The 2016 presidential election has galvanized the Muslim community in the United states as perhaps never before. Voter registration campaigns and then get the vote out efforts became as common an activity of community centers and mosques as education programs. Yet, the stigma of mosques as centers of isolation or refuge from the society at large continues to prevail. Dr. Mario Peucker has examined such a question in the context of Eurpoean and Australian Muslims. You can read Dr. Puecker’s analysis below and ask yourself: How much of the American Muslim community do you see or not see in that analysis?
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Muslim community organizations – sites of active citizenship or self-segregation?
Ethno-religious community organizations in Western countries have often been described as being disconnected from mainstream society, and Muslim community groups have been a special focus of such critique. This article offers a counter-narrative to these widespread allegations. It draws on a synthesis of emerging research on the citizenship-enhancing effects of mosque involvement and on an explorative study involving thirty in-depth interviews with civically active Muslims in Australia and Germany. The article examines the potential of Muslim community organizations to mobilize their member into performing their citizenship through civic and political participation. It offers empirical evidence that many Muslim community organizations, rather than promoting social segregation, act as accessible entry point for Muslims’ civic participation, facilitate cross-community engagement and provide gateways to political involvement. These civic potentials of Muslim community organization have remained underestimated in the public and political discourse on cohesive societies and healthy democracies.
Dr Mario Peucker
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Centre for Cultural Diversity and Wellbeing
Victoria University, Melbourne
Muslim Citizenship in Liberal Democracies. Civic and Political Participation in the West (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016)