The aim of this chapter is to examine the issue of religion in Europe’s recent and current international relations. The context is the regional debate about multiple modernities. A specific case study linked to the multiple modernities issue is that of Turkey’s bid to join the European Union. The chapter starts by reviewing briefly the development of secularization in Europe as a fundamental aspect of modernization, a trajectory leading to an end state, modernity, premised on the demise of religion as a significant public actor and its inexorable privatization. The assumption was that modernization and its outcome, modernity, are both unavoidable and inevitable. Moreover, patterns and outcomes associated with modernization and modernity were thought to produce predictable patterns of uniformity and standardization not only in Europe but also in the rest of the world. In other words, Europe’s experience was assumed to be globally applicable, a universal temple for religion’s public marginalization, whereby other cultures, countries and regions would replicate Europe’s cultural and historical experiences. Prior to the Iranian revolution of 1978-1979, religion was widely seen as rather insignificant in international relations. This view derived in part from the prominence of secular international security issues during the Cold War. Underpinning such a view were two widely accepted assumptions in EuropeanAmerican – that is, ‘Western’ – social science: (1) rationality and secularity go hand in hand, and (2) ‘modern’, political, economic and social systems are found in societies that have modernized, via a process of secularization, that publicly marginalizes or ‘privatizes’ religion. To understand the process of modernization in Europe it is useful to start by reminding ourselves of Europe’s particular experiences in nation-and state-building, and the role of religion in those processes. Prior to the eighteenth century and the subsequent formation and development of the modern international state system, religion was a key ideology that often stimulated conflict between societal groups. However, following the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 and the development of centralized states first in (Western) Europe and then via European colonization to most of the rest of the world, religion took a back seat as an organizing ideology both domestically and internationally. Now, however, it is often observed that there is a widespread resurgence of religion (see, for example, Norris and Inglehart 2004). One of the strands of this

was that after the Cold War ended in the late 1980s, increased examples became apparent of conflicts characterized by cultural/civilizational issues, with religion very often a key component (Huntington 1996). Many observers point to the Iranian revolution of 1978-1979 as a key example in this regard, more generally marking the reappearance of religion as a significant political actor. More generally, the last two or three decades have seen an increased political involvement of Muslim political actors in many countries. Attention is especially focused on Islamism (pejoratively, ‘Islamic fundamentalism’) in the Middle East, West Asia, the Horn of Africa and elsewhere. Europe appeared to be an exception to the trend of religious resurgence, with most regional countries still characterized by continuing secularization. However, the importance of religion in democratization in Poland in the late 1980s, the rise of ‘Muslim politics’ in Britain, France, the Netherlands and elsewhere in the 1990s, and the religious component of Turkey’s bid to join the European Union (EU) highlighted that, ‘even’ in Europe, religion was a component of continuing political and social issues.