Does the term separation of church and state also apply in non-Christian countries, for example Egypt? Can we say separation of mosque and state? Is there a generic, politically correct alternative that works for any country?
You can replace church with religion, and say “separation of religion and state”.
The word church in “separation of church and state” is not referring to the building used for Christian worship, or to a Christian organization, though. It is used to mean “an institutionalized religion as a political or social force”. In this sense, it is more specific than religion, but it is also more generic than church used in reference to Christianity.
“In political terms, secularism is a movement towards the separation of religion and government (often termed the separation of church and state).” —Wikipedia
The term laicism could be helpful.
A political system characterized by the exclusion of ecclesiastical control and influence
It depends on whether you’re seeking a word that describes the existing position or one that describes the process of separation. In the United Kingdom, the Head of State is also Supreme Governor of the Church of England. The word that would describe any change in that arrangement is disestablishment. I know of no word that describes the status quo in Muslim countries or elsewhere. I think you just have to spell it out in each case. The only other state I can think of in which religious and political roles are combined in the Head of State is the Vatican. In Saudi Arabia, it is true, King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud has the title ‘Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques’, but I’m not sure that makes him top Muslim cleric (subject to what any Muslims can tell us).
"Separation of religion and state" would make a nice general phrase, but it's not a phrase that's actually in common use. On the other hand, I suppose if you used it people would know what you mean.
Some have used the term "separation of mosque and state", but this is not a widely used term either. Frankly I think it's mostly used as something of a light-hearted play on words.
As MetaEd says, the term "secularism" can be used to describe this idea. However, "secularism" means the separation of religion from anything, not just government, and so you must establish the context when you use it. That is, you can talk about secularism in the arts, secularism in education, secularism in entertainment, etc etc.
I don't want to turn a language question into a political/social/religious debate, but let me just point out that you might want to be careful in using this term because, in America at least, it has a very ambiguous meaning -- maybe inherent in the nature of the debate. If you say "I am in favor of separation of church and state" without explaining exactly what you mean, people could interpret that statement in widely different ways.
If you want to avoid using terms that refer to any possible place of worship, how about secularization of government? It's a bit of a mouthful, but it's as generic as I can come up with.
If you want to keep the pattern of the original phrase, you could do Separation of faith and state, where faith implies religious faith, or as others have suggested Separation of religion and state. If you still want to refer to a building, you could do Separation of temple and state, as I think temple is generic enough to refer to any house of worship. Of course that might exclude religions that don't have actual temples or houses of worship.
separation of mosque and state
is definitely used, as well as
separation of religion and state
with the latter much more popular ( shown in Google ngrams) :
Of course, the latter (with 'religion\') works for any religion and may be just a 'politically correct way of being more inclusive, considering 'church' to be too Christian restricted.
But it is very easy to understand 'church' as metaphorical for any religious institution, Christian or not (at least in a predominantly Christian audience. Ad in the same audience, the 'mosque' version does not sound metaphorical at all and seems like it refers specifically to Islamic situations. (that is, one would not use that in English to refer to the lack of separation in the ex-pat Tibetan government which is led by their religious leader, the Dalai Lama).
So in summary:
- there is no current term that captures exactly 'non-Christian' separation.
- with 'religion' (or metaphorically) with 'church') to refers to -any- religion including Christian ones.
- with 'mosque' it refers to the much narrower non-Christian example of Islamic religion.
Short answer: NO
OP's over simplified assumption:
1) There is one popular (and overwhelmingly major) religion in any county.
2) In this religion, the worship place has very important meaning.
3) In those countries, one can say the religion and the worship place interchangeably.
I suppose that still in the Earth, countries exist not invaded by Christianity, Islam.
For long answer, I upvoted kiamlaluno's post.