Most Western European social scientists and policymakers believe that there is or should be a separation between church and state, religion and politics.
These include the banning of offensive literature, cartoons, and films; the state funding of Muslim schools and Islamic instruction and worship in common schools; the accommodation of Muslim dress, diet, and gender segregation in public spaces such as schools and universities; Muslim organization and representation in political parties, trade unions, and professional associations; a question about religious observance on the national census and while collecting equality-monitoring data; and the sharing of the institutional, symbolic, and fiscal privileges enjoyed by Christian churches and Jewish organizations.
A strict policy of non-identification with a particular language, history, and culture, however, is impossible for a state to achieve.
Moreover, to single out religion for non-identification is unfair to those for whom such identities are important.
Rather, it is best to interpret state neutrality to mean that connections between state and religion must be inclusive, rather than push religious groups away.
They must also, however, be consistent with liberal democratic constitutionalism.What does this imply for Western societies’ secularist self-image?