Comparative Constitutional Law in Asia

Comparative Constitutional Law in Asia

Edited by Rosalind Dixon and Tom Ginsburg

Comparative constitutional law is a field of increasing importance around the world, but much of the literature is focused on Europe, North America, and English-speaking jurisdictions. The importance of Asia for the broader field is demonstrated here in original contributions that look thematically at issues from a general perspective, with special attention on how they have been treated in East Asian jurisdictions.

Chapter 12: Comparative constitutional law and religion in Asia

Ran Hirschl

Subjects: asian studies, asian law, law - academic, asian law, comparative law, constitutional and administrative law


Asia - the birthplace of many faith traditions - is not only the most populous continent, home to over four billion people; it is also the most religiously diverse continent. Hundreds of millions follow Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, and Buddhism in its Shinto, Thervada, Mahayana, and Confucian-Taoism versions. Crude estimates suggest that followers of Islam account for approximately 28 percent of Asia's population (Islam is the majority religion in 26 of the 48 Asian countries); 24 percent follow Hinduism (the vast majority of them in India and Nepal); 18 percent of the continent's population (constituting the majority religion in eight countries) follow varieties of Buddhism; and followers of all other religions make up the remaining 30 percent (Mahmood 2010; Esposito et al. 2011). The varied post-colonial legacy - British in India and Pakistan, French in Vietnam, Spanish in the Philippines, Portuguese in Macao and East Timor, and Dutch in Indonesia - alongside post-war (e.g. Japan) and post-Soviet (six Asian nations were once part of the USSR) reconstruction, add another layer of complexity.

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information