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The Religion Question in the New Year

Westerners consider church-state separation to be crucial for ensuring that religion plays a healthy role in society. But this view has little purchase in most of the Islamic world, and particularly in Asian societies, which have a vastly different understanding of religion’s place in people’s lives.

OXFORD – As we enter 2017, a very old debate about the role of religion in society has come to the fore. It is centered on the extent to which religion should determine political legitimacy, social frames of reference, and personal identities.