Date of Award

Spring 4-17-2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


International Studies

First Advisor

David Rowe

Second Advisor

Ryan Phillips


The purpose of this thesis is to determine why the European Court of Human Rights treats Article 9 (freedom of thought conscience, and religion) differently than other personal freedom articles with similar restriction clauses. To answer this question, the theory of a secular bias or Islamophobia on the part of the Court is first examined. Then, the structure of the Court and its effect on judicial decision-making is examined using various models. The author finds theories of a secular bias not persuasive and holds that the Court's decision-making is largely affected by the issue of non-compliance, which makes the Court rule strategically.

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