‘Soft’ segregation: Muslim identity, British secularism and inequality

David Cheesman and Nazia Khanum

in Faith in the public realm

Published by Policy Press

Published in print January 2009 | ISBN: 9781847420305
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447302285 | DOI:
‘Soft’ segregation: Muslim identity, British secularism and inequality

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The current controversies on faith in the public realm have been stirred by historical and contemporary events and developments relating specifically to Islam and the perceptions of and by Muslim people in the UK and worldwide. This chapter offers the perspectives of two Muslim authors on the Muslim experience in the cultural context of Britain where public faith is often met with hostility and unease. It specifically explores the concept of soft segregation in Muslim communities and argues that two features of the contemporary British culture hinder the development of a society fully inclusive of Muslims. These two features which impede the development of mutual understanding are: firstly, the suspicion of Islam and, secondly, the suspicion of public expressions of religious faith. This chapter begins by providing a brief profile of Muslims in Britain. It then proceeds by discussing Muslim identities and concludes by discussing secularism to which the Muslims are trying to adjust.

Keywords: controversies on faith; Islam; Muslim; UK; public faith; soft segregation; Muslims in Britain; Muslim identities; secularism

Chapter.  8155 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Sociology of Religion

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