With his usual eloquence, Shadi Hamid attempts to make sense of an issue dominating Muslim dinner table conversation on both sides of the Atlantic, that of LGBTQ-themed lessons in state schools. His basic argument? It is not a dereliction of liberal norms to tolerate the protest of Muslim parents who fear the ever-encroaching state imposition of liberal social mores on their children. Liberalism, he surmises, especially within the US constitutional context, prioritizes the neutral state, one that does not side with any particular version of the good life. Instead, in the case of the US, it guarantees to protect sincerely held convictions through the First Amendment rights to religious beliefs — however disturbing these views may seem to wider society. Continue reading Can the Liberal State Ever Be Neutral When It Comes to Muslims?
Ilhan Omar’s recent invite to a prominent Muslim convention in America sparked an intense debate around representation calling into question the successes or failures of Muslim activists who have allied themselves with the left in the West. While these are two separate discussions, Omar, as a Muslim political figure represents, the overlap between these two debates. As someone who has been involved with political organizations in the UK, although Omar is a figure on the American left, I will use the politics of the UK as my primary reference point in this piece. Continue reading Ilhan Omar, Representation and Muslim Political Organizing in the West