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Paradoxes of Liberal DemocracyIslam, Western Europe, and the Danish Cartoon Crisis$
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Paul M. Sniderman, Michael Bang Petersen, Rune Slothuus, and Rune Stubager

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691161105

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691161105.001.0001

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A Clash of Rights

A Clash of Rights

(p.10) Chapter 2 A Clash of Rights
Paradoxes of Liberal Democracy

Paul M. Sniderman

Michael Bang Petersen

Rune Slothuus

Rune Stubager

Princeton University Press

This chapter explains why, even in the cauldron of a crisis over the claims of Islam, fear of and anger toward Islamic fundamentalists did not spill over to Muslims in Denmark. It focuses on the support for the civil rights of Danish Muslims and advances a theory of group categorization and civil rights. The theoretical premise is that it is not possible to form individualized judgments about the civil rights to which each and every group is entitled. It is not possible for ordinary citizens or, for that matter, political theorists. All of us must simplify, and we simplify by organizing groups into a small number of categories—indeed, as an empirical matter, into two categories: Muslims and Islamic fundamentalists. The chapter shows that ordinary citizens drew a clear distinction between them. The public at large—routinely derided as so ill informed about politics and incoherent in their thinking as to be unable to discharge the duties of democratic citizenship—in fact treated Muslims as they would treat groups that are controversial but undeniably legitimate.

Keywords:   Islam, Islamic fundamentalists, Danish Muslims, democratic citizenship, civil rights, group categorization

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