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The Islamic ChallengePolitics and Religion in Western Europe$
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Jytte Klausen

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199231980

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199231980.001.0001

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Sexual Politics and Multiculturalism

Sexual Politics and Multiculturalism

(p.171) 6 Sexual Politics and Multiculturalism
The Islamic Challenge

Jytte Klausen

Oxford University Press

The status of the Muslim headscarf—the hijab—has provoked more debate about Islam in Europe than any other issue. This is because it seems to sum up so many of the concerns that trouble Europeans when they consider the Islamic minority in their midst. These range from the status of Muslim women to wider questions of religious freedom and even national identity. And the controversy has created odd bedfellows, feminists and conservatives, joining in an unlikely alliance, ostensibly in order to protect women's right to choose. Use of a scarf for instance is presented as an emblem of the repression of women in Islam and overall, rather demeaning to women. Gender equality enforcement was a prominent issue in the debates but was in no case the reason given by legislators to pass the legislation.

Keywords:   Islam, hijab, headscarf, minorities, religious freedom, national identity, repression, women, Gender equality, Europe

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