Posts Tagged ‘Europe’

May 23rd, 2017

The Myth of Disenchantment: An Introduction

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Myth of DisenchantmentA great many theorists have argued that precisely what makes the modern world “modern” is that people no longer believe in spirits, myths, or magic. Even theorists who have challenged grand narratives of secularization often assume that modernity produces a disenchanted world. The age of myth is allegedly over, the spirits have vanished, and vibrant nature has been subjugated.

In The Myth of Disenchantment: Magic, Modernity, and the Birth of the Human Sciences, I argue that as broad cultural history goes, this narrative is wrong. Our era is far from mythless, belief in spirits continues to be widespread, vitalized nature has been a persistent philosophical counter-current, and even attempts to suppress magic have failed more often than they have succeeded. Hence, I contend that the whole notion of “modernity” as rupture that undergirds a host of disciplines is itself a myth.

March 20th, 2017

“I am not a racist, but . . .”: The perversity of the recent ECJ ruling on the “headscarf issue”

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Look through the window | Image via Flickr user Hernán PiñeraIt is by now commonplace that ostensibly “neutral” language—such as the notorious preamble “I am not a racist, but . . .”—can serve to mask or justify covert forms of discrimination. Yet, this basic linguistic insight seems to have escaped the judges of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) and—perhaps even more worryingly—many advocates of “secularism” in Europe.

In a recent landmark judgment bearing directly on the long-standing European controversy over the admissibility of Islamic headscarves in various kinds of public spaces, the ECJ has ruled that it is legal for businesses to fire employees that insist on wearing the hijab in the workplace, as long as this is in compliance with a “general company policy” that forbids “the wearing of visible signs of political, philosophical or religious beliefs.”

While many religious groups and advocates deplored the ruling, several exponents of the “far right,” as well as some advocates of secularism, have celebrated it is as a long-overdue clarification of the European Union’s stance on religious freedom.

January 19th, 2017

CFP | Jews and Quakers (NEW DATE!)

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Brighton pierThe Centre for German-Jewish Studies at the University of Sussex and Woodbrooke Centre for Postgraduate Quaker Studies, Birmingham, invite submissions for a groundbreaking joint one-day conference to be held at the University of Sussex on December 14, 2017, under the title “Jews and Quakers: On the borders of acceptability.”

The conference aims to explore the impact on the thought, theology, and praxis of Jewish and Quaker communities following experiences of persecution, political alienation, and outsider status in the wider communities in which they have lived in Europe, North America, and globally since the seventeenth century. It offers a rare opportunity for researchers to identify and explore such parallels and differences as might be found between the experiences of Jews and Quakers.

The coordinators welcome papers from established scholars, postdoctoral early career researchers, and doctoral candidates. The deadline for submissions is April 10, 2017. More details can be found here or on their website.

December 1st, 2016

The refugee crisis and religion: Beyond physical and conceptual boundaries

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refugeecrisis_2dAccording to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), as of the end of 2015, 65.3 million people were displaced globally at a rate of twenty-four persons per minute. This is the largest number on record and is expected to have grown in 2016. Despite the enormity of the situation, responses from Western countries (who host a mere 24 percent of displaced persons in comparison to the 86 percent hosted in countries surrounding conflict zones) have been inadequate, to say the least. Their harsh exclusionary rhetoric has resulted in increasingly hardline immigration policies.

Australia has led the way in this regard, deploying a deterrence-driven model of offshore mandatory indefinite detention, which prevents asylum seekers from ever settling in the country, even if found to be “genuine refugees,” and laws that make family reunion almost impossible. Whilst this approach has been condemned by the UNHCR and multiple human rights organizations, it has been highlighted by numerous policymakers in Europe as a possible model for governing migration on the continent. Despite the notable exceptions of Germany and, to a smaller extent, Italy, European responses to the crisis have privileged exclusionary and securitizing policies, leading many commentators to observe that rather than a refugee crisis, this should be more properly described as a crisis of leadership or a crisis of solidarity.

October 11th, 2016

A new “Christianist” secularism in Europe

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Image via Flickr user Quinn DombrowskiThroughout much of the world, religion manifestly—and sometimes markedly—informs everyday understandings, cultural representations, and political and legal definitions of nationhood. The paradox I wish to explore, with reference to developments in Northern and Western Europe, is that religion also informs assertively secular understandings and discourses of nationhood—and not simply as their evident target, but as their putative foundation.

The categories “secular” and “religious” have deeply intertwined histories, and the Christian origins of the category “secular” have been amply discussed. My interest here is in the religious dimension of secularism, as a self-conscious, assertive political stance, and secularity, as a characterization of a culture or way of life.

February 18th, 2014

Religion in European migration studies

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In recent years, religion has come back to the research agenda of the European social sciences with full strength. Important authors such as José Casanova, Timothy A. Byrnes, and Peter J. Katzenstein have identified this renewed interest in the topic, both in politics and in academia, as a “return of religion” to European public spheres. One of the chief reasons for the return of religion in the view of these sociologists is the large influx of non-secularized populations to Europe through immigration. In particular, conflicts surrounding Islam and the practices of Muslim immigrants have attracted enormous attention both in the media and in academia.

November 30th, 2012

Islamophobia and antisemitism in Europe

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The latest issue of the journal of the Jewish Museum Berlin features an article by Yasemin Shooman, a German historian, comparing anti-Muslim racism (Islamophobia) and antisemitism.

July 12th, 2012

Bible, flowers, and relevance

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John Boy, contributing editor to The Immanent Frame and an associate editor of Frequencies, reflects on his recent visit to Amsterdam’s Bijebels Museum.

June 1st, 2012

Multiculturalism in Europe

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After the rise of multicultural policies in the 1980s and 1990s, the winds have shifted in Europe. Terrorist attacks in Madrid, London, Norway, and, most recently, in Toulouse, have furthered the securitization of Islam across Europe, while increasing immigration (predominantly from Muslim countries) has caused societal tensions. As a result, existing ideas concerning multiculturalism, religious pluralism, and national authenticity are being challenged. Past policies of cordon sanitaire are no longer in full effect, as mainstream political parties have come to adopt some of the ideas of their populist and right-wing peers; witness outgoing president Nicolas Sarkozy’s campaign rhetoric against immigration and Muslims following the strong showing by right-wing candidate Marine Le Pen.

We’ve invited a small handful of scholars to comment on the increasing influence of anti-immigration and anti-Islam ideas and parties across Europe and to offer their thoughts on how best to accommodate minority claims (especially those involving Islam) in a democratic and liberal Europe.

April 24th, 2012

Religion and civic engagement in Europe

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British think tank Demos has recently released a new report, written by Jonathan Birdwell and Mark Littler, entitled “Faithful Citizens.” The report investigates “the different relationship between religion and politics in the UK and Europe.”

February 22nd, 2012

Missions and church-planting in Europe

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Last month, Eurochurch.net published a report on the state of missional church-planting activities in Europe authored by Darrell Jackson and Tim Herbert.

February 2nd, 2012

Religion and state secularization

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In discussing secularization, it has become conventional to note that the concept refers to various processes, of which three are particularly prominent. First, the gradual delegitimation of natural and revealed religion’s truth-claims in the face of rational critique. We can call this intellectual secularization. Second, the process by which some states have constitutionally disengaged from their citizens’ religious beliefs and institutions. We can call this state secularization. Third, the increase across society of knowledge, activities, values, tastes, and activities which lack religious content, as well as the extent to which, increasingly, people involve themselves with these non-religious forms. We can call this social secularization.

January 30th, 2012

“De-baptism”

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While religiosity has been on the decline in Europe for several years, some Europeans are taking more radical steps in distancing themselves from Christianity and the Church hierarchy; they aren’t just leaving their congregations, but taking steps to become officially “de-baptized.”

January 24th, 2012

A coherent integration policy for Europe

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In the New York Times opinion pages, Boston College political science professor Jonathan Laurence argues that it’s up to—and in the interest of—Europe’s governments to devise a coherent policy of integration for the continent’s growing Muslim population.

January 9th, 2012

Normative or empirical comparisons?

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Monika Wohlrab-Sahr confesses that she is not an expert with regard to “the value of normative theory for legal and constitutional concerns, and for political theory.” She rightly thinks that “for empirically grounded comprehension and explanation of societal and political processes, institutions, and practices” the use of normative theory “is limited,” but wrongly attacks normative theorizing as such and also misunderstands my proposal to “replace secularism.” In this brief response, I focus on three issues: first, her criticism of “normative theory” and “value judgments”; second, her krypto-normative remarks on learning from empirical comparisons; and third, her construction of “four types of secularity.”

December 13th, 2011

Multiple secularities and their normativity as an empirical subject

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It is difficult to come to an agreement when normative issues are concerned. Are the “moderate” forms of European secularisms flexible enough to include the Muslim population as well, as Tariq Modood suggests? Or are they “irretrievably flawed,” as Rajeev Bhargava has argued, because they emerged from a context in which Christian confessions dominated and were not set up to include non-Christian minorities? Or should we get rid of the language of secularism altogether and instead refer to liberal-democratic constitutionalism as a meta-language, as Veit Bader has proposed?

October 31st, 2011

Taking a stance

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Akeel Bilgrami’s “Secularism: It’s Content and Context” is both fascinating and wide-ranging… Whether or not one agrees with the notion of an internally cohesive concept of secularism—and whether or not one agrees that this concept is more limited than we have come to think it is—one might still ask if secularism should assert itself through a lexical ordering like the one envisioned by Bilgrami. Will a prioritization of political ideals seem fair to members of a secular society, and, perhaps more importantly, does it capture the challenges that face the kind of democracies we currently characterize as governed by secularism?

October 11th, 2011

Beyond secularisms of all sorts

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Is there a crisis of secularism in Western Europe? Is Tariq Modood’s “moderate secularism” the solution, or should we go “beyond moderate secularism” and embrace the “alternative conception of secularism,” that of “principled distance,” proposed by Rajeev Bhargava? In this piece I hope to show that, for the purposes of normative thinking—in the realms of political and legal theory, constitutional law, and jurisprudence in particular—we had better drop the language of secularism altogether and reframe the contested issues in terms of the language of liberal-democratic constitutionalism and its respective principles, rights, and institutional arrangements.

September 16th, 2011

Beyond moderate secularism

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For Modood, moderate secularism can and should go on more or less as it is, but, in order to accommodate Muslims, must undergo some institutional adjustments. How then can we speak of—that horrible term—a crisis of secularism in Europe? Surely, this is hyperbolic, a gross exaggeration! Here is where we profoundly disagree. Moderate secularism, for me, is irretrievably flawed.

August 24th, 2011

Is there a crisis of secularism in Western Europe?

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Even quite sober academics speak of “a contemporary crisis of secularism,” claiming that “today, political secularisms are in crisis in almost every corner of the globe.” Olivier Roy, in an analysis focused on France, writes of “The Crisis of the Secular State,” and Rajeev Bhargava of the “crisis of secular states in Europe.” Yet this is quite a misleading view of what is happening in Western Europe.

August 23rd, 2011

World Youth Day reassessed

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Two writers at the The Guardian enter into the conversation about this year’s World Youth Day and the public reaction that accompanied Pope Benedict’s visit to Madrid. Andrew Brown asks why the public appears not to recognize the Church’s accomplishment, citing the role of the media in creating a narrow narrative of the event, while Miguel-Anxo Murado turns the discussion to politics, claiming that the protests were perhaps not as successful as it may have appeared.

July 29th, 2011

Avitabile’s handwriting

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Pietro della Valle. Pietro della Valle was a highly sociable geek with an interest in all things Middle Eastern, c. 1620. His extensive surviving personal correspondence, preserved in the Vatican Archives in Rome, allows me to reconstruct the far-flung intellectual community of which he was a part. By exploring Della Valle and his world, I hope to discover why Europeans suddenly became so interested in Arabic and other “Orientalist” studies in the early seventeenth century, and how this knowledge affected the ways in which they related to Middle Eastern Christians and Muslims.

June 14th, 2011

Fighting words that are not fought

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“Under what conditions does freedom of speech become freedom to hate?” Judith Butler recently asked. Here I will explore these issues in light of recent developments concerning the freedom of speech in Norway. I will argue that applying a cosmopolitan liberal approach to freedom of speech (i.e., along U. S. First Amendment lines) in a European context in which anti-Muslim and anti-immigration discourses are becoming ever more poisonous and pervasive risks underestimating the power dynamics inherent to the practice of free speech in contemporary Europe as well as overestimating the “mainstream” political and intellectual will to mobilize against the populist right-wing’s instrumentalized Islamophobia.

May 11th, 2011

The new faces of the European far-right

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With the ascent of Marine Le Pen to the head of the National Front and her growing popularity in the polls, France joins the surge of nationalist parties that is sweeping over all of Europe. We must understand the new dynamics that underlie this relapse toward a continent-wide far-right movement: in its latest change of face, the far-right misappropriates the legacy of 1968 at the same time that it targets Islam under the guise of defending national values, just as its leaders claim to embody the value of personal liberty all the while asserting their belonging to the “land” of popular imagination, thus forging a new rhetorical repertoire and introducing it into European political culture.

April 12th, 2011

“Burqa Ban” takes effect in France

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On April 11th, the hotly debated “burqa ban” went into effect in France.

March 30th, 2011

Crucifixes: cultural or religious?

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Recently the European Court of Human Rights decided to allow the display of crucifixes in public school classrooms (Lautsi and Others v. Italy, March 18). As Justin Reynolds noted here a few days ago, this decision applies not only to Italy, where a lower court previously reached the opposite verdict, but to all 47 member nations. In a New York Times piece, Stanley Fish outlines the reasoning of the court and analyzes the implications of its decision.

March 27th, 2011

Go-ahead for classroom crucifixes in Europe

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The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that crucifixes are acceptable in public school classrooms. Reversing an earlier decision, the court found no evidence that “the display of such a symbol on classroom walls might have an influence on pupils.” All 47 countries of the Council of Europe are obliged to obey the decision.

February 22nd, 2011

Debating European multiculturalism

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Earlier this week, Eurozine published three pieces by European intellectuals—Cécile Laborde, Claus Leggewie, and Kenan Malik—responding to the recent attacks on multiculturalism by Merkel and Cameron.

February 7th, 2011

Cameron’s multikulti moment

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Echoing comments made by his German counterpart (as well as his Labour predecessor), British PM David Cameron spoke out strongly against multiculturalism at the Munich Security Conference.

October 12th, 2010

“Niqabitches” take on Paris

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French students protest burka ban by hiding face, showing legs.

August 17th, 2010

The UK’s first “anti-terror” summer camp

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Dr. Muhammad Tahir ul-Qadri has founded the United Kingdom’s first anti-terrorism camp, reports Dominic Casciani for the BBC.

August 11th, 2010

How many “nones” make a secular nation?

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What is the relationship between rates of church attendance and national identity? When more than 50 percent of a country’s population does not attend religious services, is that the tipping point that makes for a secular nation?

July 29th, 2010

“Defending one’s character is not an intellectual exercise”

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At openDemocracy, Jonathan Gharraie and Farid Boussaid interview Ian Buruma on his intellectual beginnings, his most recent book, Taming the Gods, and his understanding of the increasingly antagonistic tenor of debates on Islam, immigration, and democracy.

July 27th, 2010

Catholicism, conservatism, and antihumanist politics

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Geroulanos’s central thesis is compelling but simple: French antihumanism, in its theoretical mode, was based on a radicalized “negative anthropology,” i.e., the idea that man is a negating animal, as articulated in a widespread rejection of neo-Kantianism, first by Heidegger and then passed on to French thinkers like Bataille and Blanchot, largely via Alexandre Kojève and his “end of history” argument. Instead of the homo absconditus that Ernst Bloch was to locate in Karl Barth and Rudolf Bultmann’s “Protestant anthropology,” we have here a “last man,” heir to those “negations” of the world named freedom, history, and individuality, whose historical realization reveals that humanness is ultimately based upon a relation to death. And to the degree that this antihumanism continues to order thinkers like de Man, Derrida, and Foucault, it has also shaped many Anglophone intellectuals of my generation. Geroulanos tells a story that thus illuminates us too.

July 21st, 2010

Atheism and antihumanism as intellectual-historical objects

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I begin this post by posing straightaway the questions that will guide my argument. In what way can atheism and antihumanism be posed and understood in intellectual history? In what sense do they constitute objects of study? How does one go about weaving and articulating for them an adequate intellectual-historical approach that may facilitate an understanding of texts, concepts, and systems of thought? I want to thank Martin Kavka, Sam Moyn, Judith Surkis, and Gil Anidjar for taking the time to read and address my book with the very encouraging care that each of them has taken. In what follows, I want to take into account a number of issues that they have raised, not so much to respond as to elaborate, in relation to their stances, some of the positions I have adopted in the book and in my introduction to this discussion. I thus frame this post as an attempt to tend first and foremost to methodological questions and critiques that have been raised directly or indirectly.

July 13th, 2010

Veiled threats?

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At the New York Times philosophy forum, The Stone, Martha Nussbaum asks how philosophical and legal scholarship can help us understand recent controversies concerning the right of Muslim women to wear headscarves and burqas in public.

July 12th, 2010

“Rethinking secularism,” but in German

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The latest issue of Transit, the Austrian journal of European affairs, takes as its theme and thrust “Säkularismus neu denken” (i.e., rethinking secularism). Featuring essays by an international assemblage of major thinkers (including many friends of The Immanent Frame), the issue also situates its intervention specifically in the contemporary European context.

July 8th, 2010

Discussing mosques, minarets, and crosses

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Ruthie, Grace and David here, reporting live from the IWM International Summer School in Philosophy and Politics in Cortona, Italy. We are here with forty graduate students and post-docs and an inspiring group of faculty from over 20 countries to explore a range of issues related to religion in public life. And over the next two weeks, we look forward to sharing some of our discussions with the readers of The Immanent Frame. Today we would like to talk about an issue we discussed in the first session of our course on “The Role of Faith in Public Discourse,” taught by Nilüfer Göle and Michael Sandel.

June 29th, 2010

The poverty of atheism

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Famously posing a peculiar problem of translation, names are a necessary feature of our academic craft. We like to call things, but we may also need to, obviously, in order to give figure to that which we think and study. Remarkably true to that necessity, Stefanos Geroulanos tells us in the first pages of his impressive book that the “conceptual reorganization” he will describe and analyze became “an almost official face of French thought.” It was only later (with structuralism and everything, everyone, associated with and past it) that it “acquired the name ‘antihumanism’.” Geroulanos further proposes to expand the reach of the name “antihumanism” by meticulously documenting lesser known antecedents, earlier phases of what the term might otherwise designate, seeking thereby to bring together a fuller, and detailed, account of numerous and diverse actors, elements and factors, and trends too, which in fact jointly define the greater part of the last century.

June 18th, 2010

Confessions of a casual Löwithian

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What is secularization? This question raises the issue of what exactly religion and “the secular” are—terms that, as our discussions in San Diego and the blog posts so far have shown, defy simple description. Still, in purely formal terms, secularization might mean—and has meant—two different things. For some—Max Weber (in some of his writings) and modernization theorists—secularization means the demise of religious belief and practice, whatever they are, and the rise of “secularism.” For others, like Karl Löwith—a central figure in my own research on transatlantic debates over theological origins of historical consciousness in the early Cold War—it means the transfer of theological ideas or religious yearnings into secular forms and contexts. Thus the puzzle: is secularization the survival of religion in a different guise, or its demise?

June 3rd, 2010

Secularism, atheism, antihumanism

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In a 1956 text on ethics and literature, Emmanuel Levinas offered the following diagnosis of the philosophical trends of his time: “Contemporary thought holds the surprise for us of an atheism that is not humanist. The gods are dead or withdrawn from the world; concrete, even rational man does not contain the universe.” This atheism that is not humanist, the sense that certain strands of contemporary philosophy had abandoned secularism’s central ethical and political investment in humanism, poses the motivating question behind the book I am presenting for discussion here, An Atheism that Is Not Humanist Emerges in French Thought. In twentieth-century French thought, particularly in the period from the end of World War I through the late 1950s, a new form of atheism, and with it, a new conception of man, emerged and crystallized. What historians and critics of French thought, literature, and intellectual culture have, since the 1960s, called “antihumanism,” I argue, can be best understood in terms of this development, which is at once theological, epistemological, and political.

May 11th, 2010

Where does Europe end and Islam begin?

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In an interview with Eren Güvercin, Olivier Roy tries to clear up some of the misconceptions that plague and exacerbate debates over the cultural commensurability of Islam and contemporary Europe.

April 23rd, 2010

Muslims in European public spheres and the limits of liberal theories of citizenship

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istanbul'un Orta Yeri Minare by :::Melike::: "ex oriente lux" | Photograph used under a Creative Commons licenseRecent events in Europe, from the cartoon crisis in Denmark to the controversy over the construction of minarets in Switzerland, have brought the status of Islam in the secular public sphere to the forefront of European political debates. The consequences of these debates can be seen in a hardening of the boundary between what is public and what is private, as many assume that religion generally belongs to the private sphere. Collective views in Europe have come to dictate that any claim or expression in public space deriving from religious beliefs be seen as illegitimate. As Jürgen Habermas has noted, the liberal vision of a secular public sphere imposes a special burden on the shoulders of religious citizens. Many believers, however, would not be able to undertake such an artificial division in their own minds between their religious beliefs and their civic commitments without destabilizing their existence as pious persons.

April 7th, 2010

It’s all about reconciliation: A conversation with Tariq Ramadan

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I had the opportunity to sit for a conversation with the Swiss philosopher Tariq Ramadan at the end of the 2009 meeting of the American Academy of Religion in Montreal. Ramadan is a public intellectual who has been a figure of both much praise and much condemnation, occasioned by controversial statements and positions that have cast him alternately as courageous and dangerous. As an activist, Ramadan continues to call for European Muslims to resist the encumbrances of minority status and to strive to play a central role in European public life as engaged and active citizens. Through his writings and lectures, he speaks both with and on behalf of Muslims in the West, as well as for Islamic revival in the Muslim world. He is active in the academy and in various grassroots engagements, lecturing extensively on social justice and the necessity of inter-cultural dialogue. Ramadan describes his work as at once protecting “Muslim identity and religious practice” and encouraging the European Muslim “to recognize the Western constitutional structure, to become involved as a citizen at the social level and to live with true loyalty to the country to which one belongs.”

March 2nd, 2010

Can Islam in Europe be tamed?

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At Bookforum, David Wallace-Wells reviews Taming the Gods: Religion and Democracy on Three Continents by Ian Buruma.

February 17th, 2010

“Wrong on every detail that matters”

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John R. Bowen, author of Why the French Don’t Like Headscarves and Can Islam be French, has a new article in this month’s Boston Review, “Nothing to Fear: Misreading Muslim Immigration in Europe.” In it, he examines a spate of books penned by American authors that deal with Islam in Europe, such as Bruce Bawer’s While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam is Destroying the West from Within and Mark Steyn’s America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It (the website for which touts the book as having been called “flagrantly Islamophobic” by the Canadian Human Rights Commission).

January 13th, 2010

Mute symbols of Islam

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istanbul'un Orta Yeri Minare by :::Melike::: "ex oriente lux" | Photograph used under a Creative Commons licenseThe public visibility of religious and cultural signs of Islam expresses the presence of Muslim actors in European countries. The minarets—as, in other respects the veils, the other mute symbol—reveal the Muslim actor—as pious, as feminine—in public life. This visibility attests to the presence of Muslims in European societies, their desire to stay there, their claim to the freedom of conscience, and their right to worship and dress according to their personal interpretation of their religion. Islam, in a paradoxical way, has become a political and cultural resource for the singularization of immigrants, for their quest for recognition, and so it indicates in turn their particular citizenship in the public space of Europe. This new visibility marks the end of a stage in the migratory phenomenon and in the integration, lived experience, and modes of appropriation of public space in Europe. What hides behind the controversies around Islam is the difficulty of recognizing this passage from the stranger to the citizen.

December 12th, 2009

Swiss minarets and American self-righteousness?

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At the Scoop, Courtney Bender analyzes the American media’s editorial treatment of the Swiss minaret ban.

December 9th, 2009

Does Europe have a Muslim problem?

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In the New York Review of Books, Malise Ruthven reads Christopher Caldwell’s Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam, and the West alongside Tariq Ramadan’s What I Believe and finds neither to be quite adequate to the challenges they claim to take up. Where Caldwell distorts, Ramadan disengages.

December 2nd, 2009

Swiss democracy

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With a Muslim constituency estimated to be between four and six percent of its total population, Switzerland is hardly in danger of being converted into a caliphate. Nevertheless, the country’s Muslim communities were sent a clarion signal last week that their religion is perceived as a threat. While the ban on the construction of minarets, which was favored by 57.5 percent of the Swiss population in Sunday’s referendum, may well prove inconsequential in itself, it occurred within the broader context of the recent political ascension of the Schweizerische Volkspartei, or Swiss People’s Party, the country’s foremost purveyor of less than thinly veiled anti-immigrant sentiment.