Multiculturalism, Muslims and Citizenship: A Thereotical Debate
Keywords:Multiculturalism, citizenship, Dialogue, Equality, Politics of recognition.
Over the last few decades, the term ‘multiculturalism’ has been in debate. This is not only because of issues surrounding cultural diversity, racism, or ‘the minority versus the majority’, but also because of religious differences, especially regarding Muslims in the West. Many queries have been raised about the inclusion of Muslims in European society as they seem to be barbaric and alien, especially after the events of 9/11 in the USA and 7/7 in London. This paper discusses the various complex debates surrounding the term ‘multiculturalism’ in the work of political philosophers like Tariq Modood, Bhikhu Parekh, Will Kymlicka, and others. It first introduces the term ‘multiculturalism’ as interpreted by different scholars and discusses the reasons for its current retreat. Multiculturalism is said to be challenging for religious groups, especially Muslims, because of its incompatibility with liberalism, considered to be the key element of Western civilisation. Therefore, this paper attempts to describe multiculturalism’s relationship with citizenship and the long-term effect of national identity on civil society. It also discusses some basic concepts, like equality and dialogue, in relation to multiculturalism and tries to bring out the differences between liberal equality and the equality experienced under multiculturalism. This paper concludes with some policy recommendations for the adjustment of illiberal minorities (Muslims) within liberal societies (Europe) in the present world of super-diversity.
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