Pluralism and Islam: Muslim Citizenship in Western Liberal Democracies
Islam is one of the fastest growing religions in Canada, with the number of its adherents projected to triple within 20 years. Those on the far right argue that Islam is incompatible with Western civilizations; they also perpetuate the rhetoric that Daesh/ISIS represents all Muslims. The resulting spike in Islamophobia and anti-immigrant/ anti-refugee rhetoric is threatening the future of global peace. Indeed, despite Canada priding itself on pluralism, diversity and inclusion, on 30 January 2017 six Muslim worshippers were killed at the Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec in Quebec City. And a recent motion in the House of Commons (Motion 103) proposed by Member of Parliament Iqra Khalid requesting that a Commons committee study Islamophobia led to thousands of hate mails and death threats in retaliation for Khalid’s supposedly threatening the freedom of speech.
Are concerns about Islam and freedom of speech legitimate? Are Muslim identities really in conflict with Canada’s values of pluralism, free speech, and democracy? Supported by the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation and other partners, 2014 Trudeau scholar Tammara Soma is organizing a conference on the question. The speakers will explore the future of peace and pluralism in Canada amidst growing Islamophobia and global conflict. The first panel will showcase the diverse voices of Muslims sects (Sunni, Shia, Ismaili, Ahmadi) to counter the belief that Muslims are a monolithic block and to challenge sectarian ideologies that have affected other countries. The second panel will feature female Muslim scholars whose work has shattered misconceptions about women’s roles in Islam and is challenging policies, like the niqab ban, that fetishize the surveillance of women’s bodies.
Tammara is studying the factors that influence food consumption and food wasting in urban Indonesia and ways to end the dumping of food waste in landfills.
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Associate Professor in Social Communication and Culture, and Responsable of Social Communication's graduate studies (master and doctorate), Department of Literature and Social Communication, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières.