Citizenship and Identity


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During the last decade, debates on the role of religion in the public space, migration, social cohesion and other issues have revealed increasing social tensions and polarisation in public opinion. Misperceptions and misinformation often dominate public dialogue about relations between Muslims and others. Although they don’t speak with the loudest voice, academics, scholars and thought leaders have a key role to play in helping to rebalance these debates by providing fact-based opinion and informed arguments. In the ‘Building a Shared Future’ series, these opinion leaders offer insights into the issues facing Muslims through American and European communities today.

Questions of citizenship and identity have very real implications for twenty-first-century Muslims. This volume explores a selection of them.

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Citizenship and Identity

  1. 1. Building aSharedFuture:Citizenship andIdentityA joint publication of the British Council’s Our SharedFuture project and the Centre of Islamic Studiesat the University of Cambridge a
  2. 2. This work is licensed under a Creative CommonsAttribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0Unported License.ISBN: 978-0-9563743-6-3A joint publication of the British Council’s OurShared Future project and the Centre of IslamicStudies at the University of CambridgeOur Shared FutureBritish Councilwww.oursharedfuture.orgPrince Alwaleed Bin Talal Centre of Islamic StudiesUniversity of Cambridge publication was supported in part by theCarnegie Corporation of New York.The essays in this collection reflect the personalviews of the participants. The British Council,the Carnegie Corporation, and the University ofCambridge bear no responsibility for the contentof the essays or the views expressed by theirauthors.© Photo by Mat Wright
  3. 3. About the PublishersThese books were produced in conjunction with a conference titled‘Acknowledging a Shared Past to Build a Shared Future: Rethinking Muslim/non-Muslim Relations’, convened at the University of Cambridge in March2012 by the following partners:British CouncilThe British Council is the UK’s international organisation for educationalopportunities and cultural relations. We create international opportunitiesfor the people of the UK and other countries and build trust between themworldwide. We work in over 100 countries in the arts, education, society andEnglish. The Our Shared Future project, based in the US, aims to improve thepublic conversation about Muslims and intercultural relations in the US andEurope. Our Shared Future is supported in large part by a grant from theCarnegie Corporation of New York.The related Our Shared Europe project, a partner in convening theconference held in Cambridge, creates opportunities to discuss and shareperspectives on diversity, migration, community cohesion, inter-cultural andinter-faith dialogue in contemporary | | www.oursharedeurope.orgHRH Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Centre of Islamic Studies, University ofCambridgeThe Centre of Islamic Studies is at the forefront of research and publicengagement on the role of Islam in wider society. Working with partnersacross the University of Cambridge and beyond, from academic institutes tocivil society organisations and the government, the Centre has developed areputation for enriching public debate and knowledge through high-profileand innovative research projects about Islam in the UK, Europe and
  4. 4. Table of ContentsIntroduction 1Executive Summary 2Mongrel history by Dr Caroline Finkel 4Multiculturalism in the UK by Mohammed Abdul Aziz 6The recognition of culture and religion in the European public sphereby S. M. Atif Imtiaz 9Rethinking multiculturalism in an age of austerity by Shana Cohen 11Rethinking issues of identity and citizenship in Muslim/non-Muslimrelations by Mark Sedgwick 13Engaging pluralism: Civil society and service by Zahra N. Jamal, Ph.D 15Religion, open and closed collective identities by Hassan Rachik 17Citizenship and identity through the lens of Islamic marriageand divorce by Dr J. Macfarlane 19Integration as interaction by Nagihan Haliloğlu 22Two languages: Reflections on calibrating citizenship andreligio-cultural identities by Farid Panjawani 24Semantics of the ‘actual’ Islam by Riem Spielhaus 26Questions regarding the identity and social participation of Muslimsin Germany by Prof Dr Havva Engin 29Endnotes 32 i
  5. 5. It’s time to fill thegap between academicexpertise and publicknowledge of Muslimsand Islam. ii
  6. 6. IntroductionDuring the last decade, debates on the role of religion in the public space, migration, social cohesion andother issues have revealed increasing social tensions and polarisation in public opinion. Misperceptionsand misinformation often dominate public dialogue about relations between Muslims and others. Althoughthey don’t speak with the loudest voice, academics, scholars and thought leaders have a key role to playin helping to rebalance these debates by providing fact-based opinion and informed arguments.In March 2012, the Our Shared Future and Our Shared Europe programmes in the British Council and thePrince Alwaleed Bin Talal Centre of Islamic Studies (CIS) at the University of Cambridge invited seventyscholars, civil society leaders, journalists and other influencers to the University’s Møller Centre for threedays of discussion, training, and collaboration in a conference titled ‘Acknowledging a Shared Past to Builda Shared Future: Rethinking Muslim/non-Muslim Relations’.One of the key objectives of this conference was to help fill the gap between academic expertiseand public knowledge of cross-cultural relations involving Muslims. Participants broke into discussiongroups around five themes to pinpoint new, more inclusive narratives to reshape the conversation aboutintercultural relations. They explored areas of research and partnerships among institutions in the US,Europe, the Middle East and North Africa that can help shed light on deep connections between Muslimand non-Muslim societies in the fields of culture, the arts, humanities and science. Rounding out thesediscussions, participants had the opportunity to work with media professionals to develop effectivemessaging and gain practical skills to improve their engagement with online, print and broadcast media.The essays that follow reflect the ideas that participants arrived at the conference with as well as theconversations that ensued throughout its three days. We have produced four books covering each ofthe themes undertaken at Cambridge: The Power of Words and Images; Islam, Knowledge and Innovation;Citizenship and Identity; and Religion, Politics and the Public Sphere.While those who came together in Cambridge strive to take forward the ideas and opportunities that arosefrom the conference, we invite our readers to take up new calls to action and engage in dialogue informedby the arguments set forth in the following pages. We owe deep gratitude to our partners in organisingthe conference: the Carnegie Corporation of New York; the Association of Muslim Social Scientists; theWoolf Institute and the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Centre for the Study of Islam in the Contemporary Worldat the University of Edinburgh.To access the companion books in this series and explore further resources on improving the publicconversation about civilisation, identity and religion, please visit — Dr Emmanuel Kattan, Project and Partnerships Manager, Our Shared Future, British Council — Prof Yasir Suleiman, Founding Director, Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Centre of Islamic Studies, University of CambridgeJune 2012 1
  7. 7. Executive SummaryWhether provoked by practices of religious observance in France or proposals to require citizenship testsfor Arabs in Israel, questions of citizenship and identity have very real implications for twenty-first-centuryMuslims.The working group focusing on Citizenship and Identity discussed two claims prevalent in recent publicdebates: that Muslims cannot be fully integrated into societies in which they are a minority populationand that Muslim values and ideas are transforming traditional European and American principles. In bothcases, publics have called for an urgent response to protect and preserve those ‘western’ cultures that aresupposedly threatened by Islam.In tackling these contentious claims, the working group addressed four questions: • How do Muslim communities in Europe and the US contribute to creating diverse, dynamic and prosperous societies? • What examples, drawn from shared historical experiences between Muslim and non-Muslim societies, can counter the perception that conquest and conflict are at the root of relations between the two? • How can a fresh exploration of the exchange of ideas, artistic borrowings and mutual influence in the areas of science, social science and technology help outline a common sense of identity between Muslim and non-Muslim societies? • How can we develop a notion of citizenship that encompasses diverse layers of identity and belonging?The first conclusion in response to these questions was that viewing these issues through a binarylens of ‘Muslim’ and ‘non-Muslim’ contributed to the very problem it was intended to solve. Here, theparticipants embarked on an interesting process of setting to reframe the debate. According to many oftheir assertions, the debate is too often framed as ‘us vs. them’ when, as some of the papers examine, thereality on the ground is much different. This marks an important point in the discussion of how to relate toeach other over cultural boundaries, and it is certainly an area of future research to be explored.Perhaps the most important questions answered in the essays that follow are ones relating to how Muslimsview themselves as members in these larger communities. In a binary discussion of ‘Muslims’ and ‘non-Muslims’, the Muslim community is portrayed as a homogenous group of people—when the truth is thatthere is a wide range of varying identities within the Muslim community. The following papers examine notonly how the Muslim community sees itself within their own communities, but also how these views shapeinteraction with those in other communities. Julie Macfarlane’s paper focuses on her personal examinationof the practice of marriage and divorce in North American Muslims, and this topic highlighted the varyinginterpretations of shari’a law among Muslims: ‘While the meaning of shari’a to American and CanadianMuslims is inevitably diverse, I did not meet anyone who wanted the extension of the most notoriouspenal regimes presented as mainstream ‘shari’a law’ in western media’.Caroline Finkel’s paper touches on our shared ‘Mongrel History’, which we do not always recognise. Finkelsuggests, ‘Knowing that we are all the product of mixing allows us to escape from the fallacy into which wehave boxed ourselves, and removes one significant barrier to accepting that everyone else is a lot like us’. 2
  8. 8. Zahra Jamal examines the role that civic society and service can play in improved cultural integration. DrJamal notes, ‘With 6–8 million Muslims in America and record numbers involved in civic service, the needto understand and engage this population in the face of increasing distrust and even hostility towardsIslam is crucial’.This summary, of course, only touches on a select few of the essays submitted by our conferenceparticipants. Throughout the collection, the authors also express an urgent need to amend both theterms of the debate and the debate itself to open up a more nuanced discussion. However, there remainsoptimism in these suggestions. There is a real chance to change this debate, and the following essaysoffer many intriguing insights on how to do so. — Paul Newall, Project Assistant, Our Shared Future, British Council 3
  9. 9. Mongrel historyBy Dr Caroline FinkelI am often reminded of a 2006 UK TV programme supposed Muslim ‘other’.1 When Britain wascalled 100% English. Eight white, English-raised merely an inhospitable archipelago clinging topeople who consider themselves to be ‘pure the edge of a continent—and America was stillAnglo-Saxon’ are DNA-tested to discover where being ‘discovered’—the chattering classes lookedtheir forebears came from. Predictably, they to the sultan’s domains for inspiration as to howturn out to be mongrels: Among their ancestors power might be exercised in society.are people from sub-Saharan Africa, south-east Europe and the Middle East. Some are not The Ottoman centuries were long—in somepleased with the result. One of the questions regions of the Balkans, the empire held sway forasked of them is how long their family would almost five hundred years—and geographicallyneed to have been in England for them to be disparate. We have much to learn about howconsidered English. The answers range widely, people of numerous ethnicities and diverseincluding—if I remember correctly—‘from the religious practices lived and worked togetherNorman Conquest of 1066’ to ‘for two hundred under Ottoman rule. A first step is to reject theyears’. default assumption that intercommunal life in Ottoman Europe was more violent than life in aThis riveting programme demonstrates to me non-Ottoman Europe irreconcilably riven by finehow wilful ignorance of the past enables the distinctions in the dogma of rival branches ofway we treat one another in the present to be Christianity.determined by notions of purity and exclusivity.Learning about our individual and collective past,by contrast, allows us to escape the fallacy into We need to accept thatwhich we have boxed ourselves and removes people as well as goodsone significant barrier to accepting that everyone have always flowedelse is a lot like us. The knowledge that weare all the product of mixing offers a basis for between east and west andemphasising what we share rather than what that our history is not ‘ours’makes us different. alone but is shared.I am a historian of the Ottoman world, and I have Research on the Ottoman world is advancingspent much of my life in Turkey. This distance rapidly, particularly thanks to the engagement offrom my native land has shaped my perspective young scholars in the empire’s successor states,on history and world affairs. Turkey, the Balkans who are making up for lost time by inquiringand the Middle East lie at the heart of my mental into the disavowed centuries in their, not ‘the West’, with the UK at the centre, as Rulers of the modern nation-states in the Balkansin the projection of the globe familiar to British (as in the Middle East) have long preferred topeople of my generation. Shifting one’s viewpoint ignore the Ottoman centuries and hark back toin this way frees one to reject the polarising a supposedly untainted pre-Ottoman goldenwestern narratives that allow no chance for age. This is dangerous nonsense—as the wars inpeaceful interaction between people of diverse former Yugoslavia so murderously remind us. Halforigins—in the present case, Muslims and non- a millennium of history cannot be disregarded,Muslims. and like people everywhere, the present-day inhabitants of the Balkans—most of which isMuch of the history of Europe was made in now within the EU—are formed, for better orproductive dialogue with the history of the worse, by all eras of their past. This past cannot 4
  10. 10. be separated out into strands marked Christian, we have constructed—as, of course, are a sharedJewish, Muslim and so on. present and future. Models drawn from the past may offer clues to ways of living together thatYet despite much ‘new knowledge’ being are more productive than those we hold up asavailable, non-specialists still trot out tired old immutable in the fractious present.stereotypes, revealing both their laziness in nottroubling to read what is now available and their Europe has rarely been a tolerant place—it was,ideological position that ignores challenges to after all, the states of Western Europe that oftentheir preconceptions. Catch phrases—such as expelled their religious minorities rather than the‘clash of civilisations’—with obvious appeal to Ottomans. The values we today deem intrinsictabloid editors and many policy wonks, or What are not so but have been hard-won over theWent Wrong?,2 to quote the title of an all-too centuries. We live in remarkable times, when thepopular book on the later Ottoman empire, only myth of western superiority can no longer beobscure our understanding. sustained, as new media give a voice to those who have been silenced. Double standards thatThe older Muslim populations of Europe came the West has so long imposed are revealed forwith the Ottoman advance (and earlier) or the confidence trick that the ‘people withoutconverted centuries ago. The regions of Europe history’ always knew them to be.their descendants inhabit are as much theirsas they are ‘ours’. But what of migrations within This is an opportune moment for us to listenour experience that brought south Asians to to those reflexively branded ‘the other’. If weBritain, North Africans to France and Turks to consider that the life into which we are born is aGermany, for instance? The history curriculum matter of serendipity—I could be s/he—empathyin British schools famously dwells on Pharaohs is the humane response. Turning to the questionand Nazis and barely teaches us even about our of citizenship—a warm welcome rather than aown empire—the upheavals and atrocities in the presumption of irreconcilable difference wouldplaces we colonised, the riches we appropriated be a good beginning.and the labour we needed back home to processthese riches.3 I doubt that French or German — Dr Caroline Finkel is an honorary fellowschoolchildren are better informed. The stories of at the University of Edinburgh andrecent movements of people must be told if we University of Exeter.are to understand how entwined our pasts areand the debts we owe each other.Politicians, educators and the media have acrucial role in putting our present ills to rights,but the ‘tabloid agenda’ holds successivegovernments in thrall. Rather than accepting theempty rhetoric that passes for political debate onmigration, and in particular accepting the vitriolso often directed at Muslims—who are typicallyregarded as a single, undifferentiated ‘problem’—opinion-makers both elected and unelectedmust embrace their responsibility to help usunderstand one another.We need to accept that people as well as goodshave always flowed between east and west andthat our history is not ‘ours’ alone but is shared.And we need to realise that a shared past is farmore interesting than the narrowly nationalist one 5
  11. 11. Multiculturalism in the UKBy Mohammed Abdul AzizMulticulturalism was once much celebrated countries’. I want to suggest that the driversin many parts of the western world, especially and movements that developed this broaderthe English-speaking world. Today, it is a conception from the post-war period to themuch-soiled approach, publicly disowned late 1970s (and beyond, albeit under differentby conservative governments in those same language—politics of identity, equality, diversity,quarters. Governments in continental Europe, inclusion, pluralism, human rights etc.) have alsowhere it was not always as readily accepted embedded this conception into the unwrittenas in English-speaking countries, have added (small c) constitution of the UK through a culturaltheir voices to this rejection of the approach. revolution with lasting impact. Let me explain.However, in this brief paper, I want to suggestthat multiculturalism is now an embedded part ofthe UK’s unwritten constitution. By constitution A ‘reclaimed’here, I mean both the Capital ‘C’ Constitution (i.e. understanding ofthe collection of Acts of Parliament; institutional multiculturalism, ascodes of practices; common law principlesand customs, conventions and practices that embedded in our unwrittengovern the UK) and the small ‘c’ constitution constitution, acknowledges(i.e. what actually makes up the UK today—its a shared past and canpeoples, their characteristics and aspirations, help build a shared futureand how they live together). I also want tosuggest here that a ‘reclaimed’ understanding of towards a Greater Britainmulticulturalism, as embedded in our unwritten for all those that constituteconstitution, acknowledges a shared past and Britain today.can help build a shared future towards a GreaterBritain for all those that constitute Britain today The two World Wars in the first half of theand that Muslims are and can be—alongside all twentieth century set into motion many driverstheir co-citizens—a part of this past, present and towards multiculturalism in the UK, but in my view,future. four of these were most pertinent: 1) the post- war rejection of biological determinism basedBut what is this ‘reclaimed understanding of purely on race/religion, gender, disability, sexualmulticulturalism’? Tariq Modood, in a beautifully orientation or any other social characteristic;written book4 on this issue, makes a distinction 2) the development of international standardsbetween the broader and narrower conceptions and instruments of human rights; 3) the massof multiculturalism. The broader conception is migration of people, from all corners of the world,in reference to the new progressive politics of to western economies; and 4) the impact ofthe 1960s and 1970s centred on the ‘politics of bringing-rights-home movements, such as theidentity: being true to one’s nature or heritage independence movements around the world andand seeking with others of the same kind public the Civil Rights Movement in the US, on Blackrecognition for one’s collectivity’. The narrower communities in the UK. These drivers providedconception refers to a multiculturalism brought spirit and flesh to four key movements in theabout ‘not so much by the emergence of a arena of the politics of identity and difference:political movement but by a more fundamental race, gender, disability and sexual orientation—movement of peoples. By immigration— each undertaken by representatives of groupsspecifically, the immigration from outside Europe, with very distinct social locations that hadof non-White peoples into predominantly white historically been neglected or suppressed.5 6
  12. 12. These movements, working separately but The Thatcherite years sought to trim back thisconverging in essence, developed in the UK the broader conception of multiculturalism andbroader conception of multiculturalism, which we its embedding in the UK at the national level.may characterise as follows: Whilst it had some success in achieving this (for example, in overturning the embedding of 1) The space to articulate the injustice multiculturalism in schools in the wake of the or oppression experienced by certain Swann Report through the Education Act 1988), social groups on grounds of identity and multiculturalism nonetheless thrived in most of difference in a language understood and the metro/cosmopolitan parts of the UK, despite accepted by wider society.6,7 growing internal unease and fractionalisations. 2) The view that such injustice or oppression In the wake of the riots in Black neighbourhoods has no place in a modern society and in the early 1980s, however, the Thatcherite that society as a whole must commit to years did leave behind one important legacy: the changing dominant patterns of thinking impetus for narrowing the wider conception of and behaviour that oppress certain multiculturalism as above to a far more restricted groups8,9 —e.g. through the law, the conception relating only to that concerned with education system and promotional work immigration. New Labour initially seemed to more generally. revert back to promoting the broader conception with full zeal. However, in light of the events of the 3) The idea that groups should no longer be Northern cities’ disturbances and the atrocities characterised by stigmatised by oppressive of 9/11 in the US in 2001, and then the atrocities outsider accounts but be able to reclaim/ in London on 7/7 in 2005, it too subsequently redescribe the ways their distinctiveness is publicly disowned the growing narrower understood, which is more self-determined immigration-based conception of multiculturalism and authentic.10,11 (particularly as it referred to Muslims). Critically, however, New Labour continued to embed the 4) The notion that if identity and difference substance of the broader conception, even if should not be used for injustice or disowning the label, into the unwritten (Capital C) oppression, then neither should sameness Constitution over the course of its term in office. and equality12—this being a critique This is demonstrated by the following: of the social ontology borne from the liberal political theory that citizens be 1) Changes in the law – Significant pieces of conceptualised as essentially similar legislation of constitutional weight were individuals.13 introduced, e.g. the Human Rights Act 1998 and the Equality Acts 2006 and 2010, 5) The demand that where the long histories that extended the number of identity- of injustices and oppressions have based social groups recognised and left behind large legacies of structural protected from injustice and oppression. economic and political disadvantages for The legislation is now a fertile ground to certain social groups and their members, develop further common law principles these need to be specifically addressed that will further embed multiculturalism into and tackled.14 the Constitution.It is this broader conception of multiculturalism, 2) Institutional changes – Representationas evolved from the post-war drivers through of the ‘constitutionally’ protected groupscertain significant social identity-based political in the key institutions of the state wasmovements, that led to the social and cultural proactively increased, in one occasionrevolution of the 1970s and the spirit of which by legislation (i.e. women in Parliament),has since, in turn, been embedded into the UK but mostly through other measures of(small c) constitution, setting into motion many positive action. Further, various data-developments that would mature and reinforce collection measures, either modified orits permanence over years to come. newly introduced (for example, the Census, national surveys, the public sector equality duty and the equality/human rights state 7
  13. 13. of the nation triennial report), now ensure unwritten constitution. It also follows that the that deficits in these key institutions can more secure it is in our constitution, the easier it be readily identified—not only in terms becomes to build a shared future based on this, of representation but also in terms of on our shared past. This reclaimed understanding service delivery. The key mechanisms for of multiculturalism by UK Muslims and their addressing these deficits, however, are not co-citizens can then also address many of the as strongly embedded as they could have issues raised under the theme here of citizenship been—and there is already much evidence and identity: conflict of cultures (values, beliefs that they are being rolled back by the and ways of life) between Islam/Muslims and the current Coalition government. West, the difficulties of integration, the threat of Islamisation, the lack of community cohesion and 3) Policies and practices – In addition to the the possibilities of public disorder and breaches above, the recognition and representation of national security. of ‘constitutionally’ protected groups has been embedded into symbolic state — Mohammed Abdul Aziz is a visiting events; for example, Remembrance Sunday fellow at the Centre of Islamic Studies, and royal celebrations and the funding of University of Cambridge. group-specific facilities (e.g. faith schools) and group-specific needs (e.g. chaplaincy) within the mainstream framework.A ‘reclaimed’ understanding of multiculturalism,as embedded in our unwritten constitution,acknowledges a shared past and can help builda shared future towards a Greater Britain for allthose that constitute Britain today.Despite this embedding of the substance ofthe broader conception of multiculturalisminto the very constitution of the UK in both itsmeanings, efforts to narrow the scope of theterm ‘multiculturalism’ to immigrant communities,particularly Muslim communities, continue. Inthis effort, the excesses and extremes of thisnarrower conception are then held up as theresult of multiculturalism per se with a viewto denying the benefits of our constitutionalmulticulturalism to the constituents of thisnarrower conception. Muslim communitiesappear to be a particular target of this approach.Our key argument here is, therefore, that whereMuslims have been both contributors to andkey beneficiaries of the broader conceptionof multiculturalism, they should resist thisnarrower conception and the sinister agenda itrepresents. We suggest that UK Muslims shouldinstead contribute to co-ordinated efforts toreclaim and revitalise the broader conceptionof multiculturalism in public and populardiscourses—the stronger the broader conceptionin such discourses, the more secure it is in our 8
  14. 14. The recognition of culture andreligion in the European publicsphereBy S. M. Atif ImtiazThere is an assumption in some circles that is from Sacred law. The second is from identitymulticulturalism has failed as public policy. politics.This statement is too cumbersome to be ofany practical use. It does not identify ways in From Sacred law, there are five categorieswhich multiculturalism operates at the public- for moral actions: obligatory, recommended,policy level. It also does not disaggregate the inconsequential, disliked and prohibited.demands from Muslim communities for cultural ‘Multicultural problems’ occur when an actionand religious recognition. This short paper will that is forbidden by Sacred law is madeconsider ways in which this discussion can be obligatory by working practice or schoolimproved by recognising different categories of convention (if we consider the workplace anddemands from Muslim communities and different the school as two environments in which suchcategories of responses from government. encounters occur) (these kinds of problems tend to be rare) or when an action that is obligatoryFirst of all, it is important to recognise the by Sacred law is made forbidden by workinglimitations of the statement ‘multiculturalism practice or school convention. For example, ahas failed’. This is essentially a statement fourteen-year-old may view her wearing the hijabthat is making a historical point; that is, that as obligatory; however, the school could considermulticulturalism was adopted in the recent it forbidden. These kinds of problems tend to bepast as state policy by the governments of the more common.United Kingdom and Germany, for example.It is considered that this policy helped According to identity politics, there are threeincrease tendencies towards segregation and sources of religious recognition. The first is theghettoisation in Muslim communities and that it request or demand to be free in cultural terms—must now be shelved as state policy. The analysis that is, from stigma and cultural weak and the judgement premature, because The second is the request or demand to beit is unclear if multiculturalism was ever adopted equal in socio-economic terms—that is, equalin a substantial manner by state policy. Have we in employment and educational achievement.ever been multicultural? And has equality been The third is the request or demand to be equalachieved in political representation, employment in representational terms—that is, in politicalin public services and institutional delivery of A typology of state responsesInstead, this paper will argue that it is necessary There is a fivefold typology to state-levelto distinguish between requests or demands for responses. This is in contrast to a bipolarcultural recognition by religious minorities and model that characterises state responses asthe responses to such requests or demands. either inclusivist or rejectionist. This typology distinguishes between cultural recognition that isA typology of requests and demands necessary, cultural recognition that is regardedThere are essentially two sources of requests as useful but not necessary, cultural recognitionand demands by Muslim communities. The first that is regarded as inconsequential, cultural 9
  15. 15. recognition that is regarded as objectionable but There are clearly scenarios though in whichnot illegal and finally culturally recognition that is multicultural discord is possible, likely orregarded as illegal. inevitable. In these situations, it is important to have leaderships developed and trainedThere are other ways in which the form of that are skilled in negotiation and communitycultural recognition can be characterised: engagement. These leaders would be ablenamely, as positive or negative and as informal to diffuse the situation through clearing upor formal. For example, a government policy may misunderstandings, renegotiating bottom linesdecide that it must consider ethnic variations and securing creative resolutions. There shouldin diet in order to help provide preventative also be an acceptance that some discordantdiabetes programmes. It may also decide to set situations may remain unresolvable, and anup a forced marriage unit within a government acceptance of an imperfect and unsatisfactorydepartment. The first is an example of a positive outcome for either side may be necessary. Thisrecognition of culture and the second a negative would not detract from an understanding thatrecognition of culture. The banning of the niqab all other multicultural encounters—and thesein France is an example of a negative recognition form the overwhelming majority of encounters—of cultural diversity that makes the wearing of the remain functional, mutually advantageous and/orniqab illegal. worthwhile. Imagining the multicultural future The question of the The great challenge for the future of many recognition of religious western cities in Europe and the United States diversity is not going to of America will be the changing demographic. Already, many of the most important European disappear. cities have sizeable Muslim populations: Berlin, Paris, London, Amsterdam and Frankfurt.Negotiation and modus vivendi The question of the recognition of religiousWe can distinguish between two forms of diversity is not going to disappear. What willmulticultural social encounter; these two forms be required is a framework of understandingcan be described as everyday multicultural that enables conflict resolution through anpractice (in a modus vivendi manner) and accurate understanding of the problem itself andmulticultural discord (situations in which the scale of the problem. It will also require aconfrontations or insurmountable disagreements leadership that is familiar with this understandingoccur). Using the typologies developed above for and the techniques and tools required to helpmulticultural requests and/or demands and state navigate communities through moments whenresponses, then it is important to recognise that multicultural discord could threaten socialthe majority of multicultural social encounters are harmony.those in which cultural recognition may occuras everyday multicultural practice but is not — S. M. Atif Imtiaz is the academicproblematised. It is therefore an exaggeration to director of Cambridge Muslim College.suggest that multiculturalism has failed. The great challenge for the future of many western cities in Europe and the United States of America will be the changing demographic. 10
  16. 16. Rethinking multiculturalism inan age of austerityBy Shana CohenThis paper suggests that multiculturalism, in its between the two sectors. The consequence ofbroadest sense of recognising difference, could the managerial focus was to frame social actionbecome a reference for community survival within socio-structural terms, or primarily as classand moral authority in a period of economic formation and class relations.duress and the retreat of the State from socialintervention. Multiculturalism would thus go David Cameron, the current British Prime Minister,beyond the conventional understanding of has promoted the rhetoric of a ‘Big Society’regulating and accepting diversity within a liberal replacing public services and pushed an agendademocracy.15 Instead, multiculturalism signifies of localism to replace centralised authority.a shift in the language and methods used in Cameron himself defines the ‘Big Society’ asproviding support to vulnerable groups; namely, ‘a bigger, stronger, more active society’ thataway from government discourse and policy ‘involves something of a revolt against the top-toward culturally and religiously based values down, statist approach of recent years’. In theand practices. Such a shift would mean that absence of a clear policy strategy behind themulticulturalism—while still relevant politically ‘Big Society’ initiative, Third Sector organisationsfor debates over rights, citizenship and cultural have proffered their own definitions.17 Onerelativism—now represents a mode and space manager of a support centre within an area ofof mobilisation to manage economic insecurity Manchester with a population of largely Pakistaniand overcome social alienation in global market origin told me, ‘For me, the Big Society is aboutcapitalism. communities living in harmony with less crime. But also about poverty. We need tools forBased on qualitative research conducted in local government to use to integrate multipleEngland, the paper compares how managers communities. Maybe BME [Black Minority Ethnic]and staff of voluntary sector organisations communities are trying to integrate but otherreflect upon their work and related problems and communities have to be interested’.obstacles in 2005-07, or prior to the financialcrisis, and then in 2010-11, or after the crisis Remarking that his own organisation provides aand the imposition of the austerity budget. ‘comfort zone’ for service users, he complained,The organisations interviewed in the earlier ‘The money for English Language is going toperiod were located in Sheffield and in 2011, be cut. Now it is going to be linked to benefitsManchester, but all in areas of relatively high so women who are not working won’t be takingdeprivation.16 classes. They will have to be on JSA. I think that is such a wrong policy. This is not about localism,Under the Labour government, or during big society, or inclusion... There is a big gap in thethe earlier period of research, enthusiastic NHS. They use a general language where theysupport displayed by the government for Third need to have a faith-based angle. They will getSector activities and for the ‘empowerment’ greater buy-in with rabbis and imams’. He thenof communities through running services and stressed that to be effective, services needed topolitical participation (see the 2008 White integrate cultural and religious needs into publicPaper ‘Communities in Control’) masked the assistance:bureaucratisation of voluntary action and theperpetuation of the lopsided power relationship 11
  17. 17. Services really need to have a faith element. local social action to address complex cases The language needs to change. A number or even perform the basic service. Through of people will go to the Imam but they are their local importance, particularly in relation to not skilled to deal with trauma. There is a growing material need and demand for support, gap in services. I think domestic violence is community organisations of different faiths and even higher than reported. With joblessness, ethnic backgrounds are potentially providing a it is not special language that is the issue space where moral values, subjective motivation but rather that they are comfortable in their to ‘do good’, social relations and social welfare environment they are in . . . If you have are interlinked in distinction to both modern general services, they won’t be accessible. conceptions of the State and market absolutism. The orthodox [Jews] won’t access them for Talal Asad defines a ‘secular society’ as ‘a religious reasons and the BME because of modern construct based on the legal distinction language. between public and private, on a political arrangement requiring “religion” to be subjectedThough the coalition government has slashed by law to the private domain, on an ideology offunding to the voluntary sector, they have also moral individualism and a downgrading of theleft open the meaning and practice of frequently knowing subject’ (2001: 1). Perhaps communityused policy terms like ‘empowerment’ and responses to the stark consequences of austerity‘community’,18 criticising banning the veil in and recession are blurring these distinctions inFrance, cites the work of the French philosopher the name of preserving the social and economicJean-Luc Nancy on community, writing that the basis of democracy itself.essence of community is ‘being-in-common’between individuals who are different. This — Shana Cohen is a fellow at the Woolfunderstanding of community, Scott argues, Institute.negates the universalism expounded bypoliticians and points to solidarity in diversity. Community organisations of different faiths and ethnic backgrounds are potentially providing a space where moral values, subjective motivation to ‘do good’, social relations and social welfare are interlinked.What will solidarity mean, politically, in referenceto multiculturalism particularly and moregenerally market-oriented policies driven bybudget cuts and limitations on the scope ofState providence? Certainly, community- andfaith-based organisations lack the politicalpower and scope of services of nationalorganisations and private companies engagedin social care, especially those managingprogrammes commissioned by the government.Yet the national programmes often rely on 12
  18. 18. Rethinking issues of identityand citizenship in Muslim/non-Muslim relationsBy Mark SedgwickIt is no longer enough for those wishing to result of globalisation, and—more recently—fromfurther good relations between Muslim and non- global financial markets.Muslim communities in Europe and the US toassert that (as the framework document notes) Arguments couched in terms of the innate value‘pluralistic societies thrive on diverse sources of pluralism and diversity, then, have little powerof cultural influence’ and ‘diversity reinforces a with significant sections of Western Europeancommunity’s social fabric and helps societies populations, and arguments couched inadapt and reinvent themselves’. Whether or not economic terms run into difficulties, especially inthis is true, the words ‘pluralistic’ and ‘diverse’ do Europe. Further, neither variety of argument hasnot have the same positive value for all groups any power against widespread but inaccuratein Western Europe. For substantial numbers of perceptions that conquest and conflict are at theWestern Europeans, ‘pluralistic’ and ‘diverse’ root of relations between the two cultures.are terms that have acquired strongly negativeassociations. Pluralism and diversity are seenas being forced on unwilling populations by an For substantial numbersout-of-touch, naïve and perhaps even malevolent of Western Europeans,cultural and political elite. Hostility towards this ‘pluralistic’ and ‘diverse’elite contributes to hostility towards Muslims.Arguments couched in terms of pluralism and are terms that havediversity, then, risk convincing only those who acquired strongly negativeare already convinced—in both directions. associations.Even the arguments from economic benefits that Conquest and conflict have indeed often been anare frequently made are of limited use in Europe. important element in relations between MuslimIn a US context, it can be argued that Muslim and non-Muslim states, but the same is true ofcommunities contribute to creating diverse, relations between all varieties of state. Duringdynamic and prosperous societies. This is more recent centuries, wars between non-Muslimdifficult in Europe, as the socio-economic profile states have caused the most suffering of all,of Muslim communities there differs significantly followed by wars between Muslim states; warsfrom that of such communities in the US. In a between non-Muslim and Muslim states comeEuropean context, Muslims are often seen as a very distant third. Non-Muslim and Muslimthreatening the welfare (social security) benefits states in fact share the historical experience ofof the non-Muslim population by absorbing a alliances that ignore confessional lines. Turkeydisproportionate share of government spending. fought alongside America and Britain duringThis perception has some basis in fact but misses the Korean War. The Ottoman Empire foughtthe more important point, which is that the real the Russian Empire first in alliance with Britainthreat to welfare benefits has nothing to do with and then in alliance with Germany. Before this,Muslims and comes instead from non-Muslim France enlisted Ottoman support in its long-demographics, from the need to adjust to running rivalry with the Habsburg Empire. Eveneconomic competition from outside Europe as a in the more distant past, Christian sometimes 13
  19. 19. fought Christian during the Crusades, during less dramatic form even today. Sufi poetry iswhich Muslim sometimes (though less frequently) still much read in the West, though poetry as afought Muslim. whole is of course less read than it was in the nineteenth century, and Doris Lessing, winner ofMuslim and non-Muslim peoples also have a the 2007 Nobel Prize for Literature, describesshared history of internal struggle with some herself as a Sufi.of their own regimes. Since the end of theSecond World War, the need to restrain state and In the end, though, identities are adopted ingovernment to secure the individual has been complex fashions, and it is important to stressalmost universally accepted in the West, but that citizenship is, at root, a political concept.the over-mighty centralised state and then the The original perception was that sovereigntytotalitarian state were both originally European belonged to the people by natural right, not to ainventions. First centralised and then totalitarian monarch by divine right. This original perceptionstates were established in the Arab world on was then complicated by Romantic conceptionsEuropean models. The experience of many of national identity deriving from blood, soil andMuslim peoples, then, has been the same as language. Many difficulties would be avoided ifthe experience of many non-Muslim European the original political conception were restoredpeoples—just slightly later. Turkey, however, and political rights and functions separated fromestablished a single-party state at about the time mythical identities.Fascist Italy did and dismantled it voluntarily, notas a consequence of military defeat, establishing — Mark Sedgwick is a professor at Aarhusa working democracy earlier than Spain did. University, Denmark.Shared experience goes beyond these areas.In the medieval period, for example, sciencewas a branch of philosophy, and Arab and Latinphilosophy formed a single whole. Both Muslimand Jewish philosophers who wrote in Arabicwere translated into Latin and found on theobligatory curriculums of studies in Paris andelsewhere. Both Arab and Latin philosophy drewon Aristotle, Plato and Neoplatonism, and bothfaced the same problems of adapting ancientphilosophy to monotheistic religious systems.Later periods saw a reverse of the medievalsituation when Europe absorbed scientificand medical discoveries from the Arabic-speaking world (from Jewish-Arabs as well asMuslim-Arabs). In recent centuries, the massiveeconomic resources required for the productionof science and technology have been in theWest, and it is only Muslim scientists working inthe West who have had the opportunity to collectNobel Prizes. Only in the religious sphere hasthere been recent transfer from the Muslim worldto the West, with Goethe enthusing about Sufipoetry and nineteenth-century America readingthe Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám and featuringSufis in musicals. This transfer continues in a 14
  20. 20. Engaging pluralism: Civilsociety and serviceBy Zahra N. Jamal, Ph.D.Pluralism, religious freedom and volunteeringare as central to American public life as they are The impacts are stark: The FBI announced into Islamic beliefs, practices and notions of civic the fall of 2011 that anti-Muslim hate crimes hadengagement.19 There is a rich historic tradition risen 50%.25 Unsurprisingly, 55% of Americanof service, civil society and sound governance Muslims believe their lives have become morein Muslim societies that emphasises communal difficult since 9/11.26 For example, thoughobligations to improve the quality of life of American Muslims constitute only 2% of theconcerned peoples. American Muslims have workforce, they comprise 25% of workplaceinstitutionalised and refashioned this ethos in the discrimination claims on the basis of religion.27American context in the last several decades. Bullying of American Muslim youth of all agesYet there exists a pervasive ‘clash of ignorance’ has risen over the past decade, as have rates ofwherein educational systems and media outlets depression and isolationism of this population.28among Westerners as well as Muslims (in the US The surveillance of Muslim university students byand abroad) have failed to educate each about government agencies has recently surfaced as a‘the other’ and have neglected a long history of matter for public concern,29 the effects of whichrespect and cooperation between Muslims and on Muslims’ educational experience remains toWesterners, and their respective civilisations, as be seen.well as the immense diversity of interpretationand social and ethical practices that mark each Service and civic engagement can forge aset of societies. positive, healthy, productive and actionable approach to teaching pluralism and putting itWith between two and ten million20 Muslims in into action and serve as a compelling way ofAmerica and record numbers involved in civic broaching expressions of Islamophobia thatservice, the need to understand and engage currently mar the US and much of the westernthis population in the face of increasing distrust world. While voluntary service connotes activeand even hostility towards Islam is crucial. citizenship and is oft deemed an AmericanWhile the Bush and Obama administrations phenomenon, it is not simply a civic right, buthave highlighted Islam as a faith of peace and also a religious right for many Muslims.30 GivenMuslims in America as peaceful citizens, laws their rich civically engaged work, Americanand policies passed and supported under their Muslims can facilitate the nation’s domesticadministrations over (Muslim) charitable giving, and foreign policies particularly with respectwire-tapping, surveillance, involuntary registration to Muslim-majority countries. The opportunityof men from Muslim majority countries and so is to engage and learn from this segment noton illustrate the ambiguous place of Muslims in simply as contributing American citizens andAmerica. Indeed, although 88% of Americans foreign nationals vital to the national socialagree that religious freedom should be fabric of diversity and religious tolerance butguaranteed to all citizens,21 47% of Americans also as Muslim civic leaders who could supportsay that Islamic values are at odds with American their homelands in the crucial political transitionvalues,22 45% are uncomfortable with public acts to more tolerant Islamic democracies. As well,demonstrating one’s Muslim identity23 and nearly because the roles of Muslim women are generally30% of voters do not believe Muslims should be limited in religious leadership but expansive ineligible to sit on the US Supreme Court or run for civic leadership, they can play a larger role inpresident.24 transnational networks and policy-related fora. 15
  21. 21. Voluntary service and civic engagement can also 3) encourage democratic engagement inbe leveraged as the: society through enhanced platforms and networks for civic discourse and through 1) common linchpin for inter- and intra- the promotion of responsible and informed faith (intra-Muslim) dialogue and action media and on common practices and goals with culturally specific meanings for different 4) support an enabling regulatory communities; environment supporting the conditions in which civil society organisations can 2) basis for service learning in education operate and thrive. sectors, from early childhood through post- graduate level, as a means to study, teach, The civic engagement of all citizens is critical engage and enact pluralism in its many to enhancing the practice of shared values of forms (racial, religious, gendered, ethical peace, tolerance, social justice and generosity etc.); that underpin democracy at home and abroad. 3) key to cross-sectoral partnerships In this process, American Muslims have so much facing economic and other resource to contribute as valued citizens with multiple constraints in addressing common issues connections to hostlands, homelands and such as quality of life, social harmony, transnational networks through which they have environmental degradation, early historically given back as civically engaged childhood development and gender equity peoples. in the US and in Muslim societies abroad and — Zahra N. Jamal, Ph.D. is assistant director at the Center for the Study of 4) means by which policymakers and American Muslims, Institute for Social influencers among Americans, American Policy and Understanding, and Mellon Muslims and Muslims abroad learn about Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Center for and engage with one another to foster the Study of Gender and Sexuality, mutual understanding and cooperation. University of Chicago.Critical to this process is the need to strengthenprogrammes and policies accommodatingdifference to enhance civil society. Suchpolicies would cultivate the equal participationof all people in civic life and would call onindividuals to retain their cultural, linguistic andreligious heritage within a framework of sharedcitizenship. A series of convenings amongchange-enablers and opinion-makers such aslegislators, policymakers, educators, researchers,development practitioners, journalists, activistsand advocates from different sectors is importantto: 1) develop practical ideas and means to strengthen forms of associational life dedicated to the common good; 2) empower citizens through collective participation and stewardship of shared resources; 16
  22. 22. Religion, open and closedcollective identitiesBy Hassan RachikCollective identities are usually approached Jamal al-Dine al-Afghani wrote, at the end of thein terms of their content (religious, linguistic, nineteenth century, that whatever their countries,cultural . . .): Christian, Muslim, Arab etc. The Muslims who are impregnated by their religionimportance of the ideological content is reject their nationalities (al-jinciyate) and theirundeniable, but I think that we should also pay people (cha’b). They refuse any type of solidaritymore attention to the forms and the logics of (‘açabiya) except the Islamic solidarity (al-’uçbacollective identities. To put it simply, diverse al-islamiya). There is one loyalty, one solidarityand even opposite ideological conceptions that should be based on a general connection,of identities may share common features: and this general connection, according tototalitarian, closed, exclusive and purist al-Afghani, is the relation between Muslims asconceptions of identity vs. selective, open, believers. The only link between Muslims iscumulative and plural. religion (jami’at al-dine). That’s why the Arabs did not deny the authority of the Turkish, and the Persians accepted the Arab sovereignty. They Intellectuals and people did not pay attention to the nationality (jinse) of face the question of the ruler; the essential condition is that the ruler hierarchy and conflict of applies the religious law. loyalties. In contrast to a closed Muslim identity, moderate ideologies value other neighbouring identities.The closed identity is a form of identity that In this case, we are more or less close toexcludes any relation with neighbouring what are called hyphen identities. Muhammadidentities. No relationship can be envisaged Abdoh (1849–1905), a famous disciple ofbetween two identities. One cannot belong to Jamal al-Dine al-Afghani, valued the idea ofmore than one identity at the same time. To the homeland (al-Watan) defined as a politicaladopt a new identity, one must abandon his/ space where one can have rights and beher original community. This is what usually safe. Other Salafist thinkers defend the samehappens within religious conversions. It may also idea. According to Rachid Rida (1865–1935),happen within the same religious community. a disciple of Muhammad Abdoh, nationalismFor instance, some Muslim ideologists contend does not contradict Islam. Moreover, he definedthat the Muslim identity should not be mixed with nationalism as the union of the inhabitants of aother national or ethnic identities. According country that belong to different religions andto them, a Muslim should only stress his/her cooperate to defend their homeland.religious identity and negate all neighbouringidentities. No one should claim that s/he is a In the case of open and plural identities,Moroccan Muslim, Arab Muslim, English Muslim intellectuals and people face the question ofor Kurdish Muslim, for example. Most radical hierarchy and conflict of loyalties. Here, mostideologies are based on the exclusion of any Salafist intellectuals consider that the religiousneighbouring identity. To them, a Muslim should link is stronger than those based on the nationshow an exclusive loyalty to his/her religion. or the language. I think that the religious radicalisation of the Salafi movement didn’tBeing exclusively a Muslim is an ideal that was affect the conception of Muslim identity, whichfirst proposed by some Salafist ideologists. 17
  23. 23. remained in general open and plural. Many Salafiintellectuals valued the continuity between beingMuslim and being a member of a nation.I suppose that the great turn in the conceptionof Muslim identity has been favoured bythe massive access to religious scriptures.Traditionally, this access was restricted to a setof established interpreters (‘alims, doctors). Afterthe first waves of Salafism, the monopoly ofreligious interpretation was seriously challengedby new categories of interpreters. The passagefrom the status of the theologian to that of theintellectual affected the ideologisation of Islam.The new Muslim ideologists, by contrast totraditional religious learned men (‘âlim, faqih), aremostly not trained religious experts. Most of themwere trained in the humanities or ‘hard’ sciences.Classical Salafists were mostly religiousradicals, whereas the famous ideologists of thefollowing generation were political radicals.The politically radical ideologies tend to stressa closed conception of identity, rejecting thewestern institutions and the western way of lifein general. The first reformist ideas based onthe compromise and the adaptation to westerncivilisation were abandoned. It is this systematicrejection of western values that orients the newradical ideologies.Currently, the continuity between nationalidentity and Muslim identity is challenged bynew closed conceptions of Muslim identity.Some ideologies impose on their followers toassert only the Muslim identity and ask them toundermine and revoke their commitment to theidea of the nation and citizenship presented asa creation of western colonisation. For thesekinds of ideologies, the notions of citizenship,nation, homeland and patriotism are meaningless.Despite their marginality, these conceptions areworth exploring. We may find them frequentlyon the web. Their style is very concise, veryapodictic and less argumentative. Theirpromoters need few ideas, few slogans and fewemblems. — Hassan Rachik is a professor at Hassan II University, Casablanca, Morocco. 18
  24. 24. Citizenship and identity throughthe lens of Islamic marriage anddivorceBy Dr Julie MacfarlaneOver the past twenty years, I have studied many marriage and divorce customs. In practical terms,phenomena within both the justice system this means that the bride and groom will signand ‘private ordering’ systems of informal a Muslim marriage contract (a nikah) as partjustice. My study of the practice of Islamic of their civil ceremony, and if they decide tomarriage and divorce in North America31 was divorce, they may ask an imam or religious leaderthe first time I explored justice practices within to ‘approve’ their divorce either before or afterIslam. The journey of this qualitative research they obtain a civil decree.project (2006–2010) was an extraordinaryintellectual experience for me. The fact that It is unsurprising to find that Canadian andmisapprehensions about Islam are widespread, American Muslims, as relative newcomers inuniform even, was demonstrated in the North America, sometimes assert their religiouscontinuous critical comments of colleagues, and cultural identity by drawing boundariesfriends, students—indeed, virtually every and creating ‘insider’ spaces that allow for thenon-Muslim to whom I have tried to explain continuation of special customs and symbolicmy project. Six years on, I confess I am still cultural rituals. As one imam put it, ‘Muslimastounded at the primitive ignorance that communities in the West . . . are still captive tocharacterises almost every discourse—in the the traditions back home. They have one footmedia, among academics, in the classroom and in North America and one foot in the air’. Anat the dinner tables of family and friends. Islamic identity is most typically defined in terms of Muslim family life, including, for example, aI conducted 212 in-depth interviews conducted preference for finding a marriage partner withinwith imams, religious scholars, social workers, the community, a continuing role for parentstherapists and marriage counsellors, lawyers and in-laws in the life of newly married couplesand ordinary Muslim men and women who have and recourse to traditional rituals of Islamicbeen divorced. The demographics of my sample marriage and divorce. There are some signsare broadly representative of the breakdown of that this affirmation of identity has becomeIslamic ethnic groups within the North American more pronounced in the face of public hostilityMuslim population and reflect the proportion of since 9/11. Many Muslims who are not formallyfirst-generation immigrants and those born in observant turn to shari’a to mark life’s mostthe US or Canada (75/25%). The results of my important passages: birth, marriage, divorce andstudy are both clear and simple and the data death. In the words of one young woman raisedremarkably consistent. While the meaning of in North America, ‘It doesn’t matter how Northshari’a to American and Canadian Muslims is American you are; it still matters so much to usinevitably diverse, I did not meet anyone who that we do Islamic marriage and divorce. Evenwanted the extension of the most notorious second- and third-generation immigrants, youpenal regimes presented as mainstream ‘shari’a always have your foot in your parents’ hang-upslaw’ (sic) in western media. Instead, aside from however westernised you are’.traditional religious observances, one of themost widely practiced aspects of shari’a among The idea of imposing shari’a—a private obligationNorth American Muslims is observation of Muslim to God—via law on non-Muslims is nonsensical 19
  25. 25. to Muslims. The dramatic warnings that ‘Shari’a How do we draw the outline of a commonLaw is Coming’ posted on America’s highways sense of identity between Muslim andare based in neither fact (it is not—US and non- Muslim societies?Canadian courts do not recognise or apply The accounts of hundreds of Muslimsshari’a) nor aspiration (just three of the forty- demonstrate the mundane normality of theirtwo imams in the sample expressed any interest family life and the many similarities betweenin legal recognition of a parallel Muslim family Muslim family customs and beliefs aboutlaw system, despite the attention given to this marriage and divorce and those of others. Theyidea by some media and policymakers). Instead, describe practices that are typical of displacedthe respondents in my study understand their or relocated communities, and there are manyprivate choices of Islamic marriage and divorce parallel practices within other religious andas separate from the formal legal system. They cultural communities. The marital conflicts theyregard their respect for ‘God’s law’ as a matter described were in many respects the samefor their personal conscience rather than public as those seen in other studies of divorce. Theadjudication. Far from proposing to replace ‘state most frequent and consistent factor in conflictlaw’ with God’s law—respondents were emphatic was changing expectations and values aboutthat Muslims are obliged to obey the law of the the role of women, both inside the family andland—almost every respondent married and outside the home (in work and in education).divorced ‘twice’: once in Islam and once in the Many couples described their struggle withlegal system (by obtaining a marriage licence or adjusting expectations over gender roles thata divorce decree from a family court). sometimes became a source of deep (and irresolvable) conflict within the marriage. DespiteThe study data also exposes the groundlessness the frequency of these conflicts, the educationalof the assertion that North American Muslims level and professional engagement of Muslimare choosing their faith over their citizenship women in North America is higher than that ofloyalties. Many respondents asserted strong the general population.parallel loyalty to their faith, their culture andtheir citizenship, seeing no incompatibility. ‘I love The respondents also described conflicts thatAmerica . . . but I love to see always to see the reflect the particular nature of Muslim familyright way in Islam. It is possible to hold loyalty to life, its values and traditions. There was someboth’. evidence of continuing polygamist practices, although younger women increasingly rejectThe false dichotomy of a choice between faith these. Marriages arranged by parents betweenand citizenship is illustrated by another finding children raised in North America and a spouseof this study. North American Muslims regularly brought from the family country of originand readily use the civil courts to resolve (so-called trans-national marriages) oftenconflicts over divorce outcomes where they failed, causing much sadness. Some Muslimcannot agree a private settlement (which might communities that cling to especially patriarchalinclude elements of both common law and structures and values are unconscionablyIslamic law, depending on the couple). In other tolerant of domestic violence, and there is oftenwords, Muslims act no differently from others pressure on women in these communities towho prefer to settle a family dispute without the remain in abusive marriages. These and othercost of lawyers and courts if possible but will use family issues raise important challenges forthe legal system if necessary. The overwhelming the communities and deserve to be taken verymajority of respondents expressed the simple seriously by imams and other community leaders.desire to be able to continue to access their I have set out these issues and questions thatIslamic traditions in a private, informal system and they raise in ‘Understanding Trends in Muslimsto be able to use the legal process to formalise Marriage and Divorce: A Discussion Guide formarriage and divorce and where necessary to Families and Communities’.32resolve conflicts. 20
  26. 26. How can we develop a notion of experience rather than a collective one subjectcitizenship that encompasses diverse to agreed authorities.layers of identity and belonging?In his controversial 2007 speech, Archbishop For respondents in this study, the criticalRowan Williams argued that Muslims in a non- benchmark for their personal choices aboutMuslim state have multiple affiliations and marriage and divorce was neither religiousidentities and that they should not have to proscription nor cultural obligations but achoose between cultural identity and citizenship. ‘recognition of self’33 that included their ‘sourcesHe warned that presenting British Muslims with of significance’34—a means to meet theira choice between ‘your culture and your rights’ personal needs (conscience, sense of personalthreatened to alienate and ghettoise these satisfaction, responsibility to their family/communities. This study shows that for Muslims community), however they understand North America, their lived experience of Just like their fellow citizens, North Americancitizenship reflects their multiple affiliations and Muslims are looking for a model of citizenshiplayers of identity. Tensions inevitably arise among that allows them to be full participants withoutthese—for example, how far to accept a narrow requiring them to abandon any part of that.approach to the permissibility of divorce assertedby some religious leaders or to assert a more — Dr Julie Macfarlane is a professorflexible view of reasons for divorce or whether at the University of Windsor Facultyto limit financial obligations upon divorce to of Law and the Kroc Institute forthe payment of the mahr or to embrace more International Peace Studies, Universitycontemporary ideas about marital equality and of Notre settlement—but individuals will resolvethem. There is a primitive ignorance that characterises almost every discourse—in the media, among academics, in the classroom and at the dinner tables of family and friends.Understanding this complex model of modern-day citizenship also requires a nuanced ratherthan a traditional understanding of what it meansto hold a religious faith. What respondentsunderstand as religious principle reflects theirformal knowledge but is also integrated with theircultural consciousness, including traditions fromtheir countries of origin and customs within theirown family systems. The lines between what theyunderstand to be religiously proscribed and theirembedded cultural beliefs are continually blurred.This is consistent with research that points tothe changing form of ‘religious practice’ and anincreased emphasis on a personal, subjective 21
  27. 27. Integration as interactionBy Nagihan HaliloğluThe concept of integration, in the European if their ancestors have been on the continentcontext, has different resonances to different for four generations? Five? By this polemic, Ipeople: To some, it calls to mind certain co- mean to say we cannot subscribe readily to thecitizens’ failure to adopt certain ‘European’ assumption that Muslims are somehow a lateways, and to others, the state pressuring them introduction to the continent. Let us assume thatto abandon certain habits. We need to rethink we have settled these problems and have agreedwhat integration means and can mean for the on what ‘European’ means ethnically, and evenEuropean community as a whole. by way of denomination. That still leaves us with the question of what strand of ‘European Culture’In his ‘A Muslim Social Contract of Europe’,35 Muslims, immigrant or otherwise and supposedlyMustafa Ceric interprets the ayat that enjoins members of an alien culture, are to integrateMuslims to be the ummatan wasatan, a term to. Should all Muslims try to learn to play athat is usually translated as ‘the community of musical instrument, or maybe be able to holdthe middle way’, as a call to Muslims to be an conversations on the latest multi-million football‘Integrative Community’; that is, ‘a Universal transfer with their co-citizens?Community in the middle of world affairs whichhas the active task of connecting, attracting andintegrating the immeasurable greatness of the The way the religiousDivine with the immeasurable diversity of the scholars of all faiths havehuman’. The goal of the Muslim is, therefore, to engaged in debate in theembody the beauty and grace of the divine inhis/her actions in this world as the vice-regent past shows that thereof God and act with mercy towards all creation can be a different, a lessin its variety. This is how, Ceric advises, Muslims essentialising, way toshould regard the larger issue of ‘integration’ and understand ‘difference’.not as an issue of how Muslims fail or succeed inconforming to certain norms in Europe. Maybe there are enough polemics. Maybe some people will be able to point to a few thingsI cannot stress enough the importance of that are certainly not European—subjugationengaging with the concept of integration of women, for instance—as President Sarkozythrough contrapuntal readings. While Ceric warned in his 2007 election campaign: ‘Thoselooks at the issue in a much more constructive who want to subjugate their women have nothingand conceptual way, with a view to providing to do in France’. There are many rebuttals toan important role, a mission, for Muslims in all this, as to how subjugation of women is not ansocieties, I have polemical questions as to what Islamic practice, but what we see happening inthe term ‘Muslim integration’ (and, by extension, communities that have emigrated from Muslim‘European values’) means, particularly when countries to Europe is a reflection of theiruttered by European politicians. Instead of country of origin’s traditional gender roles.saying, You have these questions, go directly to Gender roles is one thing; subjugation, another.the heart of the question. I will leave aside the Before observant Muslims (or Jews or Christianshuge geographical question, which requires its for that matter) let out a sigh of relief and layown lengthy discussion, but if we assume there is the fault at the feet of local traditions that datea geographical unity called Europe, the question back to before the revelations, I suggest weof ‘European’ still remains. Are people European 22
  28. 28. consider the possibility that ‘local’ cultures are experiences of the other, I believe, will be thenot geared towards subjugation of women any way forward.more than religions are. I suggest that it is alwayscertain individuals interpreting certain written Acknowledging the creative tension that resultsor oral traditions, whether they be religious or in ideas and beliefs sharing the same physicalethnic, according to their own aims to oppress discursive space, Rowan Williams remindsothers. That is what subjugation is. It is an us that ‘process drives us all to better self-individual choice of inflicting harm on those understanding, to a self-questioning that takeswho are physically and/or politically weaker us deeper; it doesn’t lead to compromise orthan ourselves. We have to stop seeing crimes indifferentism’.37 He thus points to the interactivepeople visit upon others as ‘communal’ acts and nature of living in a society, to being open torecognise everyone’s individual responsibilities challenges and engaging in intellectual debateand agency. To recognise that everyone is that should hopefully give us a better sense ofequally responsible for his or her actions is who we recognise that we are all similar on somefundamental level, and this is what is essential for — Nagihan Haliloğlu is assistant professora multicultural society—the recognition that we at the Alliance of Civilisations Institute,are similar enough to have shared goals. Istanbul.The Ottoman millet system, as a functioningmulticultural system, is invoked frequently today,and recent research suggests that ‘there wasno overall administrative system, structure orset of institutions for dealing with non-Muslims’36but ‘a set of arrangements, largely local, withconsiderable variation over time and place’:not wholesale solutions but recognising theparticularities of each case. That this systemof arrangements functioned well in such amulticultural society for such a long time tellsus that the sense of justice on the whole, andparticularly among the Abrahamic religions, isvery comparable.In fact, the way the religious scholars of all faithshave engaged in debate in the past shows thatthere can be a different, a less essentialising,way to understand ‘difference’. The polemicswritten in the Middle Ages by Christians, Jewsand Muslims about and against each other’sunderstanding of the universe and the nature ofGod, and the benefit to science in general fromthat discussion, is just one example as to howwe can all engage with each other’s traditions.We have to believe that we have enoughcommonalities, and I am not being an optimisthere, to be able to hold a conversation. In thatsense, a policy of multiculturalism that dwellson similarities rather than differences, and thatallows us a space in which we can share in the 23
  29. 29. Two languages: Reflectionson calibrating citizenship andreligio-cultural identitiesBy Farid Panjwani Think of a plural society not as one in which how far the secularity of the state can go to there is Babel of conflicting languages, but integrate this reality’.39 A study of the portrayal rather as one in which we each have to be of Muslims in European textbooks shows that the bilingual. There is a first and public language assumption is long-standing and part of Europe’s of citizenship which we have to learn if we self-perception.40 A consequence of this is the are to live together. And there is a variety of dominant ‘narrative of inevitable and fundamental second languages which connect us to our conflict between Islam and Muslims and the so- local framework of relationship: to family and called “Western cultures”’.41 group and traditions that underlie them.38 That there is a possible tension between theSocieties flourish by harnessing diversity. But demands of citizenship and obligations ofthey also need social cohesion. For plural religion has been recognised widely. It is neithersocieties to thrive, a dynamic balance between a new issue nor peculiar to Muslims in the West.citizenship and cultural identities is thus required. Examples of this tension can be found acrossPeople in such societies need to acquire and many cultures. Perhaps the most dramaticpractice a language of citizenship and a language portrayal is found in Sophocles’ play Antigoneof their cultural identities. where the protagonist Antigone confronts the edict of the city-state based on her obligationIn recent years, it is the presence of Muslims to what we today will call her religious Europe that has been of main concern with The Ashwatthama incident in the Indian epicregard to calibrating citizenship and cultural Mahabharata is yet another example of theidentities. This short paper will critically examine literary portrayal of this tension, this time situatedone of the assumptions underpinning this in ancient South Asia. Another example is thatconcern. This recurring dualistic assumption of mihna in the ninth century CE Baghdad underis around the axis of religion and the secular the Abbasid rule.42 These examples can beand is found both in the popular and academic supplemented by those closer to our times. Thediscourses. Accordingly, cultures of the West, Mozert v. Hawkins case in the US in 1983 involvedEuropean in particular, are secular, and cultures a complaint by ‘born-again’ Christian familiesfrom where Muslims come are religious. against the local school board about a primaryConsequently, the presence of Muslims is seen school reading programme that they thoughtas a challenge both for the West and for the denigrated their religious views simply byMuslims. An example of this view is found in a exposing children to a variety of points of titled European Muslims and the Secular The point to note is that the tensions betweenState in which the authors claim that ‘the ‘obligations of citizenship and demands of faith’presence of Muslim communities constitutes are not restricted to Muslims and the West evena dual challenge: on the one hand, for the though in recent years the question has beenMuslims themselves who have to find a means discussed mostly with reference to Islam andof integrating in a reality (the secular state) that Muslims.43is culturally alien to many of them, and on theother, for the Europeans who have to understand 24