The multicultural idea and Western Muslims

Authored by: Anna Triandafyllidou

Routledge Handbook of Islam in the West

Print publication date:  August  2014
Online publication date:  September  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415691321
eBook ISBN: 9781315794273
Adobe ISBN: 9781317744023


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The last decade of the twentieth century had been characterized by an optimistic view that Western liberal democracies had found appropriate ways to accommodate cultural, ethnic, and religious diversity. Several European countries, like the Netherlands, Britain, and Sweden, were recognized as “champions” of multiculturalism in that they allowed for migrant and native communities to create their own institutions and maintain their cultural or religious traditions. While policy approaches and political ideologies on how to accommodate diversity differed, the overall framework of recognizing not only individual but also collective difference and making room for it was largely labeled “multiculturalism.” Multiculturalism became the official motto also in Australia and Canada, which incorporated it in their very national self-definition as migrant nations. It seemed that along with the reconnection of Europe and the implosion of the Communist regimes in 1989, the 1990s were also bringing forward a new and promising perspective on reconciling the tensions that ethnic and religious diversity may create in a society and ensuring equality for all.

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