At Georgetown/On Faith, Katherine Marshall, Co-Chair of the SSRC Religion and International Affairs Advisory Committee, reports on how Swiss society has dealt with the 2009 passage of a referendum to ban construction of new minarets.
Posts Tagged ‘minarets’
The 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.