Person or group who are blamed for traumatic events or social problems.


The principle of separation between Church and State. The act or process of eliminating any confessional spirit from State institutions. Types of secularization vary from country to country.

Open secularism is a form of secularism aimed at banishing religion from State institutions while allowing certain forms of religious expression, e.g. in schools and hospitals, among students or patients.

Radical secularism, on the other hand, is a form of secularism aimed at banishing all religious expression from State institutions and the public sphere, confining such expression to the private sphere.


Enforced separation of people of different “races”, religions or genders, usually to the disadvantage of one group (includes apartheid). Generally, an act of physical exclusion to the disadvantage of a group. Racial segregation in some political regimes results in the absolute, organized and imposed separation (in schools, stores, public transport, apartment buildings, institutions, etc.), of different ethnic groups (often Black) by the White population in power.

This separation is often strictly regulated by laws which are themselves reinforced by various control devices (police, citizenship cards, etc.): apartheid in South Africa, the situation of African-American victims of the Jim Crow Law in the southern United States. By extension, it may refer to the exclusion of individuals belonging to low castes, the “untouchables” (or Dalits) of India, for example.

Sharia (Shari'a or Shariah): Literally the "way", the canonical law of Islam containing the requirements for almost all aspects of human life, religious, political, social or private. Its purpose is to organize people’s lives to be as virtuous and useful as possible, and prepare the Muslims for their salvation. The requirements are classified into five categories: obligatory, recommended, neutral, discouraged and forbidden. Fundamentalist and strict Muslims insist on rigorous observance of this law.


Hebrew word meaning catastrophe and referring to the genocide of the Jews by the Nazis during the Second World War. The terms Holocaust (destruction) and judeocide are also used.

Social Darwinism

A non-egalitarian conception of society based on a biased (or incorrect) interpretation of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.


Name given to people who have no nationality because no legally recognized State considers them as their citizens. States may, however, give this status to individuals who are able to prove they have no nationality, and allow them to live with that status in its territory.

State neutrality

Against an inter-denominational backdrop, a political philosophy that prohibits the State from favouring one religion over another.


A clichéd, ready-made and inflexible image of a group that ignores the individual traits of its members. This image can be based on false or incomplete information and portrays all members of a group as having the same characteristics, usually negative.

Sukkah or succah

A small, temporary hut or booth built for the duration of the nine-day Sukkoth festival to commemorate the 40 years that the Jewish people spent wandering in the desert.