Tag Archives: Central Europe

Europe & Eurasia Research | Religious & Belief Minorities

Religion and National Identity in Eastern Europe and Eurasia

The Pew Research Center recently conducted a survey on the relationship between religious and national identity in Eastern European and Eurasian countries, noting changes in the way that religious identification has influenced national identity since the fall of atheist fundamentalism with the USSR. For religious and belief minorities—now including atheists—the relationship can be a troubling one, particularly as resurgent nationalism in the region has been accompanied by xenophobia and religious discrimination.

Here are highlights from the findings:

70% (Orthodox-majority) / 57% (Catholic-majority)

Average among countries who believe majority religious identity is very or somewhat important to national identity

82% (Armenia)
81% (Georgia)
78% (Serbia)
76% (Greece)
74% (Romania)
66% (Bulgaria)
63% (Moldova)
57% (Russia)
51% (Ukraine)
45% (Belarus)

Percentage within Orthodox-majority countries who believe Orthodox religious identity is very or somewhat important to national identity

64% (Poland)
58% (Croatia)
56% (Lithuania)
43% (Hungary)

Percentage within Catholic-majority countries who believe Catholic religious identity is very or somewhat important to national identity

Read

Religious Belief and National Belonging in Central and Eastern Europe (Pew Research Center | May 2017)

Slovenia News | LGBT

Same-sex marriages commence in Slovenia
  • The first lesbian wedding was scheduled in the country’s second-largest city, Maribor.
  • The law establishing marriage equality in the country was passed in December 2015 after a contentious debate over same-sex adoption, although it was subsequently repealed by referendum.
  • While able to marry, same-sex couples cannot jointly adopt a child or, for lesbian couples, undergo artificial insemination.
Read

Slovenia allows same-sex marriage, but not adoption” (Reuters | February 2017)
Slovenia allows same-sex marriage” (POLITICO | February 2017)
Slovenia will expand civil partnership rights after gay marriage defeated in referendum” (Gay Star News | March 2016)

(Image Credit: Jure Makovec/AFP, via POLITICO)

Global Event | Women’s Marches

Global Women’s Marches

On the day following the inauguration of U.S. President Donald Trump, millions gathered in demonstrations taking place across all seven continents in support of women’s rights. Trump, who was elected despite having been accused of sexual assault by at least two dozen women, ran a campaign that attacked reproductive rights, disparaged high-profile women (including his opponent, Hillary Clinton), and equivocated on issues like gender pay equity, and of the 25 members of his incoming senior leadership team, only three are women. From Austin to Antarctica, women and allies around the world mobilized around issues including women’s security, reproductive rights, racial and immigration justice, climate change, and LGBTQ rights.

Global Overview
The Americas


Source: The New York Times (YouTube)

Europe & Africa


Source: ODN (YouTube)

Asia Pacific & Antarctica


Source: Reuters (YouTube)

Germany News | Muslim Women

Chancellor Merkel endorses partial ban on Islamic veils in Germany
  • Merkel’s announcement is the first public show of support for her party’s call for a ban on full-face veils in public spaces, a proposal Muslim women leaders have pointed out as unnecessary and inflammatory in a nation that already creates strong social pressure not to wear religious veils.
  • The Christian Democratic Union (CDU) has proposed barring veils including the burqa and the niqab from public spaces including courts and educational institutions and during events such as traffic stops and police checks.
  • Merkel, who recently announced a run for a fourth term, has increasingly stressed “integration” and “law and order” amidst rising anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, and nationalist sentiments in the country.

Read more:
Angela Merkel endorses party’s call for partial ban on burqa and niqab” (The Guardian)
Angela Merkel Calls for Ban on Full-Face Veils in Germany” (The New York Times)
Burqa bans: As Angela Merkel supports prohibition, survey shows how Muslim-majority countries feel about veils” (The Independent)

Related reads:
What’s That You’re Wearing? A Guide to Muslim Veils” (The New York Times, May 2016)

(Image Credit: Michael Gottschalk/Photothek via Getty Images, via The Guardian)

Slovakia News | Muslims

New legislation effectively bars Islam from official status in Slovakia for foreseeable future
  • Legislation from the Slovak National Party (SNS) passed through Parliament increasing the number of adherents required for state recognition from 20,000 to 50,000 in the Catholic-majority country.
  • Official status allows for religious communities to run their own schools and receive subsidies from the state.
  • There are only between 2,000 and 5,000 Muslims currently in the country, but anti-immigrant sentiment in the country has ratcheted fears of a massive overrun by immigrants from Muslim-majority countries.

Read more:
Slovakia toughens church registration rules to bar Islam” (Reuters)

Related reads:
PM Fico: Islam has no place in Slovakia” (The Slovak Spectator, May 2016)
Slovakia’s leader said Islam has ‘no place’ in his country. Now he’s taking a leadership role in the E.U.” (The Washington Post, June 2016)

Hungary News | Muslims & LGBT

Hungarian city council adopts mayor’s proposal to ban Islamic and pro-LGBT expression
  • The ban encompasses the construction of mosques or other places of worship in the town of Ásotthalom that “undermine” the Catholic Church as well as forms of devotional expression including face- and hair-coverings and the call to prayer.
  • The ordinance also bans “public propaganda” depicting marriage as anything but the union of a man and a woman across all media forms.
  • The mayor of the town, site of a fence along the Hungarian-Serbian border, defended the ordinance as protection against the two “pagans” of migration and liberalism, but the Hungarian Islamic Community (MIK) was quick to denounce it as xenophobic.

Read more:
Burqas, mosques, ‘gay propaganda’ all banned in Hungarian village” (RT)
Hungarian Muslim group criticises town’s ‘xenophobic’ decree” (The Guardian)
Hungarian City Bans Mosques, Burqas And Gay Marriage” (NewNowNext)

Additional reading:
In Hungary’s migrant vote, only the turnout is in doubt” (Reuters, September 2016)

(Image Credit: Facebook, via NewNowNext)

Austria News | Asylum-Seekers

Asylum center attack the latest in a series in Austria
  • Unidentified assailants threw a molotov cocktail at the center near Vienna, damaging a wall but leaving occupants uninjured.
  • Police are investigating the incident as a possible hate crime, with anti-immigrant sentiments having ratcheted up ahead of the upcoming presidential election pitting the independent incumbent against a far-right nationalist candidate.
  • The attack follows the arson of a newly built but unoccupied refugee center in Altenfelden earlier in the year.

Read more:
Austrian asylum center hit by Molotov cocktail” (Reuters)
Haunted by asylum center fire, divided Austrian town prepares to vote” (Reuters)
Austria sees 13 attacks on refugee centres in 3 months” (The Local Austria, June 2016)