Claims-making of Danish Muslims during the Muhammad Caricatures Controversy: A Challenge to the Principles of the Secular Public Sphere?
Title: Claims-making of Danish Muslims during the Muhammad Caricatures Controversy: A Challenge to the Principles of the Secular Public Sphere?
Author: LINDEKILDE, Lasse E.
Series/Number: EUI SPS; 2008/05
During the Danish public debate following the publication of the twelve Muhammad caricatures in September 2005, many commentators stated that the (re)actions/claims of Danish Muslims showed lack of familiarity with the basic principles of democracy and Danish traditions of political debate. The article offers an empirical test to several such public accusations through a systematic analysis of the content and justification of Muslim claims throughout the controversy. Thus, the paper raises the basic question: To what extent did claims-making by Danish Muslims challenge the principles of the secular public sphere? The article argues that rather than challenging the principles of the secular public sphere, Danish Muslims, in general, seem to actively affirm such principles. Many Muslims demanded an apology, not for the insulting of the prophet per se, but for what they saw as a deliberate attack on Muslim religious feelings. Muslims demanded that the person responsible be prosecuted, not according to Sharia, but according to existing secular laws limiting free speech. Danish Muslims demanded equal treatment - not special rights. Danish Muslims, were thus, to a large degree, able to 'translate' their religiously based anger and despair into a secular discourse of rights and duties when operating in the secular public sphere.
Subject: MUSLIM; CLAIMS-MAKING; SECULARISM; MUHAMMAD CARTOONS; ISLAM; PUBLIC SPHERE; DISCOURSE
Type of Access: openAccess