Multiculturalist Liberalism and Harms to Women: Looking Through the Issue of 'The Veil'
19 U.C. Davis Journal of International Law & Policy 1 (2012), pp. 1-65
65 Pages Posted: 12 May 2013
Date Written: 2012
In response to recent mandates, prohibitions, or “choices” relating to veil-wearing by Muslim girls and women, this essay raises and responds to the question: “How should civil government treat culture- or religion-based claims of rights that clash with the norm of women’s equality?” – that question being a broadened reformulation of Susan Okin’s 1999 inquiry, “Is Multiculturalism Bad for Women?” The essay identifies social and political developments, as well as legal and theoretical developments – relating to women, religions, and governments – that have occurred in the 21st century and that demand that reformulation. Reviewing theories on the veiling controversies, and characterizing some as reflecting only partial visions, the essay embraces and argues for a re-shaped liberalism that is committedly and simultaneously feminist and anti-racist and secular.
Keywords: Liberalism, multiculturalism, law, women, religion, equality, liberty, veiling, burqa, hajib, niqab, Muslim, Islam, Islamism, Susan Okin, Leila Ahmed, Marnia Lazreg, Nadia Geerts, Martha Nussbaum, Joan Wallach Scott, feminism, secularism, racism
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