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Title: Muslim religious accommodation in public institutions : an exploration of religious equality in principle and practice
Author: Suckle, Elsa
ISNI:       0000 0004 2691 2059
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2009
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This thesis assesses fairness for Muslim religious value claims in liberal institutions aspiring to public neutrality. This is achieved though critically examining neutrality and religious equality in liberal political theory, national models of secularism, and instantiations at the local level of schools and workplaces. Through adopting a contextual approach to political theory, I argue for the situated nature of fairness. The aim of this approach is to utilise ideal theory to arrive at realistic guidelines fit for real (non-ideal) worlds. I therefore both address the limits of theory to practice and show how empirical contextualisation might inform revised theories better equipped to account for contextual variables. In order to address the shortcomings in existing models of neutrality and in existing ways of theorising about religious exemptions in contemporary liberal political theory, two arguments for accommodation are advanced: corrective grounds and reasonable access grounds. Corrective grounds stress the need to correct for existing inequities already in place privileging majoritarian groups, as we face the task of responding fairly to minority requests for accommodation. Reasonable access grounds emphasise the significance of environmental factors in exploring entitlement to religious exemptions from general rules and regulations. Both these accounts build on empirical contextualisation. Evidence supporting these arguments is derived from two national contexts – the U.S. and Sweden – and takes the form of semi-structured elite interviews with a range of individuals with expertise on questions of Muslim religious accommodation. Through this analysis, the thesis contends that the ‘costs’ associated with Muslim value claims in liberal institutions should not exclusively be attributed to inherent factors. On these grounds I argue for the remodelling of public institutions in order to facilitate the ease with which religious commitments are combined with access to, and participation in, public institutions aspiring to neutrality.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council (Great Britain) (ESRC)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BP Islam. Bahaism. Theosophy, etc ; JA Political science (General)