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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  

Anissa Helie

CUNY, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Marie Ashe

Suffolk University Law School

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Helie, Anissa and Ashe, Marie, Multiculturalist Liberalism and Harms to Women: Looking Through the Issue of 'The Veil' (2012). 19 U.C. Davis Journal of International Law & Policy 1 (2012), pp. 1-65. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2263035

Anissa Helie

CUNY, John Jay College of Criminal Justice ( email )

695 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10021
United States

Marie Ashe (Contact Author)

Suffolk University Law School ( email )

120 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02108-4977
United States

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