“What’s religion got to do with it?”

A case study on the regulation of religious diversity and practice in Danish Red Cross asylum centres


  • Kareem P. A. McDonald


asylum centres, asylum seekers, freedom of religion, religious diversity, religious practice, neutrality, Christonormativity, Denmark


This article is based on qualitative semi-structured interviews with managers of Danish Red Cross-operated asylum centres regarding religion and religious freedom at asylum centres. Three main findings are reported. First, asylum centre managers view religion as largely irrelevant while having very limited understanding of the right to freedom of religion. Second, this knowledge deficit and the general absence of any substantive guidelines on managing religious freedom issues in asylum centres has resulted in incoherent and contradictory approaches. Third, asylum centre managers’ understanding of the concept of neutrality is at times overly restrictive, contradictory, and inconsistent. The article concludes with suggestions for improvement.