Using Rights to Re-invent Secularism in France and Turkey
Title: Using Rights to Re-invent Secularism in France and Turkey
Author: BARRAS, Amélie
Series/Report no.: EUI RSCAS; 2008/20; Mediterranean Programme Series
For the last two decades the human rights' discourse has been increasingly used across the world - one could argue that there has even been a globalization of human rights. This discourse has also, been intrinsically linked to positivism, enlightenment and secularism. It is with this in mind that this paper looks at how religious Muslim individuals and groups in France and Turkey have been appropriating human rights discourse and its national, regional and international legal channels to challenge state secular policies and redefine the relationship between religion and the state. I argue that because groups are framing their demands through a rights based discourse their plea becomes more powerful and legitimate, as they are using and re-appropriating elements of a global secular framework to challenge boundaries of Turkish and French state secularism. Moreover, the EU variable over the last decade has strengthened even more the value of human rights claims. By looking into two specific case studies - the work of the Collective Against Islamophobia in France and the Merve Kavakci case v. Turkey presented at the Strasbourg court of Human Rights , I attempt to analyze if groups are using this "authorized narrative" simply because it is the most effective way for them to assert their religiosity, or if they have found a space where they can propose a new plural ethos that can better co-exist with their piety - in other words, a space where they can redefine, and propose perhaps a more plural and de-centralize vision of secularism.
Subject: secularism; human rights; Islam; Expression of public piety
Mediterranean Programme Series Ninth Mediterranean Research Meeting: Workshop 10
Type of Access: openAccess