What is at stake in military chaplaincy when Muslims join the ranks? : an international comparison
Title: What is at stake in military chaplaincy when Muslims join the ranks? : an international comparison
Author: MICHALOWSKI, Ines
Series/Number: EUI RSCAS; 2014/126; RELIGIOWEST
This paper analyzes the ‘strategic action field’ (Fligstein and McAdam 2013) evolving in five European countries (and the U.S.) around the inclusion of Muslims into military chaplaincy. The paper shows that cross-national institutional differences in particular with regard to the state-religion relationship have an influence on the accommodation of Muslims in military chaplaincy: countries with a strong focus on equality in their state-religion relationship are more advanced in setting up a Muslim military chaplaincy, whereas countries whose state-religion relationship explicitly allows for the differential treatment of religious groups lag behind, in particular if Muslims are among the groups for whom official cooperation with the state is impossible since they have not acquired the requested legal status. At the same time, the paper shows that organization-specific arguments that push for religious accommodation and equal treatment in the military lead to a convergence of practices across the different European countries. Similar things are ‘at stake’ in the strategic action field that evolves around the inclusion of Muslims into military chaplaincy: the distribution of scarce chaplaincy positions, training and education of chaplains, security and control of religion, attracting new recruits and assuring social cohesion as well as being in line with principles of equality and religious liberty. France stands out in this comparison because it reached a high level of Muslim accommodation in military chaplaincy that stands in stark contrast with the limited accommodation of religion reached in public schools. All European countries in the study differ fundamentally from the U.S. where the distribution of chaplaincy positions is organized along a relatively easy market-based system that does not depend on the European institutionalization of faith-specific military chaplaincies.
Subject: Military chaplaincy; Religious accommodation; Islam; Organizational change
Grant number: FP7/269860
Type of Access: openAccess