Secularism, Religion and Multicultural Citizenship

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The Islamist attacks of 9/11, the Danish cartoon affair and rioting by Muslim youths in France are just some of the events that have caused the 'Muslim question' to become a key issue of public debate in many western democracies. Secularism, Religion and Multicultural Citizenship argues that the Muslim case raises important questions about how we understand western secularism and respond to new religious claims in multicultural democracies. The contributors challenge prevailing assumptions about the history and practice of western secularism and recover the pragmatism behind liberal principles in negotiating new conditions. By situating the Muslim experience in relation to western secularism and liberal democratic practice, and through examining a variety of national contexts (including Britain, Germany, France, Denmark, the United States, Australia and India), this book extends thinking about our contemporary condition and considers the broader significance for multicultural liberal democracies.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"What, exactly, is liberal about passing restrictive policies designed to defend liberalism from the claims of religious populations? Nothing, is the answer given in this challenging and provocative book. In fact, many of the authors of these essays contend that European states have responded to the rise of Islam in their midst with a peculiar form of cultural and political sectarianism that has, at times, been glaringly illiberal. This book is sure to shape debate on a classic theoretical question that now resides at the heart of contemporary European politics." - Tim Byrnes, Dept of Political Science, Colgate University

"For Levey and Modood, the key challenge is to tease out a thorough understanding of what might constitute 'secularism' and to reflect on the variety of social locations in which previous attempts at this task have been made. In pursuit of this task they have gathered many of the world's leading students of religion, state and the civil sphere. Rich in history, acknowledging the impact of global migration flows on debates regarding the core precepts of liberalism, citizenship and ethnicity, the book also benefits from case studies recent and not so recent." - Thinking Faith: The Online Journal of the British Jesuits

"A challenge... faces the authors... whose ambition is to bring to bear theoretical rigor, historical insights, and cultural analysis upon questions of political theory that ate as timely as they are weighty, namely the just boundary between Islam and the state, the risks associated with secularism, and the compatibility of Islam and western liberal democracy. Under the direction of editors Geoffrey Brahm Levey and Tariq Modood, the authors rise to the occasion with originality, aplomb, and a refreshing pragmatism that makes this a book well worth reading." - Richard Albert, Boston College Law School, Journal of Church and State

"One of the ways to calm the turbulent skies is to write and read books like this one." -Catholic Herald

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521873604
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 12/31/2008
  • Pages: 300
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Geoffrey Brahm Levey is Senior Lecturer in the School of Social Sciences and International Studies and founding Director of the Program in Jewish Studies at the University of New South Wales, Sydney.

Tariq Modood is Professor of Sociology, Politics and Public Policy and founding Director of the Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Citizenship at the University of Bristol, UK.

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Table of Contents

Foreword: What is secularism? Charles Taylor; 1. Secularism and religion in a multicultural age Geoffrey Brahm Levey; Part I. Debating Secularism: 2. The shallow legitimacy of secular liberal orders: the case of early modern Brandenburg-Prussia Ian Hunter; 3. France on the knife-edge of religion: commemorating the centenary of the law of 9 December 1905 on the separation of church and state David Saunders; 4. Political secularism: why it is needed and what can be learnt from its Indian version Rajeev Bhargava; 5. Secularism, public reason or moderately agonistic democracy? Veit Bader; Part II. Secularism and Multicultural Citizenship: 6. Immigration and the new religious pluralism: a European/United States comparison José Casanova; 7. Muslims, religious equality and secularism Tariq Modood; 8. Contemporary politics of secularism S. Sayyid; 9. Muslims in the west and their attitudes to full participation in western societies: some reflections Abdullah Saeed; 10. Liberal democracy, multicultural citizenship and the Danish cartoon affair Geoffrey Brahm Levey and Tariq Modood.

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