Citizenship And Religion

Citizenship and Religion has long existed as a concept since the start of time. In more religious societies, religion has formed the basis of acceptance within communities and it is through this citizenship has been granted. However in many countries around the world today, religion bears no impact on acquiring citizenship.

Western World

Much of the Western world is secular and practices the separation of the state and religion. As such religion plays no role in citizenship, however there are many political connotations associated with religion. Many people argue that people that follow a certain religion should be able to politicize themselves, such as women with the feminist movement, if they come from minority religions. They argue that they can develop a political identity based on their faith to counteract the discrimination they may face in many facets of life.

However opponents to this argument claim that religion has no place in the public sphere in a secular country, and such political affiliations could lead to the introduction of religious laws, which would hamper secularism.

Controversy was caused in Europe during the migration crisis of 2015, when a few EU countries such as Slovakia chose to only take Christian migrants fleeing war. Many activists denounced this action and said a more inclusive approach should be taken.

Islamic World

Islam has very stringent rules that lay out the position of Muslims and non-Muslims within an Islamic state governed by Islamic law. According to Islamic law, non-Muslims have to pay tax, called jizya, in return for protection and safety within the state. There is no path to citizenship for non-Muslims within an Islamic state and they must continue paying jizya or be expelled from the state. If a non-Muslim converts to Islam then they are exempt from paying the Jizya tax, and all rules that apply to Muslims apply to them as well. Muslims who leave the religion are also stripped of their citizenship.

Many countries in the Middle East apply these laws, however many racial undertones are also present. For example, Saudi Arabia has a large expatriate community, with numbers in the region of 9 million. However no one is allowed to attain citizenship and there are many abuse of rights of foreign workers. Non-Muslims are also not allowed to build any place of worship or display religious symbols in public.

Citizenship and religion is a big topic since religion plays a big part in many people’s lives. Secular countries do not factor religion when granting citizenship, but in other countries around the world, people who do not follow a certain religion are never allowed to attain citizenship, no matter their contribution to society.