Is the Concept of Localisation Feasible for Religious People in Europe?

W. Janse

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review


This essay examines the feasibility in the European context of the concept of zhongguohua or ‘localisation’ of religion. It looks first at the concept as explained by the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, Xi Jinping, at the National Religious Work Conference in April 2016. It then compares the concept to dominant European views of state neutrality and the role of religion in the public domain. One difference between the two perspectives consists in the degree to which the social effects of religions are recognised. This also includes the potential and desirable maximisation of the (positive) role of religions in building a civilized and cohesive society and, particularly, in the appeal to religious people to either keep their faith out of the public domain or to mobilise the harmonious elements of their traditions in helping them to adapt to society. The essay argues that whereas the question in the essay’s title can be answered affirmatively – since good citizenship ranks among the loftiest values of the major religions – the more relevant question is whether European politicians and leading voices in the public discourse are able to deal with the localisation concept. This question becomes all the more urgent when religion touches on a number of contemporary topics, such as social exclusion or the rights of sexual minorities. And international diplomacy, peacebuilding, and sustainable development also involve the religious dimension. The essay outlines existing and possible frameworks and positions in Europe that can facilitate consultation and dialogue between the state and religious people and between religious communities themselves as an antidote to the marginalisation of religious minorities and to promote their contribution to the resolution of social issues.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationbooktitle (vol. ?)
Editors Institute for Human Rights at the China University of Political Science and Law
Place of PublicationLeiden/Boston
Number of pages9
Publication statusUnpublished - 2018
EventLocalising Muslims in Europe and China - Institute for Human Rights, China University of Political Science and Law, Beijing, China
Duration: 17 Mar 201718 Mar 2017

Publication series

NameChinese Perspectives on Human Rights and Good Governance


ConferenceLocalising Muslims in Europe and China

Bibliographical note [event]


  • localisation of religion, China, Europe, Islam, community cohesion

VU Research Profile

  • Connected World


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