Belgium and the Domestication of its Islamic Diaspora
(Meryem Kanmaz, Sami Zemni) The Low Countries - 2007, № 15, pp. 197-206
Despite the sometimes doom-laden messages of extremist or populist political parties feeding on Islamophobic prejudice, the realisation simultaneously grew in Belgium – as elsewhere in Europe – that the Muslims were here to stay and that there was a need to formalise the relations with Islam. Three approaches appear to be favoured in seeking to embed Islam in the Belgian political, policy and social landscape: first, attempts are being made to recognise Islam as an official Belgian faith alongside other religions; secondly, Islam is being given an explicit place within the (Flemish) minorities policy; and finally, Islam (with the entrance of Muslims to the public arena) is being used more and more as a central marker in a collective identity which is then used to distinguish its members from a European/Flemish identity.
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