Recognition of Religion or Belief Around The World




The specialty area for Cometan's doctoral research is recognition of religion or belief (often abbreviated RoRB; also called religious recognition) which is essentially the study of how different countries approve or disapprove of the religious and philosophical activities of citizens. This includes how laws involving the registration of religious organisations are established and the oversight of a myriad of activities in developing a congregation. The central hypothesis underlying this research is that conditions for religious freedom in a country positively correlate with the degree of attention and fair management that religious recognition receives.

Cometan had previously noticed a pattern in violations of the human right of freedom of religion or belief around the world that lead him to this hypothesis. He noticed that the vast majority of countries had established what he refers to as "recognition systems", namely an apparatus of laws, policies, and procedures for dealing with the registration, endorsement, monitoring and regulation of religious activities. He noticed that the worse a country's human rights record was, the more restrictive the "recognition system" they had established.

To explore this possible correlation further, Cometan conducted a major in-depth analysis of the status of recognition systems around the world in 2021 and developed his Spectrum of Religious Recognition in order to categorise countries according to how they fare in terms of what he saw as the pinnacle conditions for religious recognition. Only the most authoritative human rights reports were used during the analysis and it was discovered that nearly every country had established laws to unduly control religious activity through registration and recognition. Cometan identified a series of forms of recognition, levels of recognition, and types of tools used by countries to achieve their goals of restricting religion or belief (which Cometan called restriction tools).


It quickly became clear that there exists a series of issues within country's recognition systems to varying degrees (degrees which are categorised by way of the Spectrum of Religious Recognition). It also became apparent that a single thesis was not going to be sufficient to cover all aspects of the topic of recognition of religion or belief. This realisation came when the analysis of all the countries and territories of the world formed Appendix 1 of Cometan's thesis. Due to the extensive details required as part of the analysis, the Appendix had grown too large for an unabridged version to remain in the thesis. For this reason, Cometan has created the Religious Recognition Project which plans to extend his initial doctoral research into future projects and avenues of research in the field of recognition of religion or belief. Its objective is also to continue monitoring conditions of religious recognition for years to come as part of Cometan's ongoing research in the field.

What is beginning to developed from the research so far is Cometan's approach to human rights provision called recognitionism. This approach sees recognition as holding a major role in solving ongoing social problems effecting all countries such as terrorism, discrimination, and the ostracism of minorities. As an extension to this, a school of thought also advocated by Cometan called facilitationism is emerging which regards a country's proactive approach to religious recognition as the best way of maintaining high standards of religious freedom. A core attribute of the facilitationist approach is the establishment of a recognition agency which would monitor and regulate the activities of the national recognition system independent of government control as a primary way of ensuring that the protection of freedom of religion or belief remains ectopolitical (outside the influence of politics).


Cometan during his 2021 Photoshoot. Taken 5th July.

RoRB and other human rights