British Arab Perspectives on Religion, Politics and ‘the Public’

Peter Hopkins and Richard Gale

in Muslims in Britain

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print March 2009 | ISBN: 9780748625871
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671335 | DOI:
British Arab Perspectives on Religion, Politics and ‘the Public’

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This chapter investigates the intersections between politics, public space and Muslim and Arab identities, and complicates the relationships between Muslim minorities and public spheres and spaces of society. School controversies are indicative of the highly problematic position of Muslim minorities in public and in the collective imagination of western nation-states. The chapter states that religious claims are important with respect to political life and public space. The clear dichotomies that frame many western perceptions of Islam are explained. For some of the interviewees, Islam is an important motivating force for activism, and some see their religious faith as closely tied to their reasons for becoming involved in community organisations and affairs. The interviewees expressed that they felt that they could not escape the fact that Arabness is culturally bound up with Islam. For them, the multiculturalism of the Arab world is a precursor to European multiculturalism.

Keywords: politics; public space; Muslim identity; Arab identity; Islam; religious faith; Arabness; multiculturalism

Chapter.  8006 words. 

Subjects: Islam

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