Islam and Secular Citizenship in the Netherlands, United by Carolina Ivanescu

By Carolina Ivanescu

This publication combines ethnographic paintings in 3 nations (The Netherlands, the uk and France) and 3 towns (Rotterdam, Leicester and Marseille) with a brand new theoretical body (regimes of secularity) for figuring out the development of a collective Muslim minority identification in Europe.

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Looking at various variables like education, mass communication, discrimination against religion, legal and administrative boundaries, material opportunities and their use by elites in order to privatize religion, he paints a nuanced picture suggesting that both institutions and individuals have an important role in the process of secularization. Martin talks about secularization as the process of change from a control of society through morality and belief, toward a control through technical and bureaucratic means.

The imprints left by secularization theory have been taken over in the Western European social imaginary and continue to inform different regimes of secularity, articulated both as a mobilization of the collective imaginary and as a way of governing religion. The increasing attention toward Muslims minorities in the Netherlands, France, and the United Kingdom points out that secularity is used as a discursive strategy articulating the negotiations and conflicts present in the formation of the respective nation-states and the challenges they face in managing diversity and pluralism, from their historical legacy and in present situations.

Instead of opposing religion and modernity, this new framework transferred religion to the middle of the paradox of modernity, claiming the key to its exclusion and production (Hervieu-Leger 1985). Muslims have had a longer experience of living in France than in any other country in Western Europe (Bowen 2010; Cesari 2004; Rath et al. 1999). Many were already citizens when entering the territory of France (Algerians), and most of them came from territories where French was already spoken. However, their past was not peaceful, but was based on turbulent colonial experiences and the Algerian wars that still inform many of the experiences of today as it was visible also in the riots of 2005 (Bowen 2010).

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