'A Storm on the Horizon': Discomforting Democracy and the Feeling of Fairness

Ann Pellegrini

Abstract

This essay examines an ‘anti-Shariah’ law passed by voters in the US state of Oklahoma in 2010, alongside contemporaneous controversies over the so-called ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ in New York City. In both these cases, the terms of debate framed American Muslims as outsiders and, even, threats to the nation. Together, these two case studies reveal the religious traces that mark even ostensibly secular debates over democratic belonging. They also reveal the failures of liberal ‘tolerance’ and ideals of ‘reasonableness’ to make room for wider forms of social difference.

Keywords

Anti-Shariah law; Oklahoma; Ground Zero mosque; tolerance; discomfort

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