Cultivating Religious Citizens: the Politics of Muslim Participation in Interfaith Organizations in France and the United States
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DeBruyn Rubio, Deirdre
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CitationDeBruyn Rubio, Deirdre. 2019. Cultivating Religious Citizens: the Politics of Muslim Participation in Interfaith Organizations in France and the United States. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractCultivating Religious Citizens: The Politics of Muslim Participation in Interfaith Organizations in France and the United States examines how interfaith organizations—an understudied aspect of civil society—provide crucial platforms for Muslims to define themselves as citizens with the right to be religious and to engage politically. Using the United States and France as case studies, I investigate how Muslim members of interfaith organizations are using interfaith activities to debate and make visible notions of “religious citizenship.” I define “religious citizenship” as a form of citizenship that emphasizes the expression and recognition of a person’s faith and their membership in a political community. In enacting their religious citizenship in interfaith settings, I see the ways that Muslim interfaith participants are seeking recognition as both Muslims and as citizens, often through the use of their democratic rights.
From 2014 to 2019 I engaged in ethnographic research with thirteen interfaith organizations in Paris and Boston and conducted eighty in-depth interviews with French and American interfaith participants. My fieldwork has uncovered two main findings: one, that Muslim members of interfaith organizations mobilize as “religious citizens” who express their faith as part of democratic citizenship, and two, that these organizations promote civic and political participation that crosses communal and religious lines.
I discovered that interfaith organizations are not only attempting to encourage inclusion they are also places of contestation, where people of all faiths debate and respond to the perceived threats of religious diversity and the type of citizen that can participate in multi-faith democracies. At the heart of this debate about interfaith engagement is a debate about what it means to be a citizen and a religious person in a pluralistic society.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:42013147
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