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Muslims in Western Politics

Edited by Abdulkader H. Sinno

Publication Year: 2009

Looking closely at relations between Muslims and their host countries, Abdulkader H. Sinno and an international group of scholars examine questions of political representation, identity politics, civil liberties, immigration, and security issues. While many have problematized Muslims in the West, this volume takes a unique stance by viewing Muslims as a normative, and even positive, influence in Western politics. Squarely political and transatlantic in scope, the essays in this collected work focus on Islam and Muslim citizens in Europe and the Americas since 9/11, the European bombings, and the recent riots in France. Main topics include Muslim political participation and activism, perceptions about Islam and politics, Western attitudes about Muslim visibility in the political arena, radicalization of Muslims in an age of apparent shrinking of civil liberties, and personal security in politically uneasy times.

Published by: Indiana University Press


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pp. iii


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

This volume is based on the contributions to the “Muslims in Western Politics” conference that I convened at Indiana University on September 22–24, 2005. It would not have been possible without the strong support of IU unit heads, faculty, and administrators to bring some of the best researchers in the field to this conference. This project owes much to wonderful visionary colleagues at IU. It began with ...

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Note on Transliteration

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pp. xi

We generally employ the transliteration system suggested by the International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies. For names and terms that have come into regular English usage, we do not transliterate (e.g., Saudi Arabia instead of Sa`udi `Arabia, Shia instead of Shi`a). We also drop initial hamzas and `ayns for well known names, like Ali, for convenience.

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1. An Institutional Approach to the Politics of Western Muslim Minorities [Includes Image Plates]

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pp. 1-10

This is a book about how Western institutions interact with each other and growing Western Muslim minorities to shape the way Muslim minorities in Western Europe and North America are perceived, represented, and treated. Its goal is to answer important policy-relevant research questions in comparative context to explain variation among different North American and Europe an countries. For instance, ...

Part One: Western Muslims and Established State-Religion Relations

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pp. 11

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2. Claiming Space in America’s Pluralism: Muslims Enter the Political Maelstrom

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pp. 13-34

In the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the George W. Bush administration has legislated policies that impact the Muslim population of the United States and threaten, in a more fundamental way, the guarantees of liberty and freedom of speech, thought, and religion enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.

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3. The Practice of Their Faith: Muslims and the State in Britain, France, and Germany

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pp. 35-49

Muslims have become a part of this society. More than three million Muslims live in Germany permanently. They are not going to “go home.” Their home is here. —Nadeem Elyas (2001), chair of the Zentralrat der Muslime in Deutschland, Cologne, Germany There is a realization that Muslims are here, that we are citizens, and that we have to be treated equally. We are not asking for special treatment; ...

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4. Religion, Muslims, and the State in Britain and France: From Westphalia to 9/11

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pp. 50-66

Britain and France have been offered by many social and political scientists as two distinct models of how a west European democratic nation- state should set about absorbing recently immigrated ethnic and religious minority communities. France has been portrayed as representing an “assimilationist” model in which the individual is integrated...

Part Two: Western Muslims and Political Institutions

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pp. 67

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5. Muslim Underrepresentation in American Politics

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pp. 69-95

Up to 2 percent of the American population is Muslim or of Muslim background, and American Muslims are, on average, more educated and affluent than the average American. Yet, there is only one Muslim congressman, Keith Ellison, who was elected in 2006 from Minnesota’s Fifth Congressional District, no state governors or lieutenant governors, only four state legislators, and very...

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6. Muslims Representing Muslims in Europe: Parties and Associations after 9/11

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pp. 96-112

Hostility against Muslims among European publics and elites, as well as the shrill voices of Islamic radicals, has caused controversy and division but not deterred increasing civic engagement and more traditional forms of po liti cal participation. One unexpected consequence of the acrimony is that governments increasingly look for Muslims to act as interlocutors, and many...

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7. Muslims in UK Institutions: Effective Representation or Tokenism?

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pp. 113-134

Muslim representation in political parties, local government, and legislatures in Britain has been on the rise in the last de cade. In this chapter we explore the perceptions, experiences, and political behavior of British Muslim members of city councils, political parties, and parliamentary chambers to understand whether they perceive that their presence in these institutions helps members of minority communities.

Part Three: Institutional Underpinnings of Perceptions of Western Muslims

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pp. 135

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8. How Europe and Its Muslim Populations See Each Other [Includes Image Plates]

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pp. 137-160

The general European populations and European Muslim minorities view each other and the larger conflicts between Western and Muslim countries quite differently. Most striking is the finding from polls conducted by the Pew Global Attitudes Project (GAP) in the spring of 2006 that, in many ways, the views of Europe’s Muslims occupy a middle ground...

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9. Public Opinion toward Muslim Americans: Civil Liberties and the Role of Religiosity, Ideology, and Media Use

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pp. 161-199

As Gibson notes (1992), mass political intolerance diminishes and constrains the ability of targeted groups and individuals to fully participate in democratic politics and society. The September 11 attacks, the invasion of and ongoing insurgency in Iraq, and the continuing U.S. War on Terror, have generated debates about restricting the civil and legal rights...

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10. The Racialization of Muslim Americans

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pp. 200-215

The state of civil liberties has deteriorated noticeably for all Americans since 9/11. In particular, new legislation passed immediately after 9/11 undermined Muslim and Arab Americans’ confidence in their own rights and security. The Patriot Acts 1 and 2 grant the government significant powers to monitor Americans, even allowing the indefinite detention...

Part Four: Western Muslims, Civil Rights, and Legal Institutions

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pp. 217

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11. Canadian National Security Policy and Canadian Muslim Communities

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pp. 219-244

Canada has a somewhat better reputation as a welcoming place for Muslims and for respect for civil liberties than the United States and many European countries, such as the United Kingdom or France. After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Canada did not derogate from its constitutional bill of rights, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as the United Kingdom did.

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12. Counterterrorism and the Civil Rights of Muslim Minorities in the European Union

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pp. 245-263

“Let no-one be in any doubt, the rules of the game are changing,” announced Prime Minister Tony Blair in the wake of the terrorist attacks on London’s subway in July 2005. Among the new measures proposed by his government in response to the bombings were: easier procedures to deport persons “fostering hatred” and...

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13. The Preventive Paradigm and the Rule of Law: How Not to Fight Terrorism

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pp. 264-277

According to a Bush administration Justice Department website, www.lifeandliberty.gov, we are “winning the war on terrorism with unrelenting focus and unprecedented cooperation.” We have captured or killed some 3,000 al- Qaeda “operatives,” including two-thirds of its leadership. We have disrupted terrorist...

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14. Recommendations for Western Policy Makers and Muslim Organizations

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pp. 278-288

It is good to understand key linkages between institutions and policies, but what do the leaders of these institutions need to do to promote equality, security, justice, and liberal values in Western democracies? I make suggestions for both Western policy makers and Muslim organizations based on the collective findings...

List of Contributors

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pp. 289-291


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pp. 293-301

E-ISBN-13: 9780253002808
E-ISBN-10: 025300280X
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253352477

Page Count: 320
Illustrations: 5 figures
Publication Year: 2009