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Culture, Citizenship, and Community$
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Joseph H. Carens

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198297680

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198297688.001.0001

Muslim Minorities in Contemporary Democracies: The Limitations of Liberal Toleration

(p.140) 6 Muslim Minorities in Contemporary Democracies: The Limitations of Liberal Toleration
Culture, Citizenship, and Community

Joseph H. Carens (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Asks how liberal democratic states should respond to immigrants whose cultural commitments are (or are alleged to be) at odds with liberal democratic norms and practices. The chapter takes Muslim immigrants as its focus because in both Europe and North America, this is the group that has most often been portrayed as a cultural threat to liberal democracy. In particular, the chapter addresses the claim that Islamic beliefs and practices are incompatible with the liberal democratic commitment to gender equality. It considers the assertion that Islam requires or warrants female genital mutilation, wife‐beating, polygamy, and a form of dress (hijab) that subordinates women. It argues that the critics of Islam misconstrue the normative issues or misrepresent Islamic norms and practices or criticize Islam for practices and beliefs that liberal democracies (rightly) tolerate in other religious traditions.

Keywords:   gender equality, immigrants, Islam, liberal democracy, religious traditions, toleration, women

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