As religious polarisation in society deepens, political actors and policy-makers have begun to struggle with questions on the role of the dominant religion and how religion influences constitutional commitments and development. By focusing on Indonesia, Malaysia and Sri Lanka, Constitutions, Religion and Politics in Asia demonstrates how constitution-making and the operation of constitutional arrangements involving religion cannot be separated from the broader political dynamics of society. Although constitutions establish legal and political structures of government institutions and provide tools for rights protection, they do not operate in a vacuum divorced from the games of power and the political realities surrounding them. Here, Shah sets out how constitutions operate and evolve and demonstrates how constitutional provisions can produce unintended consequences over time. A vital new source of scholarship for students and scholars of law and religion and comparative constitutional law, and those interested in issues of constitutionalism and legal and political history in Asia.
Dian A. H. Shah is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Asian Legal Studies, National University of Singapore. She previously taught at the Faculty of Law, University of Malaya, where she remains a faculty appointee. Her research interests span the fields of constitutional history, comparative constitutional law and human rights, focusing on issues arising from the interaction between constitutional law, religion and politics in Asia. She has published widely in international journals and collaborative academic publications, and has presented her research at conferences and seminars worldwide. She is also a frequent guest lecturer at universities in Indonesia.
1. Introduction; 2. Three constitutional arrangements on religion; 3. Religion and religious freedom in public life; 4. Religious freedom in divided societies and the role of the state; 5. Constitutional adjudication on religion and religious freedom; 6. Judicial institutions and the rule of law deficit; 7. Religion, electoral politics and religious freedom; 8. Conclusion.