Near Eastern Languages and Cultures | Issues in Middle Eastern Cultures and Societies: Muslims in the West
N304 | 29806 | Sinno, Abdulkader


This course introduces you to the role of Muslims in Western Politics.
Individuals who practice the religion or who belong to ethnic groups
that are traditionally Muslim are now estimated to make some 2% of the
North American population and 4% of the European Unionís population,
and their numbers are expected to continue to grow. The attacks of
September 11, 2001, and the wars that followed highlighted and
amplified the role and perception of Muslim minorities in the West as
political actors and electoral constituencies, subjects of cultural
hostility, scapegoats for poor economic performance, suspects in the
face of insecurity whose rights could be exceptionally curtailed, and
agents for the projection of geopolitical power. Western states and
their rapidly growing Muslim populations are adjusting to each other
under the constant pressure of exogenous shocks. The way they manage
the process will deeply affect Western polities and their relations
with the Muslim world.
Substantive topics we will explore include: How and why do different
states strike a balance between security and civil rights/liberties?
Is there really a trade-off between the two? How do they deal with
immigration, both permitted and unregulated? What factors affect the
degree of political participation by Western Muslims? Why are culture
clashes more salient in some countries than in others? Why do Muslim
immigrants prosper more economically in North America than in Europe?
How do international conflicts affect the relationship between Western
states and their Muslim citizens and the dynamics among citizens of
different backgrounds? Is there a connection between Islamophobia and
anti-Semitism in the West? Are we witnessing the birth of a Western
Muslim macroethnicity or many disjointed ethnic communities? How are
Muslims perceived in their Western societies and how do they perceive
their fellow citizens? What will the future hold?