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Nobody asks us! Muslim women's experiences and perspectives of multiculturalism, the legal system and the debate on veil in Sweden

Bonnevier, Syarta LU (2016) RÄSM02 20161
Department of Sociology of Law
Abstract
Within the first decade of this millennium several Western European countries have prohibited Muslim veils in public spaces. Excluding the culture of Muslims or more specifically Islamic beliefs in a multicultural society, in which the hardest hit are Muslim veiled women, has resulted in the discourse of the ‘rise and fall of multiculturalism’. Although Sweden has not prohibited hijab or any other veiling dresses, the veils have been subject to extensive debates in the political discourse with reference to different arguments but predominantly by claims that hijab is an oppression of women. Since these debates take place at the macro-level and/or by the majority, means that veiled women’s own perspectives are not included. The purpose of... (More)
Within the first decade of this millennium several Western European countries have prohibited Muslim veils in public spaces. Excluding the culture of Muslims or more specifically Islamic beliefs in a multicultural society, in which the hardest hit are Muslim veiled women, has resulted in the discourse of the ‘rise and fall of multiculturalism’. Although Sweden has not prohibited hijab or any other veiling dresses, the veils have been subject to extensive debates in the political discourse with reference to different arguments but predominantly by claims that hijab is an oppression of women. Since these debates take place at the macro-level and/or by the majority, means that veiled women’s own perspectives are not included. The purpose of this essay is therefor to explore Muslim veiled women’s own perspectives and experiences regarding multiculturalism, the Swedish legal system, and the debate on veil in Sweden. I interviewed 17 Muslim veiled women and divided them into two groups: Muslim veiled women with Iraqi origins and Muslim veiled women with other origins. Although there might be differences of perspectives and experiences on the topics there is one important finding that embrace all of them: to be heard, to tell their own side of story and above all to be recognized whether it is as individuals or as a group of Muslims or veiled women living in Sweden and elsewhere. By applying Habermas’ theory of communicative action and his presupposition that the democratic debate should take place at the macro-level where the best argument would imply, their voices cannot be heard unless they have a representative with a high political influence or a representative at all. This essay has revealed that the lack of these women’s voices have resulted in a distorted communication of Muslim veils and veiled women. In context of law and regulation not having the equal chance to participate in the political discourse, might result in devastating effects for their social life and their integration in the society since the democratic debate would reproduce the values of the majority that not always are in favour to all citizens. Moreover, this essay also reveals that despite anti-discrimination laws there is a distorted communication of racism. The new form of discrimination appears to have taken a silent form, such as staring, which based on findings from this essay have resulted in Muslim veiled women’s isolation, hence a segregated society. (Less)
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author
Bonnevier, Syarta LU
supervisor
organization
course
RÄSM02 20161
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
Discrimination, Distorted communication, Habermas: Theory of Communicative Action, Veil-ban, Multiculturalism, Legal system, Recognition
language
English
id
8880838
date added to LUP
2016-06-21 14:43:16
date last changed
2016-06-21 14:43:16
@misc{8880838,
  abstract     = {Within the first decade of this millennium several Western European countries have prohibited Muslim veils in public spaces. Excluding the culture of Muslims or more specifically Islamic beliefs in a multicultural society, in which the hardest hit are Muslim veiled women, has resulted in the discourse of the ‘rise and fall of multiculturalism’. Although Sweden has not prohibited hijab or any other veiling dresses, the veils have been subject to extensive debates in the political discourse with reference to different arguments but predominantly by claims that hijab is an oppression of women. Since these debates take place at the macro-level and/or by the majority, means that veiled women’s own perspectives are not included. The purpose of this essay is therefor to explore Muslim veiled women’s own perspectives and experiences regarding multiculturalism, the Swedish legal system, and the debate on veil in Sweden. I interviewed 17 Muslim veiled women and divided them into two groups: Muslim veiled women with Iraqi origins and Muslim veiled women with other origins. Although there might be differences of perspectives and experiences on the topics there is one important finding that embrace all of them: to be heard, to tell their own side of story and above all to be recognized whether it is as individuals or as a group of Muslims or veiled women living in Sweden and elsewhere. By applying Habermas’ theory of communicative action and his presupposition that the democratic debate should take place at the macro-level where the best argument would imply, their voices cannot be heard unless they have a representative with a high political influence or a representative at all. This essay has revealed that the lack of these women’s voices have resulted in a distorted communication of Muslim veils and veiled women. In context of law and regulation not having the equal chance to participate in the political discourse, might result in devastating effects for their social life and their integration in the society since the democratic debate would reproduce the values of the majority that not always are in favour to all citizens. Moreover, this essay also reveals that despite anti-discrimination laws there is a distorted communication of racism. The new form of discrimination appears to have taken a silent form, such as staring, which based on findings from this essay have resulted in Muslim veiled women’s isolation, hence a segregated society.},
  author       = {Bonnevier, Syarta},
  keyword      = {Discrimination,Distorted communication,Habermas: Theory of Communicative Action,Veil-ban,Multiculturalism,Legal system,Recognition},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Nobody asks us! Muslim women's experiences and perspectives of multiculturalism, the legal system and the debate on veil in Sweden},
  year         = {2016},
}