Islam and Multiculturalism

What is happening today in European countries is the concern of multiculturalism failure in society, the minority that is always implicitly target is the Islamic. The controversy around Islam being self-segregated and not interrogated into society has rise concern among Europeans. This discourse issue has been circulating around the European countries, the critical question here is not just about Islamophobia but it the European countries questioning the very ascent of their national identity and multicultural diversity “Islam is seen as a problem for multiculturalism” is this statement fair and true? This essay will first discuss issues surrounding religious differences in a secular multicultural society second, it will discuss, can religion be productively included within the politics of difference and finally, in conclusion, is the statement true.

Living in secular countries like the USA, France, Britain, and Australia issues surrounding multicultural diversity is a very important aspect of the country’s future. All people living in a secular society are allowed to practice religious belief, however, as long as the law of the state are not broken nor at risk.

The government of a secular state, legislation and constitution are based around a set of democratic values. Secularism denotes the idea that the state or political authority must not impose or advantage nor privilege any particular minorities regarding their religion or religious belief. This aim was initially to make a space of faith communities coexist amicably settlement that would prudence, tolerate, and respect indifferent people. Under the politics of democrat any minority group that seem to disturb the natural norm of the state multicultural diversity will be seen as a threat to the nation-states.

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The controversial issue made against Islamic in European countries was an example of disrupting multicultural diversity in the nation states lslam is seen under the eyes of western society as the minority that refuse to be assimilated. Despite we living in a new arena every immigrant are required to assimilate. Although there a protection act that respect the right of individual and religious practice but only within the private sphere, any religious practice a practise within the public sphere is seen as decline.

Here is an example of a religious practice that separate the state from the meaning of unity: in 2008 a Muslim woman was deny of French citizenship because she did not meet the requirement of the French civil code as she has not fulfil the condition of assimilating, the women cover herself from head to toe practising her religious belief in the public sphere. This proven that the denial of Muslim woman citizenship was not base on discrimination but rather the refusal of assimilating into the secular society in a multicultural society wearing the headscarf draw intense social scrutiny because people see the headscarf as a patriarchal suppression on women and it symbolize the Muslim identities, this unsettles multicultural diversity and national identifies within the state because others minorities practise their belief in their private sphere or enclave that were recognize by the state, therefore they a not seen as violating nor disrupting the state ideology of pluralism and homogony. On the other hand, Islam women practise their religious belief covering themselves in the public sphere, symbolise lslamophobia and resistant to assimilate just like other minorities, they reconstruct themselves as to be known as the other.

This practice disrupts the ideological homogony of multicultural diversity within a secular society. Australia is known to be the most multicultural and tolerant society in the European countries; however, the representation of the headscarf in Australia is seen as a sign of ‘deviance’ because it challenges Australian norms about religious expression Australia and other secular societies are tolerant to some extreme but if they recognise there a minority unwilling to adjust completely to the state will be seen as a concern. The 2003 Bali bombing and the Australian participation in the “war on terror” has made Australians reconsider the meaning of tolerant within the nation-state. This is not to say that Australia and many other European countries discriminate Muslim cording to these events but it allow the countries tojustified the barrier of tolerant for citizen and peoplet.

Baukje Prins and Boris Slijper undertook a discourse analysis of the backlash of multiculturalism. There were five key themes and Islam was fallen in the two themes. The clash between culture (particularly Islam versus Western values), with tolerance an assimilability as basic issues under scrutiny. Ethnic diversity and national identity, with separateness or the ostensible unwillingness to assimilate stressed as threats to social cohesion. Islam living in Australia not only refuse to assimilate completely to the state law but also they negotiate for religious right within the secular society; they wanted a separate education system instead of adopting with the curriculum that had already existed Islam wanted to have their mosques and school that would not only practise their belief but acknowledge their values into the consideration of the school curriculum, giving Muslim girls the right to participate in certain sport and dress code. The demand of separate religious right from the state system amplified the disruption of multicultural diversity the Muslim women covering her body from head to toe manipulate unbreakable religious differences in society.

It symbolizes oppression within the religion, encouraging inequality with gender under a secular policy system. Islamic women had rise concern among secular society, they not only is seen been oppressed but have know understanding and knowledge of the state. Here an example of gender inequality within the Muslim culture: In Toronto a sixteen years old Muslim girl was strangled to death by her father after she refuse to wear her headscarf. This incident justified that Muslim disregard other religious value and consider their religion to be important in society. ”The modern state is an interventionist state which identifies and targets population improve only in order to reform and improve them… it is,,,not possible for the state to leave other minorities out of it reach of improvement and participation within the state boundary.”  What this statement really saying is that the secular state encouraging assimilating in the multicultural society is to intervene the minorities in order to build a more homogony multicultural society.

By doing so they must target the minorities that seem to be the clash of the diversity in multiculturalism, in this case the Islam religion. This addresses that statement marked surrounding the discourse of Islamophobia within the secular society is not a racist discourse against the religion but it more likely to homogenize all ethnicity to create multicultural diversity The secular state can not allow all religion to practise their practice in public sphere because misunderstanding and communication of practice can lead to serious circumstance. Take the example of the Cronulla riot in 2005 tension had built from the Lebanese culture and the Western culture. An incident happens on the beach about the bashing of a lifeguard by two Lebanese has disrupted the state of harmony.

Many Westerners had swarmed to the beach to claim and protect their right and families. This is a disruption of diversity and a clash of cultural discourse has cause the blast of an uncontrollable situation to disrupt the homogenize tension within ethnic groups. The problem here is not just about religious differences but accept of culture values and norms. Australia seems to have tolerant with culture but intolerant to religion practices, therefore the secular state tries to separate church and state in their law. Can religion be productively included within a politics of difference? This comes to my second argument, so if secular society claim to be non religious. In other words, legislation is generally established to protect the equality and freedom of all ethnicity, because no single faith is given a primacy of influence in the structure of the society. Secular societies are anti-religious and maintain a separation of state and church.

However turning back to statement 1 agree that religion can still be included in a policy of difference, take Australia as an example we impress multicultural diversity and have law to protect individual right and claim that we separate state and church, but our policy reflect the domain religion in this case Christianity. Public holidays such like Christmas and Easter symbolise Jesus Christ birth and death. Gift-giving during Christmas is the ritual of Christians, however, all Australian celebrate this yearly festival because it seem as a public holiday. As for the education system, we have a catholic school that receives funding from the commonwealth government and they accept enrolment of nonreligious student this symbolise the encouragement of converting How come in secular society we can identify some law influenced by religion? The question here is how can multiculturalism is not disrupted in this idea, this is because the ethnicity group are tolerant, as a consequence, all ethnic group celebrate this event yearly because it seems to he know harm nor disrupt their personal identities and religion.

There is another influence that can change the policymaker, which is when a religion that seem to be dangerous to society and needs to be control for the safety of all others. Tario Modood(2010) state: “otherwise social peace or unity is at serious risk-control might mean supporting favour religious institutions ”. Turkey a semi-democratic secular society provides funding and staffing a particular part of Islam. This mean that religion can be productively included into the politics of difference if it is the majority or seem to be dangerous the state of multiculturalism. In conclusion to this essay, it not radically speaking if we agree with Humphrey statement that: “Islam is seen as a problem for multiculturalism”.

This statement is fair and true in a sense that the secular society is trying to establish equality between different ethnic groups and encouragement of multiculturalism. The secular society see Islam as a threat to multicultural diversity was not an assumption nor a racist discourse but more likely the concern of the nation state future. The openly religious practices that Islam has indicate Islamophobia and making them distinguished within the society. The religious attitude has cause a threat to the secular society in trying to build a homogenised society, therefore they must not privilege not encourage any religion or minorities that refuse to assimilate with the society, that why we see Muslim issues is the centre of the media around secular countries.

The terror attack symbolise nationalism adding addition fear among the secular state because Islamophobia represents nationalism. One the other hand, there will always be controversy in multicultural society because it impossible to have diversity over everything especially in a multicultural society. The best outcome is to be tolerant however this does not mean that we are intolerant but to what extreme that why there a policy that guard people from breaking the law that would cause ham to the state. Policy try to balance religion and state avoiding clash of diversity that would lead to misunderstanding, this end my second argument in the essay. To have a complete separation of state and church is impossible when we live in a Multicultural society.

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Islam and Multiculturalism. (2023, Feb 23). Retrieved from

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