This chapter examines the evolution and development of the accession and coronation oaths of the monarchs of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and then variously 'Ireland' and 'Northern Ireland'. It raises some issues about their continuing relevance in the twenty-first century and the need publicly and fundamentally to reassess them and evaluate their continuing suitability for the contemporary era. The coronation oaths are required by the Coronation Oath Act of 1688, the Act of Settlement of 1701 and the Accession Declaration Act of 1910. Unlike the declaration of Protestant faith, another early requirement for action by a new monarch, the oath for 'the security of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland' required by the Acts of Union of 1706-1707 has remained unchanged. The religions of the non-Christian populations in the dominions, India and the colonies were not of such a great concern.
This chapter discusses the understanding of human rights in the Roman Catholic tradition. It was only at the Second Vatican Council in 1965 that the Roman Catholic Church finally accepted the right to religious freedom for all human beings. The chapter focuses on the official teaching of the hierarchical magisterium. It develops three major points: the dramatic change that occurred with the Catholic acceptance of human rights in the latter part of the twentieth century. Other major points include the basis and grounding of human rights in contemporary Catholic thought and a somewhat troubling development in the teaching of Pope John Paul II. In his moral and political writing, John Paul II insisted on the primacy of truth in his understanding of democracy and human rights. Democracy for many is based on agnosticism and sceptical relativism with regard to truth.
Four internal contributory factors, the impact of Bangladeshi politics, the rise of Islamist youth groups in the 1980s and the 1990s, the failures of the secular leadership, and the sources of funding to Islamic organizations in Britain are discussed in this chapter. The chapter shows that the salience of the Muslim identity among the British-Bangladeshis took place incrementally. The examinations of these factors also show that they shaped not only the identity of the individual at the social level but also at the community level, especially within the political realm. These factors were not mutually exclusive; in fact, the discussion shows that different circumstances offered different choices and some have made greater impacts than others.
This chapter examines the role of the British state in facilitating the salience of Islamic identity among the community, especially enabling Islamists to gain prominence within the community. The empirical data are organized around two topics: race and immigration policy, and foreign policy. The chapter demonstrates that among four phases of immigration policies: the era of hostility, the era of assimilationism, the era of multiculturalism, and the era of faith and social cohesion, the most recent has facilitated the rise of Islamists within the Bangladeshi community. The chapter argues that British foreign policy is not only about the ongoing wars in the Middle East and South Asia, but about a wide array of policies pursued over a long period, most importantly the government’s approach to issues perceived as important by the Muslim community.
Despite its importance in the UK contemporary government, the monarchy does not seem to attract the attention from political scientists that it merits. This chapter examines the procedures that are invoked to install in office the successor to a monarch who has died. A review of the procedures of the installation of a new incumbent to the throne necessarily builds on the work of others. The benchmark source for any discussion has to be Vernon Bogdanor's The Monarchy and the Constitution. Bogdanor's emphasis on the role of Elizabeth II in several constitutional crises highlight the continuing significance of the monarch as a potential player at critical political and constitutional junctures. Elizabeth II was proclaimed as Head of the Common-wealth, a free association of fifty-four states, but which in 1952 comprised an Empire, independent dominions of which she was head of state, and a number of former colonies and possessions.
The introduction provides the background of the study, discussion of the conceptual building blocks and an outline of the book. Three events are referred to as examples of the growing appeal of political Islam to a section of British-Bangladeshis and the contestations within the community. This chapter also critically discusses the existing theoretical frameworks on diaspora and diasporic identity, and challenges the extant formulations of these concepts. It argues that they are limited and limiting, because they see diaspora as an end product instead of an ongoing experience, and diasporic identity as a fixed state instead of a dynamic process.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book shows how biblical inspiration (both Old and New Testament) fuelled the anti-slavery protests and later the civil rights movement in the United States. The best guarantee for rights in relation to religion must be effective social spaces opening up, both for theoretical reflections on ideological argument, and for pragmatic actions in creating human agreement. The book sketches the widening horizons of freedom and the promise of redemption fostered in the world of the Spirituals and multiple religious revivals. It suggests that over time, the vision of American democracy has fed into the mainstream, informing the oratory of Barack Obama himself. The book illustrates that many states do associate their core citizenship with one or other 'Religion', and difference can make citizens the target of abuse.
The tendency among ethnic minority Muslim immigrant communities in Europe towards identification with Islam as a marker of identity is discussed in an array of studies, but seldom have they explained sufficiently how the change took place. Islam and Identity Politics among British-Bangladeshis: A Leap of Faith probes the causes of and conditions for the preference of the members of the British-Bangladeshi community for a religion-based identity vis-à-vis ethnicity-based identity, and the influence of Islamists in shaping the discourse. It also examines whether this salience of Muslim identity is a precursor to a new variant of diasporic Islam. Islam and Identity Politics delves into the micro-level dynamics, the internal and external factors and the role of the state and locates these within the broad framework of Muslim identity and Islamism, citizenship and the future of multiculturalism in Europe.
This chapter considers the appropriateness of an emergent 'civil religion' evident in the ceremonial of the Commonwealth as a possible model for collective secular or religious events for all the realms to mark the commencement a new reign. It demonstrates the diversity of religious identity and affiliation among the realms. The realms collectively constitute a population of subjects of the monarch that are predominantly Christian of unknown degrees of commitment but with a substantial minority with other religions, no recorded religion or no religion. The two largest Christian denominations, Anglicanism and Roman Catholicism, each have the attachment of about one-fifth of the combined population, but the Anglican support is heavily concentrated in the UK and Roman Catholicism is heavily concentrated in Canada and Australia. Multiculturalism had a more convincing appeal to the population of Canada since it was obviously more of a diverse immigrant society than the UK.
This book introduces a discussion of a fundamental paradox concerning contemporary society and government in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK). There is strong evidence of continuing trends towards a more secular and less religious society and pattern of social behaviour. At the same time, religious doctrines, rituals and institutions are central to the legitimacy, stability and continuity of key elements of the constitutional and political system. Outlining the thesis of secularization, the book attempts to account for the failure of secularisation theory. The oaths of the accession and of the coronation of the monarch are the central affirmative symbolic acts which legitimate the system of government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK) and the place of the monarchy at the apex of the political system. The book explores some remote and dusty corners of the constitution of the UK that might be of some importance for the operation of the UK political system. The 1953 coronation ad many features of the 1937 coronation on which it was modelled. The religious rituals of the UK Parliament appear to be much more fixed and enduring than those devised in the context of devolution since 1999 to resolve tensions between the religious and political spheres in the 'Celtic' regions. A profound limitation of Anglican multifaithism as a doctrine for uniting the political community is its failure to connect with the large secular population.