Assertive and Passive Secularism

Ahmet T. Kuru

in The Future of Religious Freedom

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199930890
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199980581 | DOI:
Assertive and Passive Secularism

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Assertive secularism, which aims to exclude religion from the public sphere, has been the dominant ideology in France and Turkey. In the United States, however, the dominant ideology has been passive secularism, which requires the state to play a passive role that allows public visibility of religion. Despite religious-friendly passive secularism, Muslims faced religious profiling and other restrictions in the aftermath of 9/11, owing to security concerns and rising Islamophobia in the United States. That is not a unique Muslim experience in America. Historically, Catholics and Jews also experienced discrimination, but they eventually integrated into American society due to passive secularism. Passive secularism in the United States provides a more effective way for the integration of unconventional religious groups, including Muslims, than assertive secularism in France, which is intolerant toward public religions.

Keywords: secularism; Islam; Muslims; the United States; minorities; neutrality

Chapter.  9615 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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