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11 - Muslims and the politics of difference

from Section 3 - Religion, race and difference

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 August 2013

Tariq Modood
Affiliation:
University of Bristol
Peter Hopkins
Affiliation:
University of Newcastle
Richard Gale
Affiliation:
University of Birmingham
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Summary

Introduction

There is an anti-Muslim wind blowing across the European continent. One factor is a perception that Muslims are making politically exceptional, culturally unreasonable or theologically alien demands upon European states. My contention is that the claims Muslims are making in fact parallel comparable arguments about gender or ethnic equality. Seeing the issue in that context shows how European and contemporary is the logic of mainstream Muslim identity politics.

Muslims in Europe

European anxieties and phobias in relation to immigration and cultural diversity focus on Muslims more than on any other group. This does, however, beg the question: in what way are Muslims a group and to whom are they being compared? Here I can do no more than note that there is no satisfactory way of conceptualising people of non-European descent, what Canadians call ‘visible minorities’, and therefore also of conceptualising the constituent groups that make up this category. Nevertheless, it is clear that the estimated 15 million people in the European Union (EU) who subjectively or objectively are Muslim, whatever additional identities they may have, form the single largest group of those who are the source of public anxieties.

Type
Chapter
Information
Muslims in Britain
Race, Place and Identities
, pp. 193 - 209
Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
Print publication year: 2009

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