18 September 2012
|Image from Spiegel Online|
With schools in more German-speaking countries moving to teach religion, as well as religious interest groups applying pressure for the increased importance of religion, especially Christianity, in public schools, there is an increased pressure on the separation of church and state.
In general Europe can be considered a fairly tolerant region regarding the freedom of religion and the freedom to have no religion. Most people in Europe are free to follow whatever religion they wish, or none.
However, it is not quite as simple as that, especially for atheists, as each religion takes advantage of its freedom, and seeks to ensure its own place in society, for example through a presence in public schools.
People’s rights to religious belief are taken seriously in Europe. In some cases, great lengths are taken to ensure religious freedom, and also that religion remains an important part of children’s lives.
A previous Atheist Alliance International story highlighted the influence of religion in German schools, how students are expected to study religion unless written permission is given to study ethics instead, and in particular how the Islamic faith may soon be expected to be taught in all schools in Hesse with at least eight Islamic children. 
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