laïciste dans le curriculum : rapport Joutard, rapport Debray, débouchant sur l'installation d'un Institut européen en sciences des religions, dont le président du Conseil scientifique est actuellement un Inspecteur général émérite d'histoire-géographie ouvert sur cette problématique (R. Debray, qui avait suscité cette création, en a très vite démissionné, déçu de son faible impact).

Ils n'ont pas réussi à introduire une meilleure « prise en compte du fait religieux » dans l'école publique (ni à élucider ou faire élucider quels changements peut concrètement recouvrir cette expression)

 

▪ Cas particulier du système de reconnaissance des religions dans l'enseignement public en Alsace-Moselle : extension à l'islam refusée (refus à l'échelle locale et refus à l'échelle nationale, bien que le débat ait été ouvert)

 

 

3. Des initiatives pour protéger les musulmans de la discrimination dans l'espace scolaire

 

● Des initiatives limitées des autorités de l'Education nationale.

La suppression de la liberté d'expression religieuse pour les élèves cadre bien avec la décision prise antérieurement au ministère de ne plus mentionner l'existence de minoritaires parmi les élèves (1984 - ni « immigrés », ni « issus de l'immigration ». La problématique de « l'intégration » y est réservée à l'accueil des primo-migrants).

Dans ce contexte, la prise en compte officielle de la diversité religieuse à l'école publique est exclue. Il n'y a ni consignes ni formations pour cela. Ce vide n'exclut pas ou laisse exister des biais dans la présentation de l'islam en histoire (cf. M. Nasr pour la France, Oueslati pour le Québec). Des formations nationales et locales ont été organisées par les inspections sur la didactique de l'islam - notamment médiéval, point au programme de la classe de 5ème (deuxième année de collège).

 

● En l'absence d'un accompagnement des enseignants, des besoins sont fréquemment ressentis par les agents scolaires :

en relation avec le ramadhan (fatigue du jeûne et rupture du jeûne)

avec les fêtes musulmanes (absences).

Les élèves les expriment ou non : il ne semble pas qu'ils soient agressifs dans leurs demandes à ce sujet (rien n'est décrit à ce propos dans les études disponibles)

Pour traiter de telles demandes (explicites ou latentes), les agents scolaires n'ont d'autres cadres que leur intuition, leur empathie le cas échéant, leur curiosité personnelle...

Il y a des arrangements locaux pratiques (remboursement de cantine durant le ramadhan), mais rien de régulier.

 

Certaines initiatives externes : la HALDE précise le droit commun

Autorité administrative indépendante dédiée à la lutte contre les discriminations dans tous les secteurs et sur la base de tous les critères, la HALDE (loi de décembre 2004) a soutenu le droit des femmes portant foulard à accompagner les sorties scolaires (elle a fait demande aux rectorats de donner les instructions nécessaires, tandis que certains enseignants refusaient de les accepter).

Dans un autre domaine que l'éducation mais selon un argument transposable, elle a par contre débouté une femme qui se plaignait de discrimination religieuse pour n'avoir pas été admise auprès de sa fille dans une salle d'hôpital tandis qu'elle était enveloppée d'un long voile noir ne laissant apparaître que les yeux.

● Enfin, le dossier sur l'aumônerie en milieu scolaire est en sommeil au CFCM. Le seul dossier sur l'aumônerie qui ait avancé en France est celui qui concerne les armées. Elles sont désormais dotées d'une Aumônerie musulmane.

 

 

Conclusion

La gestion de l'islam en éducation dans les pays d'Europe occidentale apparaît d'abord comme le produit de la tradition du pays concernant le pluralisme religieux et sa gestion dans les institutions d'enseignement. Mais dans l'ensemble, l'insertion de l'islam dans les régulations préexistantes des systèmes éducatifs a mis à l'épreuve ces régulations. Des conflits ont émergé dans les arènes politiques nationales et locales à ce sujet. Selon les règles constitutionnelles, selon les politiques d'intégration conduites, et selon la structure des systèmes éducatifs (caractère centralisé ou décentralisé de la décision), des espaces de négociation plus ou moins larges ont été ouverts aux initiatives portées par les musulmans organisés.

 


[1] [Il y a aussi un enseignement privé non conventionné]

 

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Catherine Wihtol de Wenden, Director of research at CNRS (Paris), Professor at Sciences-Po in Paris and specialst of international migrations. Among its most recent books : La beurgeoisie (with RémyLeveau), Paris, CNRS Editions, new issue 2007, Les couleurs du drapeau (with Christophe Bertossi). French army facing with discriminations. Paris, Robert Laffont, 2007, Sortir des banlieues (with Sophie Body-Gendrot). Paris, Autrement, 2007.

 

The Globalization of migrations which occurred at the end of the twentieth century has led to an evolution of the concept of citizenship in France. This one was formerly confined to the nation State, linking the citizen to exclusive rights and duties towards his state of belonging. With increasing mobilities and double affiliations of some of the settled ones, new forms of citizenship are appearing.

 

 

Introduction

 

The new citizenship includes plural allegiances and policies in welcome and departure countries which build links with their members. In the meantime, discourses and policies on integration have led second generations to rebuild their identities, with some gaps between nationality and citizenship.

 

This paper will be focussed on the French case, which lies on the difference introduced between nationality and citizenship and the impact of Europe. The three levels, legal status, civic identity and civic practice will be dealt with, referring to this main distinction.

 

 

 

I - A socio-historical background

 

The distinction between citizenship and nationality appeared with the French revolution. Citizenship has preceded nationality which was not in this period a really big concern because most people did not move and there was not a feeling of belonging to a nation. The revolutionary citizen of 1789 is namely a man who shares the ideals of the revolution (freedom, equality of rights, right to property, who participates to assemblies and political clubs). It refers to Greek democracy and Roman republic: the citizen is the man who is entirely dedicated to public values, a hero of wisdom and probity (Saint-Just). Citizenship refers to the ideas of the enlightenments: social contract (Rousseau), freedom of conscience (Voltaire), separation of public powers between executive, legislative and judiciary ones (Montesquieu). It has a philosophical content, defined in the Declaration of human rights of 1789 ("Déclaration des droits de l'homme et du citoyen").

 

 

Citizens without being nationals

During this revolutionary period, it was not necessary to be a national to become a citizen: participation was more important than nationality. Some foreigners alike Anarcharsis Clootz or Thomas Paine were active members at the assemblies and they were so granted the "quality" of citizens. The Constitution of 1793 even recognises the granting of citizenship for civic services given to the State (feeding and taking care of a child, helping an old person...). This accent put on civic values again comes back during the "Commune of Paris" in 1871 when foreigners where granted citizenship. One could be citizen without being a national : an argument which will be used for granting local political rights to foreigners during the campaigns of the eighties.

 

 

Nationals but not citizens

Inversely, there has been many historical cases where nationals were not citizens : women until 1944, young people (the age passed from 21 years to 18 years in 1974), army who was deprived of voting rights during the third republic (it was named the "big dumb"), some disabled persons alike the mad ones and those whose civic rights have been brought back by a decision a justice ("déchéance des droits civiques"). We need also to add the colonial status: indigenous people did not have access to citizenship and there was a hierarchy of forms of citizenship according to the status of the territory of birth and the level of education. In Algeria, a French colony, the full access to citizenship occurred very late, in 1947 while the Jewish of Algeria mostly from Spanish origin obtained the status of French citizens at the end of the nineteenth century (loi Crémieux).

 

Immigration and Europe have changed the terms of the debate: with immigration, a distinction has been introduced between the legal status (namely for second generations who are nationals and citizens but who are not always considered as such), civic identity (relation to public sphere: from political alienation to political allegiances) and civic practice (participation with or without being a national). With Europe, the hierarchisation of statuses between Europeans and non Europeans has led to various forms of membership (from illegals to denizens). The internationalisation of the exercise of citizenship has introduced the concept of transnational citizenship, beyond State citizenship, with diasporic forms of political belonging in departures and welcome countries, political rights of foreigners and access to double citizenship. In France, the naturalisation procedure requires more and more an early made integration while in the past, integration was considered as a consequence and not a condition for naturalisation.

 

Finally, we can add that citizenship is paradoxically a recent theme in France, in spite of its revolutionary roots. Nobody referred to citizenship during the "past glorious years" of 1945 -1975 ("Les trente glorieuses") because class structure in the society was considered as more accurate to explain French political life. The emergence of National Front, the strengthening of identity around French values with some populist accent, along with Europe and globalisation have led to come back to the content of citizenship in its relationship with nationality.

 

 

 

I I- Legal status

 

Legal status refers to nationality, defined by the law while citizenship is a philosophical concept defined in the declaration of Human rights of 1789.

 

 

1 - The French definition of a national is a compromise between right of the blood and right of the soil

In Ancient Regime, in France alike in other European countries, the nationally right was built on the soil: the subject was attached to the earth of the lord and had this nationally from this territorial belonging. Napoleon Ist decided to shift the right of the soil by the right of the blood in the civil code of 1804 and made the same reforms in other European countries conquered by the Empire. Only the United Kingdom which was not invaded preserved its Ancient regime right of the soil and later introduced it in its colonies of settlement (United States, Canada, Australia). But nationality was not a real concern. It was difficult to go out of one's country but it was rather easy to enter in another country. Passports did not exist before the nineteenth century and the identity card was introduced in France in 1917 but it is not compulsory still now. The first time that nationals were differentiated from the foreigners in the French census was in 1851: most foreigners known before were activists of the revolutions of 1830 and 1848 registered by police.

 

The demographic decline which has appeared in France before its neighbours, since the end of the eighteenth century has introduced in the second part of the nineteenth century some concern during this period of economic rise: France needed labour force and soldiers. After years of debate on "denationalisation or depopulation", the law of 1889 introduced an important reform of the nationality code, introducing the right of the soil in the French civil code of Napoleon Ist who was based on the right of the blood. It was the beginning of a long compromise which led to an early equilibrium between the two sources of nationality. The nationality code was then reformed in 1927, 1945, 1973 with enlargements of the access by right of the soil, but few political debates in the public sphere. It was only in the 1990's that the question came back to the front scene, when the National Front and the Club de l'Horloge issued some books on " We should deserve to be French", "There are French only on the paper, in spite of themselves". On october1985, the rightist journal "Figaro magazine" entitled its issue "Will we be still French in thirty years?". In 1987, the French Government appointed a Commission of Wise people to debate around the reform of the nationality code with a hundred of hearings which concluded without deciding to change the law of 1973. The right wing was in favour of more right of the blood and the left of more right of the soil, stressing on the acquisition of a feeling of citizenship by participation to local life and socialisation by the territory. The coming back of the right to power in 1993 led to a first reform of the nationality code (law Pasqua-Méhaignerie), with a more difficult access to nationality for the young of foreign parents born in France. The law suppressed the automatic access of nationality for them at 18 years and the condemned could never become French if the sanction exceeded six month of prison. The access for sons of western Africans who were themselves French was also denied. Only Algerians can ask for the reintegration in French nationality when their parents or grand parents had acquired full citizenship. The left and the associations of Human rights strongly fought against this law. In 1998, when the left came back to power, a new law was adopted coming back to the law of 1973 (law Guigou), with the automatic access to French nationality for those born in France at 18 years if they have been living in France during five years before. The equilibrium between the right of the blood and the right of the soil was anew established. No new debate has been introduced on nationality since then.

 

Some distinctions have moved for the access to civic rights (election and eligibility) and for marriage. The first laws on nationality introduced a period during which the new nationals could not vote or could not be elected (five and ten years): there were active and passive citizens, suppressed in the law of 1973. For marriage, the length of time for the access to nationality has been extended during these last years, due to fears of so called "white marriages" concluded only to have access to French nationality.

 

 

2) Citizenship and local political rights

Nationality and Citizenship have not always been linked with integration. Assimilation, which has prevailed in France from the end of the nineteenth century to the middle of the twentieth and which was an individual process has been progressively replaced by integration, a less demanding allegiance. Assimilation and integration policies have never included local political rights to incorporate foreign citizens. Even if citizenship of residence is a slogan followed by many associations of support, it is difficult in France to be citizen without being a national. But the principle of dissociation between nationality and citizenship has been introduced in the political and constitutional debate. It is only under the pressure of Europe that the French Constitution has been reformed to take into account the Maastricht treaty of 1992 which inserts European citizenship and grants local political rights and eligibility to all Europeans of the E.U. under the rule of reciprocal rights. Many proposals have been introduced on granting local political rights to extra-Europeans but none has reached the objective. The main arguments (public opinion, Constitutional reform) could be crossed if there would be a strong political will which is missing. The last proposal from the Green, the Communist and the Socialist parties in 2000 has failed. Most proposals of social cohesion (Urban policies, Equality of chances programs, anti-discrimination policies) are not centred on extending citizens' rights to foreign residents.

 

 

 

III- Civic identity and civic practice :

 

1) Membership

The concept of civic identity refers to political incorporation into the Nation. This one springs from the revolution: the definition of a collective identity built on a political project and shared values has no link with ethnic belonging in France. The nation is said to be born in Valmy when the troops of General Dumouriez and Kellermann shouted "Vive la nation" in 1992. The poet Goethe who attended the scene said that a new idea was born in Europe. The nation, a political invention after the former link between the subject and the king, has been then reinforced by the Empire, the wars against new enemies. But a collective "us" has been lately theorised during the end of the nineteenth century. At the eve of the Third republic, in 1871, the writer Ernest Renan, answering to a letter of the German philosopher Fichte who explained his notion of "german people" on ethnic and cultural links, replied: "What is a nation? Nation is a soul, a collective will to share together a collective and indivisible political grant of memory » ("La nation est une âme, un vouloir vivre collectif de partager un riche legs commun de souvenirs  »). Progressively, this republican, jacobinist view of the nation which founds civic identity in France has been threatened by nationalism which largely operates against the Nation. Rightist theoreticians alike Maurras or Barrès rooted the nation in a territory ("l'"hexagone", "la ligne bleue des Vosges" through which was the German enemy), cultural traditions ("values") and even references to a common blood. But the evolutive content of the nation remained very unclear because it both served to legitimate colonialism under the Third republic (in the name of shared values of progress) and to develop racist classifications of people excluding the Jewish and some other groups from belonging to the nation (development of the theme of the traitor, the bad citizen, alike in the Dreyfus affair but mostly between the two wars). During the Vichy period of 1940, some naturalised French of Jewish culture were deprived from their French nationality and prohibited to apply to civil service positions.

 

 

2) Citizenship, an evolutive concept

Citizenship has rapidly moved during these last fifty years. During mid fifties, no one was interested in France by the old notion of citizenship. The political and social analysis of France was seen through the image of a class struggle between workers and owners and the political parties more or less fit with this view. The rediscovery of citizenship is rather new and can be placed in mid eighties. The left does not want to abandon Citizenship and Nation to the emerging extreme right. To the books of the rightist Club de l'Horloge, the socialist Club 89 in 1985 replies by a book on French identity, stressing on republican values (L'identité française). Immigration begins to influence the definition of citizenship which includes new values of socialisation by local residence, cultural pluralism and anti-discrimination (such as in the "Marche des beurs" in 1983). Islam also brings the new question on "can one be French and Muslim?" The incorporation of second and third generations into French nationality and citizenship leads some elites of the "beur" movement to vote and apply for local mandates at the municipal elections of 1989 and after. They create a political movement thanks to associations (SOS Racism, France Plus) which address to all political parties their claims and suggest that they have become a political force, what did not do the Portuguese, Italians, Spanish and other European immigrants in France. Some of these leaders tend to reinforce their image of perfect French citizens, respectful of all the symbols of the republic: public school, secularism, civic identity ("Plus républicain que moi, tu meurs"). But many French do not consider they are French. An inverse trend among them consists in defining them as "true French, French by the roots, by the blood" (Français de souche), what Michel Wieviorka names "differentialist racism". Those French are mainly poor, unemployed and feel in competition with immigrants. The answer of some young discriminated and "visible" guys of inner cities consists in defining themselves as the true inhabitants of their territories, hinting that the "Gaulois" are not in their place. An ethnicisation of French identity appears.

Another shift of civic identities lies in the development of double nationality which also leads to double citizenship. Due to the second and third generations born in France and acquiring French citizenship thanks to the right of the soil, we have double nationals because most of them hold the nationality of their countries of origin or that of their parents, built on the right of the blood (in all countries of Islam). In some countries alike Morocco, the belonging to this nationality cannot be abandonned ("allegiance perpétuelle"). Most of them feel double citizens. While France tries to attract the vote of this new constituency, even the most reluctant countries of origin to recognise these young as new French have now understood that they can help their political intrusion and demands in the French affairs. So Algeria declared in early nineties: "You are also French. You might learn to use it", and Morocco who was very opposed to local political rights to Moroccans in the Netherlands is now very strongly in favour of the various forms of involvement of its nationals (associative life, trade unionism, transnational professional networks). Italy has recently given a revival to Italians abroad who can vote at all the Italian elections. Quasi-diasporas in immigration countries are now encouraged by diasporic policies led by counties of origin, playing on the multiple allegiances of their compatriots.

But discriminations may alter the evolution. In France, the overwhelming majority of young of foreign origin feel French and "play the game", as shown by all polls and qualitative studies. But they also feel that most French are not convinced that they are French, featuring a gap inside the French nation in contradiction with non ethnic republican values. "French alike the others" concluded a recent research on the young of Arab origin. One of them said in a field research, speaking of the French colleagues at work: "They will have progressed when they will have understood that we are French". This may bring behaviours of rejection, such as the invention of the features of the "indigenous of the republic", a movement built on post colonial approaches of identity or more aggressive reactions (delinquency, radical Islamism, political anomy). The gap between Europeans and non Europeans regarding to citizenship is widening, including differences of status but also failures of inclusion in the nation. Recently, in 2007, A Minister of "Immigration, Integration, national identity and development " has been created, headed by a near friend of president Sarkozy, Brice Hortefeux. It spread a large criticism on the association between immigration and national identity, hinting that national identity has to be ruled and that immigration could threaten it.

 

 

 

Conclusion

 

The twentieth century is challenged by mobility, which also questions citizenship. Many forms of transnational citizenship have appeared, with so many forms of double presence, at infra and supra-national level. It also changes the definition of belonging. The hierarchy of citizenship is also a concern, especially when the new nationals go on to be considered as "others". Can we keep a so strong segmented status of nationality, between nationals, Europeans, long term extra-European residents, short term non European migrants, asylum seekers and illegal in a true democratic area? Mobility also implies to define the rights of mobile citizens and to manage it, which weakens a little more the relation between the citizen and the State..

 

 

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Introduction

     

    Muslims have been in Europe since the Middle Ages. However the presence of significant numbers of Muslims - now estimated at between 10 million and 15 million - in western, central, and northern Europe, is a relatively new phenomenon. Most of these Muslims have an immigration background[1], although many have been born in Europe, and an increasing number are obtaining citizenship in the countries where they live.

    In Germany at present it is estimated that there are upwards of 3 million Muslims (out of a total population of 82 million), with nearly 1 million having German citizenship. Germany has one of the largest Muslim populations in the European Union, with between 2 million and 5 million Muslims in France and about 1.6 million in Britain. The majority of Muslims presently living in Germany - about 2.2 million - are of Turkish origin; since the 1960s, hundreds of thousands of Gastarbeiter (guest workers) have immigrated to Germany, many of them Turkish nationals, but also considerable numbers from the Balcans, from North Africa including more than 100.000 Moroccans[2] mainly living in greater Francfort and Northrhine-Westphalia, the Middle East and other parts of the world..

    The majority of the Muslims in Germany belongs to the Sunni denomination, but there are also significant groups of Twelver-Shi‛is (particularly from Iranian, Lebanese and Iraqi origin) which may reach 200.000 persons as well as an estimated number of 500.000 Alevis mostly from Turkey, not to forget some 30.000 Ahmadis from Pakistan, the oldest organized Muslim group in Germany. As everywhere in the world, their opinions and beliefs range from a very devout attitude to a mere cultural link to Islam; Sufism is widespread especially among the Turks.

    Europe's burgeoning Muslim population presents a new situation for the Muslims there as well as for the countries in which they live and for the societies of which they are a part.[3] Most of these Muslims were born and grew up in Europe or at least intend to stay there permanently. Decades ago, it was assumed that Muslims immigrating to Europe would stay only temporarily to work or to study; however, this has not proven to be the case. Therefore, the days of provisionary solutions for accommodating the needs of Muslims in Europe are over. As the status and identities of more and more Muslims in European societies become permanent, European legal orders are experiencing the need to react to this accordingly.

    For example, most Muslims who immigrated to Germany initially planned to stay only for a couple of years, either to earn money to improve their economic situations when they returned to their home countries or to find temporary refuge until the political situations in their home countries improved. These expectations were reflected in German legislation and administrative agencies dealing with Muslim immigrants, and therefore, Muslim immigrants in Germany behaved and were treated as temporary guests. Consequently neither they nor the state showed much interest in creating sustainable legal and social conditions to facilitate integration.

    Thirty years later, things have changed. While some of the older generation of Muslim immigrants may not have fully integrated into German society, they have compelling reasons to stay: They are treated as strangers in their former home countries (in Turkey they are called Almancılar); they want to be close to their children who were born in Germany and want to stay there; and the level of medical treatment they receive in Germany is not available in their countries of origin. With increasing numbers of Muslims in Germany obtaining German citizenship, law and government now have to accommodate a significant and permanent Muslim community as a part of German society.

    These accommodations, however, are secular in nature; they do not concern Muslims' religious beliefs or their religious needs as such. The major problems that many Muslims face in trying to integrate into European societies, as in Germany, are language difficulties, a lack of higher education, and a comparatively high degree of unemployment. Therefore, the debate on immigration and problems related to it on the one hand and the practice of Islam in Europe on the other should be seen as two related but nonetheless distinct issues. While it is true that immigration raises issues beyond labour, education, and political asylum, including the challenges of accommodating remarkably different modes of behaviour, identity, beliefs, and values - at the same time, prevailing perceptions of Muslims as being a homogenous group of people characterized primarily if not solely by strong religious identity is simply wrong. Within Muslim communities there exists social and cultural heterogeneity that mirrors qualities of European societies over time. Further, many Muslim immigrants appreciate the legal and social frameworks of these societies.

    While European societies undoubtedly face significant problems resulting from the small but dangerous number of Muslim extremists and larger tendencies toward anti-Western attitudes that may lead to self-segregation,[4] many Muslims in Europe still tend to seek practical solutions for reconciling their own religious beliefs and practices with legal and other codes of secular European societies. Within the last few years European Muslims have also tried to formulate theoretical statements to clarify their positions on these issues, identify possible conflicts between legal and religious norms, and find adequate solutions for such conflicts.[5] Furthermore, a considerable number of Muslims are not particularly interested in performing religious practices, while not denying their Muslim identity as such. Others are attached to sufi (mystic) beliefs and practices, while considering the rules of Islamic jurisprudence to be of little importance in everyday life.

    Nevertheless, an increasing number of Muslims in Europe are eager to achieve clearer definitions of their status as European Muslims. The crucial question they face is to define their Muslim identity - including the fulfillment of Islamic practices that are mandated by the Sharia[6] - within the framework of European legal orders. [7]

    At the same time, European legal orders must find ways to address the Islamic identities and practices of the Muslims in their midst. European parliaments, courts, and other governmental agencies are now dealing with Islam on a regular basis. In several European countries, legislation on Islamic norms concerning clothing, ritual slaughtering of animals, and family law practices has either been recently passed or is under consideration. Governmental agencies must accommodate the religious and/or political sensibilities of Muslims who apply for citizenship; courts apply foreign laws in civil matters according to the provisions of Private International Law (PIL) on a daily basis.

     

     

    Secular European states and the protection of the freedom of religion

    1- The constitutional framework


      As it comes to conducting Muslim life within European secular legal orders, we have to differ between Islamic religious and legal norms. Applying religious provisions is fundamentally different from applying legal norms, due to the fact that in most European states religious freedom is far reaching. European constitutions, like Art.9 of the ECHR[8], guarantee that people will not be deprived of the basic requirements for complying with the demands of their religion. No Muslim will be prevented by the state from adhering to the 'five pillars' of Islam, for example. Muslims are free in building a religious infrastructure including mosques etc. Everybody may consult renowned Muslims or Muslim institutions for advice in religious matters[9], which opens up broad space for actively practicing one's religion privately as well as in public.
      Religious freedom in this sense includes all kinds of religions, not only the ones of the majority of the population or the established ones. Furthermore, according to this provision religion is not restricted to the private sphere; it's manifestation in the public sphere is protected as well. Nevertheless, there are some differences it the application between several European countries. This is due to a different conviction how far the distance between the state's activities and religions should be. France or Switzerland for example created a strict separation between state and religion. Therefore it is not allowed for officers to show religious symbols during their working times e.g. in schools. The strict principle of laicism in France in accordance with the "unity of the republic" would also prevent schools to offer halal food to pupils, because no single group whatsoever should be treated in a separate way.
      The situation in Germany is somewhat different. The most important provision to regulate religious affairs is art. 4 sections 1 and 2 of the German Constitution.[10] This article - as well as art. 9 of the ECHR, which is less far reaching - is not limited to the private religious conviction. It also grants the public manifestation of belief and the state is obliged to care that this right is not unduly limited. Of course there are legal limits for rights whatsoever including religious ones. Nobody would be allowed to threaten others on religious grounds, to take an example.
      Furthermore, art. 3 sect. 3 of the German Constitution prescribes that no-one may be discriminated against, or given preferential treatment, for reasons of their religious belief.
      In a series of decisions the Federal Constitutional Court has confirmed that the state itself is obligated to provide space for religious activities.[11] Such constitutional protection is not limited to individuals. To a wide extent it also applies to domestic juridical bodies (e.g. registered societies) aiming at the cultivation or promotion of a religious belief or the propagation of the belief of their members.[12] They can therefore independently assert their rights against the state.[13] In most cases, German nationality is no prerequisite for participation in such organizations.
      These legal provisions can prove that the secular legal orders in Europe don't refuse religion, they are not at all anti-religious ("lā-dīnī") as it is often wrongly understood. To the contrary they open a broad space for religious belief and life. It is only that the state itself has to be neutral and is prevented from interference into religious affairs. The most important result of this legal secularism is the equivalence of religions including the freedom not to adhere to a religion or the freedom to change it.[14] According to a unanimous understanding in Europe this neutrality is a prerequisite of true religious freedom which cannot be dispensed with. A prominent French Muslim accordingly calls this system to be of „positive neutrality" (i.e. towards religions).[15] Some examples[16] concerning the German legal situation shall illustrate that.


      2- Practical examples


        a) Establishment of mosques
        There are an estimated number of 2.600 mosques in Germany. Most of them are established within former industrial buildings, which were available for reasonable prices and situated near to the living-quarters of many of the believers working in the area of factories. But there are also around 150 examples of representative-looking mosques with minarets in several cities, containing prayer-rooms giving space to more than 1.000 persons.[17] In some cities the call to prayer (adān) by using loud-speakers is allowed for certain prayers, e.g. the prayer on Friday noon.[18] Nevertheless, in general Muslims abstain from demanding the permission for using loud-speakers, which would not make much sense in a mostly non-Muslim environment, but could cause tensions within the neighbourhood.
        The construction of places of worship is privileged under the German law of construction due to the constitutional guarantees of religious freedom. In some cases there were judicial procedures to be initiated on the question whether minarets are allowed to be built, and which would be their acceptable height. It is not too surprising that the well-visible erection of minarets could cause some irritations due to the local circumstances. Some people even consider the erection of minarets to be a symbolic attack on the predominant Christian or occidental culture. Such suspicions are mainly formulated by right wing extremists, but in some cases also by small Christian fundamentalist and anti-Islamic sects and also by some Muslims opposing such projects[19]. This is a perfectly legitimate discussion in society, as long as legal and societal aspects are duly distinguished. In fact, this is not always the case: Some of the sceptics obviously plead for the suspension of the constitutional protection of religious freedom for Muslims alone, thus demanding the violation of the constitution rather than defending it. But so far there are no signs whatsoever that the judiciary would be ready to diminish the far-reaching protection of all religions or to treat them unequally.
        According to German law of planning and construction, the shape of places of worship has to fit into the given surroundings, despite the generally privileged status of erecting such buildings. Nevertheless, the Administrative Court of Appeal of Koblenz decided in a case concerning the erection of a minaret that there is no kind of "protection of the cultural status quo" according to the law.[20] Times are changing, and as Muslims now are an important part of inhabitants, society as a whole has to accept this fact. Notwithstanding this favourable legal position in general, Muslims would be well advised not to enforce their rights by the aid of the judiciary before having patiently tried to convince the public of their peaceful intentions in building mosques and cultural centres. Having been a judge at the Court of Appeal of Nuremberg, my experience shows that a judgement in application of the law has to decide a given case to the sake of one of the parties, at least in part. But often it will not lead to a true and stable "peace" between the parties involved. The party whose claim was dismissed would often search to find a new reason for continuing the battle, which would be not a very convenient basis for running a house of prayer or a cultural centre. In this kind of cases settlements are the much more preferable solution; such settlements could be found in preliminary discussions with the administration involved as well as with the public in general. Fortunately this has become the usual way of handling matters in Germany, despite some heavy conflicts in cities like Munich, Cologne and Francfort.
        For the running of mosques, cultural centres and similar institutions no specific form of organization is prescribed in principal. The widespread registered association gives the executive committee the capacity to act in a flexible way within a framework of unambiguous liability regulations generally discharging the individual, as well as favourable financing possibilities through tax deductible donations on recognition of the charitable nature



        b) Halal-Slaughtering

        In a landmark decision the Federal Constitutional Court decided on January 15th 2002[21] that the freedom of religion includes the right for Muslims to slaughter animals according to their imperative religious commands. This includes forms of slaughtering without pre-stunning of the animals, which is generally forbidden by the Law on the Protection of Animals. According to para. 4a of this law a religious community may apply for a licence to carry out the slaughtering according to such imperative commands. It should be mentioned that the Jewish community had the licence to slaughtering without pre-stunning according to their religion until the takeover of the Nazi-government in 1933 and again since the defeat of the Nazis in 1945. Concerning Muslims there were two problems to be solved. Firstly some courts didn't consider the Muslim applicants to form a "religious community" in a legal sense. They were following a - legally wrong - understanding of a religious community to necessarily have a structure similar to Christian churches. Muslims, who historically were not used to build comparable structures, would then be excluded to exercise obvious religious rights for such superficial reasons. The Constitutional Court therefore held that a group of persons with common beliefs organized in forms whatsoever could fulfil the prerequisites of the law in that respect.
        Secondly the question was raised whether there are in fact imperative rules in Islam commanding to slaughter animals without pre-stunning. According to a fatwa given by the late mufti of Egypt in the 1980es and others[22], the methods of slaughtering common in Europe would be acceptable for Muslims. Therefore rules of slaughtering without pre-stunning were denied to be imperative.[23] This approach, however, was not in consistence with the demands of the state's neutrality towards religions. The state and its courts are not entitled to decide in the case of several contradictory religious doctrines which of them have to be held as being "true" and therefore binding. It is up to the believers themselves to decide whom to follow. For this reason the Constitutional Court pointed out that it will be sufficient for obtaining the above-mentioned licence if there are reasonable grounds for the required method of slaughtering to be found in religion. To my opinion this was the most crucial point to the judgement with far-reaching consequences for the status of Muslims in Germany as a whole: For the first time it was made clear that it is upon the Muslims in Germany (only) to decide on their creed and needs.
        The intention of the law to protect animals as far as possible was not neglected in this decision: Only persons who are proved to be capable to slaughter animals in a decent manner like well-skilled butchers are likely to obtain a licence to do so. The main federal organizations of Muslims in Germany then created a joint commission to work out a paper on the details and to cooperate with the relevant bodies of administration.
        Nevertheless, there is an ongoing and to a large extent a very emotional discussion on this judgement.[24] The protection of animals - a very important issue among vast groups of citizens - is considered to be consecrated for "mediaeval religious purposes". It didn't even help that the Constitutional Court itself stressed the lack of evidence that an expert slaughtering without pre-stunning would cause considerable greater pain for animals in comparison to the current methods of slaughtering, not to speak about the really cruel transport of animals to be slaughtered throughout Europe. It should also be mentioned that there is an interesting discussion on the need of slaughtering without pre-stunning among Muslims themselves.[25] In the meantime the big political parties in Germany agreed on changing the Constitution by an amendment which would elevate the protection of animals to a constitutional aim.[26] It is not by accident that this initiative was started half a year before the federal elections. Since then, some administrations apparently tried to avoid the application of the court's rules - which have legal quality - by administrative means. Nevertheless it will be interesting to see whether in the future Muslims and Jews will be prevented from halal-slaughtering.



        c) The headscarf

        Another practical example concerns Muslim female employees wearing the veil (headscarf). In a number of cases, especially if these women have functions in dealing with the public (e.g. in warehouses, offices etc.), employers forbade them to wear the headscarf during working times. In a recent case in the state of Hessen, a Muslim clerk working in a warehouse on the countryside was given notice to terminate the contract due to her refusal to work unveiled. There was a generally accepted rule within the company that everybody had to wear "decent" clothes which would not give offence to customers. The employer stated that he himself did not care about the veil, but that there was some evidence that the mainly conservative customers would not accept to be served by a veiled clerk and would certainly change to competing warehouses. The appeal of the employee against the notice was dismissed by the Labour Court of Appeal of Hessen on the same grounds.[27]
        There was considerable and in part understandable irritation among Muslims concerning this decision. But it has to be taken in consideration in such cases that it is the state alone who has to grant religious freedom according to the Constitution. In the field of private law, however, the constitutional rights exert a so-called "indirect" influence on the rules of law. This means that they have to be taken into consideration without being enforced in a similarly direct and far-reaching manner as it is the case in conflicts between individuals and the state. In these private cases there a two constitutional rights in conflict: the freedom of religion in favour of the employee and the freedom of personality which implies to create and to terminate contractual relations according to personal interest.
        Nevertheless, the Federal Labour Court finally accepted the appellant's claim.[28] It stressed the great importance of religious freedom which cannot be ruled out by mere suppositions of possible economic disadvantages to the detriment of the employer. Even in case of proven disadvantages the employer would first have to consider whether the employee could be occupied in a less sensitive space before being entitled to terminate the contract. This judgement was affirmed by the Federal Constitutional Court.[29]
        Furthermore, in a movement of anti-discriminatory legislation the European Union promulgated a directive on employment law to forbid discriminatory measures on religious grounds.[30] This directive is strongly supported by Muslims in Germany. I would like to recommend not to be too optimistic about the possible results of it. I am not far from being sure that employers who continue to refuse the employment of veiled women will find ways not to employ them respectively to finish their contracts for other, legally "acceptable" reasons. Others could hesitate to accept any application of Muslim women, being unveiled or veiled, to avoid any kind of problems in the future (of course without publicly declaring that). According to my opinion, the true solution of this problem is not to be found within the sphere of law. As long as the headscarf is regarded to be an instrument of suppression of women and of religious fundamentalism contrary to the values of the democratic and humanitarian legal order by large parts of society as a whole including a considerable number of Muslims, the problems will last.



        d) Religious needs and social security

        Religion has its effects even on the law of social security. Courts have held that in the case of financial need social security funds have to pay for the costs of a boy's circumcision[31], for the ritual washing of the body of a deceased Muslim[32] or for the burial of the deceased at a Muslim cemetery in the state of origin including the costs of transport if there is no Muslim cemetery in Germany available.[33] On the other hand the Administrative Court of Mainz dismissed the claim of a Muslim woman wearing a niqāb (which is leaving only the eyes visible) for social support. The reason was that this special kind of clothing would prevent her from finding an employment, and that she didn't produce any explanation for the necessity of it.[34]
        German law of social security is treating polygamous marriages to be legally valid provided that the marriage contracts are valid under the law applicable to the formation of these contracts (of course, this kind of marriage fundamentally contradicts German and European[35] legal standards, therefore it cannot be contracted legally valid in Europe).[36] The reason is that it would not help the second wife or further wives who may have lived in such a kind of marriage since a long time to deprive them from their marital rights such as maintenance etc. In this sense para. 34 sect. 2 SGB I (Social code I) which contains provisions on social security systems regulates the per capita-division of pensions among widows who were living in a polygamous marriage.[37] However, German law differentiates between mainly private aspects of marriage and predominantly public ones, especially those relating to immigration law. The latter would not provide more than the first wife with marital privileges within its scope of application, e.g. concerning residence permits.[38]

         

        e) Muslim self-organization

        In some cases, e.g. with respect to running cemeteries or to cooperate with the state in matters of religious instruction in public schools, it is necessary for religious people to organize themselves. There are different forms of organizations, some of them are specific German legal institutions.
        The legal framework for religious associations (Religionsgesellschaft, Religionsgemeinschaft) is determined by art. 140 GG, art. 137 of the Weimarer Reichsverfassung (Weimar Constitution) (WRV)[39]. According to the common definition a religious association consists of members of the same religious denomination, or of several related religious denominations with religiously corresponding views, unite in order to profess their common denomination and to universally fulfil their tasks resulting from the religious denomination.[40]
        In view of the religious and ideological neutrality of the state, it is practically beyond dispute that the public law concerning religious associations must also be open to comprise non-Christian religions.[41] First it has to be noted that Muslims are in no way obligated to form a uniform "Islamic" organization to be entitled to assert the rights provided by the law for religious associations.[42] This becomes evident by a comparison with the organization of Christians in Germany: There is neither a single Christian church nor a "Christian" religious instruction as such in state-run schools.
        It is on the horizon that Sunni, Shi‛i and Alevi Muslims, as well as the Ahmadis are developing into more or less independent organizations.[43] From a practical point of view it has to be pointed out that recognition of the variety of religious tendencies within Islam must not necessarily complicate the situation, but could also make it easier: Forced unity usually is not a very strong basis for stable relations, and it would unduly cover existing Muslim diversity which to the contrary may even be helpful for the development of Islam within the existing legal framework. The German administration more and more learns to deal with this diversity in its efforts to establish reliable relations in the fields of legally necessary co-operation.
        In principle, the whole spectrum of legal forms of organization is open to Muslims in Germany. These differ considerably with regard to their prerequisites and legal consequences. Therefore, Muslims must in any case decide which form of organization would be the most appropriate for their respective aim. Compulsory membership has to be ruled out in any case. The obligation to admit those willing to be admitted exists only in rare exceptional cases, where the organization has a monopoly position and those excluded cannot effectively represent their interests (corresponding to those of the organization) without affiliation.[44]
        There are considerable differences regarding the density of regulations. The prerequisites for registered associations are comparatively clear and therefore calculable. In contrast to this, the prerequisites for achieving the status of a partner for the implementation of religious instruction at public schools are controversial and unclear regarding some basic issues and many details.[45] To my opinion, the state has a certain obligation to co-operate in making clear the respectively necessary steps. It has to be taken into consideration that the establishment of Islam is a new phenomenon different from Christian religious structures and therefore requiring new reflection on how the existing rules have to be applied. Muslims cannot be expected to spend endless energy and money for years to form organizations for a certain purpose without any reliable knowledge of the necessary steps towards this aim. Otherwise, the realisation of the constitutional rights would turn out to be merely theoretical. The federal Islamkonferenz has established a working group which has worked out a paper for further clarification.[46] At the same time Muslims willing to organize must act transparently on behalf of their intentions, to create the necessary basis for informed decisions.
        Registered associations until now are the most attractive form of Muslim organizations.[47] The registration in the register of associations, which is kept by the local courts, is required (cp. sect. 21 BGB [/German Civil Code]). Prerequisites for registration are the adoption of a statute, the application for registration by the president or executive committee (cp. sect. 26 BGB) under presentation of the articles which must be correct in form and in fact. The regulations of the law governing associations have to be interpreted and applied in a way that takes adequate account of the special constitutional protection of religious communities.[48] This applies especially to regulations concerning the internal constitution without external impact. It is also possible, that the religious association is - in accordance with its self-conception - constituted as a branch of a religious community, without contravening the ruling law governing associations for that reason alone.[49] In any case, there must also be clarity as regards membership, although the form of the regulations of admission may follow religiously motivated peculiarities. If the legal prerequisites have been met with, there is an entitlement to entry in the register of associations.[50]
        For financing religious and/or cultural activities, co-financing of the respective projects through donations will often be of special importance. The readiness to make donations usually rises if the donations are allowable in full or in part against taxable profits. This requires the recognition of the purpose of the association to be for the benefit of the public, charitable or ecclesiastical (cf. sect. 51 ss. Abgabenordnung).[51] Other tax exemptions or tax relief, e.g. relating to corporation income tax, municipal trade tax, or inheritance tax, are then also available.
        The actual activities of the association must, of course, be consistent with the provisions of the respective regulations; the benefit of the public that exists "only on paper" will not be considered in this respect.
        Consequently, there is a need to distinguish between profitable (cf. sect. 22 BGB) and non-profitable (religious) associations. The recognition as a non-profitable association might face difficulties, if commercial activities are broadly pursued. However, if such activity, e.g. the distribution of religious literature, or the issue of certificates for the slaughtering of animals in conformity with Islam with costs, remains a mere "side-purpose"[52] within the scope of religious-spiritual objectives, it is without any detrimental legal effects.
        Moreover, some Muslim organizations strive for being granted the rights of a public law-corporation and have filed corresponding applications with the responsible authorities.[53] Art. 140 GG in connection with art. 137 par. 5 WRV (/Weimar Constitution) offers religious communities this possibility, provided that they warrant duration through their constitution and the number of their members.[54] According to the recommendations of the Conference of Ministers for Education and Cultural Affairs of 1954 and 1962 and a few other regulations on the granting of corporation rights, the religious community warrants duration if it has proved itself for a period of 30 years as a solid organization within legal life.[55] This results in a merely temporary restriction. Recent developments within and among important Muslim organizations however show that there still is a considerable degree of instability, despite serious efforts to create more reliable structures. At present the major Christian churches have such status, but also the "Zentralverband der Juden in Deutschland" (National Union of the Jews in Germany).[56]
        An abundance of considerable legal benefits is connected with recognition as a public-law corporation. The taxing power with the help of the national tax offices (art. 137 par. 6 WRV), extensive tax privileges, the extended protection of own activities (the right to refuse to give witness evidence in court, special duties of care of the government with respect to the establishment and operation of institutions serving ritual and other religious purposes by such corporations), rights of participation in public life (broadcasting boards, youth welfare, spiritual assistance in the army or in prisons), the capacity to be an employer and disciplinary power, as well as the parochial right (claiming of persons moving into the area who belong to the religious community as members).[57]
        Of course, the granting of such extensive rights requires the religious community to be loyal to the law. In particular, it has to warrant that it will exert the sovereign power granted to it only in keeping with the constitutional law and other legislation and that its future behaviour will not endanger the fundamental constitutional principles laid down in art. 1 and 20 of the Constitution, the basic rights of third parties entrusted to the state for protection and the basic principles of the liberal law of religious organizations and the law concerning church-and-state relations of Germany. Any further loyalty to the state apart from that is not required.[58] Thus, if a religious community strives for the establishment of a theocratic system of power, this would clearly contradict the prerequisites for recognition in the above-mentioned sense. Its behaviour has to warrant that the prohibition of a national church as well as the principles of religious neutrality of the state and the parity of the religions remain unaffected.[59]
        The criterion to prove all these prerequisites is not the theoretical "belief" of the respective religious community, but its actual interpretation and subsequent behaviour.[60] Purely theoretical, theologically founded reservations against political systems (e.g. the qualification of political systems as "part of the world of Satan") are not detrimental as long as the religious community recognises the state (in its constitutional order) in its actual behaviour as a transitional system tolerated by God.[61] This may become important especially for Shi‛i movements, which - for religious-historical reasons - have kept their distance to governmental power.[62] However, the overwhelming majority of Muslim organizations in Germany have declared their support for the national legal system. The legally difficult details regarding this topic are beyond the scope of this paper. It has to be noted that this form of organization is principally available for Muslims. The constitution does not know of a "Christian cultural reservation".[63] Surely, the Christian churches have served as a model for the corporation status. Nevertheless, a mechanic transferral of this model to all other religious communities is not required and therefore not permissible. Instead of that, the law in force has to be applied according to its aims rather than according to historical definitions, thus in part re-assuring the technical prerequisites for the recognition as a public law-corporation.
        To my opinion, Muslims would be well advised to drive recognition as a public-law corporation forward only if the precondition of sufficient internal consolidation of the respective association is granted. It should be taken into consideration that the prospect of public influence and considerable privileges, also of a financial nature, quite often tends to trigger off battles for a share. Experience shows that this is a normal process, also where spiritual aims are pursued. But one has to consider that such battles for a share can be overcome without greater damage only, when a certain consolidation of the individual organizations involved has already been achieved. At the time present, none of the bigger Muslim organizations seems to promote this recognition for the foreseeable future.

         

         

        3- The application of Islamic legal norms

        As it comes to the application of legal rules, the conflict between possibly contradicting rules of the law of the land and the law of religious/cultural origin has to be solved.
        In the field of law, most of the existing legal orders have a territorial basis: everyone within the territory of a specific state has to abide by the same laws. Only the state can decide whether and to what extent 'foreign' law can be applied and enforced on its territory. Thus the legal system is not 'multi-cultural' as far as it concerns the decisive exercise of legal power. Therefore, the application of foreign legal provisions - including Islamic ones - is an exceptional case. However, this does not mean that foreign legal principles and cultural influences are kept out. Nevertheless, the constitutional principles of the inviolability of human dignity, democracy, the rule of law with the binding force of all state power, separation of powers, majority rule and minority protection, as well as the essential elements of constitutional civil rights, such as the equality of the sexes, freedom of opinion, religious freedom and protection of marriage and family etc., are among the basic principles which cannot be dispensed with. Within this framework, foreign legal provisions can be formally applied on three different legal levels. Besides that, the state has no control on informal ways of application as long as its bodies are not called upon by one of the parties involved.

        1. Private International Law (the rules regulating the conflict of laws in matters concerning civil[64] law) is a possible level of direct application of Islamic legal rules. In the area of civil law, the welfare of autonomously acting private persons is of prime importance. If someone has organized his/her life in accordance with a certain legal system, this deserves protection when the person crosses the border. However, it is also within the interest of the legal community that in certain matters the same law should be applicable to everyone resident in a particular country. This would be especially the case in matters touching the roots of legal and societal common sense, like the legal relations between the sexes or between adherents of different religions. The question as to whether foreign or national substantive law should be applied must therefore be determined, and this is done by Private International Law provisions (conflict of laws), which weigh up the relevant interests.
        As it comes to the areas of family law and the law of succession, the application of legal norms in European countries is often determined on the basis of nationality of the persons involved rather than by their domicile.[65] Other than in Canada or in the US[66], European courts are therefore often obliged to apply Islamic legal rules. In this respect it may generally be stated that Islamic law until today has a strong position especially within these areas. This can be explained by the fact that Islamic law in this area has a multiplicity of regulations derived from authoritative sources (Qur'ān and sunna). Furthermore, a powerful lobby obviously tries to preserve this area as a stronghold due to religious convictions as well as for reasons of income and the exercise of power (which was very similar in Europe in former times). The Tunisian lawyer Ali Mezghani states that "[i]n Islamic countries, it is difficult to deny that family law is the site of conservation."[67] This is true despite the fact that in several Islamic countries, namely in Morocco, reforms have taken place and still are in progress.[68] In others, there is even a remarkable backlash to traditional standards.
        However, the application of such provisions must comply with the rules of public policy. If the application of legislation influenced by Islamic law would lead to a result that is obviously incompatible with, for example, the main principles of German law, including constitutional civil rights, the provisions in question cannot be applied. The main conflicts between traditional "Islamic" and European legal thinking in family law concern the constitutional (and human) rights such as equality of the sexes and of religious beliefs and the freedom of religion including the right not to believe. Conflicts mainly arise from provisions reflecting classical Islamic Law, which preserve a strict separation between the sexes with respect to their social roles and tasks as well as the far-reaching legal segregation of religions under the supremacy of Islam.

        2. A further area of - indirect - application opens up within the framework of the so-called 'optional' civil law. Private autonomy is the core value of the liberal European Civil law orders. Thus, in matters exclusively concerning the private interests of the parties involved, these parties are entitled to create and to arrange their legal relations according to their preferences. Legal rules regulating such matters are "optional" within a certain framework.

         

        As an example we may note the fact that various methods of investment are offered which do not violate the Islamic prohibition of usury ("riba", which according to traditional views means the general prohibition of accepting and paying interest[69]). Concerning project finance, Islamic legal institutions like the murabaha or the mudaraba can be used.[70] These are certain forms of partnerships intending to attract capital owners to participate instead of merely giving credit, the latter bearing the risk of contradicting the riba-rules. Commerce and trade have already responded to the economic/legal needs of traditional Muslims. German and Swiss banks, for instance, have issued 'Islamic' shares for investment purposes, that is to say share packages that avoid companies whose business involves gambling, alcohol, tobacco, interest-yielding credit, insurance or the sex industry, which are illegitimate in Islamic law.[71] In the UK a special concept of "Islamic mortgages" was developed, which allows Muslims willing to purchase chattel to avoid conflicts with provisions concerning riba (when paying interest on "normal" mortgages).[72] The "Islamic" mortgage consists of two separate transactions aiming at one single result. Until recently each transaction was subject to taxation. Now a reform took place of which the key issue was to abolish the double "stamp duty", because it prevented Muslims from economically successful engaging in real property due to the formal system of taxation without a sufficient substantial reason. Even the German state of Sachsen-Anhalt has recently placed an Islamic bond ("sukuk"[73], 100m Euro for the beginning), based on a Dutch foundation.[74] For traditionally orientated Muslims, the offer of such forms of investment in Europe is of considerable importance. According to my knowledge many of them have lost huge sums of money in the past to doubtful organisations from the Islamic world bearing a "religious" veil, or to similar organisations based in Europe[75].

        In the field of Matrimonial law, tendencies of implementing Islamic norms into optional law can also be identified in Germany in connection with matrimonial contracts. Thus, in Germany contractual conditions regulating the payment of the "Islamic" dower ("mahr" or "sadaq") are possible and generally accepted by the Courts.[76]

        It is remarkable in this context that the Central Council of Muslims in Germany declared in its charter on Muslim life in German society on February 20th, 2002 ("Islamic Charta"[77]) that Muslims are content with the harmonic system of secularity and religious freedom provided by the Constitution. According to art. 13 of the charter, "The command of Islamic law to observe the local legal order includes the acceptance of the German statutes governing marriage and inheritance, and civil as well as criminal procedure." In the Swiss canton of Zurich, the Union of Islamic Organisations in Zürich[78] has expressly stated in its Basic declaration that the Union does not intent to create an Islamic state in Switzerland, nor does it place Islamic law above Swiss legislation (sec. 1). The union also expressly appreciates Swiss law of marriage and inheritance (sec. 5.). Similarly, the renowned French imam Larbi Kechat has stated that "Nous sommes en harmonie avec le cadre des lois, nous n'imposons pas une loi parallèle."[79] According to experiences in Belgium also, the vast majority of Muslim women living in between the rules of Muslim family law and women's rights claims the protection of Belgian substantive law.[80] The range of diversity granted by the law of the land itself seems to meet the needs and creeds of the overwhelming majority of Muslims in Europe quite well.

         

         

         

        Conclusion

           

          To sum up, European law is consistent and immutable in its democratic and human rights-orientated principles, but it also - or better for that grounds - leaves broad space for the religious freedom of Muslims. To be a democrat, an equal member of society and a Muslim therefore is not a contradiction in itself, but could serve as model for Muslims as well as for non-Muslims for the time present and for the future. On the other hand, it is important to enable Muslims as well as everybody living in the country to enjoy religious freedom equally. This freedom is not a privilege of the majority. In general, in cases of conflicts courts have proven and still prove to be reliable allies for Muslims in claiming their due rights.

          As it comes to the self-definition of Muslims adherent to Islamic norms in Europe, there are two main aspects to be kept in mind. First, there is no body of legal or religious rules laid down in laws or canons of religious obligations, but rather a system of identifying rules and then applying them to certain cases and situations. Even in the field of law, a large proportion of rules in both the traditional Sunni and Shi‛i schools are founded upon secondary legal findings such as interpretation and conclusions on the base of human reasoning. The statement that only God himself can be the legislator, which has been formulated by many academic lawyers, is thus very restricted in practice. From the early times of Islam human beings interpreted the divine statutes and developed norms of application. It may be cautiously said that there is not a single binding provision in Islamic law which can be applied without such interpretation and interpretations can change as human beings and their living conditions do.[81] The plurality of opinions within Islamic law is evidence for this. Furthermore, for more than 100 years and often in older times extensive efforts have been made to create a broad forum for the application of independent legal reasoning (iğtihād)[82]. This has allowed a certain reserve of flexibility which is necessary for legal practice to be accumulated so that an adequate response can be made to the situation of the Muslims in the Diaspora. I would like to quote a European Muslim here: " (...) we had very vital, very alive, very evolving jurisprudential activities up to the fourth century of Islam. Then suddenly the community was declared to go braindead. No longer are we allowed to develop our ideas. For it became doctrine that everyone must follow one of the present current schools. I believe that our crisis starts from this point."[83]

          Second, Islamic norms are not necessarily considered to be valid and binding at every time and place, but are subject to interpretation whether and to which extent they have to be applied in time and space. Some, for example, only applied to the wives of the prophet of Islam, Muhammad; others are aiming to the Non-Muslim population of the Arabian Peninsula in the first century A.H. Only a relatively small number of rules are taken to be binding at any time and at any place. These rules are mostly concerning the individual relation between God and man, the core of belief itself - the so-called five pillars of Islam. But even in this field, Muslims have found and developed interpretations which are allowing them to arrange their living conditions in a society which is predominantly non-Muslim (e.g. in the field of delaying or contracting the obligatory prayers). Furthermore, these rules are not enforceable in this world and therefore restricted to rule the relations between God and man.

          In this sense the task in Europe would be to define rules for Muslims here in accordance with the indispensable values of democracy, Human Rights and the rule of law governing European legal orders. Within the framework of these orders, Muslims have to be enabled to practice their belief not only in a theoretical position, but in daily life. The adversaries of this kind of constitutional orders are to be found among Muslim extremist groups like Khilavet Devleti, Hizb al-Tahrir or Murabitun as well as among right or left-wing radicals, extremist feminists, Christian fundamentalists and simple racists (who are sometimes to be found unified in strange alliances). Insofar all Europeans should remember that freedom of religion and therefore religious pluralism in an integral part of the liberal European constitutions, and that everybody who is willing to respect the rule of the land should enjoy this freedom

          Let me end with the words of the former president of the European Commission Romano Prodi concerning the dialogue of cultures: "It is not the matter just to passively experience events and to accept a cultural uniformity within which the values and the will of the strongest would be imposed on the rest. The European Union, a singular example of democratic constitution and integration of different cultures, can prove that there is an alternative formula to cultural uniformity or domination: a dialogue which respects different cultures and their representatives, as long as these different cultures are ready to respect the fundamental values of man."[84]

           


          [1] In Germany this is the usual term for people born in the country having at least one immigrant parent. It tries to avoid the poorly fitting term "foreigner".

          [2] Cf. the data in the very informative report by the German GTZ (German Technical Cooperation Agency), in gtz, Die marokkanische Diaspora in Deutschland, Eschborn 2007, pp. 3, 7 s.

          [3] Cf. Mathias Rohe, Der Islam - Alltagskonflikte und Lösungen. Rechtliche Perspektiven, Freiburg/Br., 2nd ed. 2001, pp. 91; for modern views cf. also Philip Lewis, Islamic Britain, London a.o., 1994, pp. 52 in particular.

          [4] Cf. the contributions in Berlin, Senatsverwaltung für Inneres (Ed.), Islamismus, Berlin 2005.

          [5] Excellent studies of present developments are presented by Wasif Shadid and Sjoerd van Koningsveld, Religious Authorities of Muslims in the West: Their Views on Political Participation, in id. (eds.), Intercultural Relations and Religious Authorities: Muslims in the European Union, Leuven a.o. 2003, pp. 149, and by Jacques Waardenburg, Muslims and Others: Relations in Context, Berlin a.o. 2003, pp. 241, 308 and 336.

          [6] For the different definitions of Sharia cf. Rohe, Das islamische Recht: Geschichte und Gegenwart, München 2009, pp. 9.

          [7] Cf. Rohe (Guest Ed.), Shari'a in Europe, Die Welt des Islams - International Journal for the Study of Modern Islam vol. 44 no. 3 (2004), (Special issue).

          [8] The wording is as follows:

          Art. 9 - Freedom of thought, conscience and religion:

          1. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance.

          2. Freedom to manifest one's religion or belief shall be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public safety, for the protection of public order, health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

          [9] For an example cf. Rohe, The Formation of a European Shari'a, in: Malik (Ed.), Muslims in Europe, Münster 2004, pp. 161, 173.

          [10] The wording is as follows:

          Art. 4 [Freedom of faith, conscience, and creed]

          (1) Freedom of faith and conscience, and freedom to profess a religious or philosophical creed, shall be inviolable.

          (2) The undisturbed practice of religion shall be guaranteed.

          [11] BVerfGE 41, 29, 49; M. Heckel, "Religionsunterricht fuer Muslime?", JZ 1999, 741, 744.

          [12] BVerfGE 19, 129, 132; cf. also I. von Muench, P. Kunig and B.-O. Bryde, Grundgesetz-Kommentar, 5th ed. Muenchen, C.H. Beck, 2000, art. 4 n. 21, 53.

          [13] Cf. BVerfGE 53, 366, 387.

          [14] For the intrinsic connection between full religious freedom and secularism cf. Bielefeldt, Muslime im säkularen Rechtsstaat, Bielefeld 2003, pp. 15.

          [15] Soheib Bencheikh, Marianne et le Prophète - L'Islam dans la France laïque, Paris 1998, pp. 57.

          [16] For other issues, such as wearing headscarves in the Public Service cf. Selbmann, Developments in German Case Law Regarding the Freedom of Religion, European Yearbook of Minority Issues 3 (2003/4), pp. 199, 207.

          [17] Cf. Deutscher Bundestag (n. 47) p. 7.

          [18] Cf. S. Kraft, Islamische Sakralarchitektur in Deutschland, Muenster, Lit Verlag, 2002 (LIT); C. Leggewie et al., Der Weg zur Moschee. Eine Handreichung fuer die Praxis, Bad Homburg, v.d.Hoehe 2002; T. Schmitt, Moscheen in Deutschland. Konflikte um ihre Errichtung und Nutzung, Deutsche Akademie für Landeskunde, Flensburg, 2003.

          [19] Cf. N. Kelek, "Das Minarett ist ein Herrschaftssymbol", FAZ 05.06.07, p. 33. For critical voices cf. Lau, "Necla Kelek ueber Religionsfreiheit und Moscheebau" available under http://www.blog.zeit.de/joerglau/2007/06/05/necla-kelek-uber-moscheebau-und-religionsfreiheit_538 (06.06.07).

          [20] OVG Koblenz NVwZ 2001, pp. 933.

          [21] BVerfG NJW 2002, pp. 663.

          [22] In this sense see the statements of the mufti of Egypt and president of the al Azhar university dated 25.2.1982 and the Islamic World League in Jiddah 1989 and other authorities; cf. OVG Hamburg NVwZ 1994, pp. 592, 595 s.

          [23] Cf. BVerwG BVerwGE 99, pp. 1; see also BVerwG NJW 2001, pp. 1225.

          [24] Cf. „Lyrik für Wähler" - Tierschutz, Grundgesetz und die Union, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) 27.03.2002, p. 6.

          [25] Cf. Rohe, Der Islam - Alltagskonflikte und Lösungen, 2nd ed. Freiburg 2001, p. 187.

          [26] Cf. "Tierschutz im Grundgesetz", FAZ 18.05.2002, 2; for details see Rohe, Das Schächt-Urteil des Bundesverfassungsgerichts vom 15. Januar 2002, österreichisches Archiv für recht & religion 2002, pp. 78.

          [27] LAG Hessen 21.06.2001, NJW 2001, pp. 3650.

          [28] BAG NJW 2003, p. 1685.

          [29] BVerfG NJW 2003, p. 2815.

          [30] Council Directive 2000/78/EC of 27 November 2000 establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation, OJ L 303, 2.12.2000, pp. 16. Cf. Rohe, Schutz vor Diskriminierung aus religiösen Gründen im Europäischen Arbeitsrecht - Segen oder Fluch? in: Krause/Veelken/Vieweg (Eds.), Recht der Wirtschaft und der Arbeit in Europa, Gedächtnisschrift für Wolfgang Blomeyer, Berlin 2004, pp. 217. The directive has been implemented into German law by the Act on Equal Treatment (Allgemeines Gleichbehandlungsgesetz).

          [31] OVG Lüneburg FEVS 44, pp. 465 ss.

          [32] VG Berlin NVwZ 1994, p. 617.

          [33] See OVG Hamburg NJW 1992, pp. 3118, 3119.

          [34] VG Mainz 26.02.2003 (Az. 1 L 98/03.MZ) - not yet published.

          [35] Perhaps there will be new developments on the basis of laws regulating registered partnerships. According to a recent report from the Netherlands, a male partner succeeded in registering partnerships with two female partners, cf. "Mann wird "Partner" zweier Frauen", FAZ 05.10.2005, p. 9. It is highly recommendable to adjust these laws to European standards agreed upon since centuries.

          [36] Cf. LG Frankfurt a.M. FamRZ 1976, p. 217; LG Osnabrück NJW-RR 1998, p. 582; AG Bremen StAZ 1991, pp. 232, 233; Staatsanwaltschaft bei dem LG Muenchen I IPRspr. 1996 No. 62; VGH Kassel NVwZ-RR 1999, pp. 274, 275.

          [37] The English solution differs fundamentally from the German one. None of the widows is accepted to be one legally, cf. Court of Appeal in Bibi v. Chief Adjudication Officer [1998] 1 FLR 375.

          [38] Cf. OVG Koblenz 12.03.2004 (10 A 11717/03), not published

          [39] This legal provision in Art. 137 WRV ? reads as follows:

          (1) There shall be no national church.

          (2) The freedom to unite in order to form religious associations shall be granted. The unification of associations within the territory of the "Reich" (analogously today the territory of the Federal Republic, the author) shall not be subject to any restrictions.

          (3) Each one of the religious associations shall organize and administrate its affairs independently within the limits of the law that is binding for everyone. It shall grant its posts without interference by the state or the civil community.

          (4) Religious associations shall acquire legal capacity in accordance with the general regulations of the civil law.

          (5) Religious associations shall remain public-law corporations, as far as that was their former status. Other religious associations shall be granted equal rights on application, if duration is warranted through their constitution and the number of their members. (...)

          [40] Cf. the answer of the Federal Government to the major interpellation on Islam in Germany, BT-Drucksache (Bundestag - printed matter) 14/4530 dt. 08/11/2000, 33, with further references; BVerwG NJW 2005, 2101, 2102.

          [41] Instead of all: Link, Theologische Realenzyklopaedie, 2000; Art. Staatskirche/Staatsreligion II 2.8.3, end.

          [42] Cf. only BVerwG NJW 2005, 2101, 2103.

          [43] Cf. M. Rohe (n. 12) 23, 72, with further references.

          [44] For details cf. Palandt-Heinrichs, BGB, 68th ed. 2009, § 25 n. 10, with further references.

          [45] For details cf. the recent collection of articles written mainly by persons involved in practical work in this field edited by W. Bock, Islamischer Religionsunterricht?, Tuebingen, J.C.B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck), 2006; and the thorough study of M. Dietrich, Islamischer Religionsunterricht: Rechtliche Perspektiven, Frankfurt am Main, Lang, 2006.

          [46] Available under www.deutsche-islam-konferenz.de

          [47] Cf. Deutscher Bundestag (Federal Parliament), Stand der rechtlichen Gleichstellung des Islam in Deutschland, Antwort der Bundesregierung auf die Große Anfrage (BT-Drucksache 16/2085), BT-Drucksache (printed matter) 16/5033 (18.04.2007), p. 24.

          [48] Cf. BVerfG NJW 1991, pp. 2623.

          [49] BVerfG NJW 1991, 2623, 2626.

          [50] BGHZ 45, 395 = NJW 1966, 2007; unclear BVerfG NJW 1991, 2623, 2624; cf. also v. Campenhausen, Rechtspfleger 1989, 349 s.

          [51] Cf. U. Koenig, in A. Pahlke and U. Koenig, Abgabenordnung, Muenchen, C.H. Beck, 2004, § 54 n. 1 ss.

          [52] Cf. only Palandt-Heinrichs, BGB, 68th ed., Muenchen, C.H. Beck 2009, § 21 n. 5.

          [53] Cf. Deutscher Bundestag (n. 47) pp. 26; W. Loschelder, "Der Islam und die religionsrechtliche Ordnung des Grundgesetzes", in H. Marré and J. Stueting (ed.), Der Islam in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Muenster: Aschendorff, 1986, 149, 162 ss..

          [54] The administrative practice is non-uniform here; acc. to D. Ehlers, in M. Sachs, Grundgesetz - Kommentar, Muenchen, 3rd ed., C.H. beck, Muenchen, 2003, art. 140, (art. 137 WRV), n. 20, a minimum of 1/1000 of the inhabitants of the respective Land is taken as a basis. In contrast to that, the "Deutsche Orden" with a membership of only a few dozens was granted corporation status in Bavaria in 1998.

          [55] For details cf. H. Weber, "Muslimische Gemeinschaften als Koerperschaften des oeffentlichen Rechts", in J. Oebbecke (ed.), Muslimische Gemeinschaften im deutschen Recht, Frankfurt am Main, Lang, 2003, pp. 85, 90 ss.

          [56] Cf. G. Thuesing, in R. Richardi, G. Thuesing, G. Annuß and R. Dietz, Betriebsverfassungsgesetz mit Wahlordnung, 10th ed., C.H. Beck, Muenchen, 2006, § 118, n. 193, with further references; Deutscher Bundestag (n. 47) pp. 74.

          [57] Cf. the survey in M. Sachs-D. Ehlers, Grundgesetz - Kommentar, Muenchen, 3rd ed., C.H. Beck, Muenchen, 2003, art. 140, (art. 137 WRV), n. 17 ss.; H. von Mangoldt, F. Klein and C. Starck - von Campenhausen, Das Bonner Grundgesetz, 4th ed., Vahlen, Muenchen, 2001, art. 137 WRV n. 236 ss.

          [58] In this sense the leading "Zeugen Jehovas" decision of the Federal Constitutional Court 19.12.2000, NJW 2001, pp. 429. This decision seems in some of its passages to be clearly aimed at Muslim communities.

          [59] BVerfG 19.12.2000, NJW 2001, pp. 429, 432.

          [60] Cf. BVerfG (n. 59) p. 431 s.; A. Albrecht, "Die Verleihung der Koerperschaftsrechte an islamische Vereinigungen", KuR 1/1995, pp. 25; S. Muckel, "Muslimische Gemeinschaften als Koerperschaften des oeffentlichen Rechts", DÖV 1995, pp. 311.

          [61] BVerfG (n. 59) 433.

          [62] Cf. Halm, Der schiitische Islam, Muenchen, C.H. Beck, 1994, p. 146 and other places.

          [63] Cf. only S. Muckel, "Religionsgemeinschaften als Koerperschaften des oeffentlichen Rechts", Der Staat 38 (1999), pp. 569, 592, with further references.

          [64] Of course, in the sphere of public law and especially of penal law, foreign law is not applicable. Public law regulates the activities of the sovereign himself; and penal law has to define rules which are necessary to grant a minimum consensus of common behaviour in the relevant society.

          [65] For further details cf. Rohe, Islamic Law in German Courts, Hawwa 1 (2003), pp. 46

          [66] Cf. Foblets/Overbeeke, Islam in Belgium, in: Potz/Wieshaider (Eds.), Islam and the European Union, Leuven/Paris/Dudley 2004, pp. 1, 25; Rude-Antoine, La coexistence des systèmes juridiques différents en France : l'exemple du droit familial, in: Kahn (ed.), L'étranger et le droit de la famille, Paris 2001, pp. 147, 161.

          [67] Mezghani, Le juge français et les institutions du droit musulman, J.D.I. 2003, pp. 721, 722.

          [68] Cf. Rohe, Der Islam - Alltagskonflikte und Lösungen, 2. ed. Freiburg/Br. 2001, pp. 53 and 112; for recent interesting developments in the Maghrib cf. Nelle, Neue familienrechtliche Entwicklungen im Maghreb, StAZ 2004, pp. 253.

          [69] Cf. Saeed, Islamic Banking and Interest. A Study of the Prohibition of Riba and its Contemporary Interpretation, Leiden/New York/Köln 1996; Iqbal, Islamic Banking and Finance, Leicester 2001.

          [70] Cf. Klarmann, Islamic Project Finance, Zurich/Bâle/Genève 2003; Bälz, A Murbaha Transaction in an English Court, ILAS 11(2004), pp. 117.

          [71] Cf. Venardos, Islamic Banking and Finance, New Jersey u.a. 2005, p. 70.

          [72] Cf. Iqbal Asaria, Islamic home finance arrives on UK's high streets, Muslim News 25 July 2003 (no. 171), p. 6.

          [73] It is based on a combination of leasing contracts concerning the state's real property; cf. "Finanzmarkt: Islam-Anleihe aus Magdeburg", Die Bank 01.01.2004.

          [74] Cf. "Sachsen-Anhalt bereitet erste islamische Anleihe vor", FAZ 06.11.2003, p. 31; „Anlegen mit Allahs Segen", Handelsblatt 14.07.2004, p. 29.

          [75] Cf. the reports on doubtful investments in Turkey supported by certain organisations in "Neuer Markt auf Türkisch", SPIEGEL ONLINE 29.01.2004 (called on 29.01.2004 under http://www.spiegel.de/0,1518,283591,00.html).

          [76] Cf. BGH NJW 1999, p. 574; OLG Celle FamRZ 1998, pp. 374.

          [77] An English version can be found under http://www.islam.de/?site=sonstiges/events/charta&di=en (called on 30.01.2004).

          [78] Vereinigung der Islamischen Organisationen in Zürich (VIOZ), Grundsatzerklärung v. 27.03.2005.

          [79] Larbi Kechat: le coran a été relevé au VIIe siècle: dans le contexte socioculturel de l'époque, entretien réalisé par Guy Gauthier, in Panoramiques No. 29 (2e trimestre - 1997), L'islam est-il soluble dans la République, pp. 183, 189.

          [80] Cf. Foblets/Overbeeke (n. 66), p. 34.

          [81] Cf. Youssef Seddik, Avon-nous jamais lu le Coran?, Esprit no. 239 (1/1998), pp. 99.

          [82] Cf. e.g. T. Ramadan, To be a European Muslim, Leicester 1999, pp. 82, pp. 93.

          [83] Badawi, in: King (ed.), God's Law versus State Law, London 1995, p. 73.

          [84] „Valoriser l'héritage culturel commun!", Le Figaro 04.04.2002, p. 14.

           

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          In the name of Allah. Most Merciful Most Gracious

           

          My name is Muhammad Habibur Rahman. I am from the UK. I work at the London Metropolitan University and a colleague of my suggested whether I would be interested in attending this conference. Although my specialism is not Law, but having lived in the UK from the age of 12 and being involved deeply within the Muslim community and in community cohesion and inter-faith work, I gladly accepted. So I thank the organizers for the invitation and the opportunity to share with you some legal frame-works for Muslims within the British legal system.

           

          I am on record as stating on more than one occasion that: I am a Muslim, I am British and I am a Bangladeshi and proud to be so. I have a conviction towards my religion Islam with its code of conduct as the Shari'ah. And I have chosen to make UK my home. I see no contradiction between the two.

           

           

          I have said this because:

           

          The UK has a history, as one of the first Western countries enshrining freedom and protecting minorities, for example the Magna Carta and habeas corpus.

           

          More recently European Law has preserved this tradition with the European Convention on Human Rights:

          Article 9 of the Human Rights Convention provides:

          "Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.....in public and private life, to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice or observation."

           

           

          Consequently:

          We have Mosques to pray in. Some from which to call out Adhan ELM

          We have access to halal food, including slaughtering of animals in accordance with Islam to get halal meat and to offer anaimal sacrifice on the occasion of Eid ul adha

          We can pray in the work place - Universities, Town Halls, Airports, hospitals, even motorway service stations have - prayer space

          Women can freely wear the hijab in public, in universities, in work

          Work flexibly - during Ramadhan

          We can have Islamic schools - funded by the Government

          When I attended a state school, we had to recite the Lords prayer in the morning assembly, but my children are given Muslim assembly where they recite the fatiha and are given Islamic nasiha.

          Can have an Islamic marriage ceremony

          Can have Islamic burial in a Muslim cemetery

          There are shari'ah councils for religious guidance and conflict resolution

          Islamic finance - mortgage, insurance, investment

           

          I hope this shows that the greater portion of a Muslim's life has no contradiction within the British legal system.

           

          But, Muslims are not protected by Law against discrimination. The Race Relations Act 1976, protects Jews, Sikhs and Gypsies, but not Muslims.

          (One cannot be anti-Semitic or even question the holocaust - but ridiculing and being disparaging to strongly held Muslim beliefs and values - is argued to be freedom of speech)

           

           

          The word Shari'ah is very much misunderstood. Its conjures up brutal, barbaric and medieval images - oppression of women (as in a Taliban regime), chopping off hands, lashing, stoning to death and beheading.

           

          Reasons why some politicians refer to Islam as 'an evil ideology'.

           

          Geert Wilder - an MP from Netherlands, made a film called Fitna - and refers to Islam as 'an ideology of hate' and an 'ideology of violence' and states that most of the Qur'an is about this.

           

          Therefore Shari'ah which emanates from the Qur'an and the Tradition of the Prophet (saw) - is also feared as something from the dark ages.

           

          This is why we witnessed an uproar, when the Archbishop of Canterbury in Feb 2008, delivered a talk in which he mentioned that the adoption of certain aspects of shari'ah law in the UK 'seems unavoidable'.

           

           

          The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers - in a historic visit to the East London Mosque and the London Muslim Centre, in July 2008, reiterated the same, and said, Muslims were free to practice their faith and live in accordance with those principles and yet not be in conflict with the law. He gave instances where the shari'ah had already been embraced.

           

          Despite the misunderstanding and the ignorance about Shari'ah, the concept is quite prevalent in the UK and beyond.

           

          A major terrestrial TV channel (channel 4) aired many episodes of 'Shari'ah TV'.

           

          Just this week (10th March) - BBC aired a programme on 'Celebrity Lives - Shari'ah style, which looked at how shari'ah would have dealt with celebrity divorce settlements, like Madonna and Guy Richie, Paul McCartney and Heather Mills.

           

          In this time of global financial meltdown - the Vatican has offered Islamic Finance System to Western Banks (World Bulletin/News Desk 6/03/09). A spokesman said, "The ethical principles on which the Islamic Finance is based may bring banks closer to their clients and to the true spirit which should mark every financial service

           

          The Arch Bishop of Canterbury and Lord Chief Justice both acknowledged the misunderstanding and the media hype that surrounded the concept of Sharia and both defined the term before elaborating:

           

           

          Lord Philips, the then Lord Chief Justice stated:

          "Shari'ah consists of a set of principles governing the way that one should live one's life in accordance with the will of God. These principles are based on the Qu'ran, as revealed to the Prophet Muhammad and interpreted by Islamic scholars. The principles have much in common with those of other religions. They do not include forced marriage or the repression of women. Compliance with them requires a high level of personal conduct, including abstinence from alcohol. I understand that it is not the case that for a Muslim to lead his or her life in accordance with these principles will be in conflict with the requirements of the law in this country"

           

          Another definition taken from Dr Rowan Williams speech:

          "It is the prime duty of all traditions of Shari'a Law to interpret and apply, loyally and

          obediently, the teachings imparted by Allah to the Prophet Mohammad. Shari'a law

          has tended to protect and strengthen the community in which, it is intended, the

          individual can then live a devout, good and ordered life"

           

           

          Shari'ah within the English Legal System

          Applying Shari'ah law within the UK context does not mean applying a draconian set of laws, discriminating against women, non-Muslims and minorities, which would undermine coveted principles of the English legal system, including the rule of law, justice, democracy and human rights? It means having the opportunity of following one's religious guidance and requirement, within the English legal system, in matters that are not in conflict with the law.

           

          Since Shari'ah is about the whole of life and not just the penal code, as I have explained before, Muslims are already following much of the shari'ah within the English legal system. Much of this is in relation to civil and religious code of conduct.

           

           

          How does it operate in the UK?

           

          Aspects of shari'ah law was adopted in Britain, when the Muslim Arbitration Tribunal (MAT) was established in 2007.

          Usual media hype followed as well as a public demonstration in Tarfalgar square against shari'ah Law.

           

          Mail online - Islamic Sharia Courts in Britain are now 'legally binding'

          Sunday Times: Revealed: UK's first official sharia courts

          Comment that followed: Its not right. We live in Britain, not the middle East. It was recently reported that Dominos pizz are not using pork on their pizza anymore and no meat whatsoever unless its halal. HANG ON!! I'm a Christian. I don't want to eat meat thats been bless by Allah. I'm not Muslim.

           

          It is not a sharia court - it is an arbitration tribunal - a provision for which, is made with the Arbitration Act 1996 - which allows for alternative dispute resolution.

           

          MAT provided a viable alternative for the Muslim community seeking to resolve disputes in accordance with Islamic Sacred Law and without having to resort to costly and time consuming litigation.

           

          By operating within the legal framework of England and Wales, provided both parties agree, MATs determination could be enforced through the county courts and the High courts. Started with 5 with a view to extending to 7 in six major cities. Remit is limited to Family disputes, Commercial and debt disputes, inheritance disputes, Mosque disputes.

           

          It is unable to deal with criminal offences and issues of domestic violence may be brought for reconciliation.

           

          MAT operates with defined procedural rules drawn up according to Law. Tribunal must have two members - one qualified practicing Barrister or Solicitor and a scholar.

           

          In fact over the last 30 years, there existed Shari'ah Councils, which provided Islamic rulings on marriage, divorce, inheritance and conflicts. However, these rulings were not binding in law and depended on the voluntary acceptance by both parties.

           

           

           

           

           

          Jewish Beth Din courts

          In fact this is nothing new. Jewish Beth Din courts operate under the same provision in the Arbitration Act and resolve civil cases, ranging from divorce to business disputes. They have existed in Britain for more than 100 years, and previously operated under a precursor to the act.

           

          What do they do?

          The range of questions with which the Beth Din deals is vast and covers all areas of Jewish Law. Including:

          • the authorisation and supervision of mohelim (Circumcision)
          • the supervision of mikvot (Ritual purification)
          • questions relating to burial and mourning
          • advising on legislation which may have an impact on Jewish religious practice
          • the examination of Shochetim and the control of the Shechita Inspectors (Slaughter)
          • it is also the Halakhic Authority for the Kashrut Division (Dietary Laws)
          • GET procedure (divorce)
          • Conversion
          • Adoption
          • Litigation (forbidden to disputes to secular courts)

           

           

           

          Due to this precedence, the Lord Chief Justice in his speech said:

          "It was not very radical to advocate embracing Sharia Law in the context of family disputes, for example. It is possible in this country for those who are entering into a contractual agreement to agree that the agreement shall be governed by a law other than English law. Those who, in this country, are in dispute as to their respective rights are free to subject that dispute to the mediation of a chosen person, or to agree that the dispute shall be resolved by a chosen arbitrator or arbitrators. There is no reason why principles of Sharia Law, or any other religious code should not be the basis for mediation or other forms of alternative dispute resolution".

          The sharia courts do not involve themselves in criminal law or any aspects of civil law in which they would be in direct conflict with British civil codes. The vast majority of their cases cover marriage and divorce. By consent of all parties, they may also arbitrate issues of property, child custody, housing and employment disputes, though their rulings are not binding unless submitted to the civilian courts.

           

          Also the Archbishop, Dr Rowan Williams made it clear that it was possible for individuals voluntarily to conduct their lives in accordance with Sharia principles without this being in conflict with the rights guaranteed by British law.

           

           

          The benefits of adopting the aspect of sharia are clear:

          Provides satisfaction to thousands of people who otherwise would be dissatisfied with the formal decisions of the courts and feel 'spiritually unfulfilled'. Saves time and frees up the Court of being clogged up with thousands of cases. Is evidence of diversity and tolerance in the UK.

           

          In 2003 Islamic finance was regulated. Law on charging stamp duty had to be adjusted for this. In May 2008 Europe's first Islamic Insurance company was authorised by the FSA.

           

           

           

          Conflict with the Law

          This week a Christian registrar refused to marry a gay couple. She was told she had to. She is going to the European Human rights commission.

           

          Télécharger la contribution

           

           

           

           

          Introduction

          In Italy, Muslims have been present since the Arab Muslims landed in Mazara in 827 AD and they established themselves in Sicily from 828 AD[1] to 1300 AD.[2] Since then, in fact, they have been part of the Italian culture and tradition in various ways: as invaders and pirates in the coastal areas, as well as ambassadors and diplomats. Most notably they have been present as merchants in Venice and other important sea towns in Italy.

          More recently, the immigration phenomenon has been the primary element that has triggered both attitudes of dialogue and intolerance in Italy. The "Islamic question" became a key issue in the 1970's when North African immigrants (mostly of Berber or Arab origin) came from Morocco. The number of Muslims present in the country increased steadily in the following decades with new comers from Albania who were then followed by immigrants from Egypt, Tunisia, Senegal, Somalia, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

           

           

          1. Muslims in Italy

          At the moment, Islam in Italy is the second largest religion behind Catholicism. Though there is a small number of Italians who have converted to Islam, the Muslim population is mainly represented by immigrants from several Muslim countries.

          According to the Caritas Migrantes Yearly Report their number seems to be roughly 1,253,704, which represents about 31.4% of the immigrant population in Italy.[3]

          The Muslim community in Italy is not a homogenous one. There are big differences regarding sex, age, race and nationality. They come from different ethnic groups and different countries, they speak different languages, and have different social backgrounds and often religion seems to be the only link among them, though, even in this case, they are following different juridical, mystical and theological schools of thought. Most of them are Sunnites, but there is also a Shiite minority among them, while a great part of the Asian and Sub-Saharan Muslims are followers of different Sufi Confraternities.[4]

          There are communities of Muslims who regularly meet in houses and homemade mosques and here and there in the national territory there is the appearance of Islamic cultural centers. Among them the most relevant and well known is the Italian Institute of Islamic culture in Rome, attached to a superb mosque, probably the largest in Western Europe, built in 1995.[5] Others can be found in Milan, Naples, and Palermo and in several other towns around the country. Most of the members of these communities and centers are Muslims of different origins and belonging to different ethnic and religious backgrounds,[6] including native Italians who gather around a number of rivaling Muslim organizations, often without a public legal status, which have become, in the last few years, increasingly active in promoting self-awareness among the Muslims in Italy and in expressing the concerns and the demands of their communities.

           

           

          2. Concordat, Constitution, Intesa

          The Italian Constitution guarantees both religious freedom and a bilateral relationship between the State and Religions or faith communities[7].

          The so-called "Concordat", was established with the Catholic Church on February 11th 1929, as part of the Lateran Pacts. This put an end to the issue between Italy and the Holy See after the events of 1870 with the fall of Rome and its proclamation as the capital of Italy.

          The Lateran Pacts, which came to regulate a whole series of relations between the Italian State and the Holy See, were included in the text of the Italian Constitution in 1947[8].

          Some modifications in the Treaty seemed necessary fifty years later due to the passage of time and the socio-economic changes this had produced. Consequently on the February 18th 1984, the Republic of Italy and the Vatican both signed the Revised Agreement of the 1929 Lateran Pacts, which was prepared by a Bilateral Commission. This came into effect on March 25th 1985 in Italian legislation (Law No. 121) after being ratified first by both the House of Representatives and the Senate, and then by the Holy See on June 3rd, 1985.[9]

          Immediately after this new agreement with the Catholic Church, the Italian State started to work on special agreements, which were to be signed between the Republic and all religious confessions in Italy[10]. This was already foreseen in the abovementioned Art. 8 of the Constitution: "(1) All religious denominations shall be equally free before the law. (2) Religious denominations which are other than the Catholic Church shall have the right to organize themselves according to their own by-laws; provided that they are not in conflict with the Italian legal system. (3) Their relations with the State shall be regulated by law on the basis of agreements with their respective representatives.[11] According to this article, the institution of this agreement (intesa) allows for "non-catholic" faith-communities to obtain similar rights and privileges as those of the Roman Catholic Church.[12]

          An agreement (intesa) with the Italian State can only be requested by those faith communities, which have been officially recognized and awarded legal status according to law N° 1159 of 24 June 1929 (the so-called law of admitted cults). This law, which has been reinterpreted in light of Italy's post-war Constitution, allows for other non-Catholic religions to practice as long as their rites are not in opposition to public order or ethics. They can be awarded legal status by presidential decree on the basis of a recommendation from the Ministry of Home Affairs, which also has to approve the nomination of these non-catholic ministers of religions.[13] Since then, the various initiatives introduced in Parliament to modernize this law and to introduce a "law for religious freedom"-which would replace the so-called law of admitted cults - have failed thus far.[14]

          During the last twenty years, some Muslim Organizations in Italy have attempted to stipulate such agreements[15] with the Italian State. So far, none of them have been successful[16] due to the lack of hierarchical organization and institutional leadership among Muslim Communities. This has also prevented them from obtaining official recognition as legal personalities according to the law, except for the case of the Islamic Cultural Center of Italy (C.I.C.I.).[17] Because of the competition among Muslim associations and ethnic groups for the social and political hegemony over all the Muslim Communities present in Italy, a federation of the rivaling Muslim organizations in Italy is still being prevented.

          Nevertheless, because of the religious freedom guaranteed by the Italian Constitution,[18] local permission has been granted to open mosques, to have ḥalâl[19] shops and butchers, special places in the cemetery and other facilities, not without debates and opposition on the part of some Italians.

           

           

          3. The "Charter of Values"

          The fragmentation of the Muslim society in Italy, the problem of giving answers to issues, such as the leadership (imâms) of the Muslim communities, the possibility of having Islamic education in public schools, the creation of Islamic private schools, as well as the security problem due to the possible infiltration of terrorism and illegal practices in a world which could not be always under control, led the Italian Minister of Home Affairs to create, in 2005, a Council for Italian Islam,[20] whose main task was to express opinions and make suggestions on the issues concerned with the welfare of Muslims in Italy and their integration into the national society in full respect of the laws and the Italian Constitution.

          Among the purposes of this Council has always been the creation of an Italian expression of the Islamic tradition and the building up of a Muslim community which should be open to the society they live in and integrate itself into it within the frame of its laws and regulations, with full respect for the national identity and the values of the country. It was thanks to the debate within this Council that some of its members suggested that there was a need to draw a sort of chart of the main values the different Muslim communities in Italy would accept in order to open a dialogue among them. Then, under the impulse of the Minister Home Affairs, the question of tolerance and dialogue with the other religious communities and congregations came about and it was in this context and within the Council itself that the suggestion of having a "Charter of Values of Citizenship and Integration" came out.

          In fact, the decision to elaborate a "Charter of Values of Citizenship and Integration", was finally taken by the Italian Minister of Home Affairs in the course of 2006 with the main purpose of summarizing and making explicit the fundamental principles that regulate the collective life in Italy with particular attention to the immigrants, and to spread light on the problems involved with their integration into the Italian society. For this purpose the Home minister set up an ad hoc Scientific Committee[21] composed of specialists both in juridical and in Islamic Studies.[22]

          In carrying out its mandate, the Committee started its work with some advisory meetings with components of the above-mentioned Council for Italian Islam. There then followed a series of hearings of individuals and delegations involving both Italian citizens and immigrants of different origins. The composition of the delegations was always such as to guarantee a high level of ethnic, religious, social and professional pluralism. Large space was given to the representative of the religious communities, such as the Catholic and Protestant Churches, the so called Evangelical Churches, the Buddhist and Hindu Unions, the Sikh Associations, the Union of the Jewish Communities and a particular attention was given to the variegated and pluralistic world of the Italian Islam with the several Muslim institutions and organizations.

          This proceeding has allowed the Committee to formulate a hypothesis of the text of the "Charter of Values of Citizenship and Integration", already discussed and approved by the representative of the various Religions and Associations of immigrants present in Italy in the course of the above mentioned hearings, with the results that the final text, elaborated with reference to the contributions received during the hearing by the members of the Committee, found a natural acceptance by the above mentioned Religious groups and immigrants' associations.

           

          Finally the document prepared by the Scientific Committee was approved with a Ministerial Decree on April 23rd 2007.

          The Charter of Values explains and clarifies the principles of the Italian Constitution and the main European and international Charters of human rights, but it focuses in a special manner on those problems that the multiculturalism puts to the western society. In this respect the principles of democracy and secularism, on which such regulations are based, constitute solid guarantees to meet the requirements of the various communities of immigrants and to respect the religious freedom of whoever plans to settle in the national territory.

          Within this background, the Charter of Values tries to clarify the concept of citizenship and to find out the best way of cohabitation among different national, ethnic and religious communities, which, in the last years, have started to take root in the Italian territory.

          There must be a feeling among the natives and the immigrants that: "Living in the same territory means to be full-fledged citizens of that land and acquire, with loyalty and coherence, common values and share responsibilities."[23]

          The document starts presenting Italy as a "community of persons and values" and by drawing a brief picture of its cultural tradition,[24] where the Constitution of 1947 represents for the Italians the peak of their historical path in formulating the main values on which is built their society.

          The text, then, with the other European and international Charters on Human Rights, put the stress on the effort towards "the realization of an international order based on the respect of human rights, equality and solidarity among peoples"[25] which creates also a sound spirit of welcoming other populations and cultures. This way Italy is presented as a country with an ancient story, culture, as well as with sound civil and religious traditions, and it cannot be considered by anyone "no man's land" or a "free port".

          The ticklish issue of the integration of those who are coming to settle in Italy is faced in the light of the key principle of the absolute value of the human person, which makes this country "committed to ensuring that every person, since his/her arrival in Italy, is guaranteed the respect of his/her fundamental rights, regardless of his/her gender, ethnicity, religion and social condition. At the same time, though, anyone living in Italy must respect the values on which the Italian society is based, the rights of the others, and the duties of solidarity envisaged by the law".[26]

          The positive attitude of the Charter toward the Muslim is part of the general respect the Italian people have for all religions and it is in particular shown through their rejection of "every expression of xenophobia, which can be expressed in turn as Islamophobia or prejudices towards populations coming from other parts of the World".[27]

           

          However there are some touchy issues with respect to the Muslim that have not been overlooked.

          One of the most difficult matters the Charter deals with is the one of "family and new generations" which often creates tensions in the process of integrations among cultures and traditions, particularly between the eastern and western ones. Here the Charter deals with some sensitive issues, as far as the Islamic point of view is concerned, such as the family structure: "Marriage is based on equal rights and responsibilities of husband and wife and it is, therefore, monogamic. Monogamy unites the lives of two persons thus making them both responsible for what they realize together, starting from the bringing up of their children. Italy forbids polygamy, it being adverse to women's rights. This is also in line with the principles affirmed by European institutions".[28] In fact, in this passage polygamy, whose permission is stated in the Qur'ân[29] itself in a context of the social solidarity with the widows and the orphans, is presented within the frame of the positive aspects of monogamy. In fact, some Muslim countries, like Turkey and Tunisia, have already forbidden polygamy and Morocco has made it very hard to be pursued.[30] In others is allowed only under the obligatory condition of informing the first wife and it is subordinated to her written and official approval and the majority of the Islamic organizations have never asked officially the legitimization of polygamy in the West.

           

          Another point that emerges in the chapter on "family and new generations" is the freedom in marriage, where it states: "The basis of marriage is the freedom to choose whom to marry, that belongs to the youth",[31] where no Muslim will object to the fact that this statement "entails the prohibition of coercion and forced marriages, or child marriages".[32] But still it remains the fact that Muslim marriage undergoes some Qur'ânic obstacles such as the disparity of religions, where it is forbidden for a Muslim woman to marry a non-Muslim[33] and this, in spite of the general acceptance of the "Charter of Values" by all the Muslim organizations, has created some sort of hesitations among some Muslims.[34]

          The matter of equality between man and woman and among human beings in general, grafted in the presentation of the family given in the charter leads also to the refusal of separation between sexes, as stated: "The principle of equality disagrees with the requests of separating men and women, boys and girls, in public services and in the workplace because of their religious beliefs".[35] Even in this case the process of implementing this new attitude will ask a great capacity of dialogue to overcome a practice due often to cultural traditions, but also linked, in some cases, to religious precepts.

          The chapter on "secularism and religious freedom" deals with the issue of the relationship between State and religion and is in a way in many aspects dissimilar to the way is dealt in some other countries. The two main element that constitute the Italian concept of "secularism" are its welcoming attitude and its positive approach to religion as it is clearly stated in the text: "The Italian secular State recognizes the positive contribution of the different religions to the collectivity and has the intention to enhance the moral and spiritual legacy of each one of them. Italy promotes inter-faith and inter-cultural dialogue in order to increase the respect for human dignity and contribute to overcoming prejudices and intolerance",[36] provided that religion and convictions are not "a reason for discrimination in social life"[37] and that they do not motivate any " type of violence, incitement to violence".[38] However secularism implies, besides the right "to spread it by convincing others, to create religious associations",[39] religious freedom and liberty of conscience which "entail the right to have or not to have a religious faith, to practice it or not, to change religion"[40]

          The positive and dialogical attitude of the Italian secularism also appears when it is stated that: "on the basis of its religious and cultural tradition, Italy respects the symbols and the signs of all religions. No one can say to be offended by the signs and symbols of a religion different from his/her own",[41] and when it suggests that "it is convenient to educate the youth to respect the other's religious beliefs, without finding in them elements of division",[42] a statement which is reinforced in the following article where we read: "In Italy there are no restrictions on people's attire, as long as it is chosen freely and it is not detrimental to his/her dignity. It is not accepted to cover the face because this impedes the person's recognition and hinders establishing relations with the others".[43]In this context the lengthy and at time harsh debate on the "Islamic veil" or the presence of the "Cross" in public places seems to have been completely overcome.

          In its last part which deal with "Italy's international commitment", the Charter stresses "Italy's policy is in favour of peace and respect of all peoples in order to promote coexistence of nations, and to defeat war and terrorism"[44] and, quoting the text of Italian Constitution,[45] its rejection of "war as an instrument to solve international controversies, weapons of mass destruction, and any form of torture or inhumane and degrading punishment",[46] which seems to have had the approval of all the Muslims and Islamic organizations so far consulted. Some problems may, however, at times arise with the issue of the death penalty,[47] particularly with reference to the statement: "The abolition of the death penalty is an objective of civilization, which makes the respect for life win over the spirit of revenge"[48] because of the Qur'ânic provisions on the matter,[49] but it can be argued that the Qur'ân shows a general respect for life as in Q. 6:151.[50] As for the other ticklish question, that is the solution of "the longstanding Israeli-Palestinian conflict",[51] the Charter simply reaffirms the long time Italian foreign policy "in favour of a solution for the coexistence of different peoples in the region, first of all Israelis and Palestinians in the context of two States and two democracies."[52]

          The Charter then concludes remembering that "Together with the other European Countries, at the international level Italy promotes the respect of dignity and human rights everywhere, and favours the achievement of political democracy as a form of government that allows the participation of citizens in the common good and the growing respect of the person's rights".[53]

           

           

           

          The follow up

          In order to implement the Charter, the members of the Scientific Council,[54] have been requested, among other tasks, to promote dialogue and understanding among the different Muslim groups and organizations in order to pave the way for their institutional dialogue with the Italian Government. Certainly the fact that the Charter is a result of sessions of long and deep dialogue with Muslim individuals and organizations, and that the Muslims have generally approved it is a good starting point that may lead to a deeper dialogue.

          As a matter of fact, some Muslim members of the Council for Italian Islam, representing both Shiites and Sunnites, reached an agreement on a "Declaration of intent"[55] to set up a plan for organizing Muslims who live in Italy into a "Federation of Italian Islam" and it is worth noticing that this Declaration not only aims at "uniting all the existing Muslim organizations, associations and cultural centers who share the principles of the Italian Constitution and of the Charter of Values"[56], but also at "promoting interreligious dialogue" which is considered as an "essential instrument for coexistence among people of every belief"[57].

           

           

           

          Conclusion

          This last "Declaration of intent", as well as the approval of the "Charter of Values of Citizenship and Integration" by the Muslim communities and associations represents an important step in the path towards inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue and will be a useful tool given to the Italian people and particularly to the new generation in the process of integration and creation of a dialogical multi-cultural and multi-religious society within the frame of the welcoming secularism which is a particularity of the Italian culture and tradition.

           

           


          [1] First Muslim conquest of Sicily

          [2] destruction of the last Islamic stronghold of Lucera in Puglia.

          [3] See: Caritas e Migrantes, Immigrazione, Dossier Statistico 2008, IDOS, Roma 2008, p. 197

          [4] The number of their associations, groups and organizations are growing. Apparently, the largest one seems to be the U.C.O.I.I. (Union of the Islamic Communities and Organizations in Italy), followed by the U.S.I. (Muslim Student Union), the C.I.C.I. (Islamic Cultural Center of Italy) in Rome, the C.I.M.L. (Islamic Cultural Center of Milan and Lombardia) in Milan, the CO.RE.IS (Islamic Italian Religious Community), the A.I.I.I. (Italian Association for the Information on Islam), and the A.M.I.-I.C.C.I.I. (Italian Muslim Association - Cultural Institute of the Italian Islamic Community). There are also several other associations and Sufi brotherhoods. The main modern Muslim movements, like Jama'at al-Tabligh, Milli Görus, Jamaat al-Islami and the Muslim Brothers, are represented in Italy with a good number of followers (for more details see: F. Zannini, Ahmed il mio vicino di casa, guida alla conoscenza dell'Islam", Ed. Iscos Marche, Ancona 2002, pp. 13-22)

          [5] Centro Islamico Culturale d'Italia (Islamic Cultural Centre, CICI), awarded public legal status by D.P.R., N° 712 of 21 Dec. 1974. Its Board is largely composed of the ambassadors of Islamic States to the Holy Sea.

          [6] The vast majority of Muslims in Italy are immigrants coming from various countries especially Morocco and Albania, Somalia, Egypt, Senegal, Nigeria and Pakistan.

          [7] Art. 7 and 8

          [8] Art. 7

          [9] For details see: C. Cardia, La Riforma del Concordato, Torino 1980

          [10] In 1984 the first such agreement granted specific benefits to the Waldensian Church. Similar agreements extended similar benefits to the Adventists and Assembly of God, Jews, Baptists, Lutherans, to the Buddhist Union and Jehovah's Witnesses as well as to Hindus, Orthodox Churches and other faith communities.

          [11] Art. 8: "Tutte le confessioni religiose sono egualmente libere davanti alla legge. Le confessioni religiose diverse dalla cattolica hanno diritto di organizzarsi secondo i propri statuti, in quanto non contrastino con l'ordinamento giuridico italiano. I loro rapporti con lo Stato sono regolati per legge sulla base di intese con le relative rappresentanze."

          [12] For an official view on religious freedom in Italy, see: L'attuazione della libertà religiosa in Italia: Note essenziali di legislazione e dottrina (Presidenza del Consiglio dei Ministri and Ministero dell'Interno, ed., 1995).

          [13] For details see: AA. VV., Principio pattizio e realtà religiose minoritarie, Torino, 1995

          [14] See: Norme sulla libertà religiosa e abrogazione della legislazione sui culti ammessi, d.d.l. N° 2531-1576-1902-A

          [15] See: Cilardo A., Il diritto islamico e il sistema giuridico italiano. Le bozze di intesa tra la Repubblica italiana e le associazioni islamiche italiane, Napoli 2002, pp. 211-238

          [16] Among the reasons not to be overlooked is the lack of a hierarchical organization and institutional leadership among Muslim Communities, which prevents official recognition as legal personalities (Law N° 1159 of June the 24th 1929).

          [17] This is the only Islamic Organization which has been awarded legal status in 1974 is the CICI.

          [18] See: Art. 8 and Art. 19 of the Italian Constitution.

          [19] The Arabic word, which means "permissible", is adopted by the sharî'a with the meaning of "lawful" (the contrary is arâm: "unlawful") and most frequently refers to food that is permissible according to Islamic law. On the matter see: Q. 2:172, 2:173, 5:1, 5:3, 5:4 5:5, 6:121.

          [20] Decree of September the 10th 2005 (Decreto istitutivo della Consulta), published in the Gazzetta Ufficiale, 26 Oct. 2005. On the Council for Italian Islam see: Patrizia Paba, Council for Italian Islam (contribution to the conference of the Ministers of Interior "Dialogue of Cultures and religions"), Vienna, May the19th 2005.

          Half of the members of the Council are Italian citizens while the others come from Muslim countries such as Albania, Algeria, Jordan, Iraq, Libya, Morocco, Pakistan, Senegal, Syria, Somalia and Tunisia. In the setting up of such a Council particular attention has been given to the presence of minorities, women and youth. Among the organizations represented in the Council, the Ismaili Community, the Co.Re.Is. (Islamic Religious Community), the World

          [21] Appointed by the Minister on October 13th 2006

          [22] The members of the Scientific Committee are: Prof. Carlo Cardia (Roma Tre University), Prof. Roberta Aluffi Beck Peccoz (Torino University), Prof. On. Khaled Fouad Allam (Trieste University), Prof. Adnane Mokrani (Gregorian University), Prof. Francesco Zannini (Pontifical Institute for Arabic and Islamic Study).

          [23] Art. 5.

          [24] Introduction of the Charter: "Italy as a Community of Persons and Values", 1st and 2nd paragraph.

          [25] Ibid. 3rd paragraph.

          [26] Art. 1

          [27] Art. 28

          [28] Art. 17

          [29] "If ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly with the orphans, Marry women of your choice, Two or three or four; but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one, or (a captive) that your right hands possess, that will be more suitable, to prevent you from doing injustice." (Q. 4:3).

          In fact in this text the conditions to be met to make polygamy legal are rather difficult to be applied, particularly in our modern society, especially when these conditions are enforced by another verse which recites: "Ye are never able to be fair and just as between women, even if it is your ardent desire: But turn not away (from a woman) altogether, so as to leave her (as it were) hanging (in the air). If ye come to a friendly understanding, and practice self- restraint, Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful." (Q. 4:129). It seems then to be acceptable for a Muslim to see in monogamy the natural shape of the family organization as an expression of the equality between man and woman, as suggested in the Qur'ân: "O mankind! reverence your Guardian-Lord, who created you from a single person, created, of like nature, His mate, and from them twain scattered (like seeds) countless men and women;- reverence Allah, through whom ye demand your mutual (rights), and (reverence) the wombs (That bore you): for Allah ever watches over you" (Q. 4:1).

          [30] Within the provisions of the new Moroccan Family Law (Mudawwana) approved in 2004.

          [31] Art. 18

          [32] Ibid.

          [33] Q. 2:22, 5:5, 60:10

          [34] as it appears in the press-release of the U.CO.I.I. July 14 2007: "The Charter of Values, does not substitute the principles of the Constitution and, since it is not a sacred book, we think that in the future can be improved, adapted and modified, though so far it represents a valid and indispensable starting point, in which both native citizens and immigrants, believers and non-believers recognize themselves", which in Italian sounds as follows: "La Carta dei valori, non sostituisce, dunque, i principi costituzionali, e non essendo testo sacro, riteniamo che in futuro la si possa migliorare, integrare e modificare; oggi costituisce un valido e imprescindibile punto di partenza in cui tutti, cittadini e immigrati, credenti e non, si riconoscono".

          [35] Art.19

          [36] Art. 21

          [37] Ibid.

          [38] Ibid.

          [39] Art. 23

          [40] Ibid., It is well known that Saudi Arabia, abstained from the final vote, because of its refusal of the article 18 that recognizes the freedom of conscience, included the change of religion. In fact, to change religion, "apostasy", is a criminal offense in Islam: "The Islamic law does not expect the possibility for the Muslim to change religion. Moreover this is forbidden and considered apostasy (ridda). The apostate (murtadd) is considered an enemy of Islam and socially dead and is generally sentenced to death unless he comes back to the original faith. Though this is not fully supported by the Qur'ânic verses, which refer to the matter, the punishment is largely applied on the bases of an adîth, which recites: "Kill whomever changes religion". The matter was dealt in the following Declarations of Human Rights in Islam such as the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam (CDHRI, August 5, 1990) and the Universal Islamic Declaration of Human Rights (UIDHR, 19 September 1981), without a clear support of the above-mentioned right.

          [41] Art. 25

          [42] Ibid.

          [43] Art. 26

          [44] Art. 27

          [45] Art. 11

          [46] Art. 28

          [47] The Art. 29 recites: "Together with the other European Countries, Italy abolished the death penalty and works in the international fora to promote the abolition of capital punishment in the countries that still have it".

          [48] Ibid.

          [49] See, for example, in the case of a murder: Q. 2:178.

          [50] See Q. 6:151: "Whether open or secret; take not life, which Allah hath made sacred, except by way of justice and law: thus doth He command you, that ye may learn wisdom" and also Q. 5:32.

          [51] Art 30

          [52] Ibid.

          [53] Art. 31

          [54] The Scientific Council for the implementation of the "Charter of Values of Citizenship and Integration", created through the Decree of the Italian Ministry of Home Affairs, April the 23rd, 2007, is composed of the same members of the previous Scientific Committee.

          [55] signed by a group of Italian Muslim in front of the Minister of Home Affairs on March the 13th 2008.

          [56] Consiglio Scientifico per l'attuazione e la diffusione della Carta dei Valori della Cittadinanza e dell'Integrazione, Relazione sull'Islam in Italia, Ministero dell'Interno, Roma 2008, p. 66 (original text: "aggregare le organizzazioni musulmane esistenti, associazioni, centri culturali, che condividano i principi della Costituzione italiana e della Carta dei valori")

          [57] Ibid. (original text: "promuovere il dialogo interreligioso come strumento essenziale per la coesistenza tra uomini di ogni fede")

           

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          Evoquer la liberté de culte en France, c'est faire écho au principe de la séparation du pouvoir religieux et du pouvoir civil. En Europe, quels que soient les liens que peuvent avoir, encore aujourd'hui, les pouvoirs politiques avec une religion déterminée, il n'y a jamais confusion du pouvoir politique et du pouvoir religieux.

          La France a théorisé sous la IIIème République cette séparation avec le concept de la laïcité, mot difficilement traduisible, qui vient de laos, peuple en grec, et qui veut dire, dans cette acception française, liberté de conscience et neutralité. Les relations actuelles entre les autorités publiques et les représentants des cultes sont très marquées par l'histoire du pays ; elles ont parfois été conflictuelles. Mais la loi de 1905, toujours en vigueur, fait désormais l'objet d'une interprétation apaisée : la France est passée en un siècle d'une laïcité de combat à une laïcité de dialogue.

          La laïcité est définie par Ernest Renan comme la neutralité de l'Etat entre les religions et par le juriste René Capitant comme une « conception politique impliquant la séparation de la société civile et de la société religieuse », ce qui souligne les liens entre laïcité et séparation. La laïcité à la française a souvent été présentée comme une exception européenne. Si la situation reste originale, elle n'est sans doute pas si différente de celle de ses voisins. La pratique des relations entre religions et puissance publique en France s'écarte sans doute moins de celle de beaucoup d'autres pays européens que les principes que proclame la laïcité française.





          1/ L'affirmation de la liberté religieuse

          La déclaration des droits de l'homme et du citoyen de 1789, incorporée désormais à la Constitution de 1958, pose en son article 10 le principe suivant : « Nul ne doit être inquiété pour ses opinions, même religieuses, pourvu que leur manifestation ne trouble pas l'ordre public établi par la loi. » La liberté religieuse est donc considérée comme un aspect de la liberté d'opinion et c'est encore aujourd'hui la conception du droit français. Cette liberté, ainsi définie, a la valeur d'un principe constitutionnel, ses divers éléments constitutifs ayant été élevés par le Conseil constitutionnel au rang de principes fondamentaux reconnus par les lois de la République.

          Mais il n'est pas possible d'étudier la question de la liberté religieuse en France aujourd'hui sans se référer au Pacte international relatif aux droits civils et politiques du 19 décembre 1966 et à la Convention européenne de sauvegarde des droits de l'homme et des libertés fondamentales du 4 novembre 1950. En effet, ces traités, ratifiés par la France, sont dans la hiérarchie des normes supérieurs à la loi nationale et se placent juste au dessous de la Constitution.



          L'article 18-1 du Pacte de 1966 est particulièrement développé et énonce :

          « I. Toute personne a droit à la liberté de pensée, de conscience et de religion ; ce droit implique la liberté d'avoir ou d'adopter une religion ou une conviction de son choix, ainsi que la liberté de manifester sa religion ou sa conviction, individuellement ou en commun, tant en public qu'en privé, par le culte et par l'accomplissement des rites, les pratiques et l'enseignement.

          « II. Nul ne subira de contrainte pouvant porter atteinte à sa liberté d'avoir ou d'adopter une religion ou une conviction de son choix.

          « III. La liberté de manifester sa religion ou ses convictions, ne peut faire l'objet que des seules restrictions prévues par la loi et qui sont nécessaires à la protection de la sécurité, de l'ordre, de la santé publique, de la morale ou des libertés et droits fondamentaux d'autrui.

          « IV. Les Etats parties au présent pacte s'engagent à respecter la liberté des parents et, le cas échéant, des tuteurs légaux, de faire assurer l'éducation religieuse et morale de leurs enfants conformément à leurs propres convictions. »



          L'article 9 de la Convention européenne consacré à ce thème comprend deux paragraphes :

          « 1.Toute personne a droit à la liberté de pensée, de conscience et de religion ; ce droit implique la liberté de changer de religion ou de conviction, ainsi que la liberté de manifester sa religion ou sa conviction individuellement ou collectivement, en public et en privé, par le culte, l'enseignement, les pratiques et l'accomplissement des rites.

          « 2. La liberté de manifester sa religion ou ses convictions ne peut faire l'objet d'autres restrictions que celles qui, prévues par la loi, constituent des mesures nécessaires, dans une société démocratique, à la sécurité publique, à la protection de l'ordre, de la santé ou de la morale publique, ou à la protection des droits et libertés d'autrui. »



          En droit français, la liberté religieuse englobe la liberté de conscience et la liberté de culte. Elle est donc conforme pour l'essentiel aux normes européenne et internationale, résultant des textes ci-dessus.

          La liberté de conscience, c'est le droit pour un individu d'adopter les croyances de son choix, d'en changer s'il lui plait ou de n'en avoir aucune. Elle comprend aussi le droit de conformer sa vie aux convictions qui sont les siennes et d'exprimer celles-ci publiquement et librement. Dans le for intérieur elle est absolue et sans aucune restriction. Dans le domaine des manifestations extérieures, même individuelles, elle est limitée par le respect dû aux opinions et à la liberté d'autrui.

          Le Conseil constitutionnel en a fait un principe fondamental reconnu par les lois de la République, ayant donc valeur constitutionnelle (Conseil constitutionnel, décision du 23 nov. 1977). La liberté de conscience implique la neutralité de l'Etat et de ses agents, et donc comme a été pratiquée progressivement la laïcisation de toute une série de services publics et institutions sociales autrefois confiés à des institutions religieuses : l'Eglise, comme l'état civil (1791), le mariage civil (1791), l'assistance publique (1879), les cimetières (1881), l'enseignement public (1882), les pompes funèbres (1904).



          Au sens strict, la liberté de culte est le droit pour une communauté de personnes partageant les mêmes croyances de s'assembler et de pratiquer librement et publiquement le culte correspondant à celles-ci. Mais elle implique aussi l'autonomie interne des cultes, c'est-à-dire le droit pour ceux-ci de s'organiser librement et de définir eux-mêmes leurs règles de vie en commun, ainsi que le droit de jouir de la personnalité juridique et de disposer d'un patrimoine et de ressources financières (article 4 de la loi de 1905). Elle comprend également la liberté de transmettre sa foi, à savoir le droit pour les parents de donner une éducation religieuse à leurs enfants et en prolongement la liberté d'enseignement, mais aussi le droit de tenter de convaincre ses contemporains des vérités de sa religion. Enfin la liberté de culte sous-entend la non-discrimination entre les religions, ce qui autorise cependant, comme l'a énoncé le Conseil constitutionnel (décision du 12 juillet 1979), « que des situations différentes puissent faire l'objet de solutions différentes ».

          Le Conseil constitutionnel a élevé indirectement cette liberté au rang de principe fondamental reconnu par les lois de la République, ayant donc valeur constitutionnelle, au sein d'autres libertés publiques : liberté d'association, liberté d'opinion, liberté d'enseignement, protection et respect de la vie privée.

          Mais la liberté religieuse, comme la plupart des libertés, se heurte à des limites. Celles-ci sont au nombre de deux, l'ordre public au sens large et la liberté religieuse d'autrui, comme cela est d'ailleurs rappelé au second paragraphe de l'article 10 de la Convention européenne des droits de l'homme. Nous touchons là notamment au problème des sectes. Ainsi un mouvement se prétendant religieux, qui prônerait la sexualité entre adultes et enfants, ce qui est contraire à l'ordre public, ne pourrait prétendre à la protection de la liberté de culte. Par ailleurs un prosélytisme agressif ne saurait non plus profiter de cette liberté, car portant atteinte à la liberté d'autrui.

          De plus en plus, la liberté religieuse tend à devenir la pierre d'angle de l'édifice des droits de l'homme et le principe fondamental du droit des cultes, en France et en Europe. Elle est mise en œuvre par la Cour européenne des droits de l'homme de Strasbourg. Si le traité de Lisbonne est ratifié, elle s'y trouvera affirmée puisque l'Union adhèrera à la Convention européenne des droits de l'homme et en respectera les principes.





          2/ En France, la liberté religieuse s'inscrit dans la loi de 1905 portant séparation des Eglises et de l'Etat.

          Avec la Révolution française, les relations entre les religions, principalement la religion catholique, et l'Etat ont été bouleversées. Sous l'Ancien régime, le catholicisme était la religion de l'Etat et des Français, comme le prévoyait le concordat de 1516 avec la papauté, le clergé catholique constituait l'un des trois ordres de l'Etat, le culte réformé, autorisé par Henri IV, ayant été interdit par Louis XIV et le judaïsme ayant été plus ou moins toléré. La Révolution française, dans laquelle un nombre significatif de prêtres ont joué un rôle, voulut d'abord créer une Eglise nationale, ce qui divisa l'Eglise catholique entre prêtres fidèles à Rome et prêtres constitutionnels.

          L'organisation napoléonienne des cultes introduisit, après ces troubles, une forme de paix religieuse pendant près d'un siècle. Le concordat de 1801 avec l'Eglise catholique, des décrets de 1802 avec la religion protestante et de 1808 pour la religion israélite, avec la création par l'Empereur du consistoire israélite, mirent en place une reconnaissance des religions, un contrôle de la désignation de leurs responsables et une rémunération de leurs ministres. Napoléon reconnaissait un rôle social aux religions mais voulait les tenir sous son autorité. L'islam n'était alors pas présent en France.

          Déjà la loi du 1er juillet 1901, sur la liberté d'association, avait posé un principe inverse pour les congrégations religieuses, qui ne pouvaient exister sans être autorisées : elle avait suscité, de ce fait, de grandes difficultés d'application et des troubles sérieux et l'exil de nombreux religieux. La loi du 9 décembre 1905 a poursuivi cette méfiance du pouvoir à l'égard des religions en établissant la séparation des Eglises et de l'Etat ; elle fut l'une des lois fondatrices de la République. Les principes qu'elle énonce constituent le principe constitutionnel de laïcité. La Constitution française actuelle définit la France comme une « République laïque ».

          La loi du 9 décembre 1905 organise toujours en France la laïcité et la séparation des religions et de l'Etat. Née dans la douleur, avec de vifs affrontements entre cléricaux et anticléricaux, cette loi n'est aujourd'hui remise en cause dans ses principes, sinon dans ses modalités, par aucune des forces politiques et des grandes religions en France. On peut noter que des motifs historiques (en raison de l'occupation de ces territoires par l'Allemagne après l'annexion de 1871) font que les trois départements d'Alsace et de Moselle sont toujours régis par les règles napoléoniennes de reconnaissance des quatre cultes qui y existaient alors.

          Si la loi de 1905 se présentait d'abord comme une loi de séparation, dans un contexte d'hostilité des pouvoirs publics à l'égard des religions - et surtout de l'Eglise catholique -, cette loi doit aussi être analysée comme une loi de liberté. C'est ainsi qu'elle est actuellement appliquée.

          Son article 1er dispose ainsi que « la République assure la liberté de conscience. Elle garantit le libre exercice des cultes, sous les seules restrictions édictées ci-après dans l'intérêt de l'ordre public ». Ce faisant, la République reconnaît la pluralité religieuse de la société française et assure le respect, sous réserve de troubles éventuels à l'ordre public, de la constitution et de l'organisation propre des différentes religions. La loi de 1905 est naturellement une loi de séparation des Eglises et de l'Etat, puisque son article 2 dispose que « la République ne reconnaît, ne salarie ni ne subventionne aucun culte » : « Lorsqu'on veut être libre, il faut savoir être pauvre » (Abbé Lemire, député, qui a voté la loi de 1905). Elle est aussi une loi qui permet d'assurer le libre exercice des cultes.



          Le respect du droit interne de chaque culte, les multiples possibilités offertes pour gérer le culte en France - à travers les associations cultuelles prévues par la loi de 1905 mais aussi toutes les autres formes d'association - sont des signes tangibles du respect par les autorités publiques de la liberté d'exercice du culte. Le symbole même de l'alinéa 2 de l'article 2 de la loi de 1905 mérite, à cet égard, d'être souligné. En effet, établissant la synthèse et l'équilibre entre la liberté de conscience, le libre exercice des cultes et la séparation des Eglises et de l'Etat, la loi de 1905 autorise le financement de services d'aumôneries permettant l'exercice de la liberté religieuse pour les personnes qui peuvent être empêchées du fait de la maladie, de contraintes scolaires ou universitaires, de leur engagement sous les drapeaux ou lorsqu'ils sont privés temporairement de liberté. L'Etat organise des services d'aumônerie dans les lycées, les hôpitaux, les armées et les prisons. Les aumôniers militaires et les aumôniers pénitentiaires sont rémunérés par l'Etat ; il existe actuellement de tels aumôniers pour le culte musulman. Ce symbole très fort que je tiens à mettre en valeur renvoie directement aux textes fondateurs de notre République telle la déclaration des droits de l'Homme et du citoyen de 1789 dont l'article 10 établissait le principe de la liberté individuelle de conscience et de religion.

           

          La pratique quotidienne de cette laïcité constitue une posture d'équilibre garantie par le contrôle du juge. Elle a permis, par exemple, de garantir la liberté de conscience des agents publics. A ainsi été posé le problème des fêtes religieuses qui ne figurent pas dans le calendrier des fêtes légales et chômées en France. Diverses circulaires ont pu régler la question sans modifier le régime général des congés, mais en demandant aux chefs de service d'accorder « aux agents qui désirent participer aux cérémonies célébrées à l'occasion des principales fêtes propres à leur confession, les autorisations d'absence nécessaires, dans la mesure toutefois où leur absence demeure compatible avec le fonctionnement normal du service ». La liberté d'expression de l'agent public, hors de son service, est entière ; en service, elle est limitée par le devoir de stricte neutralité découlant du caractère laïc et indépendant de l'Etat républicain. Le Conseil d'Etat rappelait ainsi, dans un arrêt de 1948, que « la laïcité de l'Etat commande aux agents publics une stricte neutralité, mais exclut à leur égard toute condamnation portée sur une doctrine et ceux qui la professent ».

          Garantir le libre exercice du culte en France, dans le cadre des principes portés par la laïcité, c'est également permettre la création de carrés confessionnels dans les cimetières, sous réserve que les principes de neutralité des parties publiques du cimetière et de liberté de choix de la famille soient respectés, ou bien encore la pratique de l'abattage rituel afin que les personnes résidant en France, quelle que soit leur confession, citoyens français de toutes confessions trouvent à vivre leur foi librement, dans le respect de l'ordre public. Les pouvoirs publics français sont très impliqués actuellement pour défendre l'abattage rituel alors qu'un projet de règlement européen pourrait le menacer.

          C'est enfin, conséquence de l'interdiction de subventionner les cultes posée par la loi de 1905, la possibilité pour les associations cultuelles ou diocésaines de recevoir des dons ou libéralités, de signer avec les communes des contrats de baux emphytéotiques pour louer des terrains où construire des édifices du culte. Ce support juridique est le plus souvent utilisé pour la construction des mosquées. Cependant, pour le moment, les baux emphytéotiques à loyer en dessous du prix du marché sont juridiquement fragiles, certaines juridictions estimant qu'il s'agit de subventions déguisées, d'autres admettant que la prise en charge par l'association des frais de construction et d'entretien du lieu de culte fait obstacle à ce que l'on considère le faible montant du bail comme caractérisant, à lui seul, une subvention interdite par la loi de 1905. Le Conseil d'Etat n'a pas encore été conduit à départager ces juridictions mais devrait être amené à le faire dans les prochains mois.

          De même, les départements et communes peuvent garantir les emprunts émis pour ces constructions. Le code général des impôts (articles 200 et 238 bis) ouvre droit, pour les particuliers ou les entreprises, à une réduction d'impôt sur les dons consentis à des associations cultuelles ou assimilées.

           



          Enfin, je souhaite rappeler la volonté forte des autorités françaises de se doter de mécanismes de discussion et de représentation des cultes. En témoignent la création de l'instance de dialogue avec l'Eglise catholique en 2002, comme celle du conseil français du culte musulman en 2003, présidé par M. Moussaoui ici présent, les rencontres fréquentes et fécondes avec la Fédération Protestante de France, l'Assemblée des Evêques Orthodoxes de France, le Grand rabbin de France et les instances consistoriales. En outre, le ministère de l'intérieur organise des groupes de travail permettant d'explorer les voies et les moyens de la mise en œuvre du rapport du Professeur Machelon relatif aux relations des cultes avec les pouvoirs publics (remis en 2006). Ce sont autant de signes d'une volonté « d'une laïcité qui respecte, d'une laïcité qui rassemble, d'une laïcité qui dialogue », pour reprendre les termes du Président de la République.

          C'est le sens de la notion de « laïcité positive » ou de « de dialogue » prônée en France par les autorités de l'Etat et par le Président de la République.

           

           

           

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          1. Premessa

          Il fenomeno religioso dà luogo all'interno della società a organizzazioni particolari i cui componenti manifestano la appartenenza ad un ordine che pretende un rango diverso rispetto a quello politico generale. La tensione che ne deriva spazia fra due estremi:

          1) quello rappresentato dal modello della identificazione fra potere religioso e potere civile,

          2) l'altro, conosciuto nella esperienza contemporanea di alcune società occidentali, consistente nella esclusione del fenomeno religioso dall'ambito del potere civile.

          Nel mondo medioevale e nell'epoca premoderna il fondamento storico della "laicità" può rinvenirsi nel riconoscimento - teorizzato dalla Chiesa a partire dalla fine del V secolo (Papa Gelasio, Lettera all'imperatore Anastasio, fine del V secolo) - che potere religioso e potere civile riguardano sfere distinte e dotate ciascuna di una propria autonomia. Ma proprio questo riconoscimento è alla radice del carattere problematico dei reciproci rapporti, in quanto le due parti "furono sì in grado di distinguere le loro sfere di competenze, a seconda che si trattasse dell'uomo «esteriore» o di quello «interiore», ma, nel rivendicare ambedue il proprio diritto sull'uomo concreto, dovettero necessariamente scontrarsi" (R. Fröehlich). Tale confronto dialettico è destinato a continuare fino a quando il fenomeno religioso e quello politico avranno luogo, sicché può affermarsi che la formula dello Stato "laico" delinea il quadro complessivo entro il quale gli ordinamenti contemporanei intendono collocare tale processo dialettico.

          Il prevalere dell'orientamento affermatosi dallo Stato moderno sino a quello liberale di escludere un fondamento esterno all'ordinamento giuridico e la conseguente pretesa di fondare la propria legittimazione esclusivamente all'interno dello stesso ordinamento giuridico comportano che il rapporto fra pubblici poteri e fenomeno religioso si conforma in relazione alle peculiari modalità con le quali questo rapporto è vissuto all'interno del corpo sociale (Bertolini). Tale circostanza spiega le diverse interpretazioni del principio della laicità dello Stato, le quali, pur movendo dal presupposto comune della distinzione fra la sfera religiosa e quella civile, giungono poi a declinare il concetto in termini differenti.

          In ambito europeo possono distinguersi il modello della indifferenza dello Stato verso le fedi religiose, con conseguente necessaria "neutralità degli apparati pubblici dinanzi alle istanze emergenti di tempo in tempo dalla comunità" a prescindere dalla loro intrinseca natura e dal loro contenuto, da quello della valorizzazione del principio pluralista e del recupero della specificità del fenomeno religioso in quanto tale (artt. 7 e 8, secondo comma, della Costituzione italiana).

          Questo secondo modello comporta "il passaggio dalla concezione negativa della libertà religiosa ... ad una concezione eminentemente positiva" con il conseguente intervento fattivo dello Stato nella regolazione degli istituti attraverso i quali si estrinseca la religiosità dei consociati tramite "una legislazione sempre più attenta e minuziosa ... che da un lato attiva, a livello comunitario, le libertà dei singoli e dall'altro legittima le diversità, religiose ed ideologiche" (Cardia), implicando necessariamente non la neutralità dell'ordinamento, ma invece la sua apertura al radicamento di valori per la qualificazione dei suoi scopi (S. Mangiameli).

          Per quanto lo stesso principio della neutralità religiosa possa assumere significati diversi (ad es. c.d. laicità tradizionale o liberale o laicità alla francese, connotata, quest'ultima, da anticlericalismo e da antireligiosità), deve ritenersi che una caratteristica comune di tale principio è quella di considerare che "le scelte religiose della persona sono senz'alcun dubbio legittime, ma rilevano solo nell'ambito privato, senza trascendere nel pubblico e nel socialmente rilevante" (Bettetini).

          Di contro la laicità intesa come attitudine dello Stato a favorire e a valorizzare l'esercizio della libertà religiosa e di culto (es. c.d. laicità positiva) non esclude un ruolo delle chiese nella sfera pubblica in ragione della loro collaborazione con lo Stato (Corte costituzionale italiana, sentenza n. 203/1989) fino a promuovere l'accoglienza (es. c.d. laicità aperta) anche delle diverse forme del religioso, talora anche lontane da quelle tradizionali (Randazzo).

          A ben vedere la formula dello Stato laico come Stato "neutrale" pone il problema della adesione sostanziale dell'ordinamento ad una concezione dell'individuo, problema che, secondo tale modello, si risolve, invece, presupponendo una visione fondata sul "postulato" individualistico-liberale; diversamente, la tesi della laicità come riconoscimento "attivo" del pluralismo religioso riconosce al confronto tra le diverse fedi o visioni del mondo (anche aconfessionali) la possibilità di concorrere al riconoscimento di una verità data sull'uomo.

           

          D'altro canto, la definizione della laicità come principio supremo dell'ordinamento costituzionale (affermato in Italia nella citata sentenza n. 203/1989 della Corte costituzionale) scaturisce proprio dal dinamico confronto politico-sociale in riferimento ai valori della vita reale in relazione ai quali opera la stessa interpretazione costituzionale. Difatti la nozione della laicità come principio supremo non può non risentire fortemente dei modi concreti con cui nella collettività (singoli e gruppi, anche religiosi) viene avvertita la rilevanza del fenomeno religioso, il posto che esso deve occupare nella vita sociale, il senso dei rapporti fra i fedeli delle diverse confessioni fra loro, dei rapporti dei credenti con i non credenti e con la comunità nel suo insieme organizzata a Stato (Bertolini).

          Infatti, la società plurale, in luogo della società religiosamente omogenea impone di ricomporre in un quadro di insieme le diverse istanze etico-culturali e trovare le regole comuni tra identità e nuove libertà, evitando il pericolo di creare comunità parallele che segnino il prevalere della fedeltà alle comunità particolari di appartenenza a discapito dello Stato.

           

          A tale riguardo deve rilevarsi che lo sforzo del pensiero filosofico di fine seicento sulla "laicità" è ben rappresentato dalla Epistola sulla tolleranza di John Locke, secondo il quale "nessuna pace e sicurezza, e tanto meno comune amicizia, si potrà stabilire tra gli uomini fino a quando prevarrà lì opinione per cui l'autorità è fondata sulla grazia e la religione deve essere diffusa con la forza delle armi". La prospettiva delle dottrine di tipo lockiano teorizza una forma di indifferenza etica in cui la tolleranza sarebbe non un fine, un valore etico primario, bensì la via più adatta a garantire la sicurezza dei cittadini. Mentre una "tolleranza" di tal genere può trovare una sua giustificazione in una società monoculturale, più complessa e probabilmente insufficiente è la trasposizione di detto approccio con riferimento ad una società multiculturale.

          Per questa ragione lo stesso mondo occidentale è chiamato a ripensare lo stesso concetto di "tolleranza".



          2. Europa e questione islamica.

          A questo riguardo va evidenziato quanto affermato nella Risoluzione sull'Islam e la giornata europea di Averroè del 16 settembre 1998 e cioè che "la società europea poggia su basi pluriculturali, plurietniche e plurireligiose che sono parte essenziale del suo patrimonio e della sua identità pluralistica" nonché sul "profondo attaccamento ai valori della libertà, del pluralismo, della democrazia e dei diritti umani, della tolleranza, del riconoscimento e del rispetto dell'altro", come anche sancito nella Convenzione europea per la salvaguardia dei diritti dell'uomo e della Dichiarazione universale dei diritti dell'uomo delle Nazioni Unite.

          Per questa ragione, prosegue la Risoluzione, occorre considerare che anche i valori religiosi costituiscono elemento di identificazione dei gruppi sociali, con la conseguente necessita di approfondire la reciproca conoscenza delle culture e della società mediterranea, attraverso "un dialogo inteso e continuo con i paesi islamici e i gruppi socialmente rilevanti all'interno del mondo islamico, con l'obiettivo di rafforzare e sviluppare le tendenze democratiche e pluraliste, di pervenire al riconoscimento dello Stato di diritto e del rispetto dei diritti umani; il che implica una separazione netta fra la legge dello Stato e i precetti religiosi, condizione indispensabile per il rispetto dei diritti e delle libertà in una società multiculturale ed etnicamente composita".

          Tali affermazioni sono state ulteriormente maturate e consolidate nella formulazione dell'art. 17 del Trattato sul funzionamento dell'Unione europea (versione consolidata), laddove si afferma che "l'Unione europea rispetta e non pregiudica lo status di cui le chiese e le associazioni o comunità religiose godono negli Stati membri in virtù del diritto nazionale" e che "riconoscendone l'identità ed il contributo, l'Unione europea mantiene un dialogo aperto, trasparente e regolare con tali chiese e organizzazioni".

          L'orientamento dell'Unione europea sembra pertanto qualificabile come "laicità del dialogo" (più che dell'accoglienza, accezione che sembra evocare un improprio approccio paternalistico), che rinuncia sì a disciplinare direttamente il fenomeno religioso ma nell'intento di una istituzionalizzazione del dialogo con dette chiese e organizzazioni intende valorizzare l'inserimento anche delle comunità religiose quale quella islamica nel contesto culturale e civile dell'Unione, nel rispetto della reciproca identità.

          In questo contesto i problemi cruciali con cui l'Europa deve confrontarsi sono:

          1) l'immedesimazione dell'identità culturale del mondo islamico nella dimensione religiosa;

          2) la non compiuta realizzazione del processo di separazione tra nozione di legge civile e legge religiosa.

           

          Per promuovere l'integrazione politica e istituzionale tra le due culture, quella europea e quella islamica occorre:

          1) il riconoscimento del valore primario della esperienza religiosa nella manifestazione della dinamica della società civile (accogliendo dunque l'accezione della laicità positiva o aperta);

          2) affermare il primato della persona umana con il riconoscimento dei diritti inviolabili nella costruzione politica e sociale di ogni ordinamento.

           

          In questo modo si ribadisce che non è lo Stato ma è la persona il centro del progetto di ogni struttura politica e istituzionale, bilanciando, per questa via, il rifiuto di approcci di negazione della espressa manifestazione della dimensione religiosa anche nella sfera istituzionale degli Stati europei.

          In tale direzione si muovono le recenti Costituzioni afgana e irakena, che affermano sì il principio che la religione islamica è il credo ufficiale del singolo Stato, ma statuiscono anche la separazione della legge religiosa islamica dal dettato normativo statale. Esse, inoltre, riconoscono il pluralismo rappresentativo politico regolato da meccanismi di controllo secondo i principi della separazione dei poteri, della reciproca tolleranza, in particolare attraverso la tutela dei diritti fondamentali della persona umana (Galantini).

          La centralità del rispetto della persona umana come elemento identitario dell'ordinamento comunitario, e dunque da valorizzare quale patrimonio comune anche per le comunità religiose islamiche che intendano integrarsi negli Stati dell'Unione, è ribadito anche nella Risoluzione del Parlamento europeo sulle donne il fondamentalismo del 24 ottobre 2006, laddove si afferma che "il rispetto, la promozione e la protezione dei diritti umani rappresentano l'aquis dell'Unione europea e sono una delle chiavi di cooperazione europea, così come nelle relazioni tra l'Unione europea e i suoi Stati membri e altri paesi", sicché "i diritti della donna sanciti dai trattati e dalle convenzioni internazionali non possono essere limitati né trasgrediti con il pretesto di interpretazioni religiose, di tradizioni culturali, di costumi e di legislazioni".

           

          L'importanza del dialogo interreligioso ai fini dell'integrazione interculturale è sottolineata inoltre da numerosi documenti approvati a livello istituzionale comunitario ed internazionale. Nella Dichiarazione sul dialogo interreligioso e sulla coesione sociale, approvata dalla Conferenza organizzata dalla Presidenza del Consiglio dell'Unione europea nell'ottobre 2003, si afferma che il "dialogo può oggi dare un contributo significativo allo sviluppo di una società libera, ordinata e coesa, e che aiuta a superrare l'estremismo filosofico e religioso". La Dichiarazione è stata approvata e fatta propria dal Consiglio dei Capi di Stato e di Governo dell'Unione europea nella riunione del 12 dicembre 2003. Anche il documento finale, approvato nel settembre 2006 dalla Conferenza internazionale sul tema Dialogo interreligioso e cooperazione interreligiosa, svoltasi dopo il terzo vertice di Europa (Varsavia, maggio 2005), afferma che i "valori e i principi universali che costituiscono il patrimonio comune dei popoli e la vera fonte della libertà individuale, della libertà politica ... non devono essere in contraddizione con le tradizioni culturali e religiose del nostro continente e non devono essere contestati né messi in discussione". Infine, la risoluzione n. 59/23, approvata dall'Assemblea generale delle Nazioni unite sul tema "Promozione del dialogo tra le religioni", afferma tra l'altro "que la compréhension mutuelle et le dialogue entre les religions costituent des dimensions importantes du dialogue entre les civilisations et de la culture de la paix".

          Nell'attuale trasformazione della società europea in senso multiculturale e multireligioso, particolare rilevanza poi assumono quelle iniziative volte a promuovere processi di integrazione e di inclusione delle comunità di immigrati e delle comunità religiose, in adempimento della previsione del Trattato inteso a favorire un "dialogo aperto, trasparente e regolare con le chiese e le associazioni o comunità religiose" (v. citato art. 17 Trattato sul funzionamento dell'UE).

          Ma l'Unione europea o i singoli non possono sostituirsi alle confessioni religiose dettando le regole della loro organizzazione, né imporre per legge uno schema rappresentativo valido per tutti. Occorre dunque che le comunità religiose trovino in se stesse le ragioni della propria identità ed elaborino forme e strumenti della propria rappresentatività. Al riguardo, se è vero che l'Islam ha una forte tradizione unitaria dal punto di vista religioso, è anche vero che esso è connotato da una forte tradizione autonomistica che esclude strutture centralizzate o gerarchiche, sicché gli immigrati europei di religione islamica tendono ad aggregarsi in modo frammentato in ragione delle specifiche origini nazionali ed esperienze socio-religiose.

          Nella difficoltà di individuare rappresentanze legittime in Italia non è stato ancora possibile concludere apposite intese ai sensi dell'art. 8, terzo comma, Cost., con la comunità islamica, che è divenuta la seconda religione più praticata nel Paese.

          Va però vista con grande favore l'approvazione della Carta dei valori della cittadinanza e dell'integrazione (avvenuta con decreto del Ministro dell'interno del 23 aprile 2007) elaborata con il contributo delle principali comunità di immigrati, delle comunità religiose maggiormente presenti nella realtà italiana, nonché dei componenti della Consulta per l'Islam italiano operativa presso il Ministero dell'interno (in vista di una aggregazione federativa che aspiri al riconoscimento giuridico e in prospettiva ad un'Intesa con lo Stato italiano), per rendere espliciti i principi fondamentali della persona umana riconosciuti nel nostro ordinamento, in primo luogo i principi di libertà e di tolleranza, che regolano la vita collettiva dei cittadini e degli immigrati nel rispetto delle reciproche identità.

           

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          El Islam, al igual que el cristianismo, es una religión de carácter universal con una fuerte vocación expansiva que en el último siglo, al menos en Europa, ha ido asentándose de manera gradual como consecuencia, entre otros factores, del fenómeno de la inmigración.

           

          La presencia islámica en España es un fenómeno social bastante reciente (exceptuando el período histórico en el que España fue dar el-Islam). Si exceptuamos a una parte de la población nativa de Ceuta y Melilla, los primeros musulmanes que llegan a España, en un número notable, son los estudiantes procedentes de oriente medio, sobre todo a las Facultades de Medicina, a finales de los años sesenta. De esa época data la constitución de las primeras comunidades religiosas islámicas en nuestro país. Posteriormente, en los años setenta, algunos jóvenes españoles conversos al Islam crearon algunas de las comunidades que posteriormente darían lugar a la Federación Española de Entidades Religiosas Islámicas (FEERI). Finalmente, la inmigración de mano de obra, procedente sobre todo del Reino de Marruecos, aumentó paulatinamente durante los años ochenta hasta el gran boom de los años 90[1] hasta el punto de que hoy día se trata del segundo colectivo en importancia en nuestro país, por detrás de la inmigración que proviene de Sudamérica.

           

           

          Ahora bien, el reconocimiento del Islam y su implantación en la sociedad española no ha sido fácil como consecuencia de una serie de características. Por un lado, se trata de una religión que posee una fuerte vocación monista que tiende por un lado a abarcar lo temporal y lo religioso y por otro a regular todo de acuerdo con los preceptos religiosos del Corán y de la Sunna por lo que en ocasiones, la práctica religiosa externa puede tener un carácter más social que espiritual.

          Esto significa que el Estado, para garantizar el derecho de libertad religiosa del que son titulares el individuo y la confesión, ha de intentar conciliar la legislación nacional con el ejercicio de aquellas prácticas religiosas que trascienden el ámbito espiritual para convertirse en modos de actuar dentro de la sociedad; actuaciones que además siempre responden a una observancia rigurosa y puntual de la Sharia.

           

           

          La situación se complica al no haber un único intérprete de las fuentes normativas que componen la Sharia, aunque existan algunos puntos en los que no es posible la divergencia. Y es que, a diferencia de lo que ocurre con otras confesiones, el Islam es una religión que carece de una organización jerárquica unitaria, lo que se traduce en que el Estado en numerosas ocasiones tiene problemas para encontrar un interlocutor válido de la misma con el que poder negociar o desarrollar, de manera conjunta, aquellas materias que afectan a ambos. A ello me referiré más adelante.

          Para poder hablar de la situación jurídica actual del Islam en nuestro país considero imprescindible realizar un breve análisis de cuál ha sido el tratamiento que históricamente se ha dado a éste dentro de nuestro ordenamiento. Ciertamente esto implica un riesgo ya que remontarse en exceso en el tiempo llevaría a que el verdadero objeto de este estudio se desdibujase y, lo que es más importante, supondría además un ejercicio propio de un historiador del derecho.

           

          Pese a todo me van a permitir que haga una breve referencia a lo acontecido en los últimos treinta años de nuestra historia. Decidir acotar el análisis a ese período se debe a que ha sido en esta etapa en la que se ha producido una transición desde una concepción confesional del Estado hasta el momento actual, en el que podemos subrayar, sin temor a equivocarnos, que España es un Estado aconfesional o cuando menos neutral en materia religiosa.

           

          Con la extinción del régimen del general Franco y la promulgación de la Constitución de 1978, se produjo un cambio radical en la regulación del fenómeno religioso. La Constitución sienta las bases de un Estado social y de Derecho y establece un nuevo sistema de relaciones Estado-Iglesias, creándose las condiciones necesarias para la existencia de una auténtica libertad religiosa. El artículo 16[2] del texto constitucional garantiza la libertad ideológica, religiosa y de culto para el individuo y los grupos con la única limitación del mantenimiento del orden público. Afirma que nadie podrá ser obligado a declarar sobre sus creencias y finalmente establece como modelo un Estado no confesional en el que se tendrán en cuenta las creencias religiosas de la sociedad y donde se mantendrán relaciones de cooperación con la Iglesia católica y las demás confesiones religiosas.

           

          Pero no es éste el único artículo del texto constitucional que se refiere al fenómeno religioso. Se ha de poner en relación con aquellos otros en los que se proclama la responsabilidad de los poderes públicos para promover las condiciones para que la libertad y la igualdad del individuo y de los grupos sean reales y efectivas[3], la igualdad religiosa[4], la interpretación de los derechos y libertades fundamentales de acuerdo a los tratados y acuerdos internacionales ratificados por España[5], o el derecho de los padres a elegir la formación religiosa o moral de sus hijos[6]. Y junto a estos artículos, existen otros que también van a influir sobre el modelo final de Derecho eclesiástico: la libertad de cátedra[7], la libertad de creación de centros docentes[8], etc...

           

           

          Además, se derivan de la Constitución cuatro principios que van a ser guía de las relaciones entre el Estado y las Iglesias:

           

          En primer lugar, el principio de libertad religiosa. La libertad religiosa ya no es entendida únicamente como un derecho fundamental, de titularidad individual y colectiva, que haya de ser reconocido y protegido sino que tambiénb va a ser puesto en relación con la actitud que el Estado adoptará frente al fenómeno religioso.

           

           

          El segundo principio es el de neutralidad y no confesionalidad. El Estado ha de ser imparcial frente a las diferentes opciones religiosas. Profesar una religión no es una libertad o derecho que el Estado pueda ejercer. El Estado no puede ser creyente.

           

           

          El tercer principio, conforme a lo estipulado en el artículo 14 de la Constitución, será el de igualdad y no discriminación por motivos religiosos, tanto del individuo como de los grupos.

           

           

          El cuarto principio es el de cooperación y construye nuestro sistema de relaciones entre el Estado y las Iglesias o comunidades religiosas. El Estado entiende la cooperación como la predisposición a facilitar y promover las condiciones que hacen posible el acto de fe y los diversos aspectos o manifestaciones que derivan del mismo, y esa predisposición se expresa en el propósito de llegar a un entendimiento con los sujetos colectivos de la libertad religiosa para regular aquellas expresiones del fenómeno religioso con trascendencia jurídica en el derecho estatal. En consecuencia, ha de asumir su deber de promoción de la libertad religiosa y reconocer a los grupos religiosos como ámbito a través del cual el individuo puede desarrollar su libertad religiosa.

           

           

          En 1980, desarrollando el artículo 16 de la Constitución y fruto de los principios constitucionales a los que me he referido, se promulgó la Ley Orgánica de Libertad Religiosa (LOLR)[9], que introdujo una novedad en nuestro sistema que supuso un giro radical en la concepción del sistema de fuentes del derecho eclesiástico español: se estableció la posibilidad de que el Estado firmase acuerdos de cooperación con confesiones distintas de la católica, algo que anteriormente sólo era posible en el sistema alemán e italiano y que ha sido adoptado recientemente en el portugués. Para ello será necesario que el grupo religioso esté inscrito en un Registro de Entidades Religiosas (RER)[10] y que además por su ámbito y número de creyentes hayan obtenido notorio arraigo[11].

           

          Aunque el asociacionismo religioso musulmán en España fue lento y poco significativo hasta la década de los años 90[12], la presencia histórica del Islam en nuestro país facilitó que fuera declarado confesión de notorio arraigo en julio de 1989 comenzando en enero de 1991 las negociaciones entre el Estado y FEERI para la consecución del Acuerdo, negociaciones a las que se sumó UCIDE. Como quiera que el Acuerdo tenía que ser firmado por un único interlocutor, el Estado obligó a que ambas se federaran y constituyesen el 18 de febrero de 1992 la Comisión Islámica de España (CIE). Esta Comisión se convertía en la portavoz de las comunidades islámicas en nuestro país de tal manera que ese mismo año España firmó un acuerdo con la CIE[13].

           

           

          Ahora bien, aunque la firma de este acuerdo supuso un hito en el sistema de relaciones entre el Estado y las comunidades musulmanas, también es cierto que no ha venido a resolver totalmente el problema de las relaciones estatales con dichas comunidades y ello, a mi juicio, por varios motivos.

           

           

          En primer lugar, la Ley nada decía acerca de establecer acuerdos con Federaciones de comunidades religiosas. El art. 7 sólo se refiere a la posibilidad de que las Iglesias, Confesiones o Comunidades religiosas puedan firmar acuerdos de cooperación. El legislador, haciendo caso omiso del texto de la Ley, obligó a las comunidades religiosas a federarse en la CIE y eso conllevó, por un lado, la pérdida de capacidad negociadora frente al Estado pues las comunidades tenían intereses diferentes y por otro, aunque la CIE fue creada con el fin de ser el interlocutor de los musulmanes en nuestro país, lo cierto es que no ha sido capaz de llevar esta misión a buen puerto. Las tensiones existentes entre las dos grandes federaciones que la componen (FEERI y UCIDE), unido a la intención de otras comunidades islámicas por integrarse en ella y formar parte de la misma, ha derivado en un bloqueo del funcionamiento de la CIE.

           

          Es por tanto necesario un replanteamiento de este órgano de representación de las comunidades islámicas en nuestro país. No puede permitirse que los problemas de una comunidad musulmana en una determinada ciudad, provincia o comunidad autónoma siga dependiendo de una dirección que está en Madrid y que es poco sensible a esos problemas. Quizás la solución estaría en la creación de un órgano con un único Presidente y un Consejo Permanente compuesto por los representantes de las diferentes comunidades islámicas presentes en cada uno de los territorios autonómicos. Se trataría de un órgano colegiado en el que el Presidente tendría voto de calidad, pero en el que todas las sensibilidades autonómicas estarían representadas. Al mismo tiempo, cada Comunidad Autónoma reproduciría el esquema seguido con la CIE y enviaría a su representante a la Comisión Permanente en Madrid. De esta manera no sólo todas las comunidades de cada territorio estarían representadas frente al Gobierno central sino que además estos Consejo autonómicos se convertirían en el interlocutor válido frente a la Administración autonómica.

           

           

          En segundo lugar, el acuerdo firmado en 1992, si bien cumplió su función en aquel momento, hoy no responde a las necesidades de las comunidades religiosas y se ha convertido en un simple acuerdo marco en el que el desarrollo legislativo del texto está encontrando dificultades pues no todos los grupos integrados en la CIE están dispuestos a defender los mismos intereses.

           

           

          Además, realmente el texto de los acuerdos otorga unas ventajas que ya tenían las comunidades religiosas por el mero hecho de estar inscritas en el RER. En este sentido el texto del acuerdo ofrecía la posibilidad de obtener ventajas fiscales; prestar asistencia religiosa en Fuerzas Armadas, Hospitales y Prisiones; la posibilidad de que se impartiese enseñanza religiosa en los colegios; la alimentación y el sacrificio de animales conforme a determinados ritos religiosos; la eficacia civil de los matrimonios contraídos en forma religiosa; la inhumación según determinados ritos religiosos o el establecimiento de festividades religiosas en el calendario laboral. Pero todo ello sometido a un desarrollo legislativo posterior, que en algunos casos ya existía y que en otros todavía está pendiente de ser promulgado.

           

           

          Pese a todo, los avances desde la firma del Acuerdo han sido más que sobresalientes. Desde el punto de vista de la legislación estatal, se reconoce eficacia civil al matrimonio celebrado en forma religiosa islámica; los ministros de culto islámicos han sido integrados en el régimen general de la Seguridad Social y asimilados a los trabajadores por cuenta ajena; se reconoce la asistencia religiosa en las Fuerzas Armadas y los centros penitenciarios aunque no existe un compromiso económico del Estado para sufragar la misma; se reconoce el derecho de acceso a los medios públicos de comunicación; se le reconocen las mismas ventajas y exenciones fiscales y tributarias de que goza la Iglesia católica, aunque no se ha previsto todavía un sistema de financiación directa; y en el ámbito laboral, se está realizando un esfuerzo porque en los convenios colectivos firmados entre sindicatos y empresarios, se reconozcan las festividades religiosas, el descanso semanal y se atienda a la especificidad de la celebración de fiestas como la del Ramadán. Todo ello, mediante la búsqueda de la conciliación entre los intereses del trabajador musulmán y los derechos del empresario aplicando el principio de acomodación razonable en aplicación de lo dispuesto en la Directiva europea 2000/78 de no discriminación por motivos religiosos, que fue transpuesta a nuestro ordenamiento a través de la Ley 62/2003.

           

           

          Ahora bien, las características de nuestro sistema de organización política ha hecho que el sistema de relaciones Estado-Iglesias opere en varios niveles. Por un lado el Estado es competente para regular determinadas materias mientras que por otro, son las Comunidades Autónomas las que deben regular aquellas materias que les han sido transferidas.

          De esta manera, las Comunidades autónomas, en las materias en las que son competentes, tienen la posibilidad de desarrollar legislativamente las previsiones contenidas en el Acuerdo de 1992. La cuestión es que, en ocasiones, los gobiernos autonómicos no han sabido dar respuesta a las demandas presentadas por las comunidades religiosas establecidas en su territorio bien por falta de voluntad política, bien por desconocimiento, bien porque se han remitido a una legislación acordada que ya entendían suficiente, bien porque no ha existido un entendimiento con los interlocutores de las comunidades religiosas. El establecimiento de mezquitas y lugares de culto, la puesta en marcha de la contratación de profesores de religión islámica en los centros docentes, o una regulación coherente en relación con el sacrificio ritual y la alimentación religiosa son algunas de las cuestiones que todavía no han sido resueltas por el legislador autonómico o local.

           

           

          Y todo ello a pesar de que en los últimos años han sido varios los acuerdos que -en materia de conservación de patrimonio histórico-artístico, de enseñanza religiosa en los centros docentes y de asistencia religiosa- han firmado algunas comunidades autónomas con confesiones religiosas que ya tenían firmados acuerdos a nivel nacional. Es el caso de la Comunidad Autónoma de Madrid y la de Cataluña, y está prevista la firma de acuerdos por otras Comunidades Autónomas. Incluso los ayuntamientos y otros organismos dependientes del Estado han establecido acuerdos con estas confesiones en materias propias de su competencia. Así ha ocurrido en algunos Ayuntamientos con el establecimiento de parcelas dentro de los cementerios para realizar enterramientos conforme al rito musulmán.

           

          El problema es que, en ocasiones, estos acuerdos siguen siendo normas esencialmente programáticas que no añaden nada nuevo a lo establecido en el acuerdo de 1992. Tal vez porque el interlocutor para la negociación sigue siendo la CIE y no las comunidades religiosas islámicas implantadas en el territorio de cada Comunidad autónoma. Este es el motivo por el que creemos necesario que exista un Consejo Islámico en cada territorio que sea el que se ofrezca como interlocutor de la Administración. Sólo así será posible que las comunidades religiosas puedan trasladar sus problemas a la Administración y que ésta pueda dar respuesta a las mismas haciendo posible el ya referido mandato constitucional[14] que obliga a los poderes públicos a promover las condiciones para que la libertad y la igualdad, en este caso religiosas, de los individuos y los grupos sean reales y efectivas.

           

           

          Ello no perjudicaría el papel de la CIE a nivel estatal sino que más bien lo reforzaría ya que permitiría que en un futuro la negociación con la Administración para resolver posibles conflictos y proponer soluciones fuese llevada a cabo, bien en el ámbito nacional bien en el autonómico, por aquellos que son los verdaderos representantes de las comunidades interesadas.

           

           

          Déjenme terminar con unas breves reflexiones, consecuencia de lo anteriormente expuesto.

          El marco legal creado por el legislador español para proteger y desarrollar el derecho fundamental de libertad religiosa del individuo y de los grupos religiosos es quizás uno de los más garantistas de la Europa occidental. La LOLR y el sistema de acuerdos Estado-Iglesia nos muestra el interés del legislador estatal y autonómico por proteger y promocionar la libertad religiosa. Pero además, mi impresión es que el sistema todavía no está terminado. De hecho, es una realidad que el Gobierno está trabajando en una nueva ley de libertad religiosa que de satisfacción a todas aquellas cuestiones que el ejercicio del derecho fundamental sigue planteando y que en su momento no fueron contempladas por el legislador. Además, la transferencia a las Comunidades autónomas de competencias legislativas en materias en las que el hecho religioso tiene protagonismo ha supuesto el replanteamiento de las políticas eclesiásticas en los diferentes gobiernos regionales. Bien sea a través de acuerdos bien mediante disposiciones legislativas unilaterales, lo cierto es que en diferentes comunidades autónomas se está legislando teniendo en cuenta las especiales características de las comunidades musulmanas.

           

           

          Pero en ocasiones, la ausencia de una legislación que solucione los problemas relacionados con el ejercicio del derecho de libertad religiosa no puede sin más ser achacado únicamente a los poderes públicos. La falta de un interlocutor válido, que represente a todas las comunidades islámicas bien a nivel estatal bien autonómico, ha supuesto en ocasiones un retraso en la solución de un conflicto o lo que es peor, la suspensión de medidas que una vez adoptadas por la administración no se han podido aplicar por falta de voluntad de los líderes de dichas comunidades. Por eso también es necesario superar la dinámica de conflicto que, en ocasiones, existe dentro de la CIE. De hecho, a mi juicio, la refundación de la CIE puede ser una solución para lograr un mayor entendimiento con las diferentes administraciones públicas y así intentar mejorar el acuerdo firmado en 1992.

           

           

          El Islam en España es una realidad, pero su futuro no depende únicamente de aquello que quieran los poderes públicos. Estos ya han establecido un marco jurídico en el que las comunidades religiosas pueden actuar. Ahora sólo falta que éstas sean conscientes del espacio en el que deben trabajar y que lo hagan en la misma dirección para así conseguir de los poderes públicos que el ejercicio del derecho de libertad religiosa tanto por parte del individuo como del grupo o comunidad en la que se integra, sea real y efectivo.

           

           

           

           

           

           


          [1] Según datos publicados por la Unión de Comunidades Islámicas de España (UCIDE) el 28 de diciembre de 2008, un total de 1.130.000 residentes en España son musulmanes y existen además 33.750 españoles conversos. Del número de inmigrantes musulmanes, son Cataluña (con 280.000 aproximadamente), Madrid (197.000 aprox.), Andalucía (185.000 aprox.) y Valencia (131.000 aprox.) las Comunidades Autónomas que congregan al 70% de los mismos, siendo, además, más de la mitad de los mismos ciudadanos del Reino de Marruecos.

          [2] "1.- Se garantiza la libertad ideológica, religiosa y de culto de los individuos y las comunidades sin más limitación, en sus manifestaciones, que la necesaria para el mantenimiento del orden público protegido por la ley.

          2.- Nadie podrá ser obligado a declarar sobre su ideología, religión o creencias.

          3.- Ninguna confesión tendrá carácter estatal. Los poderes públicos tendrán en cuenta las creencias religiosas de la sociedad española y mantendrán las consiguientes relaciones de cooperación con la Iglesia católica y las demás confesiones".

          [3] Artículo 9.2 "Corresponde a los poderes públicos promover las condiciones para que la libertad y la igualdad del individuo y de los grupos en que se integra sean reales y efectivas; remover los obstáculos que impidan o dificulten su plenitud y facilitar la participación de todos los ciudadanos en la vida política, económica, cultural y social".

          [4] Artículo 14 "Los españoles son iguales ante la ley, sin que pueda prevalecer discriminación alguna por razón de nacimiento, raza, sexo, religión, opinión, o cualquier otra condición o circunstancia personal o social".

          [5] Artículo 10.2 "Las normas relativas a los derechos fundamentales y a las libertades que la Constitución reconoce, se interpretarán de conformidad con la Declaración Universal de Derechos Humanos y los tratados y acuerdos internacionales sobre las mismas materias ratificados por España".

          [6] Artículo 27.3 "Los poderes públicos garantizan el derecho que asiste a los padres para que sus hijos reciban la formación religiosa y moral que esté de acuerdo con sus propias convicciones".

          [7] Artículo 20.1 c) reconoce la protección del derecho "A la libertad de cátedra".

          [8] Artículo 27.6 señala que "Se reconoce a las personas físicas y jurídicas la libertad de creación de centros docentes, dentro del respeto a los principios constitucionales".

          [9] Ley Orgánica 7/1980, de 5 de julio, de Libertad Religiosa

          [10] El RER fue creado mediante el RD 142/1981, de 9 de enero y hasta el momento hay inscritas en el mismo más 650 comunidades islámicas. De las mismas, la gran mayoría de éstas pertenecen a la Unión de Comunidades Islámicas de España (UCIDE) y el resto a la Federación de Entidades Religiosas Islámicas de España (FEERI).

          [11] Vid. art. 7 de la LOLR.

          [12] Hasta ese momento únicamente se habían inscrito en el RER 17 comunidades islámicas, muchas de ellas constituidas y dirigidas por conversos.

          [13] Ley 26/1992, de 10 de noviembre, por la que se aprueba el Acuerdo de Cooperación del Estado con la Comisión Islámica de España.

          [14] Vid. art. 9.2 de la Constitución.

           

          Télécharger la contribution

           

           

          1.- Premessa

          Una riflessione sulle fonti di ispirazione della legislazione europea evoca, come si può intuire, un fondamentale quesito, al quale questo mio intervento cercherà di dar risposta, e cioè se e in qual misura il fenomeno dell'integrazione, cui assistiamo ormai da tempo nel Vecchio Continente, sia in grado di realizzare un ordinamento capace di porsi al servizio dell'uomo e delle sue aspettative, secondo un ideale di giustizia che superi il concetto della mera astratta legalità e consista, tenendo a mente l'insegnamento di Ulpiano, nel "cuique suum tribuere".

           

          Un grande Maestro, a tutti noi caro, Giuseppe Capograssi, in un suo prezioso saggio (Beati qui esuriunt et sitiunt iustitiam, in Opere, vol. VI, Milano 1959, p. 117), ben coglieva il senso della giustizia nell'epoca attuale, insegnandoci -con lungimirante preveggenza rispetto ai problemi che sarebbero poi drammaticamente esplosi ai giorni d'oggi- che esso è quello di "salvar l'individuo dalla violenza e dall'indifferenza degli altri e della società", perché "una società nella quale ci sia un uomo che non è sicuro del domani, che non ha le condizioni di vivere una vita umana, che è soffocato, nella sua umanità, nella capacità di svolgere la sua umanità, dalla miseria, non è una società umana".

           

          Questa riflessione, dunque, sarebbe di scarsa utilità, ove non ci interrogassimo sulla sorte riservata nell'ordinamento europeo ai valori della persona, specie considerando il ruolo che, in epoca di declino degli ordinamenti chiusi di stampo ottocentesco, il costituzionalismo sembra oggi chiamato a svolgere. Il costituzionalismo che, già in passato, ha trovato linfa ed alimento nelle enunciazioni delle Convenzioni e delle Dichiarazioni universali, appare oggi rinvenire uno spazio ad esso congeniale proprio negli ordinamenti sopranazionali, di pari passo con la tendenza dei diritti dell'uomo a trascendere lo Stato, anzi ad imporsi, per forza propria, allo stesso diritto statual-legislativo.

           

          Mi sembra, dunque, di poter osservare che è la stessa vocazione dei diritti della persona a caricare di particolari responsabilità l'ordinamento europeo, chiamato, così, a dar risposte ai problemi della connotazione multietnica e multiculturale della società; una società che sollecita un continuo confronto fra culture, costumi e modelli di comportamento, nella ricerca non solo delle categorie concettuali più adeguate a rappresentare la realtà in cui viviamo, ma soprattutto degli strumenti operativi più idonei a governare la complessità dell'esperienza per assicurare la convivenza possibile.

           

          Si pensi, inoltre, ai problemi posti dalla globalizzazione in campo economico, all'attuale crisi finanziaria che sorpassa, nella sua incidenza, pressoché tutti gli altri problemi, trovando la sua causa non solo nella mancanza di regolazione e di trasparenza, ma anche nel modello della nostra moderna società; un modello basato sul consumo aggressivo e illimitato di risorse e, in definitiva, su un errato ordine di valori a scapito dei fondamenti della convivenza umana, rappresentati dalla dignità della persona e dal bene comune che dovrebbero abbracciare tutta l'umanità, oltre i confini dello spazio e del tempo.

           

          Se a questo si aggiungono, infine, gli interrogativi posti dalle nuove frontiere della scienza, in particolare nel campo biologico, con problematiche che pervadono trasversalmente le società nazionali, è dato comprendere quanto sia illusoria l'idea che possano essere i singoli ordinamenti nazionali a fornire una risposta appagante a problemi cruciali che riguardano l'origine e il destino dell'Uomo.

           

          Così, nella riscoperta, da più parti condivisa, del compito più autentico del diritto e della legge, secondo l'antico insegnamento del giureconsulto Ermogeniano (omne ius hominum causa constitutum est), un ordinamento, quale quello europeo, benché nato per ragioni connesse precipuamente alla realizzazione di interessi di carattere economico, appare caricarsi di attese ricche di implicazioni sul piano assiologico, anche in ragione dell'influenza che esso può avere sulla legislazione degli Stati membri, sospinti, sempre più, dall'ormai pacifico principio dell'applicabilità diretta e della primauté del diritto comunitario, verso standards normativi uniformi.

           



          2. Il quadro normativo di riferimento

          2.1. I Trattati Maastricht e di Amsterdam

          Quanto all'attitudine dell'ordinamento comunitario a rispondere alle sfide dell'oggi, già nei Trattati più antichi si rinvengono, a dire il vero, riferimenti ai valori della solidarietà, della libertà e della pace.

          Ma è soltanto a partire dagli anni '90 che, nel progredire del processo d'integrazione fra ordinamenti (mi riferisco in particolare al Trattato di Maastricht del 1993 e al Trattato di Amsterdam del 1997), trovano formale codificazione talune enunciazioni che, per la loro portata, possono ormai considerarsi cardini dell'ordinamento comunitario

          Mi riferisco anzitutto alla norma (art. 6 del Trattato sull'Unione europea nella versione consolidata) la quale, sviluppando concetti già rinvenibili in nuce nel preambolo dell'Atto unico europeo del 1986, afferma che "l'Unione Europea si fonda sui principi di libertà, democrazia, rispetto dei diritti dell'uomo e delle libertà fondamentali e dello Stato di diritto, principi che sono comuni agli Stati membri", e che nel contempo prevede che "l'Unione rispetta i diritti fondamentali quali sono garantiti dalla Convenzione europea per la salvaguardia dei diritti dell'Uomo, firmata a Roma il 4 novembre 1950, e quali risultano dalle tradizioni costituzionali comuni degli Stati membri, in quanto principi generali del diritto comunitario".

          Un'altra importante innovazione è stata l'introduzione della cittadinanza europea che, pur nel suo carattere di complemento della cittadinanza nazionale, può essere vista come uno status civitatis non solo riassuntivo di vari diritti (circolazione e soggiorno; partecipazione politica, ecc.) che ad essa si associano, secondo l'art. 17 del Trattato CE (nella versione consolidata), ma suscettibile di aprire la strada verso una più compiuta tutela dei diritti fondamentali dei cittadini.

          Va da sé che la nozione di cittadinanza, nell'epoca della società multietnica e multiculturale, necessita di un nucleo aggregante diverso dalle comuni radici storiche del popolo inteso come componente unitaria dello Stato nazionale; un nucleo aggregante da rinvenire, piuttosto, in un concetto sul quale avremo occasione di ritornare, e cioè nella premessa antropologico-culturale della dignità umana. In questa prospettiva la dignità della persona, intesa nella sua individualità e nelle manifestazioni della vita di relazione, sembrerebbe, perciò, destinata a costituire l'elemento intorno al quale costruire un nuovo concetto di cittadino, un concetto unitario che, superando quello di appartenenza allo Stato, valorizzi, al tempo stesso, la nozione di società civile, a sua volta evocativa di modelli ascrivibili a risalenti concezioni, come la società dell'epoca romana, connotata da una sua peculiare capacità di inclusione e di integrazione in favore degli altri popoli.

          Non meno importante è la formale codificazione, ad opera del Trattato di Maastricht, del principio di sussidiarietà, a dire il vero non del tutto ignoto già alla precedente prassi normativa della Comunità, oggi contenuto nell'art. 5 del Trattato sulla Comunità europea, nella versione consolidata.

          Il principio di sussidiarietà ripropone concetti risalenti nel tempo, sviluppati, sin dall'Ottocento, dalla dottrina sociale della Chiesa cattolica, in funzione del primato riservato alle comunità naturali e, in primo luogo, alla famiglia, sul fondamento che la libertà e la capacità di apporti originali di queste ultime non devono essere limitate o soffocate da un livello più alto di poteri.

          La sussidiarietà, trascorrendo dal piano della filosofia sociale a quello dell'ordinamento giuridico ha finito per assumere il ruolo di criterio volto a favorire lo svolgimento di compiti rilevanti sul piano sociale da parte delle famiglie, delle associazioni e, in generale, delle istituzioni più vicine ai cittadini, suscitando così partecipazione e solidarietà tra le persone.

          Nel contesto comunitario, essa significa che le istituzioni europee intervengono solo quando la loro opera appaia indispensabile, rimettendo per il resto alle istanze nazionali o regionali quelle discipline che, senza arrecare pregiudizio al processo di integrazione, appaiano meglio rispondere alle esigenze dei cittadini (art. 5 del Trattato sulla Comunità europea, già citato).

          Alla luce dei principi ora ricordati, i Trattati di Maastricht e di Amsterdam possono essere considerati come una sorta di spartiacque fra due concezioni: prima una integrazione riferita essenzialmente al mercato, dopo una integrazione sempre più attenta ai valori della persona.

           

          2.2. La Carta dei diritti fondamentali dell'Unione europea

          In linea di continuità con tale più recente tendenza si pone la Carta dei diritti fondamentali dell'Unione europea, proclamata a Nizza nel dicembre 2000 e riproclamata con alcune modifiche a Strasburgo nel dicembre 2007, la quale ha la finalità non tanto di innovare, quanto piuttosto di riaffermare in modo espresso e solenne una serie di valori nella loro maggior parte già rinvenibili nel contesto costituito dai Trattati comunitari, dalla Convenzione Europea per la salvaguardia dei diritti dell'uomo, dalle Costituzioni degli Stati membri e, soprattutto, dalla giurisprudenza della Corte di Giustizia della Comunità europea.

          La Carta contiene un ampio catalogo, nel quale si riverberano gran parte dei diritti ormai acquisiti nelle esperienze dell' Occidente, aggregati intorno ai sei capi di cui essa si compone, ciascuno dei quali fa riferimento ad un valore fondante: la dignità, la libertà, l'uguaglianza, la solidarietà, la cittadinanza e la giustizia.

          L'affermazione della inviolabilità della dignità umana, con la quale si apre la Carta (art. 1), può considerarsi una sorta di emblema del moderno costituzionalismo, quasi una stella polare per l'interpretazione delle stesse Costituzioni.

           

          Negli svolgimenti della cultura del continente europeo possiamo, senza risalire ai più remoti precedenti che ci riportano addirittura al pensiero di Cicerone e poi di Ulpiano, rinvenire le più immediate ascendenze culturali del principio della dignità dell'uomo nel Cristianesimo, che tanto peso ha avuto nella storia dell'Europa. Vista in questa prospettiva la centralità della dignità umana riflette l'antropocentrismo ebraico-cristiano, per il quale l'Uomo è da considerare "imago Dei".

          Naturalmente, nella riflessione filosofica, non va ignorata l'attenzione dedicata all'argomento anche da altre culture maturate nel medesimo contesto storico, ma in una prospettiva laica: si pensi alla nota affermazione di Immanuel Kant nella Metafisica dei costumi, secondo la quale la dignità dell'Uomo consiste nel fatto che egli non può mai essere considerato come un semplice mezzo, ma va considerato solo e sempre come un fine.

           

          La dignità della persona trova nella Carta dei diritti fondamentali dell'Unione europea varie specificazioni concernenti il diritto alla vita (art. 2) e alla integrità della persona (art. 3), come pure la proibizione della tortura (art. 4), della schiavitù e del lavoro forzato (art. 5). Dal canto suo, il principio di libertà, altro valore fondamentale della Carta, viene declinato nelle sue varie espressioni tra cui quella di pensiero, di coscienza e di religione (art. 10), facendo avvertire una chiara connessione con quello di non discriminazione tra le persone, pur in essa presente (art. 21), ivi comprese le discriminazioni fondate sulla razza, l'origine etnica o sociale, la lingua e la religione.

           

          Sulla libertà di religione va ricordato che l'articolo 10 della Carta, ricalcando in buona misura le analoghe norme della Convenzione europea per la salvaguardia dei diritti dell'uomo e delle libertà fondamentali, nonché della Dichiarazione universale dei diritti dell'uomo, afferma che "ogni individuo ha diritto alla libertà di pensiero, di coscienza e di religione". La stessa norma precisa che "tale diritto include la libertà di cambiare religione o convinzione, così come la libertà di manifestare la propria religione o la propria convinzione individualmente o collettivamente, in pubblico o in privato, mediante il culto, l'insegnamento, le pratiche e l'osservanza dei riti".

          La libertà di religione, garantita dalla Carta, evoca, a sua volta, il principio di laicità dello Stato, in ragione di quel rapporto di complementarietà che gli studiosi danno generalmente per scontato tra tale principio e valori etico-religiosi.

           

          Quanto al principio di laicità, pur in presenza di talune incertezze ed oscillazioni riscontrabili all'interno degli Stati membri dell'Unione, la definizione più attendibile è quella secondo la quale la laicità comporta che i poteri pubblici non restino indifferenti verso la religione, bensì che ne riconoscano l'importanza nella realtà sociale, dichiarandosi tuttavia incompetenti a disciplinarla direttamente. Tanto meno il principio può essere inteso nel senso di consentire agli Stati di confinare la religione al di fuori della vita pubblica, secondo una concezione illuministica, che consideri la religione stessa come un fatto strettamente privato.

          E' interessante, a questo proposito, una fondamentale sentenza della Corte costituzionale italiana, secondo la quale la laicità va intesa non come indifferenza dello Stato dinanzi alle religioni, ma "come garanzia dello Stato per la salvaguardia della libertà di religione, in regime di pluralismo confessionale e culturale" (sent. n. 203 del 1989).

           

          In questa cornice di riferimenti v'è da chiedersi: esiste una dimensione europea della libertà religiosa?

          L'articolo 17 del Trattato di Lisbona (versione consolidata, seconda parte) afferma che "l'Unione rispetta e non pregiudica lo status di cui le chiese e le associazioni o comunità religiose godono negli Stati membri in virtù del diritto nazionale" e che "riconoscendone l'identità ed il contributo specifico, l'Unione mantiene un dialogo aperto, trasparente e regolare con tali chiese e organizzazioni".

           

          Apparentemente, nella norma da ultimo citata, v'è una sorta di professione di incompetenza, sia pure nell'istituzionalizzazione del dialogo con tali chiese e organizzazioni. Ma nessuno può negare che anche qui esiste un problema di integrazione, tale da suggerire "alle chiese di ripensare se stesse in un'ottica continentale, anziché puramente nazionale, e quindi di ristrutturarsi per inserirsi in qualche modo nel cammino verso l'unità dei popoli europei" (Carlo Cardia). In questo senso esistono già delle iniziative delle varie chiese, come, ad esempio, nel caso della Co.me.ce. (Commission des Episcopats de la Communauté Européenne).

          In aggiunta a tali considerazioni, vorrei rilevare che gli accadimenti hanno normalmente antefatti, premesse, talora così profondi da rimanere nascosti. E qui è il caso di avvertire che il discorso parte da lontano riportandoci alla Pace di Westfalia (1648) che pose fine alle guerre di religione, accettando i principi della tolleranza religiosa e della libertà di coscienza, sia pure con talune limitazioni.

          Oggi, in epoca di declino della sovranità degli Stati nazionali, è plausibile ipotizzare un ordinamento europeo che, rifuggendo anch'esso dalle guerre di religione, si faccia garante, in un contesto di reciproco rispetto, di una realtà pluralista, fortemente caratterizzata in senso multiculturale e multireligioso, quale quella in cui viviamo.

          Altri diritti garantiti dalla Carta riguardano: la privacy (art. 7), la partecipazione politica (artt. 39 e 40), la difesa in giudizio (art. 47 e 48), senza trascurare i diritti dei soggetti più deboli - minori (artt. 24 e 32), disabili (art. 26), generazioni future, lavoratori stranieri (art. 15) - come pure la lotta contro l'esclusione sociale e la povertà (art. 34).

          Al tempo stesso, la Carta dà spazio a nuovi diritti: divieto delle pratiche eugenetiche (art. 3); protezione dei dati personali (art. 8); divieto di commercio di organi e clonazione riproduttiva degli esseri umani (art. 3).

           

          Se si tiene presente il quadro ora delineato, è agevole sostenere che la Carta, fra le due possibili concezioni dell'Uomo, quella individualista propria della tradizione liberale classica e quella personalista, si sia orientata più per questa seconda opzione e cioè quella dell'essere umano inteso come persona, vale a dire come entità relazionale che, oltrepassando la visione kantiana, si realizza nel suo rapporto con il prossimo, alla luce dei principi di solidarietà e di responsabilità. Avvalora una simile concezione il preambolo stesso della Carta, ove si trova espressamente affermato che l'Unione europea "pone la persona al centro della sua azione". Si consideri, poi, la relazione di indivisibilità che il medesimo preambolo pone fra i valori della dignità, della libertà, dell'uguaglianza e della solidarietà, creando tra essi un rapporto di interazione che ne esalta reciprocamente i contenuti.

          Ulteriore conferma dell'accoglimento della visione personalistica sta nell'enunciazione, rinvenibile fra le premesse della Carta, secondo la quale il godimento dei diritti in essa codificati "fa sorgere responsabilità e doveri nei confronti degli altri, come pure della comunità umana e delle generazioni future". Affermazione questa che, nel confermare l'elemento relazionale che lega le persone fra loro, ci richiama a una peculiare prospettiva universalistica dei diritti, che si espande ed abbraccia il futuro dell'Umanità; una prospettiva che, tra l'altro, impone all'Europa una riflessione sul proprio passato, specie se si considerano altre enunciazioni della Carta, quali quelle sulla proibizione della schiavitù, del lavoro forzato e della tratta degli esseri umani (art. 5), evocative delle degenerazioni che si sono verificate, tanto nell'epoca del colonialismo, quanto in quella dei totalitarismi del ventesimo secolo, contrassegnato da gravi violazioni dei diritti dell'uomo e della sua dignità.

          Ad epilogo di questo processo evolutivo si colloca la recente modifica dei Trattati (Lisbona 13 dicembre 2007). A parte la rimodulazione dei rapporti tra le Istituzioni e i nuovi equilibri fra i poteri ad esse affidati, il Trattato di Lisbona (il quale entrerà in vigore non appena ratificato da tutti gli Stati) ha avuto il merito di sciogliere il nodo della natura della Carta, sancendo espressamente (art. 6 della prima parte) che "l'Unione riconosce i diritti, le libertà e i principi sanciti dalla Carta" che, pertanto, è destinata ad assumere lo stesso valore giuridico dei Trattati.

           

           

          3.- Gli orientamenti della giurisprudenza comunitaria.

          All'opera del legislatore si salda necessariamente quella del giudice comunitario, non essendo dubbio che l'effettività degli interessi si misuri con la loro giustiziabilità. "La previsione di efficienti garanzie giurisdizionali è l'indice, anzi il primo canone, della costruzione di un progredito ordinamento fra le nazioni : progredito nel senso in cui deve esserlo la civiltà giuridica della pace, che si allea con la democrazia e si pone al servizio della persona umana" (A. La Pergola).

           

          L'esame della giurisprudenza dimostra che il giudice comunitario ha spesso anticipato nel tempo le previsioni dei Trattati e degli altri atti di normazione derivata, mettendo a fuoco una serie di principi che oggi ritroviamo esplicitamente codificati nella Carta dei diritti fondamentali, quali:

          a) il principio del diritto al giusto procedimento;

          b) il principio di irretroattività delle norme penali;

          c) il diritto di difesa;

          d) il diritto al rispetto della vita privata;

          e) il principio di eguaglianza;

          f) il principio del controllo giurisdizionale degli atti amministrativi.

           

          Questi indiscutibili meriti della giurisprudenza comunitaria non possono far ignorare, tuttavia, la prospettiva economicistica, nella quale essa si è tradizionalmente mostrata incline a collocare il problema dei diritti dell'Uomo, legandone funzionalmente la tutela all'attuazione dell'ordinamento comunitario, nel senso che -come più volte affermato dalla Corte di Giustizia- tale tutela avviene "nell'ambito della struttura e delle finalità della Comunità". Se si esaminano i più antichi repertori della giurisprudenza comunitaria, si avverte, negli schemi argomentativi, una ricorrente ripetitività riconducibile, essenzialmente, a tre concetti :

          • la supremazia del diritto comunitario che si impone per forza propria agli ordinamenti nazionali;
          • la preminenza delle regole del mercato con la quale i diritti fondamentali devono necessariamente commisurarsi;
          • il principio di proporzionalità come metro valutativo della legittimità delle norme e degli atti emanati dalle Istituzioni comunitarie, e quindi anche di quelli che toccano e limitano i diritti dell'Uomo.

           

          Come è risaputo, la proporzionalità nasce in Germania ancora prima dell'avvento dello Stato di diritto, in base al postulato che lo Stato, nel realizzarsi, non deve eccedere quanto è a ciò necessario. Si tratta, dunque, di una autolimitazione del potere sovrano nei confronti della quale la tutela dell'individuo si atteggia come mero effetto riflesso.

          Per contro, nella concezione propria degli altri ordinamenti che collocano al centro la persona umana, come la Costituzione italiana, la prospettiva appare del tutto rovesciata: ponendo in primo piano l'Uomo anziché lo Stato (ovvero il potere sovrano) tali ordinamenti finiscono per accogliere una serie di aspettative che si debbono realizzare componendosi le une con le altre, attraverso un metodo di comparazione che è quello della ragionevolezza, intesa come ponderazione e graduazione dei valori costituzionalmente rilevanti e come mezzo per espungere dal sistema la logica dell'arbitrio e dell'ingiustizia.

           

          Non mancano, tuttavia, nella giurisprudenza comunitaria, segnali di apertura verso una diversa concezione; segnali che si possono, ad esempio, cogliere nei richiami alla dignità umana contenuti in una sentenza della Corte di giustizia (9 ottobre 2001, in causa C377/98, Paesi Bassi c. Parlamento e Consiglio) nella quale si afferma, a proposito della protezione giuridica delle invenzioni biotecnologiche, che "spetta alla Corte, in sede di verifica della conformità degli atti delle istituzioni ai principi generali del diritto comunitario, di vigilare sul rispetto del diritto fondamentale alla dignità umana ed all'integrità della persona".

          Mi riferisco, inoltre, ad affermazioni come quella secondo la quale "la tutela dei diritti fondamentali (nella specie la libertà di riunione e di espressione garantita dagli articoli 10 e 11 della Convenzione europea dei diritti dell'uomo) rappresenta un legittimo interesse che giustifica, in linea di principio, una limitazione degli obblighi imposti dal diritto comunitario, ancorché derivanti da una libertà garantita dal Trattato" (sentenza del 12 giugno 2003, causa C-112/2000 Schmidberger).

          In un'altra più recente pronuncia (sentenza 14 ottobre 2004, C-36/2002, Omega), la Corte di Giustizia, dopo aver affermato che il rispetto della dignità umana fa parte dei principi generali del diritto comunitario, conclude nel senso che le esigenze di tutela dei diritti fondamentali ben possono giustificare limitazioni alle libertà economiche.

           

          In tali sentenze si avverte, dunque, una diversa attenzione verso i valori della persona, in una prospettiva caratterizzata sempre più dal confronto e dalla ponderazione dei diversi interessi in gioco e quindi dalla tendenza al superamento di quella che è stata da taluno definita efficacemente la "unidimensionalità" del diritto comunitario. La considerazione che la giurisprudenza europea tende così a riservare agli interessi e ai diritti dell'uomo apre la via per il loro necessario bilanciamento con gli altri interessi di livello comunitario, escludendo, quindi, che le istituzioni della Comunità possano ormai perseguire unicamente il solo fine del corretto funzionamento del mercato.

          In tal modo la giurisprudenza della Corte di giustizia, collocandosi sempre più in sintonia con quella delle Corti nazionali, contribuisce alla formazione di un quadro più stabile nei rapporti fra l'ordinamento sovranazionale e quelli nazionali, consentendo di prefigurare un sempre più compiuto e maturo sistema di garanzie per i diritti della persona. Un sistema fondato su un circuito comunicativo, nell'ambito del quale il diritto comunitario, si impone in virtù del cosiddetto "effetto diretto" alle legislazioni degli Stati membri, ma resta, a sua volta, subordinato, in virtù del richiamo fatto dai Trattati alle comuni tradizioni costituzionali, ai principi che la Corte di giustizia è tenuta a trarre dai fondamenti ispiratori delle Costituzioni nazionali.

          Il rapporto dialogico, in tal modo instaurato tra gli ordinamenti risulta particolarme

          nte importante nell'attuale epoca di forti correnti migratorie che fanno degli Stati nazionali il luogo dell'accoglienza. Segno della consapevolezza, da parte di questi ultimi, del ruolo ad essi assegnato è la prassi, che si va sempre più diffondendo tra gli Stati membri della Comunità, consistente nell'elaborazione di documenti che enunciano i principi fondamentali validi per i cittadini e gli immigrati e che riflettono il rispetto e l'accoglienza per le diversità di cultura e di religione, come nel caso della Carta dei valori della cittadinanza e dell'integrazione adottata dal Ministro dell'interno italiano nel 2006. Questa, come scrive nell'Introduzione al Documento Carlo Cardia, "enuclea e declina i principi della Costituzione italiana e delle principali Carte europee ed internazionali dei Diritti umani", al fine di pervenire ad un "concetto unitario di cittadinanza e convivenza tra le diverse comunità nazionali, etniche e religiose" radicate sul territorio, coniugando diritti di libertà e diritti sociali da assicurare a tutti,con il rispetto delle legittime differenze di cultura e di religione.

           

           

          4. Le linee di azione delle istituzioni europee

          Seguendo le linee di tendenza sopra descritte, l'ordinamento comunitario evidenzia la concreta presenza di strutture organizzative e di forme di azione attraverso le quali l'Europa esprime, oggi, la sua attenzione verso le problematiche che la investono quale casa comune dei popoli europei e quale società a connotazione multietnica e multiculturale.

          Mi riferisco in particolare: alle politiche di accoglienza e integrazione per i rifugiati e per i profughi; agli strumenti volti all'allargamento dell'Unione verso i Paesi dell'Europa centrale e orientale; ai programmi-quadro di ricerca che investono, tra l'altro, ampiamente le tematiche della democrazia e della società multietnica; alle azioni esterne, e cioè le spese della Comunità a favore dei Paesi terzi, nelle quali rientrano gli aiuti umanitari e alimentari, come pure le azioni co-finanziate con organizzazioni non governative che operano nei Paesi in via di sviluppo e le iniziative a favore della democrazia e dei diritti umani.

          Per avere un'idea dell'importanza delle azioni esterne, occorre considerare che i fondi ad esse destinati, uniti alle dotazioni dei Fondi Europei di sviluppo (FES) - specialmente rivolte alla cooperazione con i Paesi dell'Africa sub-sahariana, dei Caraibi e del Pacifico - raggiungono importi che collocano la Comunità fra i cinque maggiori donatori mondiali, avvalorando l'idea di un'Europa non insensibile e non disattenta verso il mondo esterno, e in qualche modo anche disponibile a proporsi come società inclusiva.

           

           

          5.- Integrazione europea e tradizione.

          Oggi si discute tanto della Costituzione europea. Le riflessioni sopra svolte ci portano, tuttavia, a condividere l'avviso di chi sostiene che il problema dell'Europa non è tanto quello della Costituzione, giacché, se ci riferiamo alla Costituzione nel senso di struttura fondamentale dell'ordinamento, non è dubbio che anche l'Europa abbia una Costituzione, dalla quale sono destinate a trarre ispirazione non solo la legislazione comunitaria ma anche quelle nazionali, alla luce di quel primato del diritto comunitario che si impone, per forza propria, agli ordinamenti nazionali e che, perciò, è segno dell'esistenza in sé di una legge superiore europea.

          Questo non esaurisce, tuttavia, l'esigenza di comporre la diversità e la varietà dei punti di vista che, nonostante la codificazione di principi ad opera degli ultimi Trattati, tuttora permangono su tanti temi. Basti pensare a temi quali quello della concezione della famiglia o ai tanti problemi posti oggi dalle nuove frontiere della genetica e della biologia e, più in generale, al rischio di una assolutizzazione della scienza che finisca per distruggere l'uomo.

           

          Di fronte agli importanti nodi che restano tuttora da sciogliere, a partire dalla stessa difficoltà di accertare le tradizioni costituzionali comuni agli Stati membri, occorre considerare che il superamento degli ordinamenti chiusi di derivazione napoleonica, se da una parte induce alla rielaborazione dei fondamenti della nostra organizzazione politica, fa riaffiorare, dall'altra, idee e concezioni che, nella storia della cultura e della civiltà europea, hanno continuato a sopravvivere come patrimonio comune nonostante la formazione e il consolidamento degli Stati nazionali. È quel sotterraneo perdurare (Weitergelten) del diritto romano, nonostante le codificazioni del XIX secolo, di cui ci parla la dottrina tedesca e che, se ci volgiamo all'indietro, ci consente di constatare come l'attuale processo d'integrazione si innesti in un percorso molto risalente, attenuato o addirittura interrotto proprio dal divenire degli Stati. Oltrepassando lo schermo delle codificazioni l'esperienza contemporanea finisce per riportarci allo ius commune e, in definitiva, all'eredità romana che, da un certo punto della storia, si salda con quella del Cristianesimo. Dell'esperienza giuridica romana è il caso di sottolineare tre connotazioni: una concezione del diritto orientata, quale ars boni et aequi, ad un ideale di giustizia non formale, bensì sostanziale, l'importanza del diritto naturale che di tale esperienza è parte integrante e, infine, il modello di società inclusiva e tendenzialmente aperta da essa proposto. Possono essere proprio queste connotazioni a offrire un paradigma per superare le difficoltà di un'Europa chiamata, sempre più di frequente, a rappresentare una comunanza di principi fra i Paesi che la compongono, su tanti problemi trasversali che i singoli Stati non sono in grado di risolvere, tra i quali uno dei più importanti è quello dell'immigrazione che, come si legge nell'Introduzione alla Carta dei valori della cittadinanza e dell'integrazione, già innanzi citata, costituisce un fenomeno ormai strutturale, "complesso da governare", specialmente sul terreno dell'integrazione, ma che, al tempo stesso, si presenta "ricco di opportunità per la società ospitante".

           

           

           


          [1] Testo provvisorio suscettibile di revisione. In caso di divergenza fra testo scritto ed esposizione orale fa fede quest'ultima.

           

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