Public Commissions on Cultural and Religious Diversity: Analysis, Reception and Challenges 9781472472885, 9781315602844

Due to growing negative perceptions about relations between historically entrenched, dominant populations and various mi

723 74 3MB

English Pages [339] Year 2016

Report DMCA / Copyright


Polecaj historie

Public Commissions on Cultural and Religious Diversity: Analysis, Reception and Challenges
 9781472472885, 9781315602844

Table of contents :
List of figures
List of tables
List of contributors
Preface: the benefit of analysing national public commissions
on diversity for research and policy making
Introduction: national commissions on diversity: when reflective processes happen in parallel within several nation-states
Purpose and nature of the various diversity commissions discussed
What is a commission?
A hazardous exercise
Britain, France, Quebec and Belgium: other comparative conclusions
Layout of the book
PART I Britain, France, Quebec and Belgium
1 National commissions on collective identity and diversity: Britain, France, Quebec and Belgium
Comparable societies?
National models: between unity and diversity
Various approaches to issues of religion
Conclusion: similarities and differences
2 ‘Stories are the secret reservoirs of values’: personal recollections of two commissions in the United Kingdom
The Future of Multi-ethnic Britain, 2000
Report on religion and belief, 2015
Learning points
Concluding note
3 Assumptions of power subverted: media and emotions in the wake of the Parekh Report
On becoming intellectual
Media reactions to the Parekh Report
The ambivalent identity of the report
Elites and vulnerability
4 From Stasi (2003) to the Machelon Commission (2006): the use of commissions in religious regulation in France
The three main roles of a commission
The decision to create commissions
The working methodologies of the commissions
The Stasi versus the Machelon Commission: laïcité versus freedom of religion
The posterity of the reports
5 The outcome of the Stasi Report in France: much ado about nothing?
Introduction: the neglected recommendations
The Stasi Commission’s hallmark: a strong laïcité
Two implemented recommendations
Implementing the legal principle of laïcité
After the Stasi Report
The actors of laïcité
6 The Bouchard–Taylor Commission in Quebec and reasonable accommodations: collective creation and multilevel reception
Moving the legal debate over reasonable accommodation to political and identity issues
Tensions between the commission, media and political arena
Contents of the report: open secularism and interculturalism
Genesis of the report in the previous work of the co-chairs and experts
Complex, multiple receptions
Receptions of the recommendations: partial?
Omissions and silences
7 Debating intercultural integration in Belgium: from the Commission for Intercultural Dialogue to the Round Tables on Interculturalism
The Commission for Intercultural Dialogue (CID)
The Round Tables on Interculturalism (RTI)
PART II Comparative and theoretical perspectives
8 The commissions: caught between media simplifications and political interests
Booby traps: the media, minorities and religions
The commissions in the media cyclone
The Parekh Report in Britain: the difficulty of challenging the national narrative
The Stasi Report in France: media reports and the hijab drama in public schools
Mixed media reception: the Commission on Intercultural Dialogue and the Round Tables on Interculturalism in Belgium
Conclusion: experts caught between media simplifications and political interests
9 Control, instrumentalization and co-operation: the relationship between law and religion in four national contexts
Controlling religion: a relationship of power
The uses of law: an instrumental relationship
Seeking a balance: a co-operative and pragmatic relationship
Conclusion: tension between a permissive and a restrictive approach to religion
10 Globalizations of a common discourse: the United Kingdom and Quebec compared in the context of four national commissions on diversity
The global social context of the countries and the reports
Four reports on diversity in four countries
The common or putatively global in four glocal responses
The British and Quebec cases: glocal path-dependent responses
11 The altar of victory and the crucifix: a tale of two controversial symbols
The debate around the altar of victory
The battle over a crucifix
From symbols to rituals
PART III Other national public initiatives
12 A coherent public policy on religion in Norway? An analysis of the 2013 report ‘A Society Open to Religious and Worldview Diversity’
Changing relations between Church and State in an increasingly diverse Norway
Members of the commission and how the commission worked
Content of the report
Economic aspects
Key questions and controversies
The media strategies
Some results from the public hearing
A prestigious report in the drawer and back on the table again
Implementations of the commission’s recommendations
13 A national enquiry into freedom of religion and belief in Australia
Australian religious diversity
Consequences of religious diversity
Australia’s legal, constitutional and social policy context
The conduct of the enquiry
The findings of the national enquiry
Particular issues
Persistent issues
A reflection on the enquiry
14 Public–policy discourses on selected significant issues of cultural and religious diversity in Singapore
Legal and institutional arrangements pertaining to cultural and religious diversity
Navigating and reconciling cultural and religious diversity: three cases
Discussion and concluding remarks
15 The religious diversity conundrum in Morocco: the case of the National Commission for Dialogue on Civil Society and New Constitutional Prerogatives (2012)
Introduction: religious diversity as an unspoken national discussion
The kingdom of Morocco: the limitations of an exception
The case of the National Commission for Dialogue on Civil Society
Religious diversity in Morocco
Conclusion: uttering the unspoken
16 Conclusion: on ‘national diversity commissions’

Citation preview

‘This ground-breaking study of a number of important yet under-studied national commissions addresses the role of religion and management of religious diversification in modern societies. The theoretically informed volume offers detailed and comparative examinations of how a number of nation’s efforts to understand what increasing, and controversial, religious diversification means for national identity and cohesion.’ – James T. Richardson, Emeritus Foundation Professor of Sociology and Judicial Studies, University of Nevada ‘This book is innovative and insightful in equal measure. It looks at the management of diversity – and in particular religious diversity – in an entirely new way. It does so by comparing the official and less official commissions that have addressed this question across a wide range of countries in recent years. The authors cover the origins of these ad hoc bodies, their membership, their purpose, their working practices, their conclusions, and their reception by the wider society. The cumulative knowledge that emerges is deeply impressive; in every sense of the term this book is more than the sum of its parts. It will become a must-read text.’ – Grace Davie, Professor of Sociology, University of Exeter

Public Commissions on Cultural and Religious Diversity

Due to growing negative perceptions about relations between historically entrenched, dominant populations and various minority groups, issues relating to the need to better manage cultural and religious diversity have been intensifying in many countries. These negative perceptions have recently led to a significant increase in popular support for right and extreme right nationalist discourses, and have created so much public tension that national governments have had no choice but to respond. In the last two decades, in several Western contexts in particular, the issues raised by such combined challenges have culminated in the creation of government-initiated or private national commissions. This book presents the results of a multidisciplinary analysis, from a broader framework that includes the national public commissions which have addressed the challenges of managing cultural and religious diversity in Britain, France, Canada (Quebec), Morocco, Belgium and Norway (also including other cases of public management in Australia and Singapore). It includes in-depth studies of the issues and controversies examined by each of the commissions, such as the ways they perceived the issues, their results and impact, the key political players involved, the media debates and reception surrounding each commission, the communication strategies and difficulties their leaders encountered, as well as the legal aspects each commission has raised. The reports represent a rich body of work charting the fundamental questions nations face about their nature, history and future while the impact on people’s lives tells us much about different approaches to the issues of cultural identity and the management of cultural and religious diversity across several countries. Solange Lefebvre holds the Research Chair in Management of Cultural and Religious Diversity and is a Professor at the Institute of Religious Studies, University of Montreal. She is the principal investigator of the international project on National Commissions on Diversity. She has conducted extensive research and published widely on issues of religion in the public arena, management of religious diversity, religion and education, and religious heritage. Lefebvre also served as a member of the Committee of Experts for the Consultation Commission on Accommodation Practices Related to Cultural Differences, chaired by Gérard Bouchard and Charles Taylor.

Patrice Brodeur is an Associate Professor at the Institute of Religious Studies, University of Montreal, as well as Senior Adviser at the International Dialogue Centre (KAICIID) in Vienna, Austria. He studied at McGill University and Harvard University. His career highlights include a Junior Canada Research Chair on Islam, Pluralism and Globalization at the University of Montreal (2005–2015), leading an interdisciplinary research team on contemporary Islamic thought as well as on various forms of dialogue, and developing a Peace Mapping Project.

Public Commissions on Cultural and Religious Diversity

Analysis, Reception and Challenges Edited by Solange Lefebvre and Patrice Brodeur

First published 2017 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN and by Routledge 711 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017 Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2017 selection and editorial matter, Solange Lefebvre and Patrice Brodeur; individual chapters, the contributors The right of Solange Lefebvre and Patrice Brodeur to be identified as the authors of the editorial material, and of the authors for their individual chapters, has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilized in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Names: Lefebvre, Solange, 1959- editor. | Brodeur, Patrice, 1962- editor. Title: Public commissions on cultural and religious diversity : analysis, reception and challenges / edited by Solange Lefebvre and Patrice Brodeur. Description: Abingdon, Oxon ; New York, NY : Routledge, 2017. | Includes bibliographical references and index. Identifiers: LCCN 2016048341| ISBN 9781472472885 (hardback) | ISBN 9781315602844 (e-book) Subjects: LCSH: Cultural pluralism–Government policy–Case studies. | Religion and state–Case studies. | Governmental investigations–Case studies. Classification: LCC HM1271 .P867 2017 | DDC 305.8–dc23 LC record available at ISBN: 9781472472885 (hbk) ISBN: 9781315602844 (ebk) Typeset in Times New Roman by Cenveo Publisher Services


List of figures List of tables List of contributors Foreword by Charles Taylor Preface: the benefit of analysing national public commissions on diversity for research and policy making Acknowledgements

Introduction: national commissions on diversity: when reflective processes happen in parallel within several nation-states

xii xiii xiv xxi xxiii xxvii


S olang e L e f e bvr e

Purpose and nature of the various diversity commissions discussed  2 What is a commission?  3 A hazardous exercise  7 Britain, France, Quebec and Belgium: other comparative conclusions 11 Layout of the book  12 PART I

Britain, France, Quebec and Belgium 1

National commissions on collective identity and diversity: Britain, France, Quebec and Belgium S olang e L e f e bvr e

Comparable societies?  19 National models: between unity and diversity  21 Various approaches to issues of religion  24 Conclusion: similarities and differences  30

17 19

viii  Contents 2

‘Stories are the secret reservoirs of values’: personal recollections of two commissions in the United Kingdom


R obin R ichardson

The Future of Multi-ethnic Britain, 2000   35 Report on religion and belief, 2015  41 Learning points  44 Concluding note  45 3

Assumptions of power subverted: media and emotions in the wake of the Parekh Report


S arah N e al and Eug e n e M c L aughlin

On becoming intellectual  49 Media reactions to the Parekh Report  51 The ambivalent identity of the report  54 Elites and vulnerability  57 Conclusion 64 4

From Stasi (2003) to the Machelon Commission (2006): the use of commissions in religious regulation in France


P i e rr e - H e nri P r é lot

The three main roles of a commission   70 The decision to create commissions  71 The working methodologies of the commissions  72 The Stasi versus the Machelon Commission: laïcité versus freedom of religion  74 The posterity of the reports  75 Conclusion 76 5

The outcome of the Stasi Report in France: much ado about nothing? A nne F ornerod

Introduction: the neglected recommendations  80 The Stasi Commission’s hallmark: a strong laïcité  81 Two implemented recommendations  83 Implementing the legal principle of laïcité  86 After the Stasi Report  88 The actors of laïcité  91 Conclusion 92


Contents    ix 6

The Bouchard–Taylor Commission in Quebec and reasonable accommodations: collective creation and multilevel reception


S olang e L e f e bvr e

Moving the legal debate over reasonable accommodation to political and identity issues  99 Tensions between the commission, media and political arena  102 Contents of the report: open secularism and interculturalism  103 Genesis of the report in the previous work of the co-chairs and experts  105 Complex, multiple receptions  107 Receptions of the recommendations: partial?  109 Omissions and silences  111 Conclusion 113 7

Debating intercultural integration in Belgium: from the Commission for Intercultural Dialogue to the Round Tables on Interculturalism


K ar e l J . L e yva and L é opold Vanb e lling e n

Introduction 120 The Commission for Intercultural Dialogue (CID)  122 The Round Tables on Interculturalism (RTI)  128 Conclusion 135 Part II

Comparative and theoretical perspectives 8

The commissions: caught between media simplifications and political interests S olang e L e f e bvr e , K ar e l J . L e yva , G iomny H . R ui z and M athild e Vanass e - P e ll e ti e r

Booby traps: the media, minorities and religions  144 The commissions in the media cyclone  145 The Parekh Report in Britain: the difficulty of challenging the national narrative  145 The Stasi Report in France: media reports and the hijab drama in public schools  149 Mixed media reception: the Commission on Intercultural Dialogue and the Round Tables on Interculturalism in Belgium   153 Conclusion: experts caught between media simplifications and political interests  159

141 143

x  Contents 9

Control, instrumentalization and co-operation: the relationship between law and religion in four national contexts


J e an - Fran ç ois G audr e ault- D e s B i e ns and B e rtrand L avoi e

Controlling religion: a relationship of power  170 The uses of law: an instrumental relationship  173 Seeking a balance: a co-operative and pragmatic relationship  176 Conclusion: tension between a permissive and a restrictive approach to religion  177 10 Globalizations of a common discourse: the United Kingdom and Quebec compared in the context of four national commissions on diversity


P e t e r B e y e r and M ari e - È v e L arivièr e

The global social context of the countries and the reports  182 Four reports on diversity in four countries  183 The common or putatively global in four glocal responses  184 The British and Quebec cases: glocal path-dependent responses 185 Conclusion 198 11 The altar of victory and the crucifix: a tale of two controversial symbols


L ori G . B e aman and M ari e - C laud e L’ A rch e r

The debate around the altar of victory  203 The battle over a crucifix  207 From symbols to rituals  209 Conclusion 211 Part III

Other national public initiatives


12 A coherent public policy on religion in Norway? An analysis of the 2013 report ‘A Society Open to Religious and Worldview Diversity’


I ngunn Folk e stad B r e ist e in and I ng e r Furs e th

Changing relations between Church and State in an increasingly diverse Norway  217 Members of the commission and how the commission worked  220 Content of the report  221 Economic aspects  222

Contents    xi Key questions and controversies  223 The media strategies  226 Some results from the public hearing  228 A prestigious report in the drawer and back on the table again  232 Implementations of the commission’s recommendations  234 Conclusion 235 13 A national enquiry into freedom of religion and belief in Australia 240 G ary D . B ouma

Overview 240 Australian religious diversity  240 Consequences of religious diversity  242 Australia’s legal, constitutional and social policy context  243 The conduct of the enquiry  244 The findings of the national enquiry  246 Particular issues   248 Persistent issues  249 A reflection on the enquiry  249 14 Public–policy discourses on selected significant issues of cultural and religious diversity in Singapore


L ai A h - Eng

Legal and institutional arrangements pertaining to cultural and religious diversity  253 Navigating and reconciling cultural and religious diversity: three cases  256 Discussion and concluding remarks  270 15 The religious diversity conundrum in Morocco: the case of the National Commission for Dialogue on Civil Society and New Constitutional Prerogatives (2012)


M oham e d Fadil

Introduction: religious diversity as an unspoken national discussion  275 The kingdom of Morocco: the limitations of an exception  275 The case of the National Commission for Dialogue on Civil Society  279 Religious diversity in Morocco  284 Conclusion: uttering the unspoken  290 16 Conclusion: on ‘national diversity commissions’


Patric e B rod e ur




  8.1   8.2   8.3   8.4   8.5   8.6   8.7   8.8 10.1

Number of articles by period (British Commission) Topics of the articles (British Commission) Number of articles by period (French Commission) Topics of the articles (French Commission) Number of articles by period (CID) (Belgium Commission, 2005) Number of articles by period (RTI) (Belgium Commission, 2010) Topics of the articles (CID) (Belgium Commission, 2005) Topics of the articles (RTI) (Belgium Commission, 2010) Quebec: distribution and change in key terms from 1998 to 2001 (per cent of total key terms) 10.2 United Kingdom: distribution and change in key terms from 2000 to 2012 (per cent in total key terms)

146 148 150 150 154 154 157 157 190 196


  1.1 Commissions: ‘Launch and Reports’ publication   6.1 Statistical table: reported religions in Quebec 12.1 Members in faith and worldview communities in Norway (2013) 12.2 Five models of religion and State relations 13.1 Generations of diversity experience (selected groups over 5 per cent) 13.2 Australia’s religious diversity compared (2011) 13.3 Percentage of each age group in a religion 15.1 Comparison of the two Moroccan Constitutions, 1962 and 2011

19 99 218 222 241 241 242 277


Lai Ah-Eng is a Senior Adjunct Fellow in the University Scholars Programme (USP) at the National University of Singapore (NUS), where she teaches ‘Religious Issues in the Contemporary World’ and ‘Multiculturalism and its Contested Meanings’. Her past appointments include Senior Research Fellow at the Asia Research Institute, NUS; the Institute of Policy Studies, NUS; and the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore. Trained in Economics (Universiti Sains Malaysia), Development Studies (Sussex) and Social Anthropology (Cambridge), her research fields are in multiculturalism, ethnicity and religion, migration and diversity, family and gender, and local histories and heritages. Her major publications include Migration and Diversity in Asian Contexts (co-edited, 2013); Religious Diversity in Singapore (editor, 2008); Beyond Rituals and Riots (editor, 2004); and Meanings of Multiethnicity (author, 1995). She is also active as a public commentator and in intercultural work. Lori G. Beaman is the Canada Research Chair in Religious Diversity and Social Change, a Professor in the Department of Classics and Religious Studies at the University of Ottawa, and principal investigator of the Religion and Diversity Project, a 37-member international research team whose focus is religion and diversity ( She is co-investigator of the international project on National Commissions on Diversity (2012–2018), directed by the Chair in Management of Cultural and Religious Diversity, University of Montreal. Her publications include ‘Deep Equality as an Alternative to Accommodation and Tolerance’, Nordic Journal of Religion and Society, 27(2), 2014; ‘Reframing Understandings of Religion: Lessons from India’, in S. Sikka, B.  Puri and L.G. Beaman (eds), Living with Religious Diversity (2015); and ‘The Will to Religion: Obligatory Religious Citizenship’, Critical Research on Religion, 1(2) 2013. Peter Beyer is in the Department of Classics and Religious Studies at the University of Ottawa. He is co-investigator of the international project on National Commissions on Diversity (2012–2018), directed by the Chair in Management of Cultural and Religious Diversity, University of Montreal. His work has focused primarily on religion in Canada and on developing

Contributors    xv sociological theory concerning religion and globalization. His publications include Religion and Globalization (Sage, 1994), Religions in Global Society (2006) and Religion in the Context of Globalization (2013). Since 2001 he has been conducting research on religious diversity in Canada. From this research, he is principal author and editor, along with Rubina Ramji, of Growing Up Canadian: Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists (2013). Gary D. Bouma is the UNESCO Chair in Interreligious and Intercultural Relations – Asia Pacific at Monash University in Australia. He is a Professor Emeritus of Sociology, Director of the Global Terrorism Research Centre at Monash University, Australian node of the Religion and Diversity Project (University of Ottawa), University of Ottawa, and President of the Australian Association for the Study of Religions. He was commissioned by the Australian Human Rights Commission to conduct a national enquiry into Freedom of Religion and Belief in Australia. Author or co-author of over 25 books and 300 articles, he has been inducted as a member of the Order of Australia (AM) for services to Sociology, to Interreligious Relations and to the Anglican Church of Australia. Ingunn Folkestad Breistein is a Professor and Department Head in the Department of Religion, Philosophy and History of the University of Agder in Norway. She was a member of the Commission on Faith and Worldviews (2010–2013). Her works include Har staten bedre borgere? Dissenternes kamp for religiøs frihet i Norge 1891–1969 (Does the State have Better Citizens? The Struggle for Religious Freedom by the Dissenters in Norway, 1891–1969) in 2003 and Religionsstatistikk og medlemsforståelse (Statistics of Religion and Understanding of Membership, co-edited with Ida Marie Høeg) in 2012. Her research focuses on the history of religious minorities in Norway, relationships between religion and state, religious freedom and gender issues. She was a member of the Faith and Worldviews Commission. Patrice Brodeur is an Associate Professor at the Institute of Religious Studies, University of Montreal, as well as Senior Adviser at the International Dialogue Centre (KAICIID) in Vienna, Austria. He studied at McGill University and Harvard University. His career highlights include a Junior Canada Research Chair on Islam, Pluralism and Globalization at the University of Montreal (2005–2015), leading an interdisciplinary research team on contemporary Islamic thought as well as on various forms of dialogue, as well as setting up the KAICIID Research Department (2013–2015) and developing its Peace Mapping Project ( His books include: Interreligious Dialogue for Peacebuilding in the Balkans, 1990–2008, co-authored with Dr. Ina Merdjanova (2009; paperback, 2011 [in Bulgarian, 2010; in Bosnian, 2015]). He co-edited, with Sondra Myers, Democracy and Religion in the 21st Century (2006). Mohamed Fadil, Professor of Sociology in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities Sais-Fès, University of Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah, is a member of the

xvi  Contributors research group Religion and Society at Moulay-Ismaïl University in Meknes, Morocco, and Associate Chair in Management of Cultural and Religious Diversity (University of Montreal). His publications include L’Islam: Regards en coin (2015, as co-editor), ‘Islam et politique, entre le religieux et l’historique’, in Mameri Dorra-Chaambi, L’Islam et la France: Chronique d’une histoire commune (2012). He has been conducting research on the history and sociology of Islam, Islam and politics, Islamist movements, and the geopolitics of Muslim societies. Anne Fornerod has been a researcher at the National Centre for Scientific Research since 2011 (DRES Centre of Research, CNRS/University of Strasbourg). Her research interests are in law and religion: religious heritage, the principle of laïcité, public funding for religious groups, and religious pluralism. She is a member of the Editorial Board of the newly created journal Revue du droit des religions. She is currently supervising a research project on French case law pertaining to religious issues. Her main publications are: Annotated Legal Documents on Islam in Europe: France (2016); Funding Religious Heritage (ed. 2015); and Le régime juridique du patrimoine religieux (2013). Inger Furseth is a Professor in the Department of Sociology and Human Geography at the University of Oslo in Norway. She is also Adjunct Professor at the KIFO Centre for Church Research. She was the Director of the research programme ‘The Role of Religion in the Public Sphere: A Comparative Analysis of the Five Nordic Countries, 1988–2008’ (NOREL, 2009–2014). Some of her books include: A Comparative Study of Social and Religious Movements in Norway, 1790s-1905 (2002), From Quest for Truth to Being Oneself (2006), An Introduction to the Sociology of Religion (2006, with Pål Repstad) and The Changing Soul of Europe (2014, co-edited with Helena Vilaca, Enzo Pace and Per Pettersson). Her research centres on religion in the public sphere, religious diversity, migration, gender issues, social and religious movements, and social theory. Jean-François Gaudreault-DesBiens is Dean of Law and Canada Research Chair in North American and Comparative Legal and Cultural Identities, University of Montreal. He has also taught at the faculties of law at the University of Toronto and at McGill University, in addition to being a visiting professor at various universities outside Canada. His teaching and research interests are constitutional law (domestic and comparative), civil liberties, legal theory and epistemology, and the sociology of legal cultures. He is co-investigator of the international project on National Commissions on Diversity (2012–2018), directed by the Chair in Management of Cultural and Religious Diversity, University of Montreal. His recent publications include ‘Cooperative Federalism in Search of a Normative Justification: Considering the Principle of Federal Loyalty’, Constitutional Forum/Forum constitutionnel (2014); and (as editor) Le droit, la religion et le “raisonnable” – Le fait religieux entre monisme étatique et pluralisme juridique (2010).

Contributors    xvii Marie-Claude L’Archer is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Classics and Religious Studies, University of Ottawa. She is a researcher for the international project on National Commissions on Diversity (2012–2018), directed by the Chair in Management of Cultural and Religious Diversity, University of Montreal. She is a historian specialized in religious transformations and cultural encounters in late Antiquity. Her current research focuses on the phenomenon of apostasy in the early centuries of Christianity. Marie-Ève Larivière is an MA student in sociology at the University of Ottawa and researcher for the international project on National Commissions on Diversity (2012–2018), directed by the Chair in Management of Cultural and Religious Diversity, University of Montreal. Bertrand Lavoie has a Ph.D. from the Faculty of Law, University of Montreal, and is a Sociology Lecturer at André-Laurendeau College, a post-secondary institution in Montreal. He is a researcher for the international project on National Commissions on Diversity (2012–2018), directed by the Chair in Management of Cultural and Religious Diversity, University of Montreal. His works include ‘Écueils et objectifs partagés entre juristes et sociologues: réflexions sur le dialogue interdisciplinaire entre le droit et la sociologie’ (2014, Canadian Journal of Law and Society). His current research focuses on the interaction between law, culture and religion in North Atlantic societies, and on an examination of theoretical and epistemological conditions which contribute to successful interdisciplinary dialogue in socio-legal studies. Solange Lefebvre holds a Research Chair in Management of Cultural and Religious Diversity and is a Professor at the Institute of Religious Studies, University of Montreal. She is a member of the Royal Society of Canada. She is the principal investigator of the international project on National Commissions on Diversity. She is the leader of the Montreal node of the Religion and Diversity project based at the University of Ottawa. She has been a visiting professor at various universities outside Canada, and has conducted extensive research and published widely on issues of religion in the public arena, management of religious diversity, religion and education, religious heritage, Catholicism and culture, and spiritualities and generations. Her recent publications include Catholicisme et Culture (2015) and Religion in the Public Sphere: Canadian Case Studies (2014). She was a member of the advisory committee of the Bouchard–Taylor Commission. Karel J. Leyva is a doctoral candidate, under the joint supervision of the University of Montreal and the École pratique des hautes études (Paris-Sorbonne). He is a researcher for the international project on National Commissions on Diversity (2012–2018), directed by the Chair in Management of Cultural and Religious Diversity, University of Montreal. His works include ‘Multiculturalisme et laïcité en France: les trois républicanismes du rapport Stasi’ (2015, Dialogue: Canadian Philosophical Review, Cambridge University Press).

xviii  Contributors His current research focuses on liberal and republican responses to the challenges posed by cultural and religious diversity. Eugene McLaughlin is a Professor of Criminology and Co-director of the Centre for Crime and Justice Research at City University, London. Eugene has held various academic appointments, including the University of Hong Kong, the Open University and the University of Southampton. He has been a visiting professor at the Department of Sociology, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York, and the Department of Communication Studies, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He is an associate editor of Crime, Media and Culture and is on the editorial board of Criminal Justice Matters. Eugene’s current research interests include the mediatization of crime and justice, and trial by media and media justice. His most recent books are Criminological Perspectives (with John Muncie, 2013), The Sage Handbook of Criminological Theory (with Tim Newburn, 2013). He has authored and co-authored numerous journal articles and book chapters including ‘Theorizing Institutional Scandal and the Regulatory State’, Theoretical Criminology (2016). Sarah Neal is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Sheffield in the UK. She previously worked at Middlesex University, the Open University and the University of Surrey. Sarah has researched and published widely in the fields of race, ethnicity, multiculture, community, belonging, place and policymaking. She was involved in writing two recently completed Economic and Social Research Council-funded research projects which examine different aspects of changing geographies and social formations of multiculture in the UK. Recent co-authored publications include ‘Negotiating the educational spaces of urban multiculture: skills, competencies and college life’, Urban Studies (2016); ‘Multiculture and public parks: researching super-diversity and attachment in public green space’, in Population, Space and Place (2015); ‘Race, Community and Conflict: fifty years on’, Ethnic and Racial Studies (2015), and Race, Multiculture and Social Policy (2013, with Alice Bloch and John Solomos). She is co-editor of Sociology and is on the editorial board of Ethnic and Racial Studies. Pierre-Henri Prélot is a French Law Professor at the University of Cergy-Pontoise on the western side of Paris. Former Dean of the Faculty of Law (1997–2002), he teaches constitutional law and human rights. He is the Director of a French– German Licence and Masters programme that he created in 2005 in partnership with the University of Düsseldorf (Germany). He was a member of the Machelon Commission, for which he was chosen as an academic specializing in the fields of religious freedom and laïcité. Specialized in the fields of Law and Religions, he published many articles on the topic of freedom of religion, French laïcité, and (freedom of) education. His disciplinary approach is mainly historical and legal. He directed the publication of the Treaty of French Law of Religions (Messner, F., Prélot, P.H., Woehrling, J.M. (dir.), Traité de droit

Contributors    xix français des religions, Lexis Nexis, 2nd edn, 2013, 2001). He is also the author of a book on fundamental rights law (Droit des libertés fondamentales, 2010, 2nd edn). Robin Richardson was director of the Runnymede Trust when the Commission on the Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain was being planned in the 1990s. He was consultant and drafting editor for its report and also for the report of the Woolf Institute Commission on Religion and Belief in British Public Life from 2013 to 2015, chaired by Baroness Elizabeth Butler-Sloss. He has frequently acted as a consultant to the ministry of education in England on race equality issues, and is the editor or co-editor of several publications and reports on Islamophobia. He has worked in the field of education as a teacher,  researcher and inspector, in the field of inter-religious and race relations as director of the Runnymede Trust, and as a consultant on equalities legislation to a range of national and regional bodies. Giomny H. Ruiz did a Master in Religious Studies at the University of Montreal and is a consultant on immigration and diversity. He has also worked as coordinator for the Chair in Management of Cultural and Religious Diversity from 2011 to 2015. He has been collaborating as a researcher for two important international projects: the international project on National Commissions on Diversity (2012–2018), directed by the Chair in Management of Cultural and Religious Diversity, University of Montreal, and MCRI Religion and Diversity in Canada: Beyond Tolerance and Accommodation, directed by Lori Beaman, University of Ottawa. His current research focuses on the religious identity of Cuban minorities in Canada. His interests also include religious and cultural minorities in Western societies as well as contemporary forms of religiosity. Mathilde Vanasse-Pelletier is a doctoral candidate at the Institude of Religious Studies, University of Montreal. She is a researcher for the international project on National Commissions on Diversity (2012–2018), directed by the Chair in Management of Cultural and Religious Diversity, University of Montreal. Her work includes ‘The Use of Reality Television and Social Media by Mormon Fundamentalist Groups: Changing Representations, Minds, and Laws’ (2015, Advances in the Study of Information and Religion). She mainly focuses on the interaction between minority religions and mainstream media. Her current research concerns the legitimization strategies put in place by the diverse branches of American Mormon culture, and the way in which these strategies impact the social, legal, cultural and political realities of these groups. Léopold Vanbellingen is a Ph.D. fellow at the Chair of Law and Religion, Université Catholique de Louvain. He is a researcher for the international project on National Commissions on Diversity (2012–2018), directed by the Chair on Management of Cultural and Religious Diversity, University of Montreal. His

xx  Contributors works include ‘L’accommodement raisonnable de la religion dans le secteur public: analyse du cadre juridique belge au regard de l’expérience canadienne’ (2015, Revue Interdisciplinaire d’études juridiques). His current research focuses on religious diversity in the European and North American workplace, and on the legal treatment of religious subjectivity in relation to religious freedom and equality.


Modern democracies have a growing diversity problem. In a way, this is built into their very essence. On one hand, contemporary democracies, unlike the models they often draw on in the ancient world, aspire to be inclusive. The successive widening of the franchise has produced a situation in which universal suffrage is the only legitimate option. At the same time, their emphasis on equality and non-discrimination means that they can admit no distinction between first- and second-class citizens. This would astonish the ancient Athenians, who happily excluded women, slaves and metics. On the other hand, however, these democracies also need a strong sense of cohesion to function, as do all ‘republican’ forms of government, relying largely on citizens’ own motivation, rather than repressive state force, to induce them to participate, pay taxes, accept a measure of redistribution, and often serve in the armed forces, etc. We can call the centre point of this cohesion ‘political identity’, and it is usually made up of some combination of political principles (e.g. democratic rule, human rights) and certain historical markers (‘We are Canadian, Québécois, American, French, etc.’). However, what happens when the ethical commitments – or the ethnicity – of certain people seem to fall outside, or even be contrary to, the political identity? Do we have the right, indeed the duty, to exclude them? Would this not put us in contradiction with ourselves, with our most cherished principles? In a world in which diversity is steadily growing – partly through migration, partly through indigenous cultural and spiritual change – this kind of (at least apparent) clash is bound to arise. Its existence is not surprising, but what may astonish us is the frequency with which religion is the scene of these tensions. But perhaps this, too, is not so strange. Strongly felt political identities are rooted in the past, and for this reason contemporary atheists find themselves linked to a certain religious history, although they might want to rename it ‘heritage’ or ‘patrimony’. The most militant may want to repudiate even this concept, but they have often made ‘secularism’ into an ideology which requires them to combat ‘religion’ wherever it raises its ugly head. We might add to this that the discomfort that natives may feel at the arrival of immigrants from new and unfamiliar places cannot honestly be justified on ethnic or cultural grounds. That would infringe the contemporary ethic of non-discrimination.

xxii  Foreword Those refusing to accept immigrants must find ethical grounds, such as the violation of male–female equality often attributed to practising Muslims, regardless of their own convictions. How to deal with these tensions, fairly and in conformity with their own foundational principles, is a conundrum which arises more and more in contemporary democracies. In many countries, governments, and sometimes bodies in civil society, have chosen to set up commissions of enquiry, charged with consulting experts and/or members of the public, in order to clarify issues, offer possible solutions and perhaps also move public opinion in one direction or another. These countries are rather different, so the ways that the issues present themselves are quite varied. But at the same time, the concerns are similar enough that members of any country can gain useful insights from seeing how the issues have been handled elsewhere. The editors and contributors to this volume had the excellent idea of setting out a contrastive comparison of these types of commission, how they were established, how they carried out their work and what became of their conclusions. The scholarship is multifaceted and on a very high level. The result is a compelling and interesting work, which should be consulted by all who are concerned with these issues, and above all those who are seeking a way out of the impasse which our crisis of diversity threatens to create for the integrity of democracy itself. Charles Taylor


The benefit of analysing national public commissions on diversity for research and policy making Due to growing negative perceptions about relations between historically entrenched, dominant populations and various minority groups, issues relating to the need to better manage cultural and religious diversity have been intensifying in many, mostly Western, countries. These difficulties are exacerbated when demographic numbers of minority groups rise more rapidly because of immigration or because of their different reproductive trends in second or third generations. In addition, globalization patterns facilitated by access to new transnational media, as well as various older housing policies that have reinforced ethnic ghettoization, fuel greater resistance both to assimilationist tendencies in national state policies and to dominant cultural discourses. In many Western countries in particular, these negative perceptions, often reduced to a simplistic binary opposition between ‘religious’ and ‘secular’, have become even more acute as a result of two recent developments. The first is the unprecedented size of the latest migration wave into Europe, mostly of refugees coming from the Middle East. The second is the increase in the number of violent and/or terrorist attacks that have occurred in a few Western countries, even though the number of casualties is very small in comparison to the number of lives lost to terror in several countries in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. These negative perceptions have recently led to a significant increase in popular support for right and extreme right nationalist discourses, and at the same time have created so much public tension that national governments have no choice but to respond. In the last two decades, in several Western contexts in particular, the issues raised by such combined challenges have specifically culminated in the creation of government-initiated or private national commissions. While their respective central purposes have varied from one country to another, all these commissions include two important elements. First is the need for politicians to be actively engaged in finding ‘solutions’ at a time of perceived crisis of national identity, which often leads to political posturing (with variations across, and at times even within, political party lines). Second, there is a need to develop future

xxiv  Preface policy recommendations for improving intergroup relations, or what is often called the management of cultural and religious diversity. These commissions have published meticulously written reports. Each one portrays a specific way to frame its national context in the light of its particular challenges regarding national identity and diversity, in relation to law, public institutions and integration. As well, the reports address the management of various cultural, and especially religious, identities and behaviours. The commissions have also produced notes, specific reports, public consultations and briefs, with varying media reception. These reports and the substantial reflections that surround them represent a rich body of literature that helps us observe the evolution of many nations facing fundamental questions regarding their very nature, identity, history and future. The convergence in the use of national commissions, as one way to stimulate public reflection on such sensitive topics, represents a unique opportunity for comparative research.

The genesis of this research This research is rooted in the experience of the Canadian province of Quebec, a rich source of commissions reflecting on cultural and religious questions since the 1990s, in particular a 1999 parliamentary commission on religious education in Quebec schools. An unprecedented number of briefs were filed (about 250), addressing an extensive report by a committee of specialists which had been chaired by Jean-Pierre Proulx, in addition to numerous research notes which were produced for the committee.1 The issue at stake was the secularization of the teaching of religion in primary and secondary schools, a highly controversial subject. Afterwards, the government of Quebec adopted several recommendations that had been proposed by the report and the ensuing commission. In 2003–2004, there was another public commission on Quebec’s religious heritage. Although it drew less attention, this commission did produce a small report containing several recommendations, which were also subsequently implemented by the government. The heritage question caused very little conflict, since there was a wide consensus concerning the necessity of preserving Quebec’s religious heritage, which was perceived as being at risk.2 While these debates were taking place, other issues emerged. In 2007, at the heart of a heated debate concerning reasonable accommodations which lasted several months, another commission was established, which was chaired by Gérard Bouchard and Charles Taylor. This time, public consultations of unparallelled intensity generated over 900 briefs, several reports, and countless media and academic reactions. Having been involved in various ways in these commissions – as brief writer, media resource person and member of the Bouchard–Taylor Commission advisory committee – it was at this point that Solange Lefebvre developed an initial research project concerning governmental commissions (2008–2011), which was funded by the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).3 The materials that had been produced seemed to be of great value for research purposes. The goal was to examine the output of the governmental

Preface    xxv commissions which had reflected respectively on religion at school and on reasonable accommodations, both subjects having culminated in the suggestion of a concept called ‘laïcité ouverte’ (open laïcité).4 Inevitably, the study of these commissions intersected with the situation in France, from which the influence of debates on laïcité was felt strongly in the French Canadian province of Quebec.5 The Stasi Commission and the various public documents produced in France thus attracted attention for a study from a comparative perspective. The second project, also financed by SSHRC (2010–2018), aimed at enlarging this perspective and included the Belgian, British and French contexts, as well as that of Quebec.6 It followed two main avenues of study: the configuration of controversies concerning collective identity and ethno-religious diversity; and the management of cultural and religious diversity, and the regulation of religion by the State. Both of these aspects were approached from four different angles: reasonable accommodations and religious freedom; relations between women and men; spaces in public and semi-public institutions; and the transformation taking place in national models (laïcité, secularization, multiculturalism and interculturalism). This study analysed the complex interactions between these national debates, paying particular attention to the dynamics governing the circulation, convergence and concurrence of ideas and politico–juridical models. It was therefore natural that from a comparative study within one national context (Quebec), to a second one including four national contexts (Britain, France, Quebec and Belgium), Solange Lefebvre would be interested in joining forces with her colleague Patrice Brodeur so as to include, in this book, an additional four countries where similar commissions or closely related public processes also took place in recent years: Australia, Morocco, Norway and Singapore. Among other writing projects, two books with Routledge emerged from these research projects. In order to gather scholars and political actors involved in reflection on this broader set of national commissions, Solange Lefebvre and Patrice Brodeur organized a scientific workshop in Vienna at the end of May 2014. The seminar allowed both insiders and outsiders to present and discuss their respective research results, while broadening their overall understanding of this new phenomenon of national commissions on the management of cultural and religious diversity. The workshop also included scholars who shared their studies of other kinds of public policy discourses, processes and changes in countries facing similar challenges – namely, Singapore and Morocco. The chapters included in this book were consolidated after the meeting, and the book represents an integration of the mutual reflection that took place during the workshop. Every chapter relates, in one way or another, to public policy, official documents framing religious and cultural diversity, public and media reception, and legal challenges. In 2015, Marie-Claire Foblets, Director of the Department of Law and Anthropology and Managing Director of the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle, Germany, as well as an international team member of the second Canadian project mentioned above, also organized a conference in Halle, this time focusing mainly on the initial four countries. The information gleaned from this second meeting will form the basis for a companion to this volume.

xxvi  Preface These two books will be valuable for academics interested in better theorizing about the nature of these commissions and their sociopolitical roles in shaping national identity and dynamics. However, they will also be particularly useful for policy-makers and journalists, as a mirror of practices that the first group is responsible for producing and implementing for the common good of their societies, and that the second is responsible for covering in ways that should follow journalistic deontological norms. Solange Lefebvre and Patrice Brodeur

Notes 1  See Jean Pierre Proulx and Task Force on the Place of Religion in Schools in Québec, Religion in Secular Schools: A New Perspective for Québec (Québec: Gouvernement du Québec, 1999). The documentation related to this commission and others can be found on: 2  Bernard Brodeur and Committee on Culture of the Québec National Assembly, Québec’s Religious Heritage (Québec: Gouvernement du Québec, 2005); Solange Lefebvre, ‘Managing and Enhancing the Religious heritage of Quebec’, in Funding Religious Heritage, ed. Anne Fornerod (Farnham England/Burlington, USA: Ashgate, 2015), pp. 197–211. 3  Secularization, laïcité and religious identities in the Quebec context. Funded by the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, 2008–2011. S. Lefebvre, principal investigator with Lori Beaman as co-investigator. 4  S. Lefebvre and Lori G. Beaman, ed., Religion in the Public Sphere: Canadian Case Studies (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2014); Mireille Estivalezès and S. Lefebvre, ed., Le programme d’éthique et culture religieuse : De l’exigeante conciliation entre le soi, l’autre et le nous (Québec: Presses de l’Université Laval, 2012). 5  See, for instance, the analysis of the common approach of feminists in France and Quebec, S. Lefebvre and L. G. Beaman, ‘Protecting Gender Relations. The BouchardTaylor Commission and the Equality of Women’, Canadian Journal for Social Research (CJSR), pp. 95–104. 6  Cultural and Religious Diversity in Four National Contexts: comparative study of the identity dynamic and regulation of religion (Quebec, France, Belgium, Britain). Funded by the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, 2012–2018. S. Lefebvre, principal investigator with Canadian co-investigators (L. G. Beaman, P. Beyer, J.-F. Gaudreault-Desbiens) and international collaborators (J. A. Beckford, C. Béraud, M.-C. Foblets, T. Modood and V. Uberoi).


The editors would like to express their gratitude to the various financial sources that made this international research project possible. In both 2008 and 2012, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada awarded a large research grant to the Chair in Management of Cultural and Religious Diversity, at the Institute of Religious Studies at the University of Montreal, to study national commissions in Britain, France, Quebec and Belgium. The international project on National Commissions on Diversity brings together an interdisciplinary team of prominent researchers to examine the operation, reception and context of the diversity commissions. The Office of Research, the Digital Expertise Centre for Research and the Office of International Co-operation of the University of Montreal, along with the Religion and Diversity Project based at the University of Ottawa, also lent their financial support. In addition, the International Dialogue Centre (KAICIID) based in Vienna, Austria, helped organize and finance a scientific workshop in May 2014, which allowed for an expansion in the number of researchers so as to include other countries such as Australia, Norway, Morocco and Singapore. We would also like to thank those who worked together on the arduous tasks of translation and revision: Gandhar K. Chrakavarty, Liane Grant and Elizabeth Perks. As well, we recognize the work of several doctoral students and research assistants who were involved in the project: Marie-Ève Larivière, Marie-Claude L’Archer, Bertrand Lavoie, Karel J. Leyva, Giomny H. Ruiz, Mathilde Vanasse-Pelletier and Léopold Vanbellingen. More details on the project, as well as thousands of documents related to public discussions on religious diversity, can be found on the website/database PLURI:

Introduction: national commissions on diversity When reflective processes happen in parallel within several nation-states Solange Lefebvre This book presents the results of a multidisciplinary analysis, from a broader framework that includes recent national public commissions which have addressed the challenges of managing cultural and religious diversity. It includes in-depth studies of the issues and controversies examined by each of the commissions, such as the ways they perceived the issues, the contexts in which they were established, their results and impact, the nomination and experience of their chairs and experts, the key political players involved, the media debates and reception surrounding each commission, and the communication strategies and difficulties their leaders encountered, as well as the applications and legal aspects each commission has raised. Some of the chapters offer a comparative perspective. The twenty-two authors who contributed to this book include a few insiders of the various commissions under study, as well as experts on cultural and religious diversity in the public arena who are involved in many ongoing national public debates. The commissions, held between 1998 and 2015 in several countries, all reflect on the ideas of living together and coexistence, in order to improve the management of cultural and religious diversity. Each of them addresses major identity and demographic changes observed within their societies, such as the integration of certain religious minorities suffering from various types of discrimination, as well as the task of encouraging all citizens of a country to respect fundamental rights and equality. Finally, the various national contexts demonstrate some very different ways of meeting the challenges resulting from this growth in ethno-religious diversity. As stated in the Foreword by Charles Taylor, who chaired one of the commissions under study, On one hand, contemporary democracies, unlike the models they often draw on in the ancient world, aspire to be inclusive … . On the other hand, however, these democracies also need a strong sense of cohesion to function, as do all ‘repub­ lican’ forms of government, relying largely on citizens’ own motivation… In this regard, the various commissions under study can be seen as extensive exercises designed to inspire such a commitment to diversity, and they met with mixed success, as our results show in this book.

2  Solange Lefebvre

Purpose and nature of the various diversity commissions discussed In Britain, the Parekh Report resulted from the Commission on the Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain established in January 1998 by a private foundation, the Runnymede Trust. ‘The Commission’s remit was to analyse the current state of multi-ethnic Britain and to propose ways of countering racial discrimination and disadvantage and making Britain a confident and vibrant multicultural society at ease with its rich diversity’, and it published its report in October 2000.1 Robin Richardson’s chapter concerning this report also includes some elements about a more recent independent commission in Britain, appointed in September 2013 by the Woolf Institute ‘to undertake … the first systematic review of the role of religion and belief in the UK today and to make policy recommendations’, since this country and the world are facing ‘pressing issues’ related to religion.2 Its report was published on 7 December 2015. In France, the Stasi Report was the fruit of an ‘independent commission’ called the Commission de réflexion sur l’application du principe de laïcité dans la République (Commission for Reflection on the Application of the Principle of Laïcité in the Republic of France).3 It was instituted by the President of the French Republic on 3 July 2003, and published its report on 11 December of the same year. The President hoped to receive an ‘opinion’ on several issues, while ‘the application of the principle of laïcité [was] a subject of preoccupation. Its implementation in the labour market, in public services, and especially in schools, [faced] new difficulties’.4 Pierre-Henri Prélot’s chapter also includes a study of another commission established in France by the President on 20 October 2005, the Commission de réflexion juridique sur les relations des cultes avec les pouvoirs publics (Commission of Judicial Reflexion on Relations between Religions and Public Authorities), also called the Machelon Commission, which published its report in September 2006. Its goal was to clarify several legal issues, such as those concerning the Regime for Construction and Development of Places of Worship, by which places of worship were often financed by the State in France.5 In Belgium, the Lallemand and Neyts report, published in May 2005, was produced following the work of the Commission du dialogue interculturel (Commission for Intercultural Dialogue) established by the federal government on 23 February 2004, to ‘send a message of reassurance and dialogue after the peremptory debates, but also to respond to incidents of racist and anti-Semitic violence’.6 In order to refocus attention on its findings which had barely received any response, on 18 March 2008, Belgium implemented another commission, les Assises de l’interculturalité (Round Tables on Interculturalism), which was ‘charged with developing recommendations for the government for the purpose of increasing the success of a society based on diversity, respect of cultural particularities, non-discrimination, integration and shared common values’, which it did in its report published on 8 November 2010.7 In Canada on 8 February 2007, the Quebec provincial government instituted the Commission de consultation sur les pratiques d’accommodement reliées aux

Introduction: national commissions on diversity     3 différences culturelles (Consultation Commission on Accommodation Practices Related to Cultural Differences), and its report was published on 22 May 2008. This commission was established in response to public discontent concerning reasonable accommodation, in order to ‘formulate recommendations to the government to ensure that accommodation practices conform to Québec’s values as a pluralistic, democratic, egalitarian society’.8 In addition, this book also includes in its third section other experiences of public discussions on diversity. In June 2010 in Norway, a Commission on Faith and Worldviews was appointed by the government ‘to examine public policies on religion and worldviews, with the goal of suggesting more coherent policy’, having in mind a non-negotiable principle of equality between worldviews and religions.9 Under the National Action Plan to Build Social Cohesion, Harmony and Security (NAP) endorsed in July 2006 by the Ministerial Council on Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) funded a range of projects, one of these being the research project and report entitled Freedom of Religion and Belief in the 21st Century. This was published in 2011 after a large consultation launched in 2008, in order to document ‘the general issues and concerns of religious and non-religious communities in Australia, principally based on direct consultation with the Australian people’.10 Finally, this book includes two other examples worth studying, because they demonstrate how two very different non-Western societies, Morocco and Singapore, have addressed various national challenges when it comes to the management of internal diversity. In Morocco, the 2012 National Commission for Dialogue on Civil Society and New Constitutional Prerogatives was implemented to reflect on the concept of ‘civil society’, which was defined in the 2011 Constitution. This commission addressed ‘the subject of diversity from almost every possible angle, with the exclusion of the religious perspective’ (see Chapter 15).11 In Chapter 14, Lai Ah-Eng explains that ‘there have been no national Commissions of Inquiry parallel to those studied in other chapters of this book’, because since its separation from Malaysia in 1965, Singapore’s primary focus has been on economic development and on political governance, with race and religion defined as being out of bounds (OB) to public and political debate. Yet, Ah-Eng analyses public debates and decisions that arose from controversies that initially started on new social media, regarding challenges related to freedom of cultural and religious expressions and their public limits.

What is a commission? Among the commissions appointed by governments to develop proposals about issues of public interest, one must differentiate between permanent bodies and temporary, or ‘special’, commissions that are established to deal with a specific issue.12 This book focuses on this last type. These two government consultation methods are sometimes included in a larger category of ‘policy advisory systems’, which covers both internal and external governmental consultation systems.13

4  Solange Lefebvre The commissions are then further designated as being governmental, consultative or opinion, public or citizen, special or ad hoc. One will also encounter the associated ideas of expert committee (independent), blue-ribbon panel or commission, advisory committee, or commission of enquiry. In 1910, the Balfour Report noted that ‘the appointment of … Commissions is useful for the elucidation of difficult subjects which are attracting public attention, but in regard to which the information is not sufficiently accurate to form a preliminary to legislation’.14 A hundred years later, in contrast, most of the specialists agree that finding a common definition for the concept of ‘national commission’ is an extremely difficult task, given the sheer diversity of forms and functions attributed to such commissions.15 However, Sheriff offers a concise definition based on a synthesis of the descriptions found in the Balfour Enquiry (1910): ‘a body appointed to advise on the basis of additional evidence’.16 Bulmer suggests an example of what a generic definition could be: Governmental commissions are established … to advise upon a particular, limited issue of public policy … . The Commission is [an independent] corporate group created by a public act whose duty it is to collect evidence, analyse the problem, report publicly, and make advisory recommendations for governmental action. The group is an ad hoc body, created for a specific purpose, and its life is limited to the time taken to produce a report. The members of the commission are appointed directly by the head of state … as a result of consultation within government … 17 Marier introduces other important elements to take into consideration: ‘a commission is subordinate to the government … its report is non-binding and the government has the authority to accept, alter, or reject its findings … the creation of a commission sends a strong signal that authorities are not satisfied with various aspects of a program or policy and provides additional resources to learn’.18 In addition, he points out the six major reasons for implementing a commission, three of which initiate a rigorous process – ‘enhancing knowledge, facilitating political compromise, and educating the general population’ – and three which arise from more partisan motives—‘delaying, avoiding blame, and increasing support for a proposition’.19 Most often, there is a complex combination of these motivations. Finally, Marier observes that commissions have at least five different types of influence on policy outcomes, ranging from counteraction to full endorsement: 1) the reforms introduced by a government may be opposite to those proposed by a commission; 2) the conclusions of a commission may have little content or no effect (status quo); 3) a government may ignore numerous recommendations of a commission, choosing to implement only a few; 4) a commission may have a tremendous long-term impact by transforming the fundamental ideas surrounding a policy; and 5) a commission may be highly influential if a government opts to endorse the major elements of its report and act accordingly.20 These two typologies help us to contextualize the commissions studied in this book.

Introduction: national commissions on diversity     5 Concerning the types of motivations set out by Marier, most of the commissions studied in this book resulted from both a need for clarification on certain issues and politico-partisan motivations. The British Parekh commission is the product of an academic type of reflection, but also of the left culturalist leaning of the Runnymede Trust. It had no immediate direct effect. Among the commissions studied, it is undoubtedly the French Stasi commission that was most obviously created to endorse and strengthen support for a proposal advocated by the government to ban the veil in public schools. As well, its impact involved only the implementation of a small number of the actual recommendations. On the contrary, the Machelon commission was a less publicized exercise concerning a more technical question, the funding of religions by the State, particularly to build places of worship. Nonetheless, as was the case with the Stasi commission, its recommendations were only partially implemented. We find an almost identical contrast between the two Belgian commissions, the Commission du dialogue interculturel representing a more discreet operation, while the Assises de l’interculturalité which had similar goals of educating the population, was caught up in a maelstrom of public opinion and political manoeuvring. However, in both cases, there was little direct impact. As for the Bouchard–Taylor Commission in Quebec, it appears to be the type of political exercise aimed at ‘delaying, avoiding blame’, while pursuing the more neutral goal of clarifying the issue of reasonable accommodation. The subsequent Quebec governments would employ several strategies to reject, ignore or endorse more or less explicitly some of the numerous recommendations in the report. Finally, of the cases studied in Part III, those of Norway and Australia involve rigorous processes designed to document controversial issues and investigate public opinion, and the exercise in Morocco remains very political while pursuing the goal of educating the population. These three cases have varying impact. And for all the cases studied in this book, several of the initial issues and those raised subsequent to the work of the commissions are still being publicly debated. Among the issues discussed in the literature regarding various types of commissions and policy advisory systems, one in particular comes to light: the significant gap between commission experts and wider society. Schulz and van Twist remark that in the Netherlands, it seems that the number of commissions is increasing and their nature is changing, as a result of the rise of ‘knowledge democracy’: knowledge being disseminated more and more throughout society as a whole.21 While on the positive side, some anticipate valuable expert insight to emerge from such processes, the negative aspect is that doubts are often expressed to the effect that they will bring nothing new to the table. Bulmer compares some British and American commissions, focusing on the varying influence of knowledge from social sciences on the results, taking into consideration several factors, such as the degree of politicization of the process, the composition of the expert committees and employees working with the commissions, and the varying effectiveness of working methodologies. One of these methodologies, recourse to public and oral hearings, drew criticism from several researchers who prefer systematic empirical investigations.22 Craft and Howlett point out the studies of Presser on Royal

6   Solange Lefebvre Commissions in Australia where he ‘distinguished between what he termed “cold”, typically long-term and proactive, and “hot”, or short-term and crisis driven, types of advice’, the first being more neutral and information-based and the second being more biased and relying on fragmented information.23 Furthermore, Bulmer’s studies of British and American commissions conclude that ‘the potential effectiveness of social science is reduced by the political context in which commissions work, their preferred modes of taking evidence, the way in which commissions are staffed, and the internal dynamics of their workings’.24 In light of this information, what insights can we glean from the commissions studied in this volume? Their configurations are somewhat complex. Among the two main types described as cold long-term and hot short-term, these commissions fall more in the short-term, crisis-driven category, but given the investment of the experts appointed to them, they could be seen as reflecting the thoroughness that characterizes the longer exercises. The shortest commission lasted only five months (the Stasi commission in France), and some lasted more than two years (the British commissions and the Round Tables in Belgium). Of particular importance in relation to the issue of the impact of social research is the fact that their research included general theory as well as empirical evidence. This means that the previous work of the main researchers had a dominant influence on the commissions, whether or not their work formed part of the empirical analysis. The criticism expressed in the literature, of the usefulness of oral hearings in influencing the results, proves to be more or less pertinent depending on the commission in question. In this regard, the Stasi commission is unique. At least one of its members, Jean Baubérot, denounced many times the fact that the choice of the people involved in the hearings was biased. As for the other commissions, their members felt that the oral public hearings were critical for the exercise, allowing a large number of people to express a viewpoint on difficult issues that are important to everyone. Targeted invitations or larger appeals for forum-type case discussions were involved. As such, we could believe that most of the commissions studied in this book were of the type described by Schulz and van Twist, which are based mainly on knowledge democracy. This is more or less the case, since the result of consultations, even those conducted on a large scale, are inevitably filtered through the presuppositions and interpretative frameworks of the experts working on the commissions. An intriguing example in this regard is the Bouchard–Taylor Commission in Quebec. Its consultation process did not result in a report that was the product of great deliberation. Schulz and van Twist remark, moreover, that choosing experts based on their experience and expertise is characteristic of a classic type of commission. In a knowledge democracy, future commissions could give more consideration to representativeness and authority as selection criteria.25 Citizens’ assemblies and discussion networks could also be accorded more importance. However, in relation to the commissions on diversity studied in this volume, we could argue that the confidence placed in knowledge democracy could result in preference being given to the viewpoints of majorities, at the expense of minorities.

Introduction: national commissions on diversity     7 Finally, to conclude this brief literature review about the issues surrounding public commissions, it is imperative that authors take into consideration the purpose of these commissions when doing a comparative analysis. In fact, when it comes to vulnerable minorities, it is crucial that our research results question the deliberative hypothesis of Schultz and van Twist. In a broader sense, these results show that since these commissions involving identity issues and the topic of beliefs addressed very controversial topics, not only were they a veritable obstacle course for commission members, but could also lead to problematic reception, whether in the media, among the public or in the political arena.

A hazardous exercise The ad hoc temporary commissions studied in this book, which were established to clarify a collective issue, encountered many difficulties. We could even say that the problems were present from the beginning and stemmed from their very nature. Mistreatment of experts When commissions are mandated by the government or by official public bodies, they exude an aura of expertise. On one hand, the appointed members are usually renowned experts in their field, as well as being socially trustworthy figures. The credibility of the elected officials, or the private foundations in the case of Britain, who appoint them is at stake: if the appointments themselves stir up social actors from the very beginning, the exercise will be compromised. However, on the other hand, the reverence shown to these chosen experts often gives way to tension that can become, for them, unbearable. At least, this is the case when the issue being dealt with is controversial, as it is here. The experts’ credibility may in fact find itself under severe strain from a discussion and reception process that is very conflicted, mediatized and politicized. These difficulties are explained in detail in the chapters concerning Britain, Quebec and Belgium. Chapter 3 by Neal and McLaughlin, for instance, analyses the work of the Parekh commission, and addresses the issue of the vulnerability of the elite, focusing on the ‘emotional investment that policy-makers may have in the documents they have produced and disseminated’. This significant emotional investment is present in several people who lead or are involved in the process of the commissions studied. In the case of the British commissions chaired by Parekh in 1998 and by Butler-Sloss in 2014–2015, both unique since they were initiated by private foundations, the aura of expertise is also very significant, but can be crippled by actors who point out its non-official capacity. The collaborations established with the political sphere can prove to be fragile due to the private character of the initiative, in spite of the prestige of the members and the value of their work.26 In the case of the Parekh Report, it became easy for the decision makers to abandon it at the end of the process because, after all, it was not their project.

8  Solange Lefebvre The Butler-Sloss report seems to have been better received by the elected officials. This book also outlines the complex power relations between politicians and the experts appointed to the commissions. In four cases, it is astonishing to find that the very day the report was published, or soon afterwards, politicians issued public denials or took an opposing position. The scope of analysis of commissions on diversity is huge, involving national identity and migratory policies, and bridging several levels of community life (political, legal and civic). As the reports tackled numerous sensitive issues, they inevitably conflicted with the political sphere, whose interest is in part to satisfy the electorate and seek consensus (the latter being impossible in connection with such issues). Finally, since the outcomes which the reports present are not solely empirical, but also theoretical and ideological, they proved rather to be flexible resources for politicians, who could refer to them or not as they wished, and endorse certain aspects and not others. The impossible consensus The assiduous process of public consultation and calling for contributions from numerous experts ensures the thoroughness of the process, but also disguises its relativity, as not all of the actors share the same opinion, even on basic issues. This can lead to arguments, frustration, discord and even betrayal. It is well and good to say that several approaches are possible in the sphere of knowledge, and that in the eye of the public the status of expert evokes the idea of truth, credible knowledge, and even certainty when proposing solutions. However, in the light of such expectations, how can we accept the fact that within a group of experts where one is as trustworthy the other, members can think differently on basic issues? This conflict of interpretation is common in the sphere of academic knowledge, but it can thwart public expectations created by the establishment of commissions charged with resolving an issue. In most cases, the final reports prove inevitably to be a rather composite product of a relative consensus. In this respect, four patterns are observed. The first uses only the chairmen as signatories (Bouchard and Taylor, 2008, in Quebec); the second involves all commission members (Parekh, 2000, in Britain, and Stasi, 2003, in France); the third also includes all members, but discloses dissenting opinions (Belgium in 2005 and 2010), and the fourth indicates several possible solutions (Norway). In our opinion, the last two ways could be the most appropriate, as they avoid the need to pretend that there was a perfect consensus on an issue and allow more than one viewpoint to be presented. Specific moments within a larger deliberative process The commissions are part of a larger process of reflection prior to and subsequent to the public exercise and the publication of the final report. In this regard, sometimes they do nothing but reinforce and confirm certain points. Implementation of the recommendations, should it occur, is at times discreet, both because of

Introduction: national commissions on diversity     9 rivalry among public powers and commission members, and because the topic of diversity is very sensitive from an electoral standpoint. One journalist remarked that ‘a report is a very perishable commodity, which can be either praised or condemned depending on the flavour of the day or the current political interest’.27 As for the Stasi and Bouchard–Taylor Reports, several recommendations were either denied or endorsed publicly. In the latter case, they coincided with existing jurisprudence, consolidated certain points, or supported a clear political desire. In the Stasi example, it was a question of simply extending into the educational field a ban that had already been implemented in public service. The Bouchard–Taylor case involved making known the legal and intercultural approach of reasonable accommodation and voluntary adaptation, which had already been in place for several years. The Parekh Report in England and the Belgian Round Tables report instead questioned the community diversity management models that were in place, and they both met with great defeat. In Australia, Bouma and his report pleaded for a Bill of Rights which the country did not yet possess, but the fact that it was intended to be a research project and that the process had been implemented by the commission of rights limited the possibility of its endorsement by elected officials. The commissions under analysis relate to complex issues and they really were not in a position to resolve such long-standing problems. The negotiation of differences within a society cannot occur simply by implementing a set of recommendations; it can only happen with experience and over time. When decision makers must deal with many restrictions and diverging viewpoints, it makes it difficult for them to definitively settle issues. However, these commissions do arouse high expectations, which often remain unfulfilled. Most people have confidence in their assiduous processes, but their level of satisfaction with them varies according to the context. As such, we can henceforth propose an initial way of defining public commissions or hearings related to diversity: they are mainly intended to convince by way of the implementation of a complex ritual, whose effectiveness is only relative. Many people support them and therefore have confidence in them (producing briefs, following their progress and media analysis), but in the end few are actually convinced of the viability of the proposed solutions. In Quebec, a Canadian province where there have been several public commissions one after the other on various subjects, how many times have we heard the expression ‘much ado about nothing’ after the final reports were produced? Notwithstanding, several commissions which dealt with a very specific topic did actually produce clearer results, as is the case for the Quebec commissions related to teaching religion in school and to the preservation of religious heritage, which are mentioned in the Preface to this book. Ultimately, the results of a commission represent only one link among many in the democratic deliberative process. Experts and social actors who contribute to the process have already been doing so for some time, and will continue thereafter to influence society. In certain cases, the commissioners become famous by chairing a commission and try to use this newly gained influence afterwards. It is

10  Solange Lefebvre therefore within the context of continued deliberation that public commissions on cultural and religious diversity find their usefulness and fundamental purpose, and for this reason societies still continue to rely on them. Our results show that these debates are crucial for advancing democracy, but one should not expect them to provide the ultimate solution. What about religion? Until quite recently, the religious dimension has been subtle, if not invisible, in public reflections and research on diversity, multiculturalism and interculturalism in several Western countries. It has become increasingly noticeable, especially in the wake of the attacks on New York City in September 2001 – hence the requests for clarifications from decision makers, several social and religious groups, and even from numerous citizens. However, the issue presents a very intriguing paradox for researchers: even though it is at the heart of the problem, it is often addressed in varying ways, more or less implicitly. The central issue addressed by each public commission’s report reveals the prevalent way of dealing with the problem of diversity in each society: racism and discrimination respectively in Britain and Belgium; application of the principle of laïcité in France; social cohesion and reasonable accommodation in Quebec. Nonetheless, most of the time, the core of these controversies is religion itself. What about other countries in relation to the West? Lai Ah-Eng in Chapter 14 recognizes that in Singapore the government does not wish to directly address the issue because of its overly sensitive nature. In Morocco, a commission on diversity completely ignores the subject of religion, probably to avoid calling into question the almost complete political and proselytizing monopoly of Islam in the country. The oldest report, the Parekh Report, was published before the attacks on 11 September 2001 that later propelled Muslim fanaticism to the forefront, and the issue addressed was actually racism and discrimination against several visible minorities in Britain. While an entire chapter of the report is devoted to religion, it is only one of many aspects related to the racism problem. Moreover, the text appeals for the implementation of a specific commission on religion, which in fact took place later in 2013, as mentioned earlier. All the other analysis reports are subsequent to this fateful day, especially in Western countries. As well, several countries producing such reports had also been subjected to terrorist attacks. The Stasi report openly addresses laïcité and religion in a Republican context. The Belgian reports are more reserved on this subject, incorporating the Islamic problem, whose centrality in the debate is yet obvious, into the issue of integration and discrimination. The Bouchard–Taylor Report centres the issue around national identity and the management of reasonable accommodation for religious reasons, even though its mandate did not mention religion at all, but rather spoke of ‘cultural accommodation’. As shown in Chapter 12 by Breistein and Furseth, and Chapter 13 by Bouma, which discuss respectively the Norwegian and Australian contexts, religion is

Introduction: national commissions on diversity     11 dealt with more explicitly in these cases. The Norwegian Commission on Faith and Worldviews (2010–2012) expressly tackles the topic of beliefs. In some of these countries, inter-religious dialogue appears to be well organized: in Norway it was initiated by churches and kept the incident of the Mohammed caricatures from escalating into violence, unlike what occurred in Denmark. In Australia, as in Britain, it is common practice to rely on the interfaith movement to participate in public discussion and give direction to the local communities. Essentially, the religion issue is addressed in different ways, based on each national context and its socio-religious configuration. Finally, readers may notice the large number of categories and concepts related to the vast field of religion that appear throughout the various chapters of this book: convictions, beliefs, practices, signs and symbols, worldviews, faith, denominations, and so forth.

Britain, France, Quebec and Belgium: other comparative conclusions Looking at the chronology of the commissions previously presented, it is obvious that the societies under study face similar problems, and, in the establishment of those commissions, are also influenced by one another in certain ways. Does each report refer explicitly to each other? Not particularly, but the first chapter gives a few indications of their interconnections by tracing the concept of reasonable accommodation throughout four reports. It had already been used in the Parekh Report, which was basically ignored by the subsequent commissions, although the post-2001 era shows more unity. The Stasi Report refers to Quebec’s use of the concept in 2003. While the 2005 Belgium report does not mention the concept, the intense debate in Quebec that led to the Bouchard–Taylor Commission obviously had an influence on the 2010 Belgium report, which discusses some of its conclusions. The 2005 Belgium report displays some influence from the Stasi Report, even including one of the Stasi members, Costa-Lascoux, among the commissioners; the commission itself was established a few months after the publication of the Stasi Report. More generally, the French debate on the veil has had an obvious impact on Quebec and Belgium in relation to framing the wearing of religious symbols as a public problem. A complex process and a simplistic public story In this regard, texts written by experts clash with another social reality – namely, what sociologists call ‘the social construction of a public problem’, wherein people simultaneously define a problem, attribute blame and develop solutions.28 This construct emerges as media and public evidence that becomes very difficult to call into question or to nuance. Not only does the controversy attract the media, but almost all of a society’s opinion leaders, who consequently go outside their usual expertise to speak out on any issue that arises. Along these lines, Neal broaches the topic of an ultra-mediatized, anti-intellectual and unstable context connected to discussions on intercultural reports, pointing

12  Solange Lefebvre out the limited extent to which it is possible to have rational and thoughtful discourse about it. From the analysis of the four main contexts under study (Britain, France, Quebec and Belgium), a distinct conclusion emerges in regard to public and media reception. Only a handful of recommendations, focusing on one or two main ideas, were chosen for public debate. The chapters by Neal (Parekh), Fornerod (Stasi), Lefebvre (Bouchard–Taylor), Leyva and Vanbellingen (Belgium), as well as the analysis of media reception by Lefebvre et al. and of political impact by Beyer and Larivière, are very clear: the vast majority of the recommendations were largely ignored in public debate, or only very briefly addressed. This does not mean that none of the overlooked recommendations were implemented at a later time. A common characteristic of these discussions about diversity is that they cause a surge of interest regarding identity, which is compacted into a narrow focus on an issue with symbolic significance, such as the wearing of religious signs. Beaman and L’Archer’s socio-historic analysis illustrates that this concentration of complex problems into a debate that is symbolic in nature is not a new development, as shown in the example of the relocation of a statue of a deity in Ancient Rome. The difficulty in transforming noble ideas into specific recommendations The legal experts who contributed to this book remark on the deep tension that exists between general principles and the need for clear rules. Chapter 5 by Fornerod demonstrates how the Stasi Report made laïcité a value and a way to achieve social cohesion, rather than a legal tool. As a result, its perspective was so broad that it was very difficult to create recommendations that were specific enough to be implemented. Several other reports also examined did not content themselves with specific suggestions, but proposed full-fledged societal projects or social philosophies. Chapter 9 by Lavoie and Gaudreault-Desbiens examines the issue of law as it is addressed in the four contexts, and their analysis also gives insight into the problem of tension between the larger project and specific recommendations. An approach that focuses on the legislative power of the State, to restrict subjective interpretations of religious liberty, particularly alludes to public order. But the boundaries of this approach are vague and difficult to define once and for all, as are the ‘clear rules’ being sought.

Layout of the book This volume contains three parts, the first two concentrating on the commissions established successively in Britain, France, Quebec and Belgium. While Part I analyses them in detail one after the other, Part II does a comparative study of specific aspects. Before plunging into the discussion, an initial chapter summarizes some of the major themes introduced by the commission reports, and the similarities and differences between them. It does so with particular attention to the issue of religion, according to the following themes: national identity and

Introduction: national commissions on diversity     13 diversity, equality between men and women, reasonable accommodation, religion in schools, and religious radicalism. The next two chapters focus on the situation in Britain. Robin Richardson, Director of the Runnymede Trust when the Commission on the Future of MultiEthnic Britain was being planned in the 1990s, was also the consultant and drafting editor for its report, as he later was for the Woolf Institute Commission on Religion and Belief in British Public Life from 2013 to 2015. Richardson describes the two reports, and shows how both were misrepresented and severely criticized by sections of the UK media, and in consequence neither received the sustained and serious attention hoped for by its authors. Political scientists Sarah Neal and Eugene McLaughlin explore the media and political responses to the Parekh Report, reflecting on the members’ difficult experience. Their chapter emphasizes the political fragility surrounding diversity and social justice commissions. The two chapters examine the type of writing that can foster better reception of a report. Two chapters discuss the situation in France. In Chapter 4, Pierre-Henri Prélot explains the complexities of French laïcité. One of the greatest challenges in France has been the integration of Muslims, integration meaning the respect of common social rules – hence, in 2004 Parliament banned Muslim headscarves at school. However, integration also involves the right of Muslims to build places of worship, implying the support of public authorities. These somewhat contradictory developments were the subject of the two commissions under study, Stasi and Machelon. Chapter 5 by Anne Fornerod examines more specifically the Stasi commission, explaining how, due to media coverage, the headscarf issue overshadowed many other critical and practical points. However, its report introduced room for symbolic interpretations of laïcité, which constitutes a critical tool of analysis that gives insight into the varying results of the recommendations. The last two chapters in Part I deal respectively with the Quebec case and the two Belgian cases. The Bouchard–Taylor Commission was a public exercise created in response to a crisis, as the debate on reasonable accommodation had taken an acrimonious and disturbing turn. Chapter 6 by Solange Lefebvre analyses the tension between the commission, the media and the political arena, as well as the report’s omissions, genesis and multi-level reception. Chapter 7 by Karel J. Leyva and Leopold Vanbellingen offers a comparative study of the two Belgian federal commissions. They conclude that the value of these two exercises in civic reflection lies in their stimulation of long-term public discussion of interculturalism in Belgium. Part II of the book presents a few comparative transnational analyses of media, legal systems, political reception, and very old controversies about religious symbols in the political arena. Chapter 8 by Solange Lefebvre, Giomny Ruiz Fernandez, Karel J. Leyva and Mathilde Vanasse-Pelletier examines media reception in the three national contexts in question: Britain, France and Belgium, where the commissions suffered the same fate, with only a handful of the main ideas included in their reports receiving attention, and only in rare cases being implemented. Chapter 9 by Jean-François Gaudreault-DesBiens and Bertrand

14  Solange Lefebvre Lavoie analyses the conceptualization of the relationship between law and religion in the four commission reports. The authors found three patterns of relationship between law and State in the four reports: a relationship of control, an instrumental concept of the state law/religion interplay, and a co-operative and pragmatic approach. Chapter 10 by Peter Beyer and Marie-Ève Larivière begins with the four national contexts, then engages in a more detailed comparison of Britain and Quebec. To understand both the nature and influence of comprehensive discursive efforts to address diversity, one must situate them in their contexts and in a broader public discourse. The authors perform a conceptual analysis, showing how public policies evolved before and after the two reports through semantic contrast, in the words used to discuss diversity and its challenges. Finally, debates on religious symbols and their place in the public sphere are not new, explain Lori Beaman and Marie-Claude L’Archer in Chapter 11. They invite the reader to travel back in time with them to visit a less contemporary example of controversy over a symbol and its place in the public domain. They believe this journey can dislodge the debate from the sometimes myopic focus of contemporary discussions. Part III discusses various international consultation experiments on religious diversity. In Chapter 12, Ingunn Folkestad Breistein and Inger Furseth analyse the Norwegian Commission on Faith and Worldviews. Their findings show that the commission emphasized equal treatment of all faith and worldview communities as a guiding principle. They conclude that although this outcome seems unlikely in the near future, the commission’s report seems to have had an effect on policymaking about religious diversity in Norway. In Chapter 13, Gary Bouma explains how the Commonwealth Government of Australia conducted an enquiry in 2008 into freedom of religion and belief in order to ascertain if the needs of more recently arrived and established religious groups were being met. Not many new issues were identified, but the researchers were inundated by a tsunami of rightwing Christian groups insisting that part of their religious freedom was the right to discriminate, particularly against Muslims and homosexuals. In Chapter 14, Lai Ah-Eng offers a very different case study, discussing three situations showing the complexity of diversity issues, how they are navigated on the ground and in cyberspace, and how they are reconciled. The chapter concludes with approaches and principles for conflict management and resolution. Finally, in Chapter 15 by Mohamed Fadil, there is a very interesting study of Morocco, concentrating on its 2012 National Commission for Dialogue on Civil Society and New Constitutional Prerogatives. Between the new 2011 constitution, which confers a constitutional religious role on the king, and civil society groups who advocate for legal and social rights to the free exercise of beliefs, religious diversity in Morocco remains a genuine conundrum. Patrice Brodeur’s Conclusion presents some viewpoints that take into consideration recent situations in several countries where national problems have been exacerbated, as refugee problems and an increase in terrorist attacks seem to have magnified the issues raised by the various commissions examined in this book. He calls for the creation of other

Introduction: national commissions on diversity     15 ‘National Diversity Commissions’, whose catalytic effect on dialogue is of utmost importance.29

Notes   1  Bhikhu Parekh and Runnymede Trust Commission on the Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain. The Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain: The Parekh Report (London: Profile Books, 2000), p. viii.   2  Elizabeth Butler-Sloss and Commission on Religion and Belief in British Public Life, Living with Difference: Community, Diversity and the Common Good (The Woolf Institute: Cambridge, 2015), p. 6.   3  Bernard Stasi et al., Commission de réflexion sur l’application du principe de laïcité dans la République: Rapport au Président de la République (Paris: La Documentation française, 2003).   4  Stasi et al., Commission de réflexion, Mandate Letter. Please note that all foreign language citations have been translated by the authors.   5  Jean-Pierre Machelon et al. Commission de réflexion juridique sur les relations des cultes avec les pouvoirs publics (Paris: La Documentation française, 2006), Mandate Letter from Nicolas Sarkozy.   6  Roger Lallemand, Annemie Neyts et al. Commission du Dialogue Interculturel. Rapport final et Livre des auditions, (Brussels: Ministère de l’Égalité des Chances, de l’Intégration sociale et de l’Interculturalité, 2005), p. 5.   7  Marie-Claire Foblets, Christine Kulakowski et al., Les Assises de l’Interculturalité (Brussels: Ministère de l’Emploi et de l’Égalité des Chances, 2010), p. 10.   8  Gérard Bouchard and Charles Taylor. Commission de consultation sur les pratiques d’accommodement reliées aux différences culturelles, Building the Future: A Time for Reconciliation (Quebec City: Gouvernement du Québec, 2008), p. 17.   9  The report was published on 7 January 2013. Kulturdepartementet, Det livssynsåpne samfunn. En helhetlig tros-og livssynspolitikk. NOU 2013 [A Society Open to Religious and Worldview Diversity: Toward a Coherent Policy NOU 2013] (Oslo: Kulturdepartementet, 2013). 10  Gary Bouma et al., Freedom of Religion and Belief in 21st Century Australia (Sydney: Australian Human Rights Commission, 2011), p. 2. 11  Ministère chargé des Relations avec le Parlement et la Société Civile (Final Report on National Dialog on Civic Society and its New Constitutional Prerogatives), March 2015. 12  ‘If these groups are set up permanently they are councils, if they are just created to deal with a single question ad hoc, they are commissions’. Martin Schulz and Mark van Twist, ‘The Governance of Policy Advice: Regulation of Advisory Commissions and Councils in Germany and The Netherlands’, paper for the 1st International Conference on Public Policy, 26-28 June 2013, Grenoble, France, 5, accessed 1 June 2016, www. 13  John Halligan,‘Policy advice and the public sector’, in B. Guy Peters and Donald J. Savoie ed., Governance in a changing environment (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1995), pp. 138–172; Jonathan Craft and Michael Howlett, ‘The Dual Dynamics of Policy Advisory Systems: The Impact of Externalization and Politicization on Policy Advice’, Policy and Society 32.3 (2013): pp. 187–197; Arnošt Veselý, ‘Externalization of policy advice: Theory, methodology and evidence’, Policy and Society 32.3 (2013): pp. 199–209. 14  Report of the Departmental Committee on the Procedure of Royal Commissions (Balfour Report, 1910). Quoted in Peta E. Sheriff, ‘State Theory, Social Science, and Governmental Commissions’, The American Behavioral Scientist 26.5 (1983): pp. 669–680, 669.

16   Solange Lefebvre 15  Patrik Marier, ‘The power of institutionalized learning: the uses and practices of commissions to generate policy change’, Journal of European Public Policy 16.8 (2009): p. 1206. 16  Sheriff, ‘State Theory, Social Science, and Governmental Commissions’, p. 669. 17  Martin Bulmer, ‘Introduction: Commissions as Instruments for Policy Research’, The American Behavioral Scientist 26.5 (1983): pp. 559–567, 559. According to Bell, there are five different kinds of functions served by Government (US) commissions: advisory, evaluation, fact-finding, public relations, policy recommendations. Daniel Bell, ‘Government by Commission’, The Public Interest 3 (1966): pp. 3–9. 18  Marier, The power of institutionalized learning, p. 1206. 19  Ibid. 20  Ibid., pp. 1209–1210. 21  Martin Schulz and Mark van Twist, ‘The positioning of commissions in a knowledge democracy’, in Knowledge Democracy, ed. Roel in 't Veld (Berlin: Springer, 2010), pp. 299–313. 22  Bulmer, ‘Commissions as Instruments for Policy Research’, p. 357. 23  Scott Presser, Royal Commissions and Public Inquiries in Australia (Sydney: Lexis Nexis, 2006), p. 193. 24  Martin Bulmer, ‘Applied social research? The use and nonuse of empirical social inquiry by British and American governmental commissions’, Journal of Public Policy 1 (1981): p. 353. 25  Schulz and van Twist, ‘The positioning of commissions’, p. 309. 26  See, for example, Bob Morris, ‘Living with Difference: The Butler-Sloss Commission’s report reflects its members’ interests rather than the public interest’, Law & Religion UK, 6 January 2016, accessed 15 January 2016, living-with-difference-the-butler-sloss-commissions-report-reflects-its-membersinterests-rather-than-the-public-interest-2/ 27  Michel David, ‘Les sincérités successives’, Le Devoir, 27 May 2014: A3 (a Quebec newspaper). 28  See Céline Béraud, Claire de Galembert and Corinne Rostaing, ‘Des hommes et des dieux en prison’, research funded by DAP-Ministère de la Justice, no., May 2013, pp. 68–69. 29  Kulturdepartementet, Det livssynsåpne samfunn: En helhetlig tros-og livssynspolitikk. NOU 2013 [A Society Open to Religious and Worldview Diversity: Toward a Coherent Policy NOU 2013] (Oslo: Kulturdepartementet, 2013), accessed 7 December 2016,

Part I

Britain, France, Quebec and Belgium

1 National commissions on collective identity and diversity Britain, France, Quebec and Belgium Solange Lefebvre

Before addressing each commission in detail and comparing some specific aspects in the following chapters of this book, this first chapter gives an overview of the major themes introduced by the reports, and of the similarities and differences between them. It does so with particular attention to the issue of religion, which – although often only implied – nonetheless represents the heart of the problem discussed by these government-initiated commissions, except for the pre-September 2001 case of Britain. The topic is addressed according to the following themes: national identity and diversity, equality between men and women, reasonable accommodation, religion in schools, and religious ­radicalism.1 As a reference: Table 1.1  Commissions: ‘Launch and Reports’ publication Country

Launch of commission and chairperson

Publication of the report


January 1998 Bhikhu Parekh July 2003 Bernard Stasi February 2007 Gérard Bouchard/Charles Taylor March 2008/September 2009 Marie-Claire Foblets/ Christine Kulakowski

October 2000

France Quebec Belgium

December 2003 May 2008 November 2010

Comparable societies? Apart from the fact that the commissions faced common challenges and similar issues, the choice to compare the four nations is based on the fact that Canada (including Quebec) and Britain have a historical connection in terms of legal traditions, as well as common intellectual and linguistic influences, making their comparison quite pertinent. Differences and similarities mark their legal customs and political ideologies, their management and regulation of religious pluralism and their challenges related to immigration and ethnicity. The Canadian province of Quebec also maintains close ties with France, given that the majority of the

20  Solange Lefebvre province’s population have ethnic origins dating back to the colonial period. As for Belgium, it shares a heritage of civil law with both France and Quebec. As is the case in those two contexts, Belgium has traditionally been primarily a Catholic society, yet anti-clericalism has resonated in recent decades, primarily among francophones. Like Canada, Belgium represents a multinational and multilingual state at the federal level. While certain common aspects permit the comparison of the four contexts, each one has several specific characteristics that an analysis of the commissions brings to light. The commissions in this study all examine the impact of growing cultural and religious diversity.2 They each investigate the possibility of rules that can promote the idea of living together. Within these rules, the respective reflections put forward common principles or norms. In each of the four cases, the commission sets forth principles with which the vast majority of citizens would agree. These general principles include: equality between individuals; respect for and consideration of differences; and the importance of cohesion and living together within a collective project. The three European countries also find themselves with particular postcolonial challenges. The Quebec report, however, avoids this question: it only mentions the First Nations issue when referring to specific Canadian law and politics relevant to the subject. In every case, the issue of discrimination against minorities arises. The reflection is, moreover, driven by expressions of conflict and identity discomfort. The sentiment of identity being threatened has been included in each of the reports. The aspects under threat, in the words used by the reports, are: •• • • ••

In the United Kingdom, a certain Britishness woven into the coexistence of England, Scotland and Wales. In France, the principle of laïcité, which is foundational to the Republic. The nucleus of founding French-Canadians who represent a majority in Quebec, but are a minority within the largely anglophone country of Canada and in North America in general. The identity elements that form the indigenous nuclei of contemporary Belgium, both linguistic (French and Flemish) and regional (Wallonia, Brussels, Flanders).

In connection with this identity discomfort, the reports evoke, more or less explicitly, the question of ethnicity and national identity. Both of these issues are more clearly linked and identified in the commissions of Britain and Quebec, since the reports mention specific ethnic minorities that represent a significant percentage of the overall national demographic. The French report amalgamates the idea of nation with that of the Republic, although no significant ethnic minorities are named, laïcité being ‘driven by a strong vision of citizenship that transcends community, religious or ethnic affiliations’.3 This laïcité is apprehensive of pluralistic claims based strictly on ethnic or national affiliations that undermine ‘confidence in the Republic and identification with the nation’.4 The Belgian report, on the other hand, identifies both linguistic and regional groups. It does

National commissions on identity and diversity    21 not explicitly mention any major ethnic groups; rather, it focuses on discrimination suffered by ethnic and religious minorities. The mentioned controversies mainly involve Muslims.

National models: between unity and diversity At the end of the 1990s in the United Kingdom, the issue of management and regulation of religious diversity was raised in a postcolonial context that has retained an official religion – namely, the Church of England – and in which discussions concerning the status of minorities and multiculturalism date back a few decades.5 Society in general had been faced with a number of inter-ethnic tensions that were exacerbated by the racist murder of a young black man named Stephen Lawrence in 1993, while the religious dimension of these tensions had been present since the Rushdie Affair of 1989. The management of multicultural living together, along with the existence of an official state church, came into question. Named after the chair of the commission, Bhikhu Parekh, the Parekh Report comprises over 300 pages of political philosophy in its reflections on the various aspects of the British national model. This broad mandate was conferred by a private foundation, the Runnymede Trust. The question the commission had to address was the following: How could the country become truly multi-ethnic? In its discussion about the future of Britishness, the report concludes that the image of Britishness in most people’s minds is of a non-diverse identity (implicitly racial and white), even if Britishness does not necessarily mean this. The subsequent analyses of the commission in this book will demonstrate how a misinterpretation of this idea became the source of violent controversy, which would jeopardize the reception of the report itself (see Chapters 2, 3, 8 and 10). From the outset, the report cautions against the inherent ambiguity of the concept of ethnicity.6 While the experts understand an ethnic group as having a common origin, a shared sense of history and culture, and a collective identity, in common usage ethnicity is largely connected to the exotic or non-Western world. For this reason, the concept is used sparingly in the report. The discussion mainly concerns access to British citizenship for people from the former colonies which had become independent. The division between whites and racial minorities (black or Asian) is condemned, as is a discriminatory understanding of nationality, one that ‘reinforces the image of a country where white people are naturally imagined to belong, but black and Asian people do not’.7 With regard to the model for society that is promoted for this multicultural context, the Parekh Report states that citizens are at once individuals and members of particular religious, ethnic, cultural and regional communities. The United Kingdom is therefore portrayed as both a community of citizens and a community of communities, as well as being both a liberal and multicultural society that sometimes must reconcile conflicting demands. At least, this is the vision that the Runnymede Trust wishes to promote. The report also addresses the complex discussions about English, Scottish and Welsh identity, the three ­nationalities integral to what is understood as the United Kingdom. The report

22  Solange Lefebvre specifically proposes a rethinking of history and national identity, as well as finding a balance between cohesion, difference and equality in order to reduce the numerous inequalities in citizenship status experienced by many citizens from ex-colonies of Britain. With regard to state management of religion, the report points out the close relationship between Christian denominations and national identity. It mentions an important point – namely, that the Church of England could have the benefit of assuring respect for religions, no doubt against the inverse hypothesis of strong state secularization assuring such equality. Moreover, the report calls for another commission to study the status of the official religion, whose impact could be discriminatory in terms of identity. Religious minorities, particularly Catholics, are barely recognized in this context. It is only recently that such a commission on religion has seen the light of day in Britain (see Chapter 2).8 In France, the commission chaired by Bernard Stasi, a politician and immigration expert, was established after September 2001, amid an already tumultuous debate on integration, laïcité and Islam, that had crystallized around the wearing of the hijab and other religious symbols at school.9 Having been almost invisible for several decades, this debate on laïcité was relaunched in 1989 alongside a scholastic controversy (the headscarf affair) that culminated in a formal notice from the State Council.10 The almost 80-page Stasi Report insists that the wearing of religious symbols has been perceived by officials as not only a way to ‘test the resistance of the Republic’,11 but also as a kind of ‘permanent guerrilla war against laïcité’.12 As opposed to the vision of a community of communities proposed by the Parekh Report, the Stasi Report links the issue of national identity to a strong principle of laïcité: ‘The Republic is composed of citizens; it cannot be segmented into communities.’13 It emphasizes the importance of recognizing diversity, even while insisting on its limitation. It argues that in order to go beyond the traditional defence of ‘the unity of the social body’, ‘the exacerbation of cultural identity cannot set itself up in a fanaticism of difference, as a carrier of oppression and exclusion’.14 In this regard, laïcité must reconcile diversity and unity. In Quebec, an intense reflection was conducted on the challenges posed to collective identity by new ethno-religious groups resulting from immigration. At the beginning, reflections on ‘open secularism’, sometimes referred to as laïcité à la Québécoise, largely concerned religion in schools and its denominational status.15 However, a number of highly publicized demands for reasonable accommodation of a religious nature helped detonate the controversy – most notably, the decision of the Canadian Supreme Court to permit a young Sikh adolescent to wear his kirpan, or ritual dagger, at school.16 It was in this context of continued debate that the Consultation Commission on Accommodation Practices Related to Cultural Differences was established, co-chaired by sociologist and historian Gérard Bouchard along with philosopher Charles Taylor. The voluminous Bouchard–Taylor Report of nearly 300 pages offers, just like the British report, a very broad approach. Believing that Quebec needs to develop clear, formal policies on laïcité and interculturalism, the Bouchard–Taylor Report

National commissions on identity and diversity    23 proposes the writing of a formal statement and a white paper on these topics. The idea of interculturalism included in the report would differ from the Canadian idea of multiculturalism, and would particularly focus on the following challenge: [Interculturalism] seeks to reconcile ethnocultural diversity with the continuity of the French-speaking core and the preservation of the social link. It thus affords security to Quebecers of French-Canadian origin and to ethnocultural minorities and protects the rights of all in keeping with the liberal tradition.17 According to this viewpoint, the rest of Canada does not have a comparable ethnic majority, and the country’s multiculturalism policies insist on the fact that there is no official Canadian culture.18 With regard to religious diversity, the Quebec commission positions itself in favour of an open laïcité, defined both by the equality of all faith traditions and the protection of the heritage of Roman Catholicism, the historical majority religion. Open laïcité is clearly distinguished from French laïcité, which is considered restrictive, particularly with regard to the wearing of religious symbols.19 In this model, based on both the identity of an ethnic majority and openness to diversity, religion is viewed in terms of individual rights and cultural heritage. The report also endorses the mandatory Ethics and Religious Culture program, which was implemented in all primary and secondary schools in 2008. In Belgium, a combination of questions about the cohesion of national identity and the challenge of immigrant integration created a supercharged climate.20 The method of regulating religion is characterized by a system of pillars inherited from the Netherlands; both the secular pillar, as well as the best represented religious groups receive state support. Certain intranational tensions, and in particular Muslim immigration, led to the establishment in 2004 of the Commission for Intercultural Dialogue.21 Because of the lack of follow-up on the latter, we will turn our attention to the 2008–2009 Round Tables on Interculturalism. The mandate of this commission concerned visible minorities – whether ethnic, cultural or religious, as well as the struggle against discrimination. Its approach was predominantly legal. The commission was co-chaired by legal expert Marie-Claire Foblets and by the director of the Centre bruxellois d’Action Interculturelle (Brussels Centre for Intercultural Action), Christine Kulakowski. It was guided by a vision of diversity decidedly favourable to minorities, and suggests engaging Belgian society in a major reform. The report suggests that if liberty is a fundamental right, then government should be neutral, not religious or ethnic.22 Given that the commission was structured around the notion of interculturalism – i.e. a ‘common project that combines unity and diversity, respect for identities and collective projects’23 – the committee proposed a reform of the 1971 Cultural Pact ‘in light of the new multicultural situation. The pillarization of Belgian society, based on the secular and Catholic options, is seen as a source of structural inequality, and must be changed.’24

24  Solange Lefebvre

Various approaches to issues of religion Interestingly, three of these governmental commission reports mention Islam – particularly the veil as a subject of great symbolic controversy – right from the introduction in both the Belgian and French cases. The equality of men and women is also discussed in connection with this controversy, as it is in the Bouchard–Taylor Report. The Stasi Report, while endorsing the principle of laïcité, obviously treats the relationship with religion accordingly. It is especially concerned with Islam and religious symbols in public institutional spaces. The Bouchard–Taylor Commission was created to reflect on accommodation arrangements, associated within this particular context to religious practices. The Belgian report barely touches matters of religion, as it is preoccupied with the general problem of discriminatory treatment of ethnic and religious minorities. The Parekh Report mainly deals with racism and discrimination, as does the Belgian report, but also dedicates a full chapter to the subject of religion. In order to summarize the four reflections, a thematic comparison follows with reference to equality between men and women, reasonable accommodation, religion in schools, and religious radicalism. Equality between men and women questioned by the headscarf The Parekh Report deals with the topic of men and women in its chapters on racism and discrimination. The governmental commissions established after September 2001 place more emphasis on the concern for equality between men and women; they also mention the issues of Islam and the hijab as being catalysts for heated debates, particularly in France and Belgium. This has also been the case in Quebec, but other religious symbols replace the subject of such controversy, such as the kirpan at school; the eruv tradition whereby a thin wire is installed around urban demarcations of Jewish ritual space; and the construction of a Jewish sukkah on the balcony of a luxury condo. The issue of equality between men and women finds itself at the heart of the three commissions, principally fuelled by questions connected to the wearing of the hijab by Muslim women and girls. The French report explicitly mentions previous work from 1989 on the subject of the veil that makes no mention, however, of the male–female issue: ‘The evolution of the terms of the debate over the past fifteen years allows us to measure the growing power of the problem.’25 The Stasi Report proposes linking the principle of laïcité to the principle of equality between the sexes.26 It describes at length the type of family pressures to which migrant women are subjected, including specifically forced marriage, as well as limits on interactions with men, particularly in the area of healthcare. From a legal standpoint, the three reports discuss ways of achieving equality between men and women. The Bouchard–Taylor Report also addresses the challenge of creating a hierarchy of rights, rejecting the hypothesis of yielding to it. However, it endorses the introduction of an interpretive clause into the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms that ‘establishes gender equality as a core value of our society’.27 It is more flexible than the Stasi Report, in that it refuses to endorse the ban on the hijab.

National commissions on identity and diversity    25 The Belgian report also alludes to this issue, recalling that the majority of contemporary work conducted on the management of diversity has been done according to three major principles: equality between citizens, the fight against racism and xenophobia, and equality between men and women. In reality, however, things are not so simple. These principles are indeed not absolute, they coexist with other principles, which sometimes leads to the need for rebalancing.28 In the section on media and business, the report raises the issue of tensions between traditional family cultures and society at large, suggesting the encouragement of daily civic interactions in order to mitigate such tensions.29 In terms of follow-up on the commissions, it is again the issue of the hijab and burka that dominate. In France, despite the variety of recommendations included in the Stasi Report, the most visible and widely recognized effect of the report is the interdiction of hijabs in public schools. Since then, legislation regarding the banning of the burka has occupied political and public discussions in France, Quebec and Belgium. In short, this issue has been the catalyst for all of the fears and controversies in this regard, in a post-2001 context. Defining the concept of reasonable accommodation It is pertinent to address the idea of reasonable accommodation in a specific manner. In effect, the Quebec perspective (where the idea dominates and even structures the whole debate) is explicitly presented by the French and Belgian reports as an original idea. However, it is actually an American idea that has been taken up in Canadian law.30 According to the Parekh Report, it has even existed in Europe, and more generally in the Anglo-Saxon area, for quite some time. The debate in Quebec has undeniably contributed to the wide dissemination of this idea, especially in the francophone context where this legal concept is more recent. The Stasi Report picks up on it, but completely turns around its meaning: ‘Agreeing to adapt the public expression of one’s religious distinctiveness and to set boundaries for the affirmation of one’s identity allows everyone to meet in public spaces. This is what Quebec refers to as “reasonable accommodation.”’31 The text emphasizes the adaptation of the individual, not of the institution, thus obfuscating the most significant aspect of this concept. Moreover, the French report evokes this idea as a limitation to identity assertion, which has little in common with the Quebec and Anglo-Saxon ways of considering it. The Bouchard–Taylor Report also includes a generic expression as a catchall for both legal accommodation and any other form of adaptation: ‘intercultural harmonization practices’, defined in its glossary as: all forms of relaxation or arrangement aimed at settling difficulties and misunderstandings that arise through the encounter of different cultures. More specifically, these measures are adopted in favour of individuals or

26   Solange Lefebvre minority groups threatened with discrimination because of their culture (including their religion). Reasonable accommodation and concerted adjustments are two forms of intercultural harmonization.32 Reasonable accommodation thus refers to a legal decision, but concerted adjustment signifies a decision arrived at in the civic sphere. The Quebec report recommends, among its fundamental guidelines, to encourage concerted adjustments in all pertinent settings, in order to avoid excessive litigation. It indicates that the ‘citizen route’ represents the preferred manner in which to handle demands for reasonable accommodation. This is what actually occurs most of the time; legal accommodation requests make up only a small number of cases, while multiple adjustments are made on a daily basis in various situations. But what guidelines should orient these requests? Many recommendations in the report respond to this question, just as in the Belgian case. The Belgian report gives the idea significant attention, substantially along the same lines, and devotes a section to what it calls instead ‘reasonable adjustments’ (aménagement), something more in line with the European francophone legal traditions, in which the notion of adjustment already exists for the disabled. It proposes extending the concept so that ‘it can benefit people who are [in]directly disadvantaged because of their origin, their beliefs, and/or their culture’.33 In the section devoted to this topic, the report also mentions the Quebec influence: Our debates, but also the various studies we have used for this purpose, have revealed a great divide between supporters of adjustments ‘à la Québécoise’ and their adversaries. To a point, this polarization is even found within the steering committee.34 The Belgian report reiterates terms from the Bouchard–Taylor Report to define this concept and proposes, for example, the same distinction between the more informal citizen route (voluntary adjustments) and the legal route. Unlike in Canada, where existing human rights tribunals are quite accessible for these types of cases, the Belgian report calls for other mediation. It stands in favour of broadening the concept and proposes the creation of a jurisdiction for this matter: ‘Set up a body of certified intercultural mediators to facilitate negotiation, if any, related to adjustment applications for cultural or religious reasons.’35 On the Belgian side, there appears to be a hesitation about handling discrimination of a cultural or religious nature through legal avenues. It is also important to note that the earlier Parekh Report also treats this issue, albeit briefly. In its chapter on religion, it states that the concepts of ‘“reasonable adjustments” and “reasonable accommodation”, already well known in relation to disability issues, are applicable to issues of religion and culture’. A clear recommendation in this regard is made: ‘We recommend that a statement of general principles be drawn up about reasonable accommodation in relation to religious and cultural diversity in the workplace and in schools, and that case-study examples of good practice be provided.’36

National commissions on identity and diversity    27 In relation to concrete issues of accommodation or adjustment, the four reports converge towards an openness to the inclusion of religious diversity, by proposing certain more or less strict markers for the wearing of religious symbols as well as for holidays and religious celebrations. The three most recent reports all propose restrictions in the sphere of power. The Stasi Report submits the wellknown and controversial proposition to ban the hijab in public schools and, in a larger sense, advocates a strict neutrality for all agents of the state, without distinction (a law in this regard has been in place since the beginning of the 1980s). Bouchard and Taylor suggest centring the understanding of neutrality on acts of the state rather than on the appearance of its employees and the users of state services.37 Regarding neutrality and exercising forms of coercion, the absence of religious expressions would be recommended for certain officials who perform highly symbolic functions. The report mentions the President of the National Assembly, judges, Crown prosecutors, police officers and prison guards.38 The report chaired by Foblets and Kulakowski substantially adopts the same position as Bouchard and Taylor, advocating the ban for officials entrusted with a position of authority, but along somewhat different categories (army, police, justice). Resolving the issue of religion in schools In the United Kingdom, there are many schools with a religious ethos, since faith community schools are financed by the state. This constitutes an important dimension of a society defined by the report as a community of communities. But the Parekh Report mentions the importance of ensuring that these schools are open to the wider community, in order to prevent ‘fragmentation’ and ‘separatism’.39 In France, public schools are a hotbed of laїcité. It is therefore not a coincidence that the Stasi Report discusses the prohibition of the hijab in public schools: ‘The issue of laïcité reappeared in 1989, where it was born in the nineteenth century: at school.’40 It should help create ‘enlightened citizens’, free from any identity, cultural and religious differences. Furthermore, the report endorses the proposals of Joutard and Debray to promote the teaching of religious facts through ‘reasoned thinking and a critical approach’, in a transversal manner, and not on a particular subject. In this way, there exists a wish to promote a ‘better mutual understanding of different cultures and traditional religious ideas’.41 In Quebec, Bouchard and Taylor endorse the choices made by the provincial government since 2000, which recommended the establishment of a compulsory and non-denominational course on Ethics and Religious Culture.42 It is from there that the concept of open laïcité takes its initial meaning. The idea of dialogue is at the centre of this course, which is intended to promote understanding and mutual respect. Bouchard and Taylor stand against the restrictive laïcité of France43. For Quebec, they recommend an open and liberal laïcité, one that would include the following elements: the importance of spiritual life for many citizens; the importance of protecting freedom of conscience and religion; the reaffirmation of the choice not to marginalize students wearing religious symbols in public

28  Solange Lefebvre schools; and the need for the Ethics and Religious Culture course that targets religious knowledge and living together. What about Belgium? Once again, the report in question appears to follow the Bouchard–Taylor Report, but in a different context. It recommends putting an end to separate curricula, respectively secular and Catholic, in the interest of pluralistic education and promoting intercultural dialogue.44 We should keep in mind that official instruction had been neutral since 1958, but schools have permitted the religious expressions of their students and their parents. A significant number of schools has already banned religious symbols, notably the hijab. Signalling a compromise between the members of the commission, the report recommends prohibiting these symbols except for the last three years of high school and at university. It notes a specific problem – the contestation of the theory of evolution in certain schools – and reaffirms the importance of scientific education. It also recommends adding certain non-Christian religious holidays to the academic calendar, a suggestion that met with much controversy. Preventing religious radicalism The controversies about diversity over the last several years largely concern the fear of religious extremism and radicalization. Each report follows its respective theory on the source of these problems. From the outset of its chapter on religion, the Parekh Report cites the following excerpt from a letter sent to the commission: There is a tendency in western democracies to believe that secular society provides the best public space for equality and tolerance … [but] secular society tends to push religion … to the margins of public space and into the private sphere. Islamophobia and anti-Semitism merge with a more widespread rejection of religion which runs through a significant part of “tolerant” society, including the educated middle class and the progressive media.45 In its chapter on religion, the Parekh Report also sets out the elements of an expanded recognition of the contribution of religion in the community: volunteerism, the meaning of life, social contributions, and the importance of worship to religious groups. It mentions the organizations set up by governments to respond to the specific needs of religious communities. But several paragraphs are devoted to dissent between groups and people with different beliefs, as well as criticism levelled against religions. For example, the report notes that even when religious groups work together to fight racism, both religious reasoning and rituals may still be used to justify unjust power structures, sectarianism and fundamentalism, as well as inequality between men and women.46 Interfaith initiatives are quite strong in the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth countries (see Chapter 13) and the report encourages their promotion. It suggests that disagreements in matters of religion and belief should be discussed

National commissions on identity and diversity    29 in a rational way, by including religious groups and leaders in the discussion. Islamophobia and the role of the media are also discussed. In short, the question of radicalization is rather implicit, but keep in mind that this British commission preceded the events of 9/11 and 7/7. The Parekh Report promotes all at once a recognition of identities, a deliberative dynamic and a vigorous fight against discrimination. Of all the reports, the Stasi Report most explicitly broaches the question of radicalization. It connects the threats against the principle of laïcité to a noticeable resurgence of anti-Semitism.47 The term ‘political–religious radicalism’ is only used once, to caution against a generalization of this attitude towards all Muslims; extremism and derivative terms are used four times. The report uses the terms thereof threat, violation and attack against the principle of laïcité in a way that seems to imply a reference to extremist gestures: We do not need to be reminded of the reasons for this deteriorating situation. The integration difficulties of those who have arrived in the country during the last decades, the living conditions in many suburbs of our cities, unemployment, the feeling experienced by many who live in our territory of being discriminated against or being driven out of the national community; all of these explain why these groups may lend a sympathetic ear to those who incite them to fight what we call the values of the Republic. We must be clear on this point: yes, extremist groups are at work in our country to test the resistance of the Republic and to push some young people to reject France and its values.48 The report even suggests that a common struggle in Europe is to ‘fight extremist political–religious tendencies that propose communitarian projects’,49 which feed off various integration problems. In short, for the Stasi Report, extremism is communitarianism,50 and is thus a threat to the secular Republic. Again, this is opposite to what is offered by the Parekh Report. The latter connects the marginalization of religion with fundamentalism, while the Stasi Report is concerned about the setbacks of republican laïcité when attacked by visible and firm public religious affirmations. In the Bouchard–Taylor Report, only the chapter on inequalities and discrimination mentions the problem of Islamist extremism. While commenting on the misdeeds of current Islamophobia, it does not deny the possibility that fundamentalism and terroristic attitudes could develop among the small group of Muslim purists located in Quebec. It remains the task of the police force to counter the terrorist threat. The report mentions that ‘the stigmatization of Muslims helps to create in their communities solidarities that are at risk for rebelling against Québec society’.51 The report insists that Muslims living in Quebec are highly educated and willing to integrate while preserving their distinctive signs, unlike Muslims in suburbs in France. The Belgian report problematizes the radicalization of the debates themselves by linking it to the lack of guidelines for managing diversity and ‘identity

30   Solange Lefebvre needs multiplication’: ‘Diversity protection mechanisms do not necessarily offer the required legal framework that would avoid the escalation and radicalization in positioning that we are currently experiencing.’52 Isolation and religious radicalism are connected to high unemployment for certain ethnic and religious minorities, as well as to distrust of immigrants, especially of Muslims since September 2001.53

Conclusion: similarities and differences The four reports reveal a common configuration of issues related to diversity: national identity and the mechanisms available to protect minorities, equality between men and women, religion in school, fear of Islamist extremism, and the practical management of various religious practices in connection with different concepts of freedom of conscience and religion. On one hand, it is interesting to note that the chairpersons had all published work on immigration or diversity, from different angles, prior to their appointment.54 The most political commission, however, the one chaired by career politician Bernard Stasi, would also prove to be the most in tune with the expectations of public debate and of the political class. In relation to each issue, there are similarities and differences according to the contexts and discussions. Remember that the four reports advocate, using different concepts, the fundamental values of equality and individual dignity, the importance of social cohesion and respect for differences. They also introduce the same themes, with the equality of men and women demarcating itself as a major theme in the wake of rampant post-2001 Islamophobia. Except in France, the reports suggest including the wearing of religious symbols in schools and public service, although limiting it via specific criteria. The fear of radicalization is evoked, while referring to the importance of social and economic integration. The Quebec and Belgian reports are similar in many ways, the latter having clearly been influenced by the first, especially on the issue of reasonable accommodation or adjustments already proposed by the Parekh Report. Between the UK and France, polarizing national models are evident, as is well known, but they would diminish somewhat thereafter. The comparison of the four commissions suggests that the need to negotiate various forms of accommodation, according to general guidelines, is indisputable in countries where immigration is occurring. With regard to the veil and burka, they represent in the thinking of host societies a potential threat of emerging extremism or religious radicalism. On this subject, no one seems to be very clear about the causes of such extremism. This question has since come to dominate public discussions, as several countries have again been hit by terrorist acts, and young Muslims born in the West have tried to join armed terrorist groups abroad. The debate on pluralism is both arduous and demanding, but it must be conducted, coordinated and structured. The commissions are examples of such timely exercises situated throughout the long process of developing integration policies. They would not resolve everything, and some of their recommendations would fall flat, but they nonetheless represent an important part of continuous

National commissions on identity and diversity    31 efforts to improve living together. Societies continue to search for ways to establish a balance between established historical majorities, whether ethnic or religious, and implanted minorities. The following chapters address these public exercises in detail, while exposing the rich material therein.

Notes    1  This chapter addresses and furthers the concepts in the following publication: Solange Lefebvre, ‘Immigración y religión. Balance de cuatro comisiones nacionales sobre la diversidad’, in Hacia una sociedad post-secular? La gestión publica de la nueva diversidad religiosa, ed. Francisco Colom González y Ana López Sala (Zaragosa: Fundación Manuel Giménez Abad, 2011), pp. 73–98.    2  Other chapters of the first part will also examine the Commission on Intercultural Dialogue in Belgium (2004–2005), the Machelon Commision in France (2005–2006) and the Butler-Sloss Commission in Britain (2014–2015). This chapter concerns the main commissions under study: Bhikhu Parekh and Runnymede Trust Commission on the Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain, The Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain: The Parekh Report (London: Profile Books, 2000), 417 pages; Bernard Stasi et al., Commission de réflexion sur l’application du principe de laïcité dans la République: Rapport au Président de la République (Paris: La Documentation française, 2003), 78 pages; Gérard Bouchard and Charles Taylor. Commission de consultation sur les pratiques d’accommodement reliées aux différences culturelles, Building the Future: A Time for Reconciliation (Québec: Gouvernement du Québec, 2008), 307 pages; Marie Claire Foblets and Christine Kulakowski et al., Les Assises de l’Interculturalité [Roundtables on Interculturalism] (Brussels: Ministère de l’Emploi et de l’Égalité des Chances, 2010), 126 pages.    3  Stasi et al., Commission de réflexion, 15. Please note that all foreign language citations have been translated by the authors.    4  Ibid., p. 43.    5  See George Austin, Affairs of State: A Study in Leadership, Religion and Society (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1995); Tariq Modood, ed., Church, State and Religious Minorities, Policy Studies Institute (London: Policy Studies Institute, 1997).    6  Parekh et al., The Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain, p. xxiii.    7  Ibid., p. 208.    8  Elizabeth Butler-Sloss and Commission on Religion and Belief in British Public Life, Living with Difference: Community, Diversity and the Common Good (The Woolf Institute: Cambridge, 2015), 119 pages.    9  See Bernard Stasi, L’immigration: une chance pour la France, Franc-parler (Paris: R. Laffont, 1984); Dominique Schnapper, ‘L’école peut-elle redevenir une école du citoyen?’, in Questions pour l’éducation civique, ed. J. P. Obin (Paris: Hachette, 2000), 187–198; François Baroin, Pour une nouvelle laïcité, Rapport remis au premier ministre, France, 2003.  10  See Stasi et al., Commission de réflexion, 29; Jacqueline Costa-Lascoux and JeanLouis Auduc, La laïcité à l’école un principe, une éthique, une pédagogie, Professeur aujourd’hui (Champigny-sur-Marne: SCEREN-CRDP Académie de Créteil, 2006).  11  Stasi et al., Commission de réflexion, p. 7.  12  Ibid., p. 44.  13  Ibid., Lettre de Mission.  14  Stasi et al., Commission de réflexion, pp. 17, 18.  15  Jean-Pierre Proulx and Groupe de travail sur la place de la religion à l’école, Religion in Secular Schools: A New Perspective for Québec (Québec: Gouvernement du Québec, Ministère de l’éducation, 1999). I prefer not to translate the concept of laïcité which is very different from secularism. See also Chapter 6 in this book, note 10.

32   Solange Lefebvre  16  Multani vs. Commission scolaire Marguerite-Bourgeoys [2006] 1 SCR 256, SCC 6.  17  Bouchard and Taylor, Building the Future, pp. 19–20.  18  Ibid., p. 122.  19  Ibid., p. 193.  20  See Ricard Zapata-Barrero, Immigration and Self-government of Minority Nations, Diversitas (Brussels: P.I.E. Peter Lang, 2009); Bob Van den Broeck and Marie-Claire Foblets, La faillite de l’intégration? Le débat multiculturel en Flandre, Cahiers migrations (Louvain-la-Neuve: Academia Bruylant, 2004).  21  Édouard Delruelle and Rik Torfs, Rapport De La Commission Du Dialogue Interculturel: Rapport Final Et Livre Des Auditions (Brussels: Ministère de l’Égalité des Chances, de l’Intégration sociale et de l’Interculturalité, 2005), 247 pages.  22  Foblets et Kulakowski, p. 19.  23  Ibid., p. 10.  24  Ibid., p. 77  25  Stasi et al., Commission de réflexion, p. 28.  26  Ibid., p. 52.  27  Bouchard and Taylor, Building the Future, p. 252.  28  Foblets and Kulakowski, Les Assises de l’Interculturalité, p. 9.  29  Ibid., p. 103.  30  Ont. Human Rights Comm. v. Simpsons-Sears [1985] 2 SCR 536, 554–555. It is in this text that the notion of reasonable accommodation was introduced in Canada.  31  Stasi et al., Commission de réflexion, p. 16.  32  Bouchard and Taylor, Building the Future, p. 287.  33  Foblets and Kulakowski, Les Assises de l’Interculturalité, p. 23. The report refers to the following document: Council of Europe, Institutional accommodation and the citizen: legal and political interaction in a pluralist society, Trends in social cohesion N 21 (Strasbourg: Council of Europe, 2009).  34  Ibid., 64. It is important to note that the Brussels organization which initiated the report, the Centre for Equal Opportunity, subsequently takes a position in favour of common, and not particular, adaptation – something that is in part opposed to the Quebec understanding and even that of the Roundtables on Interculturalism. The centre has been particularly inspired by the approaches of Dounia Bouzar, who advocates proceeding on the principle of the largest common denominator, something that stands in opposition to the adaptation of specific religious freedoms. See Dounia Bouzar and Nathalie Denies, Diversité interconvictionnelle: Comment l’appréhender? Comment la gérer? (Paris: Édition de l’Harmattan, 2014).  35  Ibid., p. 67.  36  Parekh et al., The Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain, pp. 240–241.  37  Bouchard and Taylor, Building the Future, p. 149.  38  Ibid., pp. 150–151.  39  Parekh et al., The Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain, pp. 241–242.  40  Stasi et al., Commission de réflexion, p. 56.  41  Ibid., p. 63.  42  For example, Bouchard and Taylor, Building the Future, p. 260.  43  Bouchard and Taylor, Building the Future, p. 20.  44  Foblets and Kulakowski, Les Assises de l’Interculturalité, p. 40.  45  Parekh et al., The Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain, p. 235. Quoting  ‘Letter to the Commission, Christian organization’, 1998.  46  Parekh et al., The Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain, p. 237.  47  Stasi et al., Commission de réflexion, p. 48.  48  Ibid., pp. 6–7.  49  Ibid., Commission de réflexion, p. 35.  50  Stasi et al., Commission de réflexion, p. 52.

National commissions on identity and diversity    33  51  Bouchard and Taylor, Building the Future, pp. 234–235.  52  Foblets and Kulakowski, Les Assises de l’Interculturalité, p. 9.  53  Ibid., pp. 54, 103.  54  See Solange Lefebvre, ‘Faire de la diversité un atout: Un défi commun à plusieurs sociétés’, in Les Assises de l’Interculturalité, ed. Marie-Claire Foblets and Jean-Louis Schreiber (Brussels: Éditions Larcier/De Boeck, 2013), pp. 75–91.

2 ‘Stories are the secret reservoirs of values’ Personal recollections of two commissions in the United Kingdom Robin Richardson I was director of the Runnymede Trust from 1991 to 1996, and drafting editor of the report of the Runnymede Commission on the Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain from 1999 to 2000, chaired by Professor Lord Bhikhu Parekh. Several years later, I was the drafting editor for the report of the Woolf Institute Commission on Religion and Belief in British Public Life from 2013 to 2015, chaired by Baroness Elizabeth Butler-Sloss. Both reports were disappointingly misrepresented by sections of the British media. In consequence, neither received the thoughtful and sustained attention and deliberation that the commissioners had hoped for and expected. In this memoir, I recall the principal allegations which the media made, focusing in particular on the allegations against the commission on multi-ethnic Britain, and reflect on what might be done differently if a similar commission is established in the future. I write in a personal capacity and the views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of any of the commissioners, or of either of the two sponsoring bodies, namely the Runnymede Trust and the Woolf Institute. The two commissions in which I participated operated in much the same way. Neither was an official governmental body, but both had symbolic links with high-level policy-making. The commission on multi-ethnic Britain, for example, was launched by then Home Secretary, Jack Straw, as was its final report, and some of the commissioners were associated with the leadership of the Labour administration that came to power in 1997. Several of the meetings of the commission on religion and belief took place at the House of Lords, and in addition there were two debates in the House of Lords about the report’s principal themes. Good, though unofficial, working relationships were established with senior civil servants in a range of government departments, and these continued after the report was published. For critics of its arguments and conclusions, the symbolic closeness of each commission to the government of the day was a matter of great concern, indeed of substantial anxiety. Thus, the Parekh Report was attacked as if it were a white paper trailing new government policy. Critics of the Butler-Sloss report went to great lengths to stress that it was private and not the harbinger of official thinking. Each commission had just over twenty members, all of whom had relevant specialist experience and knowledge, and most of whom were situated, or had been situated, in academia. Each held a series of one-day and residential meetings

Recollections of two commissions in the UK    35 over a period of about two years; each took oral and written evidence from outsiders and made visits to relevant organizations and individuals; each worked not only in plenary sessions, but also with small task groups. In both instances, the first outline of each chapter in the eventual report was composed by an individual commissioner. Acting as drafting editor entailed attending all plenary meetings and most subgroup meetings; maintaining records and minutes; standardizing aspects of terminology and prose style; inserting cross-references between chapters; removing overlaps and repetitions; and providing for each chapter a set of introductory and concluding remarks. The title of this two-part memoir is taken from a poetic essay by Ben Okri. ‘Stories’, he wrote, ‘are the secret reservoir of values: change the stories individuals and nations live by and tell themselves and you change the individuals and nations.’1 There is a further and longer quotation from Okri’s essay at the end of this chapter.

The Future of Multi-ethnic Britain, 2000 The Future of Multi-ethnic Britain, also known as the Parekh Report, was published on Wednesday, 11 October 2000. ‘Children will be told lies,’ said an influential journalist two days later, referring to the deplorable consequences that would ensue, he believed, if the report’s recommendations and proposals were adopted.2 Several other journalists issued similar dire warnings. In line with Ben Okri’s remark quoted above about national and personal narratives, the report called for aspects of Britain’s national story to be rethought and reimagined. This could only be done, said another journalist, ‘by inserting bias and dogma, propaganda and downright lies’ into, for example, the teaching of history in schools.3 The commission’s report was said to be ‘sub-Marxist gibberish’4 and ‘an insult to history and our intelligence’5. Its authors were ‘worthy idiots’6, a ‘second-rate, unrepresentative clique’7 and ‘a crack-brained think-tank’ whose members ‘genuinely hate Britain’8. Other phrases in the media that week to sum up the authors of the report included ‘middle-class twits’9, ‘left-wing wafflers’10 and ‘disconnected, whingeing liberals’11. Of the report’s parent body, the Runnymede Trust, it was said that ‘whether black or white, born in Britain or not, the Trust is united by a hatred of this country and its people … So why don’t its members all go and live somewhere else?’12 The terms and ideas in such press coverage were also used in hundreds of offensive and threatening emails and phone calls which staff began to receive at the Runnymede office within hours of the media coverage starting. The idea that the commissioners should ‘all go and live somewhere else’ was particularly popular. Mainly, it was recommended that they go ‘back’ to Africa or India (though incidentally only a third of the commissioners had family origins in these places). Some correspondents, however, were content for them simply to go to France, and they pointed out that it was now easy to get a train that would take them out of the country through the channel tunnel. ‘To show you what I think of your report,’ said an anonymous caller on the day of publication, his voice choking

36   Robin Richardson with fury, ‘I’m going to go out of my house right now, and I’m going to slit the throat of the first Paki I meet.’ Such phone-calls and emails were clearly based on the abusive and inaccurate media coverage of the report, not on reading the report itself. They were deeply distressing for the members of staff who were at the receiving end of them. Their abusive nature has already been signalled by the quotations above from the coverage. The principal inaccuracies and distortions in them are outlined below. But first, for readers of this chapter who are not familiar with the report, below is a brief summary of its structure and content. Structure and content The report13 had three parts. The first of these, entitled ‘A Vision for Britain’, outlined fundamental beliefs that, as Bhikhu Parekh expressed in his personal preface, ‘are, or deserve to be, shared by most people in Britain’: All individuals have equal worth … Citizens are not only individuals but also members of particular religious, ethnic, cultural and regional communities … Britain is both a community of individuals and a community of communities, both a liberal and a multicultural society, and needs to reconcile their sometimes conflicting requirements … Every society needs to be cohesive as well as respectful of diversity, and must find ways of nurturing diversity while fostering a common sense of belonging and shared identity among its members.14 The report argued that building and maintaining such a society entails six large tasks. These were named as: rethinking the national story and the national identity to make them more open and inclusive; recognizing that all identities are developing and overlapping; maintaining a balance of cohesion, equality and difference; dealing with all forms of racism, including not only those which are based on physical appearance but also those which, like anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, are based on culture and religion; reducing economic inequalities; and establishing a human rights culture. The second part of the report applied these six tasks in turn to various areas of social policy. The topics covered in this section included policing, education, employment, health, politics and religion. Third, the report was concerned with strategies of change. Two of the chapters in this third segment involved the role of government and concerned respectively: a) structures; and b) legislation. The chapters in the second and third parts of the report led to the formulation of about 130 practical recommendations. Most of these were in due course implemented, though not necessarily as a direct consequence of the report, and not as wholeheartedly as the commissioners hoped. The recommendations included the proposal that there should be a single Equality Act; that equality legislation should be combined with human rights legislation and that all public bodies should have a positive, proactive duty to eliminate discrimination and foster good relations.

Recollections of two commissions in the UK    37 Distortions and falsehoods in media coverage The misrepresentation of the report began on Tuesday, 9 October 2000, the day before it became publicly available in bookshops. It had been embargoed until the day of publication, but this did not prevent The Daily Telegraph from publishing substantial, but selective and inaccurate, quotations from it. A front-page headline referred to then Home Secretary, Jack Straw: ‘Straw wants to rewrite our history’. The sub-headline was: ‘“British” is a racist word, says report’. The article beneath the headline and sub-headline, written by the paper’s home affairs editor, claimed that the commission ‘defines the UK as “a community of communities” rather than a nation. It says the description of its inhabitants as British “will never do on its own”, largely because the term has racist connotations’. (In fact, as emphasized later in this chapter, the report referred to racial connotations, not racist ones.) The headline and sub-headlines influenced coverage of the commission’s report by other papers, particularly the Daily Mail. For example, the Mail changed its second edition of 10 October in order to include an item headlined ‘British is racist, says peer trying to rewrite our history’. The first paragraph of this item said: ‘An explosive new report being considered by Jack Straw calls for Britain’s history to be rewritten and labels British a racist word.’ Similarly, late editions of The Sun on that day contained the headline ‘“British” is race slur’. The false statements in The Telegraph and Mail misinformed their own readers. They also misinformed the journalist who wrote the editorial in the Guardian on 11 October, headlined ‘Prescription for harmony, but race report is spoilt by a bad idea’. Further, they misinformed the Home Secretary, Jack Straw, and his staff. On the basis of their false statements, Mr Straw distanced himself from the report when he made his official response to it at the launch event on 11 October. He referred in his response to The Guardian’s coverage and said correctly that he and the Guardian editorial were in agreement. However, he did not say, and presumably had not been told by his staff and therefore did not know, that the Guardian editorial was seriously misleading overall, and in places downright false. Sometimes, factual errors or distortions in media coverage are of slight significance. In this instance, however, they were arguably extremely damaging. Not only did they prevent serious discussion of what the report did in fact say and prevent the government from responding appropriately to the report but, even worse, they were emotive and alarmist. They inevitably provoked and strengthened, therefore, the very anxieties about the nature of multi-ethnic Britain which obstruct the kind of rational debate for which the commission called. The most serious single falsehood in The Telegraph’s story was the claim that the commission had stated that the term ‘British’ has ‘racist’ [sic] connotations. What the report in fact said, at the end of two long chapters in which there was substantial discussion of concepts of personal, cultural and national identity, was that ‘Britishness … has racial connotations’ (paragraph 3.30 on p. 38, emphasis added). The difference between the words ‘racist’ (used by The Telegraph and then in direct consequence by many other papers) and ‘racial’

38   Robin Richardson (used by the report) is well known. Also, it is commonly held that the term ‘racist’ is an insult, whereas the term ‘racial’ is widely used in discourse about anti-discrimination legislation. The Telegraph’s misquotation put a false spin not only on its front-page story but also on an article inside the paper by its home affairs editor as well as on its editorial. It was a spur not only to inaccuracy, but also to abuse. The commission’s report explained at length what it meant by ‘racial’ as distinct from ‘racist’. There was also an explanation of ‘racial’ in the Daily Express, which at that time was essentially supportive of the values which animated the Runnymede Trust.15 Its anonymous editorial on the morning of Thursday, 12 October observed ‘that a single phrase in a 400-page report into the future of a multiracial Britain has been pounced upon by those determined to suggest that the Government is undermining the identity of this country with mad political correctness’. ‘All the Runnymede-sponsored report actually points out’, it continued, is that when most of us hear the word ‘British’ we assume that means a white person when it could refer to someone of Chinese, Asian or Afro-Caribbean extraction. To react to that with tub-thumping demands to protect our national identity is to miss the point. Britain today is a multicultural society. The question is how to adapt the traditional image so that it embraces everyone. That is a worthy and patently achievable aim. … Of course there is still a long way to go. But ending prejudice will certainly not be achieved by damning a report which highlights the problems. Much better to start by acknowledging Britain has come a long way from the days when it was a white, imperialist power. A second serious falsehood in The Telegraph’s coverage was its assertion that the commission’s report says the description of the UK’s inhabitants as British ‘will never do on its own’. The report did, it is true, recall the wholly obvious point that the word ‘British’ cannot be used to describe all inhabitants of the British Isles, since the isles include Ireland. This was twisted by The Telegraph, and by all papers which based their coverage on reading The Telegraph rather than the report itself, into the absurd notion that the report recommended that the word ‘British’ should no longer be used to describe the inhabitants of the United Kingdom. A third serious falsehood in The Telegraph’s front-page story was the statement that the commission ‘defines the UK as a “community of communities” rather than a nation’. The commission’s report simply reflected the widespread, official and unexceptionable view that the UK is not and never has been a single unified nation. It argued at length that Britain should not be pictured as consisting of one large homogeneous majority plus various small minorities who have more in common with each other than with the so-called majority. Therefore, it proposed that the expression ‘community of communities and citizens’ is a more helpful way of picturing Britain than to use the discourse of majority and minorities.

Recollections of two commissions in the UK    39 An influential TV chat show host declared that the commission wanted to rewrite Henry V’s speech at Harfleur, as imagined by Shakespeare: ‘Once more unto the breach, dear friends … or close the wall with our community of communities dead.’16 (No matter that Britain was not at war in 1415 when Henry was imagined by Shakespeare to have made this speech, and indeed did not even exist as a political or military entity. In any case, Shakespeare had the king speak of ‘our English dead’, not of ‘our British dead’.) The commission’s concern, to repeat, was to get away from the mental picture of Britain as a 90/10 society: 90 per cent a homogeneous mass of white people among whom there are few, if any, significant differences in their interests, values and life experiences; and 10 per cent so-called minorities, imagined to have more in common with each other than with members of the majority. The report suggested that the term ‘community of communities and citizens’ is in this respect a helpful way of picturing the United Kingdom. It did not – of course – suggest that it should be the UK’s new official name. Rather, it was an attempt to introduce the well-known concept of nation states as imagined communities, and therefore the concern that the national story, from the past through the present into the future, should be far more inclusive than it has been hitherto. The behaviour of The Guardian, Britain’s leading left-liberal daily paper, was particularly disappointing and irresponsible. Some of its journalists wrote accurate and supportive accounts of the report; however, the leader-writer based his comments not on the report itself but on what he had read in The Telegraph. So did the senior editorial staff who chose headlines for some of the news reports. The consequence was that many people professionally concerned with race equality issues were seriously misinformed. They turned to The Guardian, believing and expecting it to be a trustworthy source. It was most regrettable that their trust on this occasion was misplaced. At least, though, one Guardian journalist, Gary Younge, did bother to read the report itself and to compare it with what The Telegraph falsely claimed: It is no accident that the Telegraph refers to the past while the report refers to the future. For the paper’s reaction is concerned not with culture that is live, evolving and complex, but heritage that is frozen, atrophied and mythologized. It cannot fathom the report’s suggestion that “people must be treated equally … with due regard to differences in experience, background and perception” because it cannot understand the difference between discriminating between people and discriminating against them. It wants to tolerate minorities, the authors of the report want to celebrate them …. The Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain is a report with valuable signposts about where we have to go to become a country built on equality and mutual respect; the initial reactions provide valuable indications of the kind of barriers that will have to be overcome to get there.17 These words were, alas, two days too late to undermine and replace the falsehoods which The Telegraph had published 48 hours earlier, and which had been

40  Robin Richardson widely recycled by other papers. A lie travels halfway round the world, it has been said, before the truth has got its boots on. Context At the time of the report’s publication, there had been a Labour government for just over three years, and it was widely expected that there would be another general election within the next six months or so. It was to the electoral advantage of the Conservative Party if the Labour government could be portrayed as unBritish or anti-British. Also, it was to the advantage of right-wing factions within the Conservative Party to put pressure on the party’s leadership to move to the right in foreign policy matters, and to elect a new leader from the right of the party rather than from the centre. A journalist who is also an academic happened to acknowledge shortly before the publication of the Parekh Report that he and his colleagues are rarely able to obtain all the facts about any story. Some of our informants mislead us, even when protecting themselves with off-the-record briefings. Some people who could correct our interpretations of events refuse to talk to us. From hints, partial truths and concealed agendas, we try to grasp the whole and, naturally enough, there is a tendency to embellish, to stretch the facts which suit the scenario we imagine to be true. Sometimes we simply misunderstand. It is in the nature of our business that we are bound to make mistakes. However hard we strive to eliminate them they occur.18 The scenarios into which journalists fit the facts are often established by newspaper owners and senior editorial staff, and there is always an imperative to sell, which means not being upstaged or wrong-footed by the scoops and potential scoops of rivals. A favourite scenario, it is relevant to recall, is one which excites a frisson of fear. Readers like scare stories, and newspaper owners print them not only to intrigue and reassure their readers but also, on occasion, to put pressure on politicians by encouraging a sense of moral panic.19 In terms of ethnicity, religion or nationality, about half of the commissioners were from minority backgrounds, including Jewish and Irish. This appeared to alarm the readers of the right-wing press. ‘One might have thought,’ said someone in The Telegraph, ‘that Lord Parekh’s 40-year connection with this country would at least have taught him that presuming to tell your hosts what to call themselves is an act of atrocious bad manners’.20 A journalist for the Mail wrote: ‘The sheer bad manners of those involved is startling. Here are people who, for the most part, have achieved utterly disproportionate gains from living in Britain. Yet they insult the host population.’21 Indignation occasioned by the ‘bad manners’ of the minority members of the commission was complemented and amplified, in the view of the right-wing press, by the disloyalty and untrustworthiness of the members who were white – a sort of trahison des clercs.

Recollections of two commissions in the UK    41

Report on religion and belief, 2015 One of the Parekh commission’s chapters was concerned in particular with religion and belief. There was not room in this section to include an extended discussion of all the key issues that were raised in this regard, and accordingly it was recommended that a commission on the role of religion in the public life of a multi-faith society should be set up to make recommendations on legal and constitutional matters. In due course, such a commission on religion and belief in British public life was convened at the Woolf Institute, based in Cambridge. Established in 1998, the Institute promotes the multidisciplinary study of relationships between Christians, Jews and Muslims, and engages in reflection on the practical implications for public policy of academic research and theory. On the basis of its teaching and public education programmes over some fifteen years, the Institute’s trustees endorsed the Parekh commission’s view that there is a great and urgent need for a deeper understanding of religion and belief in modern society, and for the key issues to be reviewed holistically, not each on its own. If deeper understanding is not developed among policy-makers and in the public square more generally, it was believed, there is a danger that policies and decisions will be insensitive and inadequate, and that the public good will be severely damaged. Everyone will then be negatively affected, regardless of what their private views of religion and belief may be. The report on religion and belief was published in autumn 2015, almost exactly fifteen years after the publication of The Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain.22 The same newspapers which had mercilessly misrepresented and attacked the report on multi-ethnic Britain in 2000 returned to the fray and behaved in much the same unprofessional ways. In consequence, wrote an observer on behalf of the Law & Religion UK network in January 2016, ‘the British Christian community is in danger of squandering an important and timely opportunity to contribute to the debate about the role of faith in the public square, a debate marred by much confusion, misunderstanding and ill-temper’.23 The Daily Telegraph, for example, ran a front-page story headlined: ‘Britain is no longer a Christian country and should stop acting as if it is, says judge’.24 The opening sentences of this news report ran as follows: Britain is no longer a Christian country and should stop acting as if it is, a major inquiry into the place of religion in modern society has concluded, provoking a furious backlash from ministers and the Church of England. A two-year commission, chaired by the former senior judge Baroness ButlerSloss and involving leading religious leaders from all faiths, calls for public life in Britain to be systematically de-Christianised. This interpretation of the report was not explained or justified in the news item that followed, and in fact there was nothing in the report itself which could have been quoted in support of it. But, as in 2000, substantial damage had been done. At the time of writing of this chapter (April 2016), the report has not yet been considered and debated with due respect by the Church of England.

42  Robin Richardson To give a flavour of the report’s concerns and conclusions, here is a handful of quotations from its opening chapter. They appear not only in the main body of the text, but also as pull-out extracts printed in a distinctive font size so that readers cannot easily miss them: Living with difference was not only a topic for discussion at commission meetings but also, for those who were present, a constant and unavoidable experience. Religion has the potential to be both a public good and a public bad, and governments must have due regard for it. Frequently Enlightenment values … have been in opposition to religion, and religion in its turn has been suspicious of, or downright hostile towards, humanism … The two sets of values have also at times intertwined and converged, and have deeply influenced each other. The present interplay between religious faith, on the one hand, and the humanism of the Enlightenment on the other is a specific achievement that has been worked out over a long time, and with great difficulty. No tradition is monolithic, none is unchanging and none exists independently of specific cultural, historical and political contexts and circumstances. The report contained about thirty practical proposals for further development, including the following: Much greater religion and belief literacy is needed in every section of society, and at all levels. The potential for misunderstanding, stereotyping and oversimplification based on ignorance is huge. Educational and professional bodies should draw up religion and belief literacy programmes and projects, including an annual awards scheme to recognize and celebrate best practice in the media. [A term such as “religion and belief literacy”, the report emphasized, is preferable to the more familiar term “religious literacy”.] The pluralist character of modern society should be reflected in national and civic events so that they are more reflective of the UK’s increasing diversity, and in national forums such as the House of Lords, so that they include a wider range of worldviews and religious traditions, and of Christian denominations other than the Church of England. All pupils in state-funded schools should have a statutory entitlement to a curriculum about religion, philosophy and ethics that is relevant to today’s changing society, and the broad framework of such a curriculum should be nationally agreed. The legal requirement for schools to hold acts of collective worship should be repealed, and replaced by a requirement to hold inclusive times for reflection. Bodies responsible for admissions and employment policies in schools with a religious character (“faith schools”) should take measures to reduce selection of pupils and staff on grounds of religion.

Recollections of two commissions in the UK    43 The BBC Charter renewal should mandate the Corporation to reflect the range of religion and belief of modern society, for example by extending contributions to Radio 4’s daily religious flagship Thought for the Day to include speakers from non-religious perspectives such as humanists. A panel of experts on religion and belief should be established to advise the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) when there are complaints about the media coverage in this field. Relevant public bodies and voluntary organizations should promote opportunities for interreligious and inter-worldview encounter and dialogue. Such dialogue should involve Dharmic as well as Abrahamic traditions, young people as well as older, women as well as men, and local groups as well as national and regional ones. Clergy and other opinion leaders should have a sound understanding of the traditions of religion and belief in modern society. Where a religious organization is best placed to deliver a social good, it should not be disadvantaged when applying for funding to do so, so long as its services are not aimed at seeking converts. The Ministry of Justice should issue guidance on compliance with UK standards of gender equality and judicial independence by religious and cultural tribunals such as ecclesiastical courts, Beit Din and Shari'a councils. The Ministry of Justice should instruct the Law Commission to review the anomalies in how the legal definitions of race, ethnicity and religion interact in practice and make recommendations to ensure all religious traditions are treated equally. In framing counter-terrorism legislation, the Government should seek to promote, not limit, freedom of enquiry, speech and expression, and should engage with a wide range of affected groups, including those with which it disagrees, and also with academic research. It should lead public opinion by challenging negative stereotyping, for example of Muslims, and by speaking out in support of groups and communities that may otherwise feel vulnerable and excluded.25 These proposals and concepts were advanced against the background of significant demographic changes over the last fifty years, including the increasing number of people with non-religious beliefs and identities; the general decline in Christian affiliation, belief and practice, combined with a shift away from mainstream denominations and a growth in Evangelical and Pentecostal churches; and the increased diversity among people who have a religious faith. Further, the report noted that disputes and tensions within and between different traditions in Britain are inextricably linked to geopolitical crises across the Middle East and in many parts of Africa and Asia. ‘Ethno-religious issues and identities in the UK and globally’, the report pointed out, are reshaping society in ways inconceivable just a few decades ago, and policy responses to such changes will have a profound impact on public life.

44  Robin Richardson The resulting uncertainties about national identity, cohesion and community can lead to over-simplistic conclusions about the negative impact of such changes on society. These, in turn, may feed the very anxieties about immigration and the fear of “the other” that need to be addressed. Certainly the development of public policy relating to religion and belief has too often been piecemeal and kneejerk.26 By the same token, the responses of The Daily Telegraph to the commission’s report, and of newspapers and church organizations which took their lead from it, were ‘piecemeal and kneejerk’. Despite the hostile and inaccurate coverage in certain newspapers, and despite the silence and apparent indifference of the Church of England, the Butler-Sloss report was attended to seriously by government. Shortly after its publication there was a short debate about it in the House of Lords during which a minister from the Department for Communities and Local Government affirmed she would ensure that all government departments would consider the recommendations in the report relevant to their individual policies. In response to a question from the Bishop of Durham, the minister agreed that the report’s recommendation around religious literacy was of particular note and soon afterwards an all-party parliamentary group (APPG) on religion in the media was established with the formal aims of a) encouraging greater religious literacy in the media and politics, b) encouraging a better understanding and representation of religion in media coverage, and c) encouraging more diversity in media representation of religion. Other significant initiatives included a series of cross-departmental meetings for senior civil servants, and several of the report’s recommendations were endorsed by other significant bodies – for example, its recommendations on the need for a new approach nationally to religious education in schools, and its recommendation there should be a thorough review of counter-terrorism strategy.

Learning points What learning points may be drawn from these recollections of two reports, published fifteen years apart? Tentatively and hesitantly, the following broad generalizations seem worth considering. 1. Reports on ethnicity, religion and belief raise issues of national identity that are both controversial and sensitive, for they are bound up in competing political philosophies and programmes, and also stir deeply held emotions and loyalties. If a newspaper decides to classify as rubbish a report dealing with issues of national identity and personal commitment, there is relatively little that the report’s authors can do to prevent this. The report’s sponsoring body can, however, budget for a carefully and sensitively designed public relations exercise in advance of publication, focused narrowly in the first instance on friendly allies and supporters.

Recollections of two commissions in the UK    45 2. There also needs to be a contingency budget for a rapid-response programme if, as happened in the two instances recalled in this memoir, a report is treated unethically and dishonestly by certain newspapers. 3. The old and rather world-weary adage that ‘There’s no such thing as bad publicity’, since (so it is believed) all publicity is valuable, is often an uncertain and unhelpful guide to practical action. There needs to be judicious balancing of a) the need for positive publicity, and b) the need to avoid the kind of negative publicity that, if used as a pawn in political manoeuvres, prevents serious and sustained deliberation. 4. Reports dealing with controversial and sensitive subjects should try to avoid using terms and phrases which are not readily and widely understood by people who are not academic specialists. Phrases such as ‘post-nation’ and ‘racial coding’, used in the Parekh Report were, in retrospect, unfortunate. ‘There is an obvious tension,’ noted Bhikhu Parekh after the publication of his report, ‘between academic and political discourse. The former is playful, inventive, unconcerned with practical consequences; the latter is tied up with deepest passions and fears.’ ‘Language needs to be found’, he remarked, that is ‘easily intelligible to ordinary citizens and that yet retains the power to challenge common sense, and to persuade readers to see familiar realities in fresh and novel ways’.27 The 2015 report on religion and belief was less technical in its language than was the earlier report. Nevertheless, its nuanced attempts to explain how it was using the key terms of religion and belief, and to see familiar realities in fresh and novel ways, fell on deaf ears in certain influential newspapers.

Concluding note As mentioned near the start of this chapter, its title is drawn from a poetic essay by Ben Okri about the nature and significance of narrative. Okri’s words were quoted in the Parekh Report, and the importance of narrative was also stressed in the Butler-Sloss report fifteen years later. ‘Our vision’, said the latter report, ‘is of a society at ease with itself in which all individuals, groups and communities feel at home, and in whose flourishing all wish to take part’. It goes on to state that in such a society, ‘all feel a positive part of an ongoing national story’.28 Okri’s haunting words were relevant to both reports, and are relevant also as a conclusion to these later recollections of them. ‘Stories,’ Okri said, as quoted earlier, ‘are the secret reservoir of values: change the stories individuals and nations live by and tell themselves and you change the individuals and nations.’ He continued: ‘Nations and peoples are largely the stories they feed themselves. If they tell themselves stories that are lies, they will suffer the future consequences of those lies. If they tell themselves stories that face their own truths, they will free their histories for future flowerings.’29

46   Robin Richardson

Notes   1  Ben Okri, Birds of Heaven (London: Phoenix Books, 1996).   2  Richard Littlejohn, The Sun, 13 October 2000. 3  Paul Johnson, Daily Mail, 11 October 2000. 4  Editorial, The Daily Telegraph, 10 October 2000. 5  Editorial, Daily Mail, 11 October 2000. 6  Article in The Times, 12 October 2000. 7  Daily Mail, 11 October 2000. 8  Article in The Daily Telegraph, 12 October 2000. 9  Dawn Neesom, Daily Star, 12 October 2000. 10  Anonymous editorial, Evening Standard, 12 October 2000. 11  Simon Heffer, Daily Mail, 14 October 2000. 12  Ibid. 13  Bhikhu Parekh and Runnymede Trust Commission on the Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain. The Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain: The Parekh Report (London: Profile Books, 2000), frequently referred to as the Parekh Report. 14  For a substantial discussion of Parekh’s thinking on national identity over the last 30 years, see Varun Uberoi, ‘The Parekh Report: national identities without nations and nationalism’, Ethnicities 15.4 (2015), pp. 509–526. 15  The wife of the then owner of the Daily Express was an active member of the Commission. The owner himself had been raised to the peerage by the Labour government that came to power in 1997. 16  Robert Kilroy-Silk, Kilroy, BBC Television, 18 October 2000. 17  Gary Younge, 10 October 2000. 18  Roy Greenslade, ‘The prince and the apology’, The Guardian, 30 October 2000. 19  Stanley Cohen, Folk Devils and Moral Panic: The Creation of Mods and Rockers (London: Routledge, 1972). 20  Letter from Stephen Bush in the The Daily Telegraph, 11 October 2000. 21  Andrew Alexander, Daily Mail, 13 October 2000. 22  Elizabeth Butler-Sloss and Commission on Religion and Belief in British Public Life, Living with Difference: Community, Diversity and the Common Good (The Woolf Institute: Cambridge, 2015). 23  Jonathan Chaplin, ‘Living with Difference: time for a constructive Christian engagement’, accessed on 17 February 2016, living-with-difference-time-for-a-constructive-christian-engagement/ 24  John Bingham and Steven Swinford, ‘Britain is no longer a Christian country and should stop acting as if it is, says judge’, The Daily Telegraph, 7 December 2015, accessed on 10 January 2016, 25  Butler-Sloss, Living with Difference. The report’s recommendations are collected together in its final chapter, pp. 80–85, and are summarised in its executive summary, pp. 7–8. 26  Ibid., 7. 27  Bhikhu Parekh, ‘Reporting on a report’, Runnymede Bulletin 326, June 2001. 28  Butler-Sloss, Living with Difference, p. 20. 29  Okri, Birds of Heaven, see also note 1 above. Quoted in the Parekh Report in Chapter 8, ‘Summary of the Vision’, p. 103.

3 Assumptions of power subverted Media and emotions in the wake of the Parekh Report Sarah Neal and Eugene McLaughlin

This chapter presents a synthesis of three articles that were written by the authors between 2004 and 2009 on the production and reception of the Future of MultiEthnic Britain Report (also known as the Parekh Report) in 2000. The articles that are blended in this chapter were all written from a qualitative research project we conducted in 2002. The project involved us in a series of in-depth interviews with Commissioners who had produced the report. The interviews (the data from which was used in earlier articles and which appears here) were largely designed as reflections on the process of writing the report. and living through its turbulent and largely hostile media and political public reception. The Commission had been set up in the late 1990s by the Runnymede Trust. The Trust was a longestablished race think-tank in the UK, and while the Trust and the Commission were politically independent, the Commission and its project seemed in tune with and close to the New Labour government that was in power at the time (see Chapter 2). The Commission was set up in what was, we suggest, a more optimistic mood in the UK at the end of the 1990s. After the election of a Labour government following a long period of Conservative administration, rethinking national identity and recognizing the impact of institutional racism (after the enquiry into the Metropolitan police investigation of the 1993 murder of the London black teenager Stephen Lawrence) seemed possible. However, in what we can now see as a forerunner of the multicultural backlash that has characterized the beginning of the 21st century – the report and its response were prior to 9/11, 7/7, the riots in England’s northern towns which were officially explained through a lack of cultural integration, the war on terror, and so forth – the news media and political response to the report anticipated some of the later antimulticultural discourse in its highly critical and damning coverage of the report as being the work of left-wing intellectuals all too ready to accuse Britain of racism. The report, which was intended to be a progressive template for achieving multicultural citizenship and a new national narrative as well as rethinking policy delivery, quickly became a toxic and avoided document with the Commissioners, as its authors, being personally and publicly vilified. What made this event particularly notable was that the Commissioners were a strong body of twentythree highly respected, media- savvy, elite figures in the worlds of policy, politics and culture. They were, as stated by Bhikhu Parekh (the Chair of the Commission),

48  Sarah Neal and Eugene McLaughlin a Commission made up of ‘distinguished individuals’, many of whom had wellestablished public profiles. As well as their high-profile professional status, the Commission was also striking in the extent to which its members were not only professionally, but also ethnically, diverse and visibly multicultural. In this context, then, the questions as to what had happened to the report and how the turmoil and response could be explained and understood was what lay at the heart of our project. The three articles we wrote have a different focus: the detail of the media response around diversity, identity and equality questions (2004); the role of intellectuals and the racialization of high-profile public figures in delivering intervention on national identity and social justice (2006); and the making of policy documents and the emotional and professional investments and costs they may involve (2009).1 In many ways, the Commission was treading a well-worn policy path in the UK, where there has been a long history of public and semi-public enquiries and reports relating to race equality, social justice and racism. Most often, these have been undertaken in the wake of a crisis event. The indicative list below gives a sense of the frequency and ways in which commissions and enquiries have dominated the policy–political landscape, in relation to concerns about race, racism, cultural differences and diversity: •• • • • • • • • • • ••

Colour and Citizenship (1969), independent (race relations); Scarman Report (1982), public enquiry (riots and policing); Swann Report (1985), public enquiry (education)’ Macdonald Report (1989), public enquiry (education); Ritchie Report (1994), Health Committee enquiry (mental healthcare); Macpherson Report (1999), public enquiry (racism and policing); Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain Report (2000), independent (social citizenship); Cantle Report (2001), public enquiry (riots); Bennett Report (2004), independent enquiry (mental healthcare); Mubarek Report (2006), public enquiry (prisons); Our Shared Future (2007), public enquiry (diversity and cohesion).

The number of commissions and enquiries into these issues speaks to the contested and turbulent nature of public discourse and interventions in race and multicultural politics. A connective thread running through our articles (and here in this chapter) is our suggestion that while politics drives social policy interventions, social policies also shape and define politics. In this context, then, as others have noted, the report became itself a part of the very world it sought to comment on and guide. The much deliberated question of the relationship between policy and political worlds is pertinent to the report – as well as more broadly to Commissions on social division and social justice. Commissions and enquiries often seek to explain an event or situation and make policy recommendations to avoid it happening again. In this sense, social policy-making – especially in the area of social justice and equality – is often framed as reactive and responsive, rather than as offering imaginative and principled interventions. Robert Drake

Assumptions of power subverted    49 nicely sums up some of this muddle by asking, ‘Do social policies accord the values, beliefs and intentions of their instigators, or do they arise from more immediate responses to the immanent pressures of the everyday world?’2 In many ways then, in not being a crisis report, the Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain Report falls into Drake’s first position. It was not responding to a particular event of disorder/death/discrimination, but was a broader document for inclusive multicultural and social well-being. This mandate makes understanding what happened to the report both compelling and important for other Commissions and reports of the future. Reflecting this intention, the first part of the chapter draws on our 2007 article, and focuses on the question of who gets to be on a Commission or public enquiry. It then moves on to look at the nature of the media responses to the report and a consideration of what it was in the content of the report itself, as a document, that gave rise to this political and populist response. These questions were explored in our 2004 article. The final sections of the chapter then consider processes of producing a document for policy-making and wider national imagining, and suggest there are emotional and political investments that are made in the micro-worlds of no-crisis better/new worlds policy production.

On becoming intellectual In many ways, the story of the Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain (FMEB) Commission is a very British one. After fifteen years, the Parekh Report remains an interesting entryway into understanding the idea of a British national identity, within the framework of a global political climate in which migration, cultural differences and multiculture are defining features of national identity, late modern societies and everyday social life.3 In the context of transnational conversations about how multicultural citizenship and social relations are constituted and lived, there has been a marked decline in the presence of intellectuals in public debate about diversity – what Helen Small has termed a ‘declinist narrative’.4 The implication reflects a desire for an intellectual renaissance, in which the intelligentsia once again becomes publicly authoritative, as it was during a bygone era. With the work of Habermas on the decline of a democratically constituted public sphere5 in mind, several authors have offered various examples of this narrative. Russell Jacoby, for example, has argued that increasing specialization in academia has resulted in a decrease in public intellectual work,6 and Richard Posner has gone further to suggest that among these fewer active public intellectuals, the overall quality of public talk has also diminished. Nick Pearce, Director of the Institute of Public Policy Research, has argued that British intellectuals in particular are quite absent from public policy-making and the public eye, concluding that the increasing presence of quantifiable performance indicators in British academic culture has largely steered academics engaged with policy and politics towards privatized advisory roles.7 Further commentaries on the paucity of intellectual input into UK public life can be discovered in the claim of the founder of the left-wing Demos think-tank, Geoff Mulgan, that modern universities no longer serve as the natural seat of intellectual culture,8 and Frank

50  Sarah Neal and Eugene McLaughlin Furedi’s argument that there has been a market-driven, instrumentalist ‘dumbing down’ process in which knowledge has been ‘McDonaldized’ and the public’s intellectual engagement is ‘curiously feeble’.9 In this context, the Parekh Report, as a document with intellectual thinking and authorship at the heart of its production, remains a great reminder of the outcomes of policy text production and public dissemination; the political, cultural and news media capital of the Commission and the Commissioners; and the contradictory aspirations of and objectives for the report, as it entered the public realm in the context of a shifting notion of British national identity and a turbulent time for race issues around the world. In the case of the reception of the Parekh Report it is also important to note the early shift that quietly reconstituted the members of the Commission from a more grassroots community ensemble to a dominance of intellectual and academic voices. As explored through interviews with the members: The first Chair, Sir John Burgh, a politically neutral figure with no history of, or direct links to, race work, was replaced by Bhikhu Parekh, an eminent professor of political theory and former deputy chair of the Commission of Racial Equality. Under his chairmanship, the Commission became more overtly intellectually orientated.10 Helen Seaford, a member of the original, but not final, Commission panel recalls: ‘Out went four community workers … [and] in came more academics and journalists until the Commission became completely unbalanced, containing six professors, four think-tank researchers; four journalists, two lords, two ladies and two knights.’11 The very idea of an independent commission goes beyond the task of making carefully formulated recommendations to provide a framework to broach a pressing public problem. The results are supposed to grant more legitimacy, status and authority than the endeavours of a lone thinker or policy-maker. Yet, in this move towards a more intellectual core, the report’s claim that the Commission represents a ‘microcosm of British society [which] covered all points of view’,12 proved rather inaccurate. In fact, the Commissioners constituted a part of the cultural and social elite of the UK. Moreover, the Commissioners represented ‘a body of interconnected academic, news media, policy and political figures, many of whom were known to each other in terms of their work, writing, and collegiate and friendship networks over a long period of time’.13 The addition of Stuart Hall to the Commission is a key example of the nature of these extended networks. As one Commissioner recounts: As far as I know that is the first major, kind of national policy making body that Stuart has participated in and I thought it was a real coup that we were able to get Stuart to join us as he’s usually more of, as it were, a critic rather than, as it were, a report writing member and I think we only got him because Bhikhu knew him over decades and Bhikhu had certain credentials.14

Assumptions of power subverted    51 With this intellectual core, it is evident that with this project the Commissioners saw an opportunity to modernize the debates on racial issues. The Parekh Report was conceived as a ‘carefully researched and thought out document, hammered out in searching discussions conducted in a spirit of intellectual and moral responsibility’ that would result in a ‘new public philosophy and new national consensus about the nature of Britain as a multi-ethnic society’.15 The transition of these aims into the public eye, especially in the historical context of the time, would result in a series of defamatory episodes that contributed to steering public opinion away from this conception of the document.

Media reactions to the Parekh Report The early body of work commenting on the political and news media reception of the report shares a critique of the hostility of mainly right-wing newspapers towards the report and, in particular, their misinterpretations, misrepresentations and falsifications of its contents and recommendations.16 However, the relationship between the FMEB Commission report and the news media was in fact more complicated than that acknowledged in this literature.17 By exploring the FMEB Commission’s public relations strategy for launching the report and analysing what went so dramatically wrong in the transfer of the report from private deliberation to public debate, our research has raised questions about how public policy proposals become formulated, disseminated and misseminated in a pervasive news media environment.18 In this regard, research on the reception of the report has shed light on two separate issues: a) to what extent the news media can open up and close down policy interventions, particularly around race issues, and b) what happens when ‘policy makers actively seek to manage what is written and said about their proposals in the news media’.19 Drawing on the work of Fischer and Forester and the influence of argumentative approaches,20 it proved imperative to move beyond the claims of a particular policy document and focus on the multiple worlds that define its context and content. Argumentation permits an engagement with ‘the rich world that precedes and follows document production: the scanning of the political environment for support for, and opposition to, potential recommendations’.21 The existence of an effective policy story is central to this rich world. Ultimately, it is the narrative of a policy document that is crucial to its ability to present ‘a coherent, readable plot’ that links the ‘is and ought dimensions of policy formulation and persuasion’.22 By addressing the rich world of the Parekh Report’s production and publication, we were able to determine why the policy narrative of the report met with such resistance by highlighting ‘what they were describing and prescribing in the report, on the micro politics and tensions of policy production and storytelling and on the macro politics of the policy document’s entry into the public realm and the reception it received once there’.23 We  were able to explore this rich world by accessing both the public relations firm hired to handle the launch event and press for the Commission, Hobsbawm Macaulay Communications (HMC) and FMEB Commission archives. We thus

52  Sarah Neal and Eugene McLaughlin gained a unique opportunity to examine the formation of the national news media strategy that was created to handle the coverage of this policy document. In particular, the email correspondence between the Commission and HMC reveals the details of this strategy and the meticulous plan designed ‘to use the news media to transform the independent report into a politically important public document’.24 The planning correspondence discloses that, during the planning stages, HMC was confident that the Commission would generate media interest based on the high profiles of the Commissioners, the promise that the results of the Commission would speak to the social and cultural changes occurring in British society at the time, and the backing of the New Labour Party. On 14 July 2000, HMC provided Runnymede with an action plan that did nothing to highlight the report’s brief discussion on British identity and rather focused on its policy recommendations to form the basis of how the report would be constructed for the public. The major tension at play during this planning process was the sum of complexities between ensuring media coverage and negotiating with the media what was most newsworthy about the report. In the context of a highly competitive media market, the figures who were most closely involved with the launch were quite aware that the report needed a selling point. As the launch approached, the HMC correspondents appeared to be confident with their comprehensive media strategy, which focused on the profiles of individual commissioners and the emphasis on policy recommendations. The Guardian was supposed to run an extensive profile on Bhikhu Parekh the weekend before the launch, and The Observer was to publish a piece on the FMEB’s recommendation to replace the Commission for Racial Equality and the Equal Opportunities Commission with a human rights commission. Friendly journalists from the BBC, Reuters, Sky News and The Sunday Times were also being offered competitive exclusives through the HMC press officer. The correspondence between the HMC and a number of central Commissioners demonstrates that there existed a confidence in the news media strategy to engage different audiences, but a number of uncertainties are also revealed with regard to the particular agreements set up within the news media world. These ambiguities would ultimately prove themselves as key ingredients in the unravelling of both the media strategy and the launch of the Parekh Report. The analysis of this process of spinning out of control sheds light on the challenges embedded in obtaining positive news coverage for race-related policy interventions: From the outset, HMC struggled to craft an eye-catching press release. When we spoke to those involved with developing the news media plans at HMC we were told what had been evident in the correspondence, i.e. the difficulties over how to make a policy document newsworthy without an obvious ‘top line’. According to the press officer ‘the report was offering over one hundred complicated recommendations rather than a list of “message points”’.25

Assumptions of power subverted    53 The result was that in the quest for a top line, Ben Summerskill’s Observer exclusive on the establishment of a human rights commission never materialized, while The Guardian’s profile on Bhikhu Parekh was only published the week following the launch of the report. Although media coverage of the report was sparse in the week prior to the launch, The Sunday Telegraph’s decision to run with the story in an unpredicted way – ‘Straw Wants to Rewrite Our History: British is a Racist Word, says Report’ – set the tone for the backlash that was to follow, particularly from right-wing oriented news media. After this first unexpected crisis regarding the report’s views on racism, which nonetheless served the purpose of repositioning the report as newsworthy, a second calamity occurred when the Deputy Chair of the Commission, Lady Kate Gavron, set about to set the record straight during an interview with The Daily Telegraph. Instead of presenting what the report actually stated about race and national identity in Britain, the headlines instead focused on her alleged assertions that Prince Charles ought to have been ‘told to marry a black woman’ and that the  Royal Family represented a ‘very unattractive hierarchy’.26 Here again, the ­unpredictability in the nature of news media coverage is quite evident. In relation to the mystery regarding The Daily Telegraph’s shifting position with regard to the report, some have speculated that the Editor, Charles Moore, chose to deliberately sabotage it. Other rumours circulated, however, that at the source of this debacle lay someone closely involved with the production and launch of the report. Some commissioners thought that HMC was responsible, others that commissioners who, alarmed at the lack of media interest in the report, forwarded the idea that views regarding race and nation in the report were radical. The general concern for the lack of news media interest is well articulated in Samir Shah’s comment: ‘Frankly, we were worried that such a thoughtful, reflective, almost academic report would simply not be “sexy” enough for the fickle Fourth Estate.’27 Many of the people involved in the production of the report have expressed a strong sense of disappointment regarding the report’s public response, and explanations of what went wrong revolve around variations of the following factors: •• • • ••

the inevitability of a right-wing backlash; the flawed news media strategy pursued by HMC – the report’s PR company; the politically sensitive New Labour connections, the limitations inherent in the report; and the difficulties of debating race, identity and multiculturalism in Britain in ways that go beyond the usual rhetoric of valuing diversity and tolerance.28

The fault lines created between this tension in the production of the report and the desire for widespread media coverage include the ambivalent identity of the report, the maximum publicity strategy, and the perceived connections to the New Labour Party. Within the context of the rapidly shifting news media world where different stories are vying for headlines, these three vulnerable areas would prove critical in undermining the report within the media coverage.

54  Sarah Neal and Eugene McLaughlin

The ambivalent identity of the report The ambivalent identity of the report can be mainly credited to a dichotomy, in what the document represented for those who had been involved in its production as a public policy template and its transition into the world of news media representation as a public document. In fact, one of the challenges faced by HMC was how to publicize the Parekh Report despite the different conceptions of its nature held by the commissioners themselves. Various commissioners envisaged the report as ‘a contribution to national debate’, ‘a broader political statement [and] a guide to policy making’, a document of ‘action orientated recommendations’, and ‘a policy document … that needed to be academically rigorous’.29 These commissioners were quite shocked at the attention the press paid to what they perceived as the most inconsequential part of the report, as opposed to the detailed policy recommendations. Alongside the recommendations and public policy, a number of commissioners thought of the report as being an intellectually ‘thick’ document that would help Britain move from a dualistic to a pluralistic perspective on race and related issues; and still another Commissioner stated that the report failed to provide anything that was particularly novel: ‘I don’t think it said anything that hadn’t been said.’30 These differing opinions are in fact reflections of the diverse backgrounds of the Commissioners themselves, purposely selected to offer expertise on policy and theory. In this larger tension between theory and policy, it became evident that there are differences in opinion between what the report actually was and what it was intended to be. The final product seemed to be more the outcome of an uneasy truce than the result of a deliberative consensus. The ambiguity in the desire for a broad audience is encapsulated by another conundrum. Unlike the Scarman and Macpherson reports, the FMEB was not tasked with addressing a specific race relations crisis; yet without this angle, the priority of the report on political and news agendas would be uncertain. This vulnerability was rendered more acute by the desire of certain commissioners to go with the maximum publicity strategy, as evidenced by the hiring of a large PR firm. Alongside this notion stood the idea that the report was a public document that deserved major media attention. Even the title of the report, as evidenced by the emails exchanged between commissioners, underwent a series of debates so that it might have the broadest potential appeal – hence, the name of Bhikhu Parekh in the title and the decision to go with a non-academic publishing house, Profile Books. A more detailed set of debates occurred around the plans for how to transfer this document into the public realm. As one Commissioner explained, the PR company offered a number of possibilities regarding publicity: ‘What kind of publicity do you want because that will direct how we write the [PR] stuff … Do you want it to land on certain desks? Because then we’ll use our networks and so on or do you want the maximum profile and noise that this can create?’31 The Commissioner goes on to explain: We chose the latter because we reckoned that if something is big publicity that generates public debate and raises consciousness and as the public

Assumptions of power subverted    55 debate takes place, key political figures are drawn in and, as it were, the political debate is the backdrop in which policies are made in which, as it were constituencies are made for certain kinds of policies and so on. So we thought yes, we want to influence government and key policy makers but we want to do it in the context of a public debate rather than private lobbying.32 If the document had been envisaged as purely policy oriented, using a private lobbying network where the report appeared on certain desks represents the de facto approach. But since the ambitions for the report were for a thicker intellectual document, mass mediated public debate would be required to this end. In this regard, it is reasonable to surmise that the HMC at least stimulated The Telegraph so that the story would not die. The relationship between the FMEB Commission and the New Labour party provides further insight into the context for the desire for high-profile news media coverage. A number of the commissioners and Bhikhu Parekh were part of New Labour’s political and policy networks. The proximity of these commissioners to sympathetic and influential government officials was generally viewed as a key ingredient in the ultimate fate of the report. The launch of both the Commission (1998) and the report (2000) by Jack Straw evidences the ongoing nature of this relationship between the FMEB and New Labour. Yet any misgivings regarding the Home Secretary’s ‘book-ending’ of the report’s production were voiced only after the launch. During the production of the report, it was generally understood that an association with New Labour would be advantageous both symbolically and with regard to implementation, but despite Straw’s involvement, there was no official connection. Although the FMEB represented an independent commission, the overlaps, or ambivalent connections with New Labour, served as the basis on which the right-wing media launched another attack on the party’s various highprofile attempts to modernize, or ‘rebrand’, British national identity.33 As a result, New Labour chose to be highly critical of the report’s supposed stance on race and British identity. Faced with little to no backing, centre-left scepticism, and right-wing hostility, in a matter of days the report became ‘a political orphan’.34 In reference to the lessons learned from the publication of and reaction to the report, Parekh has broached the question of who is allowed to speak about touchstone national issues: In politics, “who says” is just as important as “what” he or she says … Although the majority of our commissioners were white and of impeccable liberal credentials, the fact that there were so many high-profile black and Asian intellectuals gave the impression that the Commission and its report had a distinctly minority orientation. This imposed tangible and subtle limits on what the report should and should not say – limits which it could transgress, as indeed it did, only at its peril.35 Within the contemporaneous hotbed of racially motivated right-wing news media responses to the Parekh Report, key FMEB Commissioners had subsequently

56   Sarah Neal and Eugene McLaughlin become targets of criticism based on their liberal-left leanings and status as nonwhites. While some white Commissioners have also been vilified in the media, the emergence of Parekh and Stuart Hall as the public faces helped feed into a chain of racially charged meaning, whereby non-whiteness was equated with non-attachment to the British nation.36 Compare this media outcome to the mandate of the report that intended to use race to ‘prise open the history, culture and inner structure of British society, and locate its discussion within a wider debate about British national identity and historical self-understanding’.37 One Commissioner explained the desire to shift ‘an understanding of issues to do with Britain and race from a dualistic to a pluralistic perspective. From a black/white to a more plural perspective and then a more plural understanding of both British society and of the racism within it.’38 These intellectual aspirations would ultimately prove to be in stark contrast to the expectation of mass media coverage: This will be one of these rare books which is a front page story. It is one of the most important reports to be produced in the last 30 years. In policy terms, influence and sales it will rank with the Scarman report after the Brixton Riots or the Church of England report on the City. It has the same potential to generate publicity as the Stephen Lawrence report.39 Yet, despite the attacks it received from the conservative press, the ultimate strength of this product as the result of an independent commission with a collective voice allowed it to respond to the criticisms with a greater degree of authority than the outcome of a lone public intellectual. The Commissioners represented a cross-section with considerable academic, cultural, political and news media capital. But rather than being able to take advantage of its public face in Stuart Hall and Bhikhu Parekh – both intellectually and ethnically committed to critical practice – to define itself as ‘a subaltern counter public entity engaged in the project of unsettling dominant interpretations of British national identity, citizenship and belonging’,40 the FMEB Commission found itself politically exposed among the left and minority-oriented media outlets as well as the New Labour Party, whose policy machinery the Commission had been working within towards the completion of the report. This strategy of aligning itself with New Labour proved disastrous since, at the launch, Jack Straw even alluded to George Orwell’s views on the unpatriotic left to reproach the Commission for its outmoded antipathy to ‘Britishness’,41 effectively removing New Labour’s endorsement and association. Beyond this misalignment, the report also failed to garner much favourable press in the liberal centre and ethnic minority presses. In fact, The Guardian’s well-intentioned article that commended the report’s ideas was nevertheless given the sensational headline, ‘British tag is “coded racism”’.42 The Independent also criticized the report for its superficial problematization of British national identity and unnecessarily provoking the right-wing press. In the leading ethnic minority press, the articles emphasized the sense of the report and the Commissioners being out of

Assumptions of power subverted    57 touch with the actual status quo. A theme of anti-intellectualism pervaded the new pieces labelling the Commissioners as ‘hypocrites’43 who were ‘living in the past’.44 Darcus Howe, a leading black British commentator, even pointed out that the FMEB was addressing ‘a process that is moving along independent of the pontification of intellectuals’.45 Various campaigning groups further lambasted the Commission for its intellectual framework and theoretical deliberations. Ambalavaner Sivanandan, Director of the Institute of Race Relations (IRR), commented that the ‘Commission’s focus on abstract ideas of nation, cultural difference and identity formation, detracts from its more positive recommendations’ and positions ‘the debate away from everyday issues of racial injustice’.46 The subsequent statement and criticisms from the Campaign Against Racism and Fascism (CARF) took on a much sterner tone: In one fell swoop, the Parekh Report … undid anti-racism … Racism we were being told, was really about identity, inclusion and rebranding. And the fight against racism had once again been degraded to a fight for culture and identity. In the world of discourse, academics do not distinguish between metaphor, symbol, the word and the world. Representation is all … It was the fact that those first 55 pages, and particularly the section on Britishness, were couched in the private elitist postmodern gobbledygook beloved of ivory tower intellectuals.47 The Parekh Report thus found itself ostensibly abandoned by New Labour, the right and left-wing press, ethnic minority news media, and community organizations; its counter hegemonic narrative was neither successful at correcting the negative image that had been imposed upon it nor reaching a counter public.48 The report was unable to meaningfully connect to the ‘multiple constituencies of today’s public’.49 More and more, with its juxtaposition of an intellectual policy framework and its ambitions for high media returns, the Parekh Report became a bad bet on whichever side rolled up on the political dice.

Elites and vulnerability While the report had certainly received a lot of attention, it was not the kind the Commissioners had expected. But what of the Commissioners? How did they fare in the wake of this ‘damaging political fall-out of extremely negative news media coverage’, or ‘public trauma?’50 Subsequent to a standing tradition of multidisciplinary work focused on the study of elite populations and methodological accounts of the process of qualitative research reaching ‘upwards’ to engage the powerful in the research process,51 we turned this sociological gaze at the FMEB Commission in order to investigate the production and publication of the Parekh Report. In so doing, we were able to explore ‘the uncertain and unsettled cartographies of power that exist between the researcher and the elite interviewee [and] examine the notion of the emotional investment that policy-makers may have in the documents they have produced and disseminated’.52 The openness with which

58  Sarah Neal and Eugene McLaughlin many participants recalled this traumatic experience suggests that the production of policy documents can constitute an emotional labour. We extend this argument by examining how this openness also reveals the uncertainties of power within the interviewee/interviewer relationship, while identifying some of the problems in defining elites in both public policy and social research contexts. Since Anne Oakley raised questions about the power dynamics in the researcher-researched relationship based on a feminist perspective,53 other writings on qualitative methodology have sought to introduce principles of reciprocity, openness, mutuality and exchange.54 From here, the debate developed to include critical exchange and the complexity of enacting these research principles in the field.55 Many of these methodologists argue that principles such as mutuality and reciprocity transferred with difficulty into research settings in which the interviewee represented a position of power or professional influence. Carol Smart, in reference to Oakley as well as Stanley and Wise, draws on her experiences interviewing magistrates to demonstrate an alternate perspective: there is an assumption that the power imbalance between people “being researched” and “the researcher” is basically in favour of the latter … but my experience of researching the “locally powerful” does not fit with this model at all … I find this assertion remarkable and only explicable if we ignore all social class divisions and the structures of dominance in society.56 These kinds of findings have been echoed in the words of Sarah Neal in reference to her work with academics, managers and administrators,57 Duke in her research on penal warfare and drug policy,58 and Desmond who suggests that ‘working in an elite field poses major difficulties which stem from the challenges of researching up, which are quite different to those encountered in studying down’59. In other words, and as previously discussed with regard to the dynamics of researching up versus studying down: reciprocal and mutual research approaches can be understood as appropriate in those research environments in which the researcher appeared more powerful, but offer limited insight and relevance in research environments in which the research participants could be identified as more powerful. This impasse is a reflection of a more linear orientated conception of power. Power is rather statically defined as residing in the explicit structural positions of either the researcher or the research participant rather than as an ambiguous, fluid, multi-directional dynamic, which can flow unevenly across and between different positions in the research relationship.60 To move beyond this impasse, a post-structuralist filter, as influenced by the work of Katherine Smith (2006) has proved quite useful. In her application of post-structuralism to the issue of power in qualitative research, Smith raised two interconnected issues. The first involves applying a more mobile interpretation of power to the interview, and the second dismisses

Assumptions of power subverted    59 the ‘rather simplistic idea that there is a dichotomy between powerful elites and powerless others’ since such an outlook ignores the proposition that power exists in a variety of modalities … that these modalities of power can be negotiated and are neither not inscribed and consequently that elites may change over time (even during the course of one research project).61 Cochrane’s assertion based on research with local politicians extends the argument by pointing out that obvious indicators of power may be misleading and obscure hidden sites of influence.62 The methodological, empirical and theoretical unease with the meaning of elite, raised by commentators such as Smith and Cochrane, directly resonates with the research findings and methodological experiences from our project on the Parekh Report. The public reception of the Parekh Report illuminates not only the contested nature of elite status, but also the extent to which elite individuals can be personally destabilized when designated as unpatriotic. The Commissioners’ status as distinguished individuals and elites could not shield them from highly personalized news media attacks. In fact, their unrepresentativeness was an integral part of the negative mediatization. Right-wing news media portrayed the Commissioners as ‘intellectual godfathers’,63 ‘Left-wing cronies’,64 ‘of foreign extraction’,65 ‘learned and well-intentioned idiots’,66 ‘fools’, ‘Britain bashers’, ‘metropolitan, chattering class elites’,67 ‘out of touch governing classes’68 and ‘race warriors’.69 The anti-British portrayal of the report in tandem with its so-called minority orientation also help deconstruct the instabilities and fragile legitimacies of what exactly constitutes the notion of elite. Although we conducted our interviews with the Commissioners after two years had passed since the publication of the report and the news media had long since stopped coverage on it, the intense experiences surrounding the report’s publication and reception were still heavily inflected in the research encounter and the interviews. Although we, as researchers, had recognized the need to be reflexive in our approaches, we did not foresee the depth to which the Commissioners remained emotionally connected to the report. Furthermore, we were not initially equipped to treat ‘their remarkable openness in admitting the personal and emotional impact of the negative reception of the Report’.70 These discourses came in a variety of configurations that variously impacted both the nature of the research relationship and the power dynamic within it. Contrary to the notion that the world of policy-making is somehow disconnected from emotional realities, over and over the Commissioners communicated how the publication of the report and the subsequent reception of it by the media and the public marked a very painful experience. When asked about the impact of the news media coverage, one Commissioner responded as follows: Well, painful of course. I didn’t get as much personal abuse as some other Commissioners did but I did get some and I was stopped by people in the

60   Sarah Neal and Eugene McLaughlin street saying what an appalling thing you’ve done, ‘you’ve betrayed us’. And there was a sort of tension in quite a lot of personal contact [between Commissioners] for a while … I suppose I felt defensive for a while about any debate on the subject.71 The general sense of a painful experience could also be detected in the broader mood of the interviews, in a way that the transcripts alone cannot communicate. Sometimes the researchers found it difficult to put their feelings about the report and its launch into words; sometimes the interview would have to pause until the interviewee felt capable to continue. As researchers, we were not prepared for these intense emotional recollections and found ourselves uncertain whether to respond with any words of reassurance, comfort or empathy, calling to mind Liz Bondi’s notion of the ‘inherent uncertainty of fieldwork’ in which researchers ‘confront an array of questions and dilemmas … [including whether] we should seek to empathize with those we interview’.72 Later in the interview, the aforementioned Commissioner continues the theme of the painful experience in even greater depth: Oh it was very difficult, it’s very difficult. It was horrendous because you know, well I was talking to a friend who was going through this process last week about The Daily Mail and he said I remember what happened when the Report was published. The Daily Mail had put in all your mug shots and a list of the “crimes” that you had committed. And, you know, most of us were academics or the kind of people who had not been through anything like this before. I mean some people had and were more used to it than most of the rest of us, but I think that sort of media attention … and the awful letters that were published in the papers and the even more awful letters that we all received via the Runnymede Trust and at home. It was a horrifying ­experience.73 Reactions to Jack Straw’s speech at the launch of the report also embodied these strong emotional overtones: Commissioner: I didn’t know which line he was going to take, I really didn’t know. I didn’t expect him to be quite so … I think [some of the other Commissioners present] were more shocked than I was about Jack Straw’s kind of extraordinary betrayal – that was how they saw it. EM: And you weren’t so shocked? Commissioner: I wasn’t because I know the power of the press.74 These interview excerpts not only shed light into the personal experience of being in the public domain in the context of a public trauma, but they also expose a delineation between Commissioners who were used to the media spotlight and those who were not. Those Commissioners who had more experience with the news media as overt public figures ‘spoke of the political naivety of imagining a document such as the Parekh Report would receive anything other than a hostile response, especially

Assumptions of power subverted    61 from the conservative news media’,75 but they also stressed how the news media attention also guaranteed a higher profile for the report. This notion is expressed, somewhat ambivalently, in the following extract: Commissioners did try to put the other side and I think over time that started to come through and I know … I mean think one of the things, if you’re talking about the positives, I mean I did think selling more books was positive. It may have been at a price, but it’s difficult to know quite at what price.76 Moreover, even though the coverage was very negative, it nevertheless catalyzed high-profile debates on national identity: There was a view [shared by some but by no means all Commissioners] that the right, the nationalist right, understood at some kind of visceral, intuitive level, that we were challenging everything that they stood for and then they responded … irrationally, hysterically and obviously with a certain amount of character assassination and so on. As I understand it, the view is that we had to go through that kind of conflict to get to the other side. To get to the kind of inclusive, plural Britain that we wanted, we had to have a kind of emotional struggle like that.77 For many of the Commissioners, this harm was felt at a very personal level, as encapsulated by the following extract: it was as if we’d been in a submarine for two years – we all understand each other’s view. We came to understand each other very well, we knew where we disagreed. We had this elaborate sort of discourse set up and then we just surfaced into another world, opened the hatch and – do you understand what I mean? … So I think the Commission was shell-shocked by that.78 The emotional articulations continue to question the notion of power at play during our interviews. Still in the aftershocks of this public trauma, these intimate recollections of the public reception of the report reveal that these elites were once again made vulnerable in the context of the research interview. As it became entwined with difficult emotionally reflexive processes, power ran through the research relations in a much messier and multidirectional way, ‘unpredictable and variable’.79 Although the researchers at times felt a real sense of being non-elites and relatively powerless during the course of the interviews with the Commissioners (especially in the case where one of the interviewers arrived late at the resplendent abode of a Commissioner, having lost the way in the rain, being drenched in the process), researchers nonetheless maintain an ultimate control over the design and direction of the project.80 By maintaining the interpretative power over the collective data, they make the final decisions about how it is framed and what happens to it.81 Power, in this direction, with the presumptions of a research

62   Sarah Neal and Eugene McLaughlin agenda alongside representational and knowledge production and dissemination has served as the basis of much feminist and other critical methodologies in research settings with ‘non-elite’ participants.82 However, in these research settings where the subjects were professionals and elites, the power dynamics in the relationships are present in other manners that are much more uncertain. While our gaze was upwards, the emotional responses to our research agenda create instability in the flow of power. Their willingness to share these painful recollections also demonstrated that the control of power did not lie solely with the research participants in a straightforward or linear manner. Indeed, in the context of these interviews, power relations were consistently unsteady and in flux. Apart from the feelings of pain endured during and after this public trauma, the other dominant emotional theme that emerged during the course of the interviews was the sense of responsibility the Commissioners felt for the report and its subsequent reception. These various expressions of responsibility shed light on the complexity of power within social research relations and the relation of policy-makers and elites to the policy documents to which they have contributed. While argumentation theory focused on rich, multiscalar policy worlds that has helped initiate an influential shift away from technicist approaches to the analysis of policy generation, formation and outcomes,83 little empirical commentary exists on the nature of the emotional bonds between policy-makers, the policy deliberations and the documents they have co-created. This relative absence is somewhat surprising given the increasing interest in the emotional realm in both sociology and cultural studies.84 As Simon J. Williams has keenly pointed out, ‘without emotions, social life, including our decision-making capacities and our ability to make informed choices among a plurality of options, would be impossible’,85 hence a constant crossover with the professional and emotional worlds, but to varying degrees. However, not all the actors involved in policy-making processes are necessarily emotionally bonded to the policy deliberations. For example, professional policy-makers may be involved in a number of policy domains at the same time or may move relatively swiftly from one domain to another. For this reason, they may not experience the occasion for the development of emotionally thick attachments to the documents they work on. We have argued elsewhere that: the nature of policy-making communities and networks means that different actors can be involved in very different stages of policy generation, and again this is likely to impact on any emotional connection and commitment that those involved in the policy-making process may feel.86 In the case of the FMEB Commission, a number of factors likely contributed to the Commissioners’ sense of responsibility and emotional connections to the report: the longevity of the Commission’s life, its mandate and political ambitions, the stability of its core membership and, related to this, its internal convivial

Assumptions of power subverted    63 social dynamics are factors which are likely to have impacted on Commissioners’ specific ties to the final document they produced.87 The diverse discourses on responsibility among the Commissioners were rather multilayered. Some of the sense of responsibility can be attributed to the fact that many of the Commissioners had been long-term colleagues and friends. They shared feelings of disappointment that this once-in-a-political-generation opportunity was not more successful. Their hopes even included the notion that a permanent Commission would be established as a result of the report, whose purpose would be to monitor the implementation of its recommendations. There was also a sense of regret that they did not somehow fireproof the document better against the right-wing press, and more so, that the temptation to grab frontpage headlines backfired with regard to the reception of the report. The emotionality attached to such discussions is hard to effectively capture in writing. The emotional content belongs to the ephemeral feelings and experiences at the time of the interview and often enters a realm beyond the actual spoken words. Nevertheless, much of the regret and sense of responsibility can still be garnered, even without direct access to the moods of the interviews. Bhikhu Parekh has publicly commented on both the sense of responsibility and feelings of regret associated with the publication of the report: We must ourselves accept part of the blame for not expressing ourselves more clearly. None of us, including three of our distinguished journalist commissioners, expected the relevant paragraphs to arouse so much interest and concern and naturally took no precautions against it … Words such as post-nation state and racial coding … are fine in academic discourse but can become sources of confusion and fear in political life.88 Another Commissioner blamed the drafting of the report itself, particularly the ambiguities on pages 37 to 39, as being particularly consequential: I don’t think people completely made it up; when I say people, I mean the Telegraph, the Sun, and the Daily Mail and to some extent even the Guardian really … there is a genuine ambiguity, and perhaps even an incoherence, about what we’re saying … The whole media frenzy of that week or fortnight or however long it lasted all hung on one or two or three phrases and … one of them was about the post-national. Another one was about whether Britishness meant coded racism and the third one was about whether the country should be called a community of communities … They were phrases just snatched up but nevertheless they were what the media debate was all about, so my view on that is that we must take some of the blame for the mixed messages and [recognise] that it was genuinely damaging to us. This lengthier passage helps confirm the recognition of the dissociation an intellectual document can undergo in the news media, especially when the authors

64   Sarah Neal and Eugene McLaughlin have been seeking maximum publicity. This kind of frankness and willingness to share a policy-making narrative on the notion of responsibility is methodologically significant as well. The open manner in which the Commissioners discussed their difficulties in the context of a public trauma, does not fit coherently with traditional notions of the powerful and the elite. This narrative both acknowledges political and personal vulnerability ‘which makes a “bigger” comment as to the potential instabilities of the public sphere inhabited by elite figures’ and ‘again stresses the unsettled nature of the power dynamic in the “upwards” research encounter’.89

Conclusion As a case study in the role of public intellectuals in the British context, the Parekh Report helps reveal many levels of uncertainty and ambiguity between an intellectual product and its dissemination into the public eye. In so doing, we were also able to demonstrate how the pain endured by the Commissioners during this public trauma, in addition to the feelings of responsibility for these outcomes put traditional notions of interviewing elites in an upwards research context into question. Both the media reception and the reaction of the Commissioners to it help reveal the declinist narrative of the significance of the public intellectual. The story demonstrates that the public sphere has been highly racialized and patrolled by powerful conservative presses that are ‘instinctively hostile to any intellectual position that problematizes national identity through the lens of race and ethnicity or promotes positive discrimination’.90 One of the Commissioners expressed surprise that the report did not incite an ‘intellectual discussion’91 in the press; this is quite telling in this regard. The interview processes themselves also did much to subvert notions of elitism and power. Drawing on our qualitative data from the interviews conducted with FMEB Commissioners, we suggest that: authority and dominance did not straightforwardly flow, ‘top-down’, from our elite participants, despite their recognized status in public life and their spheres of work. Nor did authority and dominance straightforwardly flow, ‘top-down’, from us as researchers, as some methodological commentaries have suggested is core to the research-researched relation.92 Both the media reaction and the intense emotional displays encountered during the interviews with the Commissioners help confirm Smith’s notion that ‘we need to make room to consider the possibility of “vulnerable elites”’.93 During these moments, during which Commissioners recounted their position within this public trauma, as researchers, we had to become ‘emotionally present’.94 We showed empathy for the narratives and experiences of our participants, yet we also strove to retain our autonomy as researchers and think critically about the responses, rather than being ‘incapacitated by them’.95 In many ways, the fate of the Parekh Report can be seen in the context of the British right-wing media’s on-going virulent coverage of anti-racism policy

Assumptions of power subverted    65 initiatives since the 1980s. Alongside this hostility, there also existed the idea of a highly conditional, multicultural Britain,96 a further complication to the reception of the Parekh Report, in addition to the increasingly slippery and unpredictable 24/7 multimedia news media environment. As news media coverage has become increasingly sought after by policy-makers, especially in the context of intellectual paucity in the public realm, the relationships have also become more and more complex. While the negative right-wing press coverage of the Parekh Report became an obvious focus for criticism, this has obscured the tensions associated with the Commissioners’ ambitions to produce a document that was: a) a policy document, b) academically credible, c) politically visionary and d) newsworthy. These different pulls on the report, in tandem with the negative news media commentary unleashed by The Daily Telegraph’s eye-catching ‘British is a Racist Word’ headline, severely compromised the best intentions of the contributors to the report.

Notes   1  See Eugene McLaughlin and Sarah Neal, ‘Misrepresenting the Multicultural Nation: The Policy-making Process, News Media Management and the Parekh Report’, Policy Studies 25.3 (2004): pp. 155–174; ‘Who Can Speak to Race and Nation? Intellectuals, Public Policy Formation and the Future of Multi-ethnic Britain Commission’, Cultural Studies 21.6 (2007): pp. 910–930; Neal, S. and E. McLaughlin, ‘Researching Up? Interviews, Emotionality and Policy-Making Elites’, Journal of Social Policy 38.4 (2009): pp. 689–707.   2  Robert F. Drake, The Principles of Social Policy (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2001), p. 16.   3  See Tariq Modood, ‘Multiculturalism and Britishness: Provocations, Hostilities and Advances’, in The Politics of Ethnic Diversity in the British Isles, ed. Romain Garbaye and Pauline Schnapper (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), pp. 21–57.   4  Helen Small, The Public Intellectual (London: Blackwell Publishing, 2002), p. 3.   5  Jürgen Habermas, Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere (Cambridge: Polity, 1989).   6  See Russell Jacoby, The Last Intellectuals: American Culture in the Age of Reason (New York: Atlantic Books, 1989).   7  Nick Pearce, ‘Mix in with the Mandarins’, Times Higher Educational Supplement, 15 April 2005.   8  McLaughlin and Neal, ‘Who Can Speak to Race and Nation?, p. 912.   9  Frank Furedi, Where Have All the Intellectuals Gone? (London: Continuum, 2004), p. 24. 10  McLaughlin and Neal, ‘Who Can Speak to Race and Nation?’, p. 916. 11  Helen Seaford, ‘Reports and Surveys: The Future of Multi-ethnic Britain: An Opportunity Missed’, The Political Quarterly 72.1 (2000): p. 113. 12  Bhikhu Parekh and Runnymede Trust Commission on the Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain, The Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain: The Parekh Report (London: Profile Books, 2000), p. 1. 13  McLaughlin and Neal, ‘Who Can Speak to Race and Nation?’, p. 917. 14  Ibid. 15  Parekh et al., The Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain, p. i. 16  See Helen Davis, Understanding Stuart Hall (London: Sage, 2004); Bhikhu Parekh, ‘Reporting on a Report’, Runnymede Trust Bulletin 326 (2001), pp. 1–7; Julian Petley, ‘A Case of Mistaken Identity’, Index on Censorship 30 (2001): pp. 20–30; Andrew

66   Sarah Neal and Eugene McLaughlin Pilkington, Racial Disadvantage and Ethnic Diversity in Britain (London: Palgrave, 2003); Robin Richardson, ‘Children Will be Told Lies: Distortions, Untruths and Abuse in Media Coverage’, Runnymede Trust Bulletin 324 (2000), pp. 12–13. 17  See McLaughlin and Neal, ‘Misrepresenting the Multicultural Nation’, pp. 155–174. 18  Ibid., p. 157. 19  Ibid. 20  See Frank Fischer and John Forester, ed., The Argumentative Turn in Policy Analysis and Planning, (London: UCL Press, 1993), pp. 6–11. 21  Fischer and Forester, The Argumentative Turn, p. 6. 22  Ibid., p. 11. 23  McLaughlin and Neal, The Argumentative Turn, p. 157. 24  Ibid., p. 162. 25  Interview, 15 January 2003. See McLaughlin and Neal, The Argumentative Turn, p. 163. 26  Daily Telegraph, 17 October 2000. 27  Samir Shah, ‘This Estimable Report’, Runnymede Trust Bulletin 324 (2000), p. 1. 28  McLaughlin and Neal, ‘Misrepresenting the Multicultural Nation’, p. 166. 29  Ibid., 167. 30  Ibid. 31  Ibid., p. 169. 32  Ibid., pp. 169–170. 33  See Philip Dodd, The Battle over Britain (London: Demos, 1995); Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Panel 2000: Consultation Document, 2000,; Mark Leonard, Britain TM (London: Demos, 1997). 34  McLaughlin and Neal, ‘Misrepresenting the Multicultural Nation’, p. 166. 35  Parekh, ‘Reporting on a Report’, p. 7. 36  McLaughlin and Neal, ‘Who Can Speak to Race and Nation?’, p. 916. 37  Parekh et al., The Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain, p. 6. 38  McLaughlin and Neal, ‘Who Can Speak to Race and Nation?’, p. 918. 39  Profile Books press release, October 2000, Runnymede Trust Archives. 40  McLaughlin and Neal, ‘Who Can Speak to Race and Nation?’, p. 922. 41  Jack Straw, ‘Speech Made at Launch of the Future of Multi-ethnic Britain Report’, Runnymede Bulletin 324 (2000), pp. 2–4. 42  11 October 2000. 43  New Nation, 16 October 2000. 44  The Voice, 16 October 2000. 45  Darcus Howe, ‘The Young Don’t Want an English National Identity’, New Statesman, 23 October 2000, 22. 46  ‘Burying Macpherson’, Campaign Against Racism and Fascism (CARF), last modified 1 December 2000, 47  Ibid. 48  See Clive Barnett, ‘Convening Publics: The Parasitical Spaces of Public Action’, in The SAGE Handbook of Political Geography, ed. Kevin Cox, Murray Low and Jennifer Robinson (London: Sage, 2004), pp. 403–417. 49  Small, The Public Intellectual, p. 8. 50  Neal and McLaughlin, ‘Researching Up?, p. 689. 51  Ibid., pp. 689–690. 52  Ibid., p. 690. 53  See Anne Oakley, ‘Interviewing Women: A Contradiction in Terms?’ in Doing Feminist Research, ed. Helen Roberts (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1981), pp. 217–232. 54  See Renate Duelli Klein, ‘How to Do What We Want to Do: Thoughts About Feminist Methodology,’ in Theories of Women’s Studies, ed. Gloria Bowles and Renate Duelli Klein (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1983); Sandra Harding, Feminism and Methodology: Social Science Issues (Milton Keynes: Open University Press, 1987);

Assumptions of power subverted    67 Liz  Stanley and Sue Wise, Breaking Out: Feminist Consciousness and Feminist Research (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1983). 55  See Gillian Rose, ‘Situating Knowledges: Positionality, Reflexivities and Other Tactics’, Progress in Human Geography 21.3 (1997); B. Troyna, ‘Sounding a Discordant Note? “Being Critical” and “Critical Beings” in Education Policy Research’, paper presented to fifth Cambridge International Conference on Education Evaluation, University of Cambridge, 1993. 56  Carol Smart, The Ties That Bind: Law, Marriage and the Reproduction of Patriarchal Relations (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1984), p. 157. 57  See Sarah Neal, ‘Researching Powerful People from a Feminist and Anti-racist Perspective: A Note on Gender, Collusion and Marginality’, British Journal of Educational Research 21.4 (1995). 58  Karen Duke, ‘Getting Beyond the Official Line: Reflections on Dilemmas of Access, Knowledge and Power in Researching Policy Networks’, Journal of Social Policy 31.1 (2002): pp. 39–59. 59  Margaret Desmond, ‘Methodological Challenges Posed in Studying as Elite in the Field’, Area 36.3 (2004): p. 262. 60  Neal and McLaughlin, ‘Researching Up?’, p. 695. 61  Katherine Smith, ‘Problematising Power Relations in “Elite” Interviews’, GeoForum 37 (2006): p. 645. 62  Allan Cochrane, ‘Illusions of Power: Interviewing Local Elite’, Environment and Planning A 30.12 (1998), p. 2127. 63  The Sunday Telegraph, 15 October 2000. 64  The Daily Telegraph, 13 October 2000. 65  The Times, 12 October 2000. 66  Ibid. 67  The Sun, 11 October 2000. 68  The Sunday Times, 15 October 2000. 69  The Daily Mail, 13 October 2000. 70  Neal and McLaughlin, ‘Researching Up?’, p. 697. 71  Ibid. 72  Liz Bondi, ‘Empathy and Identification: Conceptual Resources for Feminist Fieldwork’, ACME: International Journal of Critical Geography 2.1 (2003): p. 67. 73  Neal and McLaughlin, ‘Researching Up?’, p. 698. 74  Ibid. 75  Ibid. 76  Ibid., pp. 698–699. 77  Ibid., p. 699. 78  Ibid. 79  Smith, ‘Problematising Power Relations’, p. 651. 80  Neal and McLaughlin, ‘Researching Up?’, p. 699. 81  Rose, ‘Situating Knowledges’, p. 307. 82  See Jenny Bourne with A. Sivanadan, ‘Cheerleaders and Ombudsmen: The Sociology of Race Relations in Britain’, Race and Class 21 (1982); Linda McDowell, ‘Doing Gender: Feminism, Feminists and Research Methods in Human Geography’, Transactions, Institute of British Geographers 17 (1992). 83  See Catherine Bochel and Hugh M. Bochel, The UK Social Policy Process (London: Palgrave, 2004); Karen Duke, Drugs, Prisons and Policy-Making (London: Palgrave, 2003); Fischer and Forester; Martin Rein and Donald Schön, ‘Reframing Policy Discourse’, in The Argumentative Turn in Policy Analysis and Planning, ed. Frank Fischer and John Forester (London: University College Press, 1993); Sarah Neal, The Making of Equal Opportunities Policies in Universities (Buckingham: Open University Press, 1998).

68   Sarah Neal and Eugene McLaughlin 84  See, for example, Sara Ahmed, The Cultural Politics of Emotion (Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh Press, 2004); Simon Clarke, ‘Theory and Practice: Psychoanalytic Sociology as Psycho-social Studies’, Sociology 40.6 (2006); Ian Craib, ‘Social Constructionism as a Social Psychosis’, Sociology 31.1 (1997); Stevi Jackson, ‘Even Sociologists Fall in Love: An Exploration in the Sociology of Emotions’, Sociology 27.2 (1993); Elspeth Probyn, Blush: Faces of Shame (Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press, 2005). 85  Simon J. Williams, ‘Modernity and the Emotions: Corporeal Reflections on the (IR) Rational’, Sociology 32.4 (1998): p. 761. 86  Neal and McLaughlin, ‘Researching Up?’, p. 701. 87  Ibid. 88  Parekh, ‘Reporting on a Report’, p. 7. 89  Neal and McLaughlin, ‘Researching Up?’, p. 703. 90  McLaughlin and Neal, ‘Who Can Speak to Race and Nation?’, p. 924. 91  Ibid., p. 925. 92  Neal and McLaughlin, ‘Researching Up?’, p. 703. 93  Smith, ‘Problematising Power Relations’, p. 651. 94  Bondi, ‘Empathy and Identification’, p. 71. 95  Ibid. 96  Anne-Marie Fortier, ‘Pride, Politics and the Multiculturalist Citizenship’, Racial and Ethnic Studies 28.3 (2005): pp. 559–578; Ian Law, Race in the News (London: Palgrave, 2000).

4 From Stasi (2003) to the Machelon Commission (2006) The use of commissions in religious regulation in France Pierre-Henri Prélot Launching a commission to deal with an important political, social, ethical or religious problem is quite common in France, as well as in other democratic countries.1 In the context of constitutions and national institutions, no fewer than eight commissions were created between 1992 and 2013.2 In the field of bioethics, a standing committee was inaugurated in 1984, and over the next forty years the Comité consultatif national d’éthique/CCNE (National Advisory Committee for Ethics) provided 122 summaries about such questions as the beginning of life, the transfer of organs or elements of the human body, the end of life (including euthanasia and assisted suicide) and medically assisted procreation. Religious disputes have often been the subject of deliberations by such commissions. In 1903, it was a parliamentary commission headed by Ferdinand Buisson, a strong Protestant member of the Chamber of Deputies, that defined the concept of separation of Church and State that was eventually enacted in 1905. Almost sixty years later, the important loi Debré (31 December 1959) resulted in a new legal status for private primary and secondary schools which had been mainly Catholic in France. The decision was preceded by two commissions, in 1951 (Joseph Paul-Boncour) and 1959 (Pierre-Olivier Lapie), which contributed to the final agreement dubbed the compromis scolaire. In more recent years, two commissions have been launched, one in July 2003 by former President of the Republic, Jacques Chirac, and the other in November 2005 by the Minister of Home Affairs (and next President) Nicolas Sarkozy. Colloquially, the first one is usually referred to as the Stasi Commission and the second one as the Machelon Commission. The exact French name of the Stasi Commission is Commission pour l’application du principe de laïcité dans la République (Commission for the Application of the Principle of Laïcité in the French Republic). Its mandate was to make proposals about the practical application of the principle of secularism, or laïcité. The prospective prohibition of the Muslim headscarf at school was one of the many questions which the commission discussed. The French title of the Machelon Commission is Commission de réflexion juridique sur les relations des cultes avec les pouvoirs publics (Commission for Legal Reflection on the Relationships between Religions and Public Authorities). Its mandate, according to the appointment letter, was to draft proposals for the Minister of Home Affairs and the incoming President,

70  Pierre-Henri Prélot Nicolas Sarkozy. The key term in the appellation of the Stasi Commission was laïcité, whereas it was les cultes in the nomenclature of the Machelon Commission.

The three main roles of a commission The first role of a commission3 in the field of religion is technical. It is tasked with addressing complicated issues that are perhaps unfamiliar to the average politician. The perspectives of experts are often needed, as their voices aid in the process of finding solutions. The main reason such questions are so complex is that the relevant rules have been inherited from an ancient national history. Another reason is that they are generally transversal, in the sense that they concern various fields of legislation and jurisprudence, but also – as is especially the case in France – practice. The second role of a commission is political, which is also technical to some degree. The goal of a commission is to objectify or rationalize the terms of a highly controversial debate in society. Examples in France include the public funding of religion, and religious practices in the public sphere. The role of a commission is political in that if a plurality of opinions is represented in it, the open discussion inside the group may lead to a common solution that professional politicians would be unable to reach due to their particular affiliations. At the beginning of their meetings, some members of the Stasi Commission were strongly opposed to the prohibition of the Muslim headscarf in schools (Jean Baubérot,4 Alain Touraine5), while others were reluctant to support it (René Rémond6). By the end, however, the prohibition was recommended almost unanimously, the only remaining opponent being Baubérot. The debates within the commission were followed by the national community through media reports, and there was a wide consensus in civil society. This leads us to the third role of a commission, which is democratic. Of course, a commission is not a representative of the nation itself. It has neither been elected by the citizens, nor does it make decisions itself. But the members of the commission have to suggest, help or – in a best case scenario – lead the nation and its representatives who make choices regarding complex or controversial matters. In the well-known case of religious symbols (crosses, headscarves, Sikh buns, etc.) at school, it is clear that the prohibition would have been enacted anyway, but the Stasi Commission undoubtedly reinforced the legitimacy of this political decision. Of course, the report of the Stasi Commission has sometimes been criticized as a political manipulation by the French government, which allegedly wanted to persuade the public that its political choice (prohibition) was necessary. However, despite these criticisms, the report was understood by French politicians – and a large majority of citizens – in a more positive sense: as pedagogy to reinforce the acceptance of the common rule. In terms of political procedure, the Stasi Commission remains a good law-making example in France. It also explains, in large part, why the enactment in 2010 of the law prohibiting the full veil was preceded by the establishment of a parliamentary committee.7

Commissions in religious regulation in France    71

The decision to create commissions When President Jacques Chirac decided in July 2003 to ask his friend Bernard Stasi to preside over a commission about laïcité, there was already a strong debate about the application of this principle in France. The discussion especially focused on the wearing of Muslim headscarves by girls at school. It questioned the jurisprudence of the French Conseil d’État8 (State Council) that allowed the wearing of religious symbols by students on the condition that public order was maintained. It should be kept in mind that one year before, in May 2002, Jacques Chirac had been re-elected as President of the Republic over the Front National leader, Jean-Marie Le Pen (nationalist extreme left-wing). The unexpected presence of Le Pen at the second round of the presidential elections represented a sudden and violent political trauma in France, especially among those on the left. The discussion about the prohibition of religious symbols at schools, which had been set aside while socialist leader Lionel Jospin9 was in office as Prime Minister (1997–2002), returned like a boomerang. One month before the creation of the Stasi Commission in June 2003, François Baroin, a young member (born in 1965) of the National Assembly and a close friend of Jacques Chirac, had written a report for then Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin. His report offered sixteen recommendations, among which was the prohibition of Muslim headscarves at school. The report called for a revival of laïcité as part of a remedy for the shock of 22 April.10 It also suggested that the theme of laïcité could become a value of la droite de mai (May Right) against the left, which had converted to the side of multiculturalism but were unable to provide an answer to the challenges it presented.11 Such was the political context when Jacques Chirac inaugurated the Stasi Commission on 3 August 2003. The institution of the Machelon Commission in October 2005 was not dictated by the results of the past presidential election, however, but rather by the upcoming one in 2007, and it was appointed by the likeliest candidate of the right, then Minister of Home Affairs Nicolas Sarkozy. Neither President Chirac nor his Prime Minister, Dominique de Villepin, had expressed the wish for such a commission; its creation was entirely driven by Nicolas Sarkozy and his cabinet at Place Beauvau. Even though the intention of Nicolas Sarkozy was to prepare for the 2007 presidential election, the more immediate context was the celebration of the centenary of the Separation Act of 1905. The Machelon Commission was tasked with providing an evaluation of this symbolic law, particularly in relation to the sensitive question of the public funding of religions. Whereas in 2003 the major concern was the principle of laïcité, with the question of Muslim headscarves in the background, in 2005 the rules governing religious practice and the relations between religions and public authorities were challenged. If there was a question within the question, it was the public funding of religions, prohibited by Article 2.12 It is not entirely possible to ascertain the reasons behind the choice of the chairpersons of the two commissions. A close friend of President Jacques Chirac

72  Pierre-Henri Prélot since their studies at the École nationale d’administration/ENA (School of National Administration), Bernard Stasi was a centrist Christian Democrat leader who passed away in 2011. He was a well-known political figure who had been a minister several times and Mayor of the City of Epernay. At the time of his nomination, he was the Médiateur de la République (Mediator for the Republic).13 As for Jean-Pierre Machelon, he had no public involvement. He was chosen because he was an academic who was renowned for his work about the Third Republic and political liberalism. The decision to appoint a public figure must obviously be understood as resulting from the desire to publicize the work of the commission. However, the decision to appoint a pure academic, completely unknown beyond the small community of public lawyers and historians of the early Third Republic, can be interpreted as a deliberate choice of discretion, confidentiality and technicality. As for the members of the commission, Nicolas Sarkozy’s mandate letter prescribed that they should be experts in religious law and practice,14 coming from different backgrounds. Eleven of the fourteen members15 (one of whom was a woman) were professional lawyers, three of them having been chosen as experts in religious law.16 The letter also emphasized that the commission should take into account the expectations of French religious mainstreams, which resulted in an ecumenical composition,17 although none of the members was explicitly mandated by faith communities. The composition of the Stasi Commission was more eclectic. Nine18 of its eighteen members19 were personalities from the academic world, including experts in the various fields of laïcité, Islam, foreigners and laws on nationality, among whom were the famous historian René Rémond and sociologist Alain Touraine. The other half of the commission was composed of members from the field of education,20 as well as senior civil service and the political or associative domains.21 The composition of the Stasi Commission was rather prestigious. Its debates and proceedings were public, because it had to make recommendations for matters of national interest, namely laïcité and education. The composition of the Machelon Commission was more private, since it had to work on technical issues such as funeral legislation or the building of places of worship. But, in fact, the raisons d’être of these two commissions were not as opposed as they may seem to be at first glance. Both had been tasked with addressing religious practice in the public sphere, the former from the general point of view of laïcité and the latter from the technical perspective of religious rights.

The working methodologies of the commissions Between September and December 2003, the Stasi Commission conducted almost 100 public hearings and 40 in closed session, in the prestigious House of the Senate where it was established. It also interviewed 220 scholars from French and foreign secondary schools. The sessions of the commission were partially broadcast by the new public channel Public Sénat, and a documentary entitled Dans les coulisses de la commission (Backstage at the Commission) was

Commissions in religious regulation in France    73 broadcast at the beginning of 2004. Lastly, delegations of the commission travelled to Germany, England, Belgium, Italy and the Netherlands. As stated in the appointment letter, the French President of the Republic provided the commission with all the public services required to help them perform the tasks necessary to their mission.22 Compared with such media exposure, the weekly proceedings of the Machelon Commission stand in stark contrast. The weekly meetings every Friday afternoon between December 2005 and June 2006, and the final working sessions dedicated to the writing of the report in September 2006, took place in a small meeting room of the Ministry of Home Affairs. The Friday meetings were dedicated to hearings, which were systematically followed by open discussions on the basis of working papers prepared by the Bureau des cultes (Office for Religious Affairs) of the Ministry of Home Affairs. The members of the commission were informed about the current problems that the office was dealing with on a daily basis, regarding matters such as the institutional organization of religions, the civil and social status of religious agents, burials, and the public financing of religions. The selection of the topics as well as the choice of the presenters was decided collectively by the members of the commission under the direction of Jean-Pierre Machelon. Even though the media had followed the sessions of the Stasi Commission almost daily, in contrast they showed little interest in the activities of the Machelon Commission. It was not the desire of this latter commission to ignore the media, but simply to work away from media pressure and journalists who tend to have less interest in cemeteries and funeral legislation than in the Muslim veils that arouse such strong emotions in society. It is obviously outside the boundaries of this presentation to expose, in great detail, the substantive content of both reports. It is nevertheless important to emphasize that there exists an important contrast between these reports, whose purposes – religious practice in the public sphere – are similar, whereas their general philosophies seem to be completely opposed. It is amazing that many of the issues tackled by the Machelon Commission had already been raised two years prior by the Stasi Commission: local religious rules, in particular overseas and in Alsace-Moselle; respect for the religious requirements of funerals within the Muslim and Jewish communities; and the construction of places of worship, especially mosques. While the Stasi Commission had desired to make known its position, the members of the Machelon Commission generally were content to agree with the liberal point of view of their predecessors. The main difference between the two reports, however, is the mandate of the Machelon Commission to further develop a number of issues that had been only briefly mentioned by the Stasi Commission. The reason that members of the Stasi Commission had mentioned so many specific aspects regarding the public regulation of religions, aside from the main question of the Muslim headscarf, is that they obviously wanted to emphasize the global liberalism of French laïcité and its respect for religious traditions, in particular Islam.23 In other words, the prohibition of religious symbols at schools recommended by the Stasi Commission could in no way be suspected of being

74  Pierre-Henri Prélot motivated by the desire to limit freedom of conscience or religious practice; this is why it was so important for the commission to demonstrate their scrupulous respect via public authorities. In fact, as the report explains, the prohibition was founded on the strict necessity of maintaining public order. Of course, this position of the commission has been debated, especially outside of France. It is true that the prohibition of religious signs in the public sphere and the constant reference to laïcité tends to occlude the global liberalism of the French separation system.24

The Stasi versus the Machelon Commission: laïcité versus freedom of religion Despite the common objective of both commissions, the two reports are completely different in their approach to religious expression. In the Stasi Report, the starting point and the structuring principle of reflection is laïcité. Each of the four parts of the report describes laïcité not only as a republican value shaped by national history, but also as a universal principle which expresses, in the French context, the phenomenon of secularization that tends to bring European states together. This is in contrast to the United States, where religion is deeply pervasive in society.25 Laïcité is defined as a double exigence (double requirement) for neutrality of the state and the guarantee of freedom of conscience, including freedom of worship. These two poles, which have been deemed in no way incompatible, but potentially contradictory, may find themselves in tension, as ­demonstrated by the specific issue of Muslim headscarves at school. For the Stasi Commission, the nature of laïcité is to grant the peaceful co-existence of vivre ensemble (living together), and religious pluralism and diversity. When a contradiction exists between these principles, freedom of religion must bow to the republican requirement of social cohesion. As for the raison d’être of the Machelon Commission, it was to develop a legal reflection about relationships between religions and public authorities. The starting point was not the principle of laïcité, but the actual situation of the main religions existing in France, considered from the legal perspective of freedom of religion. Laïcité is not taken into account as a value in and of itself, as a requirement of living together, but as a legal concept consisting of the main principles enacted at the time of the separation in 1905. In other words, the two reports seem to have turned their backs on each other, as the first one engaged with religious matters from a quite restrictive viewpoint of laïcité – the prohibition of religious symbols – whereas the purpose of the second one was to facilitate religious practices. It is a sort of French schizophrenia that has led to addressing religious issues from two opposing perspectives, in order to reach solutions that seem to generally be in opposition. In reality, the media impact of the Stasi Commission proceedings, the passion for French laïcité, and the reluctance to accept Muslim religious practices – especially the wearing of headscarves by women – contributed to the celebrity status of the Stasi Report. However, the Machelon Report that evokes issues of religious legislation that are less familiar has remained in

Commissions in religious regulation in France    75 the background as far as the general public is concerned, even though it nonetheless facilitated significant reforms. With the hindsight of a decade, there appears to be a true convergence between these two reports that represent two important steps from the perspective of regulating religious practice in France, one century after the separation. Although it recommends the prohibition of religious (and political) symbols at school, the Stasi Report nevertheless stresses the importance of ensuring freedom of religion, especially for Muslims, and it is exactly this issue that was assigned to the Machelon Commission. While it has sometimes been suspected of being clerical, the Machelon Report might rather be understood as the continuation of a reflective process initiated by the Stasi Commission and continued via the 2004 annual report of the State Council dedicated to the principle of laïcité, which in some ways makes a link between the findings of both commissions.26 The main contribution of both the Stasi and Machelon Commissions is the awareness that it is no longer possible to invoke laïcité as a self-sufficient regulating principle in France, without considering the actual social problems resulting from religious practice. Pragmatism has replaced ideology, although there still remains much ideology in French pragmatism.

The posterity of the reports Both reports contain a series of specific proposals. Most of these are unanimous, a way for the commissions to reinforce the authority of their recommendations.27 Unanimity is nevertheless ambivalent, because it can indicate a perception of instrumentalism. It may also be understood as a means of fashioning a social demand in order to initiate the law-making process. As for the proposals of the Stasi Commission, the main one, of course, was the prohibition of religious and political symbols in public schools. The report also proposed the drafting of a Charte de la laïcité (Charter of Laïcité) in public services, which was eventually written in 2007 (see Chapter 5).28 In 2004, the creation of the Haute autorité de lutte contre les discriminations et pour l’égalité/ HALDE (High Authority for the Struggle against Discrimination and for Equality) had also been suggested by the Stasi Commission, but the institution was absorbed in 2011 by the new Défenseur des droits (Defender of Rights)29 and consequently eliminated. Most of the other numerous proposals have not been implemented. On the contrary, the ban on covering one’s face in public spaces that was enacted in 2010 was not among the proposals of the Stasi Commission, even though there is a reference in the report to the concept of living together, which was accepted by the European Court of Human Rights as a legitimate justification for the national prohibition.30 As for the Machelon Report, it directly inspired the pamphlet of Home Affairs Minister Michèle Alliot-Marie (19 February 2008) entitled Police des lieux de sépulture: Aménagements des cimetières – Regroupements confessionnels des sépultures (Policy on Burial Places: The Arrangement of Cemeteries – The Confessional Grouping of Burial Places).31 Republican legislation from 1881 and

76   Pierre-Henri Prélot 1884 prohibits any distinction on the grounds of religion in public cemeteries, as well as forbidding the creation of private cemeteries. The pamphlet suggests an interpretation of this legislation that enables the creation of religious areas, where people are buried according to their religious affiliations. However, the main proposal of the commission was to temporarily legalize the public funding of places of worship. Article 2 of the Separation Act (1905) prohibits any funding of religions. However, due to the nationalization of churches during the revolution (1789) and to the recognition system in the nineteenth century, Catholic churches32 built before the Separation Act are still public property in France, and are made available to the Church bodies for free. This situation represents discrimination against religions that have recently settled in France, especially against Muslims, who must finance their places of worship without any public financial support. The aim of the proposal made by the Machelon Commission was to compensate this disparity via a temporary suspension of Article 2. The proposal was not enacted, of course, but it broke a significant taboo and instigated a public debate about the relevance of the prohibition rule of public funding. Furthermore, this proposal occurred in the context of the liberalization of the said prohibition rule. For instance, a decree of 21 April 2006 facilitates the provision of land by municipalities in order to construct places of worship, especially mosques. More generally, in 2011, the French State Council issued a set of decisions stating that the financial prohibition does not apply when there is a current public interest (i.e. artistic, tourism, etc.) justifying the public funding of a religious project.33

Conclusion The main proposition of the Stasi Commission was the prohibition of religious symbols in French public schools, particularly Muslim veils. The main recommendation of the Machelon Commission was the legalization of the public funding of religions, in order to facilitate the construction of places of worship, particularly Muslim mosques. From this information, it is tempting to conclude that the Stasi Commission was secular and that the Machelon Commission was religious, and that a comparison of the two commissions is nonsensical. However, that is only part of the answer. As explained, the Stasi Commission also made proposals to strengthen freedom of religion, and many of its recommendations were reiterated by the Machelon Commission (see Chapter 5). The significance of such a convergence is that today French laïcité is not only understood as a value, a republican dogma or a meta principle. It is also seen as a living rule, inherited from our national history, meaning a specific way to regulate religious activities inside society in compliance with freedom of religion.34 What has changed as a result of the commissions in France is the national perception of laïcité, and this shift marks an important step for the future.

Commissions in religious regulation in France    77

Notes   1  The author of this text is a former member of the Machelon Commission who was chosen as an academic specializing in the fields of religious freedom and laïcité. The purpose of this contribution is to report on this fascinating personal experience. See Jean-Pierre Machelon et al. Commission de réflexion juridique sur les relations des cultes avec les pouvoirs publics (Paris : La Documentation française, 2006).   2  Commission de réflexion sur la réforme du mode de scrutin (Georges Vedel 1992– 1993), Comité consultatif pour la révision de la Constitution (Georges Vedel 1992– 1993), Commission de réflexion sur le statut pénal du président de la République (Pierre Avril 2002), Commission de préparation de la Charte de l’environnement (Yves Coppens 2004), Comité de réflexion et de proposition sur la modernisation et le rééquilibrage des institutions (Édouard Balladur 2007), Comité pour la réforme des collectivités locales (Édouard Balladur 2008), Comité de réflexion sur le préambule de la Constitution (Simone Veil 2008), Commission sur la rénovation et la déontologie de la vie publique (Lionel Jospin 2012).   3  The technical function of the Lapie Commission in 1959 was to find a legal way to integrate private Catholic schools into the national department of education. The function of the Stasi Commission was, among others, to study the possibility of a prohibition of religious symbols at school. The function of the Machelon Commission was mainly to study the possibilities for municipalities to help finance the construction of places of worship (especially mosques), despite the prohibition of the Separation Act (Article 2).   4  Jean Baubérot was, at this time, a professor in the École Pratique des Hautes Études (ÉPHÉ), as titleholder of the Chair of Histoire et sociologie de la laïcité.   5  Alain Touraine is a prominent French sociologist, specializing in working-class and social movements.   6  René Rémond (deceased in 2007) was a famous historian and political scientist, specializing in contemporary history and especially histoire des droites (the history of the right-wing) in France.   7  The mission parlementaire sur la pratique du port du voile intégral sur le territoire national was established in June 2009. It worked until December and submitted its report on 26 January 2010.   8  State Council, notice of 27 December 1989 and the Kherouaa decision of 2 November 1992.   9  As Minister of National Education, in 1989, Lionel Jospin had to deal with the first veil cases at schools. He decided to ask the State Council to provide him with advice about the lawfulness of wearing religious symbols, instead of making the prohibition decision himself, as expected by a large part of the educational community. 10  22 April 2002 marked the first tour of the presidential election, when socialist leader Jospin was eliminated from the second round opposing Chirac to Le Pen. 11  La droite de Mai is a reference to the election of Jacques Chirac during the second round of presidential elections on 5 May 2002. 12  Article 2 prohibits any public support for religions: La République ne reconnaît, ne subventionne ni ne salarie aucun culte. Considering that most Catholic churches have been public property since the French Revolution in 1789, there exists an objective discrimination inherited from history between Catholics whose churches are now provided as common spaces under the separation regime, whereas Muslims have to finance entirely the building of their mosques according to the same (financial) separation principle. 13  The Médiateur de la République, replaced in 2011 by the new institution of Défenseur des droits (Defender of Rights), was the French equivalent of an ombudsman.

78  Pierre-Henri Prélot 14  As the letter states: cette commission associera, sous votre présidence et avec le concours d’un membre du Conseil d’État, des experts du droit des cultes et de sa pratique, venant d’horizons différents. 15  The members of the commission were Laurence Botbol-Lalou (lawyer), Charles Choucroy (lawyer), Jean-François Colosimo (Professor of Orthodox Theology at Institut Saint-Serge), Jean-Claude Groshens (honorary member of the State Council), Yves Gaudemet (law professor), Chems-Eddine Hafiz (lawyer), Jean-Michel Lemoyne de Forges (law professor), Francis Messner (researcher-in-law), Pierre-Henri Prélot (law professor), Thierry Rambaud (law professor), Jean-Daniel Roque (historian), Aslam Timol (economist), Jean-Paul Willaime (sociologist of religion) and Jean-Marie Woehrling (president of an administrative court). 16  Francis Messner, Pierre-Henri Prélot and Jean-Marie Woehrling were also the editors of the Traité de droit français des religions (Paris: Litec-LexisNexis, 2013). 17  Christian Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox churches, Judaism and Islam were represented in the commission through the religious affiliation of their members. 18  Mohammed Arkoun, Jean Baubérot, Jacqueline Costa-Lascoux, Régis Debray, Gilles Kepel, Henri Pena-Ruiz, René Rémond, Alain Touraine and Patrick Weil. 19  One-third of the commission members were women – six in total. 20  The rector of the Academy of Paris, the principal (proviseur) of a secondary school (lycée) and mediators in charge of headscarf cases at school. 21  The nine other members of the Commission were: Hanifa Cherifi, Michel Delebarre, Nicole Guedj, Ghislaine Hudson, Marceau Long, Nelly Olin, Gaye Petek, Maurice Quenet and Raymond Soubie. 22  Afin de leur faciliter les tâches nécessaires à l’accomplissement de leur mission. 23  Bernard Stasi et al., Commission de réflexion sur l’application du principe de laïcité dans la République: Rapport au Président de la République (Paris: La Documentation française, 2003), pp. 37–38. 24  See Messner, Prélot and Woehrling, Traité de droit français des religions. 25  Stasi et al., Commission de réflexion, p. 33. 26  In its 2004 report dedicated to the general principle of laïcité, the French State Council positions laïcité as a legal standard with which to regulate religious activities in a liberal manner. Laïcité is understood in a positive sense, as the French way to organize religious freedom, in a manner which is consistent with the European Convention of Human Rights (Article 9). In its jurisprudence, the French State Council confirmed the prohibition of Muslim headscarves at school (see CA 8 October 2004 Union française pour la cohésion nationale) that had been recommended by the Stasi Commission, while supporting the report’s liberal conception of laïcité – exactly the understanding favoured by the Machelon Commission. 27  The main exception concerned the prohibition of religious symbols at school, an idea opposed by Jean Baubérot. 28  Le Premier Ministre, Dominique de Villepin, Circulaire no 5209/SG, du 13 avril 2007 relative à la charte de laïcité dans les services publics. This charter is, in fact, a mediocre and vapid document. See Chapter 5 in this book which describes in a more detailed way the various proposals of the Stasi Commission. 29  Constitution, Article 71.1. 30  CEDH, SAS c/ France, 1 July 2014, website HUDOC, Cour de Strasbourg. 31  La ministre de l’intérieur, de l’outre-mer et des collectivités territoriales, Michèle Alliot-Marie, Circulaire INTA0800038C aux préfets, Police des lieux de sépulture: Aménagements des cimetières – Regroupements confessionnels des sépultures, 19 February 2008. 32  Even though most Catholic churches built before 1905 are public, only one half of Protestant temples and one third of synagogues are public. All the places for worship built after 1905 are private.

Commissions in religious regulation in France    79 33  Conseil d’État, 19 July 2011 (Affaire no 308544 – Commune de Trélazé; Affaire 308817 – Fédération de la libre pensée et de l’action sociale du Rhône et M. P.; Affaire no. 309161 – Communauté urbaine du Mans – Le Mans Métropole; Affaire no. 313518 – Commune de Montpellier; Affaire no. 320796 – Mme V.). 34  It is significant that until the last few years of the twentieth century, French lawyers had very little interest in various religions, because they tended to believe that, according to the separation principle, public authorities had to ignore them.

5 The outcome of the Stasi Report in France Much ado about nothing? Anne Fornerod

Introduction: the neglected recommendations The Commission de réflexion sur l’application du principe de laïcité dans la République (Commission for Reflection on the Application of the Principle of Laïcité in the Republic of France),1 commonly called the Stasi Commission, was instituted in July 2003 by then President Jacques Chirac in order to investigate the application of the principle of laïcité. In December 2003, the Stasi Commission published an extensive report, dealing with many issues pertaining to laïcité and the contemporary challenges of religious practices in French society. However, with regard to media coverage and other reactions, it quickly became apparent that this report would mainly be analysed and commented on only in connection with the wearing of the Islamic headscarf at state-run schools (public schools). More precisely, the main centre of attention was whether or not a bill would be passed banning the wearing of conspicuous religious symbols in public schools. In fact, the focus had clearly been on the headscarf from the beginning of the process leading to the commission, and subsequent legal measures were more or less expected by society at large. Indeed, the creation of the commission could be analysed as a component of a broader mechanism designed to produce opinions in favour of banning the headscarf in public schools.2 It must be pointed out that the number of cases actually involving a contention about wearing the headscarf in schools was much too limited to justify setting up the commission.3 However, it was argued that the limited focus was deliberate, since the wearing of this religious garment represents both an obvious failure to integrate and the lengthy process of attaining gender equality. Therefore, the rhetoric used by the commission generally implies that the headscarf only signifies the tip of the iceberg on such issues.4 The headscarf is presented as a symptom of a social context that has deteriorated to the extent that the Republican pact feels threatened by the actions of small politico-religious or extremist groups.5 Linking religion to the issue of integration unavoidably leads to treating Islam as exemplifying the religion of immigrants and their alleged difficulty in supporting Republican values.6 This type of link can also lead to conflating religious and social issues and going beyond the mere regulation of religious groups and practice. The fact remains that the headscarf question has

Outcome of the Stasi Report in France    81 overshadowed many other critical issues, including the related recommendations of the commission. Formally, the recommendations appear at the very end of the report and are detailed throughout the fourth part, entitled ‘Affirming a Strong Laïcité that Brings People Together’. There are twenty-six recommendations, including the issue of religious symbols at school. This chapter specifically focuses on these points by assessing the ways in which they have been followed up on. Through an analysis of whether or not, or to what extent, the recommendations have been pursued, it appears that a small majority of them were eventually implemented, making tangible the perception of laïcité that underpins the report. Although the Stasi Commission relevantly raises several social issues – proven by the fact that it addresses the core question of discrimination – it introduces into the report room for symbolic and oriented interpretations of laïcité, which here constitute a critical tool of analysis that explains the various outcomes of the recommendations. First, combining social and religious issues has given rise to symbolic recommendations that are unlikely to be implemented. In fact, apart from the 2004 Act on religious symbols at schools, only two other initiatives directly and unambiguously derive from the recommendations of the report: the Charter of Laïcité and the regulation of laïcité in hospitals. Moreover, although other recommendations were addressed by public authorities before and after the Stasi report, it proves quite challenging, if not impossible, to clearly establish a connection between the recommendations and suggestions of the Stasi Commission and the measures that were eventually adopted. This challenge does not mean, however, that the Stasi Report did not have any effect on the regulation of various religious issues that have come to the fore in subsequent years. Some recommendations and, more generally, some issues addressed by the Stasi Commission were followed up on, but with a different understanding of laïcité according to the actors responsible for dealing with them.

The Stasi Commission’s hallmark: a strong laïcité By analysing the set of twenty-six recommendations, it appears that the way the commission handled the different religious issues in this report played a determining role. Indeed, its approach is noticeably marked by a specific perception of laïcité – a laïcité ferme (strong laïcité) – tightly linked to the integration issue. It  should be kept in mind that the years 2001–2002 constitute a turning point with regard to the debates on laïcité, due to events such as the 9/11 attacks. As well, in the French context, the presidential election of April 2002 saw the head of the far right-wing party attain an elevated position. At the time, this result was interpreted as a failure of public policy on social integration: communitarianism and Islamism would threaten the Republic. This sentiment was particularly tangible in two reports7 preceding the establishment of the commission and explains why, in the Stasi Report, laïcité is foremost a key value of French identity.8 Although laïcité represents a historical value inherited from the Republican political movement and has since been identified as a left-wing value, the

82  Anne Fornerod commission was appointed by the right-wing party in power at that time that also had its own interpretation of laïcité.9 The result is an enlarged understanding of laïcité,10 which is particularly connected to the issue of integration into French society. Successful integration necessarily demands adherence to the requirements of laïcité, which should be understood here as a component of Republicanism – namely, overcoming religious or cultural belonging and affiliation. This perspective influences various statements throughout the report that do not directly pertain to religion, but rather deal with ways of achieving social cohesion, if need be, by overcoming and denying religious belonging. In this context, laïcité becomes a national value to be protected, rather than just a legal principle intended for regulating religious practices.11 On this point, the report even shows a certain disapproval towards a perception of laïcité which would mainly rely on state neutrality. According to the commission, laïcité implies a dynamic intellectual attitude as opposed to the ‘lazy’ position of neutrality alone.12 This position proves that laïcité cannot be reduced to a singular meaning, and requires distinguishing between the legal principle of laïcité and laïcité as a value, or between legal and narrative laïcités.13 In this regard, it has been noted that ‘as of 2002 laïcité is redefined through a reformulation of the opposition private/public sphere, hitherto less contrasting in the legal definition of laïcité’.14 This conceptual background might explain why some of the recommendations appear to be far removed from the types of proposals or solutions that would have derived from a more concrete and legal approach, one that was adopted later by the Machelon Commission (see Chapter 4). Above all, such an approach paved the way for recommendations other than the prohibition of religious symbols in schools alone, since religious issues connected with integration challenges considerably enlarge the scope of the report. This approach also imposes a limit on the eventual implementation of the subsequent recommendations. In fact, instead of providing adapted answers to targeted issues related to religious practices and belonging, many recommendations actually aim at achieving social integration. In this regard, certain forms of religious practice and belonging are often perceived as an obstacle to such an achievement. However, since these recommendations were conceived in the name of laïcité, there ensues an unavoidable, latent contradiction between their purpose and their applicability. Inapplicable symbolic recommendations? Over half of the twenty-six recommendations might be qualified as symbolic in that they were never implemented. Some of them logically result from – and legitimate – the approach that characterizes the report, which consists in connecting laïcité with a general social and political context. Pertaining to general public policies which go far beyond what laïcité can achieve, these recommendations are characterized by a gap between their simple phrasing and the measures that their implementation would involve, as well as the political and social evolutions

Outcome of the Stasi Report in France    83 required to successfully achieve them. They are mainly of a declaratory nature and sometimes stem from vague aspirations. Recommendations 1, 9, 10, 11, 15, and 20 illustrate this trend.15 Some recommendations originate directly from the concern of the commission that laïcité should be addressed through the integration issue. This is the case for recommendation 7 about the insertion of laïcité into the program for the national defence preparation day,16 which was actually motivated by the refusal of some girls to take part in mixed gender activities. Another example lies in the removal of the Education in Languages and Cultures of Origin (ELCO) program, as per recommendation 13. This lingering issue derives from a European directive dating to 1977 related to the schooling of the children of immigrants.17 Other symbolic recommendations bring together statements revolving around school curricula and, more broadly, the idea of the transmission of laïcité values or the functioning of public services. Although their link with laïcité is more obvious and they correspond to an admirable purpose, their applicability was limited either by their general character (recommendations 2, 4 and 22) or because they concern potentially sensitive issues (recommendation 12). As for recommendation 18 related to broadcasting for atheists, it had been settled long ago by litigation before the Council of State, which denied the possibility of atheists sharing this opportunity with religious groups.18 Finally, the two recommendations concerning spiritual diversity should be mentioned: making the festivals of Aïd-El-Kebir and Yom Kippur into public holidays for schools (recommendation 25), and the creation of a national school of Islamic studies (recommendation 26). At first sight, recommendation 25 does not exactly seem to be in line with the perception of laïcité being expected to overcome or even reduce religious specificities in the public sphere. In any case, this recommendation was dismissed several days later in President Chirac’s speech following the publication of the report.19 In addition, knowing the weight granted to a strong laïcité, the place given to spiritual diversity appears to be particularly limited. The same applies to the recommendation of the creation of a national Islamic studies school, which seems more like window-dressing and, in the light of the envisaged content, contributes to maintain the image of Islam as a foreign religion.20 When examining the fate of these recommendations, it would be tempting to conclude that the report confirms the comments and criticisms formulated about the real purpose and mission of the commission: legitimizing the passing of a bill on religious symbols in schools. However, the implementation of two recommendations reflecting a strong laïcité contradicts this particular analysis.

Two implemented recommendations The two implemented recommendations that will be discussed in this section are numbers 23 and 6. Recommendation 23 concerns the implementation of laïcité in hospitals. Number 6 pertains to the Charter of Laïcité. Both examples help demonstrate the multivalent dimensions of the Stasi Report.

84  Anne Fornerod Laïcité in hospitals The issue of laïcité in hospitals appears in recommendation 23, which aims at ‘supplementing the Hospital Act to remind users of their obligations, including the prohibition of challenging the nursing staff, or the observance of hygiene and public health rules’.21 The prohibition of challenging nursing staff actually refers to cases in which women refuse to be examined by male practitioners, supposedly on religious grounds. This issue was even mentioned by President Chirac in his speech following the report in December 2003. Both this discourse and the Stasi Report supported the idea of passing a bill. It is interesting to follow the progress of this issue of laïcité in hospitals and more precisely the refusal to be examined by a practitioner of the opposite sex, which, like the headscarf, represents an issue deeply embroiled with gender equality. It is noteworthy that the Council of State, which devoted its 2004 annual report to One Century of Laïcité, unambiguously asserts that ‘the wish to be cared for by a same-sex practitioner cannot prevail over the constraints of service organization’.22 The reply of the Minister of Health to a parliamentary question of October 2004 shares a similar position by indicating that the issue would soon be regulated by an administrative circular.23 Indeed, instead of having a new bill passed, the government adopted a six-page circular on laïcité in public health centres in February 2005,24 which clearly refers to the Stasi Report in its preamble. Compared to the recommendation of the Stasi Report, the input seems quite limited and, above all, is less biased against patients. The text seeks rather to obtain a balance between patients’ rights and the efficiency of health units. It nevertheless provides that ‘although the patient is entitled to freely choose a physician, he/she cannot oppose care or treatment on religious grounds’.25 This stipulation amounts to a limitation of the well-­ established right of patients to freely choose a practitioner; it can be explained via the symbolic weight of laïcité.26 It is interesting to note that six months before the adoption of the circular in 2005, the Ministry of Public Health had carried out an inquiry, the results of which revealed a limited number of incidents related to religious practice in hospitals.27 This disparity between the small number of incidents and the lingering discourse on ‘strong laïcité’ is significant. The focus on these kinds of incidents related to religious affiliation is a key feature of this discourse, as demonstrated by the Rossinot Report delivered in 2006. The Rossinot Report also advocates a legislative act on this topic, despite the adoption of the 2005 circular, for the reason that the latter would not sufficiently guarantee an adequate implementation of laïcité.28 A survey issued in September 2009 upon the request of the Ministry of Health, on the application of the principle of laïcité in hospitals, indicates that the 2005 administrative circular met the expectations of both public health civil servants and of users of public services. This assessment did not, however, prevent the High Council for Integration (HCI) from once again raising this issue in 2010 through a range of ‘Recommendations to the Prime Minister on the Expression of Religious Beliefs in Republican Public Spaces’, supporting the idea of prohibiting the free choice of the practitioner in hospital accident and emergency departments. In a report published in May 2014, the Observatoire de

Outcome of the Stasi Report in France    85 la laïcité (Monitoring Centre for Laïcité, hereinafter called the Observatoire) holds that in general, local management of incidents related to religious practices has been satisfactory. The Charter of Laïcité Apart from the Act banning religious symbols at school, the Charter of Laïcité is the recommendation that experienced the most tangible level of implementation. Recommendation 6 advises as follows: Solemnly adopt a Charter of laïcité which would be provided on different occasions: the electoral map delivery, the initial training of civil servants, the start of the school year, welcoming of migrants – whether a convention of welcoming and integration has been signed or not – or the acquisition of citizenship. The commission recommends that the Charter be displayed in the corresponding public spaces.29 One observes a slight variation between the way the charter is depicted in the report and the formulation in the final list of recommendations, in that the former version of the charter would ‘define the rights and duties of everyone’ and would be ‘deprived of normative value’.30 This recommendation has undergone an interesting fate. First, the implementation of the Charter followed several steps. In 2006, the HCI was entrusted with the task of drawing up such a charter related to laïcité in public services.31 Then, the text came into force through the enactment of an administrative circular of the prime minister in April 2007.32 Moreover, an opinion delivered by the National Advisory Council of Human Rights (CNCDH)33 mentions that the Charter had been circulated in public services in the form of posters since 2010. Second, one observes an extended use of this concept of charters. Indeed, beyond the expected Charter of Laïcité in public services and then more specifically at school (see below), one should also mention the adoption in February 2014 of a Charter of Laïcité and Diversity by a private company (specialized in waste recycling) that advocated for such guidelines to be included in the company’s bylaws.34 With regard to the contents of this Charter, it remains apparent that it does not completely abide by the enforceable law, in that it does not provide any particular reason for prohibiting the wearing of ostentatious religious garments or symbols. Actually, it is rather a matter of wording, the name Charter being somehow a guarantee of respectability and perhaps a way to achieve better reception of the document. This strategy corresponds to a soft law technique. Above all, discussions have been increasing about whether the principle of laïcité is ­applicable outside the public service sphere – namely, within private companies. This issue was also addressed in the Stasi Report. Before being formulated in the final list of recommendations, the concept of the Charter of Laïcité is raised within a section entitled ‘Reaffirming the Notion of Laïcité’. It is worth noting that in this section, the commission also explicitly

86   Anne Fornerod excluded enacting a code of laïcité, because the number of relevant legal texts would be too limited. This assertion calls for two short comments. First, a book entitled ‘Laïcité and Religious Freedom, A Collection of Texts and Case Law’ was edited by the French Home Office in 2011 and is comparable to a code. The Foreword of this book states that ‘this “code” of laïcité and religious freedom brings together the main legal texts applicable to religious issues: constitutions, international treaties, Acts and regulations, and also circulars and case law’.35 Furthermore, the document states that ‘this collection results from the statement that these norms are today scattered in various codes, Acts, or regulations that are sometimes very old or several times revised and that law must be easily accessible and intelligible’.36 This book is not intended to be cited as a legal source in itself, but rather as a document that aims at informing citizens about their rights and duties. It thus serves a pedagogical goal. Second, the statement on limited relevant legal texts reflects the aforementioned understanding of laïcité adopted in this report. At first sight, legal sources explicitly referring to laïcité are actually rare. However, as the collection of texts brought together by the Home Office demonstrates, texts pertaining to religious issues and governed by the principle of laïcité are much more numerous. Admitting such an approach towards laïcité, however, reveals a certain pragmatism (see Chapter 4), which is far removed from the symbolic value referred to by the Stasi Commission. In this regard, some of the recommendations of the Stasi Commission were implemented not because they were formulated in the report, but rather because they correspond to certain requirements of the legal principle of laïcité.

Implementing the legal principle of laïcité At the time they were examined by the commission and before they were entrenched in recommendations, certain issues were already – and are still – ­regulated by law, thus corresponding to the application of the legal principle of laïcité. The work of the Stasi Commission only corresponds to a – limited – step in their public discussions. The issues of chaplaincies, cemeteries and catering will be specifically emphasized in this section. Muslim chaplains In respect of the recommendations pertaining to the elimination of discriminatory public practices, the report suggests the hiring of Muslim chaplains in the army and in prison (recommendation 16).37 The commission rightly stresses the fact that there is no Muslim chaplain in the army. Figures provided by a response to a parliamentary question of 2001 demonstrate that there are only chaplains representing the Christian and Jewish faiths.38 An older parliamentary question paints a similar portrait for chaplaincies in prison.39 As a matter of fact, this lingering issue had been discussed several years before 2003, as evidenced by a parliamentary question of 1996. The ministerial response had already pointed out the

Outcome of the Stasi Report in France    87 difficulty caused by the lack of a representative body for people of Muslim faith in this field. The issue of chaplaincies had also been analysed by the Council of State in its 2004 report on laïcité as follows: ‘the creation of chaplaincies ruled by the 1905 Act illustrates the active role that public authorities play to ensure religious practices without discrimination’.40 The Council stated that Muslim chaplains in prison are still not very numerous, and further declared that the Stasi Commission ‘advocates the implementing of the enforceable legal texts on chaplaincies’.41 Chaplaincies are actually considered in several sections of the report. First, the report mentions that access to chaplaincies belongs to the realm of the implementation of freedom of religion.42 Second, the commission deplores the lack of Muslim chaplains in prisons, hospitals, in the army and in schools, something that is partly due to the absence of representatives of the Muslim faith.43 Finally, the issue of chaplains in prisons is addressed in the section dedicated to the defence of public services.44 By the way it is formulated, the hiring of Muslim chaplains sounds more like a way of placing limits and countering communitarianism and proselytism.45 This position reflects the still ambiguous role that prison authorities make the chaplains play.46 Indeed, the issue of Muslim chaplains in prisons is the object of an amazingly consistent approach, combining the requirements of freedom of religion and concern related to religious radicalism.47 The appointment of chaplains was favoured by the creation of the French Council for the Muslim Religion in 2003, just before the establishment of the Stasi Commission. More precisely, an ordinance of the Minister of Defence of March 2005 resulted in the creation of a Muslim Head Chaplain position in the army, entrusted with the task of appointing military chaplains. Two months later, the French Council for the Muslim Religion appointed a national chaplain for prisons upon the request of the Minister of Justice. Lastly, in March 2006, the French Council for the Muslim Religion appointed a national chaplain for hospitals, the army and prisons. Catering in public services Catering in public services is addressed via recommendation 5, which invites public authorities to provide meal replacement options.48 This recommendation intervenes in a context of uncertainty, as there was no appropriate regulation at that time. Encouraging administrative authorities to provide religiously adapted catering actually relied on existing practice only.49 As the Council of State indicated in its 2004 report, the Stasi Commission refers to reasonable accommodations in order to conciliate religious alimentary requirements and public service efficiency. It added that in this area progress can still be achieved.50 However, in this context, referring to reasonable accommodation51 very often reflects a situation related to new religious practices that are regulated neither by the 1905 Act nor any other specific Act. With regard to catering in public schools, like several other issues, an administrative circular was adopted in 2011 to provide a legal framework for solutions arising in practice.52 It specifies that the provision of

88  Anne Fornerod meals compatible with religious requirements is neither a right for public service users nor an obligation for public authorities, though in practice such meals are very often supplied. This solution applies to other public services as well. In a document on Laïcité Today dated 27 May 2014, the Observatoire recalls the main guidelines applicable to this topic.53 Religious practices and cemeteries The input of the commission on this point is twofold. On the one hand, it takes the form of recommendation 8: ‘Invite administrations to consider religious funeral requirements’.54 On the other hand, the commission takes a liberal stance, as it asserts that ‘laïcité cannot be an excuse for municipal authorities to deny that graves are cardinally oriented in cemeteries’.55 This point actually represents a major challenge for municipal authorities, as bringing together graves oriented towards Mecca would de facto result in a separate Muslim burial section that would be contrary to the neutrality of public cemeteries. Moreover, the commission encourages dialogue with religious representatives with a view to accommodating religious requirements related to ossuaries. This discourse implicitly relates to the refusal of cremation by people of Jewish and Muslim faiths. The issue of religious requirements related to cemeteries is typical of the French system of regulation of new practices deriving from religious pluralism. Instead of amending old and unquestionable legal texts dating to the end of the nineteenth century and embodying symbolic laïcité, public authorities resort instead to administrative regulation. Concerning the specific requirements of the Muslim faith, two administrative circulars were adopted in 1975 and 1991, demonstrating that the question of religious burial spaces is older than the Stasi Report. Moreover, this issue was later addressed separately from its recommendation. Two parliamentary reports on funerary legislation are worth mentioning here. The first one dated in 2006 clearly states that the Minister of the Home Office already supported the gathering of Muslim burial places in April 2003. It then suggests that the contribution of the Stasi Report on this issue is limited, and therefore not very helpful when it comes to deciding whether or not it is legally feasible to pass a bill on religious burial sections.56 The same report mentions the appointment of the Machelon Commission to settle difficulties in this area. The second report (preceding a bill on funerary legislation), while discussing this issue, refers not to the Stasi Commission but to the Machelon Commission.57 Lastly, an administrative circular was adopted in February 2008 encouraging the mayors to respond to the wish of religious burial spaces when expressed, which was inspired in this case by the report of the Machelon Commission.58

After the Stasi Report What have we inherited from the Stasi Report? More specifically, has its perception of laïcité prevented the report from having a lasting impact? The answer is

Outcome of the Stasi Report in France    89 twofold. Current discussions on issues addressed by the commission prove to be topical, thus obviously echoing the report. However, different solutions have been brought forth, partly due to the changes that occurred among the public actors involved. Implementing laïcité as a Republican value: four revisited recommendations (2013–2014) This section will concentrate on the years 2013 and 2014, which are characterized by an understanding of laïcité as a Republican value – namely, much less connected with the integration issue than it was at the time of the Stasi Commission. Despite this different way of interpreting the principle of laïcité, three recommendations from the Stasi Report have been followed up on: the Charter of Laïcité at school, the displaying of French and European flags on the façades of schools and, lastly, including the principle of laïcité in the statute of civil servants. In addition, an in-depth analysis shows that the Stasi Report marks only one step in the discussion of these issues, already contained in the report but recently revisited, through a perception of laïcité differing from that prevailing in the report. Religion in the workplace should be mentioned as well, as it has become quite a popular issue even though no subsequent regulation is expected, except perhaps for the circumscribed situation of private childcare facilities (see below). Although it was not eventually formulated in a recommendation, it is worth mentioning the suggestion pertaining to the French motto that was to be displayed on each school façade.59 In the report itself, it was addressed together with the idea of establishing a ‘Marianne Day’60 intended to make laïcité a major theme in civic education. Only the latter idea eventually led to a recommendation. Although this recommendation was set aside, the Act of 8 July 2013 on public schools added an Article to the Education code, which specifies that the Republican motto and the French and European flags are to be displayed on the façades of schools (Article L. 111-1-1). These new provisions resulting from a parliamentary amendment were debated without reference to the Stasi Report.61 Concerning educational facilities, it should be pointed out that, in the adoption of the Charter of Laïcité, the Stasi Commission did not have in view a separate text for schools, but rather a common document to be handed out at various public services. On 9 September 2013, the Minister of Education introduced the Charter of Laïcité at School intended to be displayed in every state school. Its purpose is to remind French pupils of the rules for living together at school and to help them understand what this means.62 The text of the Charter sets out fifteen principles, beginning with a slightly adapted version of Article 1 of the Constitution. Article 14 reiterates that ‘the wearing of signs or dress by which pupils overtly manifest a religious affiliation is prohibited’.63 The Conseil Français du Culte Musulman (French Council for the Muslim Faith) expressed its concern that the Charter might enhance the sense of stigma against the Muslim community and denounced the reference to the 2004 Act banning conspicuous religious symbols in schools.

90  Anne Fornerod Third, the recommendation that consisted of including the principle of laïcité in the statute of civil servants was ‘implemented’ in July 2013. According to the explanatory memorandum of the Bill on the Ethics and the Rights and Obligations of Civil Servants, Article 1 of this text ‘sanctions, for the first time in law, applicable to civil servants’ the compliance with the principle of laïcité.64 Finally, the issue of the workplace is handled in a very interesting way in the report. Actually, by comparing the 1960s context and the present situation, the commission highlights the problem by describing the earlier context where ‘large companies had managed to settle religious issues they were facing due to the origin of their employees’.65 More precisely, this resolution was based on ‘arranged menus and catering’, on ‘the organization of working time, through specific breaks, [which] was adapted to reflect the period of Ramadan’.66 Lastly, ‘some companies had made internal prayer rooms available’.67 These companies appear to have found a balance between the operations of the company and respecting religious observance, in the context of the promotion of integration of foreign workers. However, the situation was different in 2003, for ‘companies are no longer faced with the expression of needs, but claims’.68 These claims would relate to the wearing of the headscarf and cause problems regarding relationships between men and women, such as women refusing to shake hands with their male colleagues. Without unduly interpreting the observations made by the commission, it does not seem to be a coincidence that issues about the headscarf and relationships between men and women surface again. Indeed, they relate more broadly to the commission’s perception of laïcité, which requires an ­egalitarian relationship between men and women. This point leads the commission to make its vision of religious practice regulation prevail over the – still – applicable law, which clearly distinguishes between the public and private sectors. On the one hand, the commission closely associates public services and private companies in its proposal of a bill on laïcité,69 although only the former are subject to the implementation of the principle of laïcité. On the other hand, the commission suggests that an article be added to the Labour Code, which would allow companies to insert provisions into their bylaws pertaining to dress codes, the wearing of religious symbols and religious practices on the premises (recommendation 24). In a 2010 report, the HCI focuses on this issue again. By doing so, it refers to the Stasi Report and draws the same conclusions of an alarming situation and of the necessity to pass new regulations.70 It should be noted that this issue of religious practice in the workplace is still regulated today by Article L.1121-1 of the Labour Code, which prohibits putting limitations on religious beliefs unless these are justified by the nature of the work and are proportionate to the aim sought. The Observatoire’s report of 2013 marks – in our view – a return to normalcy in the way this issue of religious practice in the workplace is handled,71 although the Baby Loup Nursery case has also continued to stimulate public debates on this point. Specifically as a result of this case, in March 2015, the Observatoire opposed a bill designed to extend the neutrality on religious matters to make it an obligation for private childcare facilities.72

Outcome of the Stasi Report in France    91 The input of the Observatoire in this area illustrates the role played by such bodies before and after the issuing of the Stasi Report.

The actors of laïcité As revealed above, the context of a certain type of laïcité has had a critical impact on the conclusions of the Stasi Report. Beaugé and Hajjat explain that ‘since the late 1980s, laïcité has been the object of an intense symbolic struggle in which several actors seek to impose their own definition, which generally depends on their diagnosis of the “Muslim issue”’.73 Indeed, since the Stasi Commission, political authorities have felt the need to entrust various bodies with issues related to laïcité. As mentioned above, the report is based on a specific understanding of laïcité, which would be shared in the following years, thus explaining the perception of following up. In this regard, the HCI, created in 1989, played a key role before and especially after the Stasi Commission in furthering the discourse on strong laïcité. First, as the HCI claims of itself, it relies almost in its essence on a tight link between laïcité and integration.74 Second, its internal evolution has contributed to it becoming an important cog of public policy on laïcité after the Stasi Report.75 As early as 2002, the renewal of the HCI members, together with a much more demanding idea of integration, led this body to adopt a vision of laïcité mainly characterized by a reluctance towards the expression of religious practices in the public sphere. In fact, the role of the HCI especially contributed to the implementation of the recommendation on the Charter of Laïcité. It also focused on the issue of religion in the workplace. One should also mention the Rossinot Report on laïcité in public services. Politician André Rossinot delivered a report in September 2006, upon the request of the Minister of the Home Office. Rossinot worked with seven other people, including two former members of the Stasi Commission, who together contribute to the continuity of strong laïcité. The report states that it is ‘first and foremost an ideal before being a legal standard’ and that ‘it is – now more than ever before – one of the most powerful engines of integration’.76 Although the creation of the Haute autorité de lutte contre les discriminations et pour l’égalité/HALDE (High Authority for the Struggle against Discrimination and for Equality) is usually attributed to the Stasi Commission, the speech by Jacques Chirac on 16 October 2002 proves that this project preceded the Stasi Report (see recommendation 17).77 The HALDE was eventually created in 2004.78 It assisted all individuals facing allegedly discriminatory practices, by providing advice on legal options and helping establish proof of discrimination. It had the power to refer cases to the court system on any discriminatory practice brought to its attention. Above all, this body was entitled to issue recommendations directed to applicants and public authorities. It was discontinued and included in the powers of a new body, the Défenseur des droits (Defender of Rights), in 2011. The HALDE nevertheless left behind a significant set of decisions pertaining to discrimination on religious grounds, including the Baby Loup Nursery case.79

92  Anne Fornerod Finally, the role of the recently created Observatoire should be discussed.80 It  is a public advisory body established in 2013, which is now responsible for addressing issues related to the implementation of the principle of laïcité. Indeed, the above-mentioned perception of following up was mainly due to the fact that all of the Rossinot group of experts and the HCI – along with some of their members – shared a common understanding of laïcité. The conclusions of their respective reports and opinions are unsurprisingly cut from the same cloth. The  Observatoire offers a different view, however. In its first annual report, one can read a short but interesting reference to the Stasi Commission. In fact, the Observatoire states that ‘the recommendations have been unequally followed, the balance between duties and rights remaining problematic’. It goes on to state that ‘the Stasi report has not put an end to discussion and that it is important to again consider, point by point, the issues and problems addressed to achieve an overview of the situation ten years afterwards’.81 Although its works are also based on laïcité as a value, the link between the former and integration has changed. In fact, in its first report of June 2013, the Observatoire makes it clear that it intends to be cautious about this approach, which consists in closely connecting the two elements.82

Conclusion In conclusion, the purpose of this chapter is not to state whether the results of the Stasi Report have been positive or not, since determining this result depends very much on the aims pursued. In this regard, it is not certain whether or not the entire process was beneficial to effective religious pluralism. The efficiency of such an initiative and the accompanying commission, in terms of pluralism, is obviously questionable for two reasons. First, the report is much too constrained by a context marked by a political and symbolic approach to laïcité, which is supposed to go beyond religious belonging, especially in the public sphere. Second, as shown above, the aim pursued by the commission was clearly directed at taking a stand on the ban of religious symbols at school. In terms of the practical consequences of the report, the contribution of the commission’s work appears to be limited. These works were rapidly followed by other reports pertaining to similar issues. The general character of its remarks restricts their scope and their direct applicability, overshadowing relevant issues which would have deserved their own report. In particular, the recommendations appear more like general statements and, unlike subsequent reports, this one is lacking in concrete measures. The extended issues addressed necessarily give rise to composite discourse, though dominated by a specific understanding of laïcité.83 Lastly, although the report pointed out relevant issues related to vivre ensemble (living together), the answers provided depend too closely on a certain perception of laïcité. It remains the case, however, that this enlarged approach of laïcité, considered together with critical social issues, was new and for the first time was at the centre of discussions made public by the media exposure of the works of the Stasi Commission (see also Chapter 4).

Outcome of the Stasi Report in France    93

Notes   1  Bernard Stasi et al., Commission de réflexion sur l’application du principe de laïcité dans la République: Rapport au Président de la République (Paris: La Documentation française, 2003). Please note that all French texts have been translated by the author.   2  See Françoise Lorcerie, ‘La “loi sur le voile”: une entreprise politique’, Droit et société 1.68 (2008): pp. 53–74.   3  In this regard, the way the debates have been conducted is quite important; they did not rely on statistics, but mainly, if not exclusively, on testimonies. See Jean-Claude Vatin, ‘Retour critique sur la “Commission Stasi”: trois remarques’, in Frontières du droit, critique des droits. Billets d’humeur en l’honneur de Danièle Lochak (Paris: LGDJ, 2007), pp. 105–113; Julien Beaugé and Abdellali Hajjat, ‘Élites françaises et construction du “problème musulman”: Le cas du Haut Conseil à l’Intégration (1989– 2012)’, Sociologie 1.5 (2014): pp. 31–59.   4  Emmanuel Terray, ‘La question du voile : une hystérie politique’, Mouvements 2.32 (2004): p. 99; Stasi et al., Commission de réflexion, pp. 45–46.   5  Stasi et al., Commission de réflexion, pp. 7, 15, 43, 46.   6  On Muslims and integration into French society, see, among others: Jane Freedman, ‘Secularism as a Barrier to Integration? The French Dilemma’, International Migration 42.3 (2004): pp. 5–27; T. Jeremy Gunn, ‘Under God but Not the Scarf: The Founding Myths of Religious Freedom in the United States and Laicite in France’, Journal of Church and State 46 (2004): pp. 7–24; John R. Bowen, Can Islam be French? Pluralism and Pragmatism in a Secularist State (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2010); Jonathan Laurence and Justin Vaïsse, Intégrer l’islam: La France et ses musulmans, enjeux et réussites (Paris: Éditions Odile Jacob, 2007).   7  Those reports are by François Baroin (2003), Pour une nouvelle laïcité, and Jean-Louis Debré (2003), Rapport fait au nom de la mission d'information sur la question du port des signes religieux à l’école. On the political background of the Stasi Commission, see Chapter 4 in this book.   8  Valérie Amiraux, ‘Visibilité, transparence et commérage: de quelques conditions de possibilité de l’islamophobie … et de la citoyenneté’, Sociologie 1.5 (2014): p. 89.   9  On a detailed survey of the links between laïcité and political positions, see Martine Barthélemy and Guy Michelat, ‘Dimensions de la laïcité dans la France d’aujourd’hui’, Revue française de science politique 5.57 (2007): p. 672. The authors explain that ‘performed shortly before delivery to the president of the report of the Stasi Commission on secularism and the passing of the Act of 15 March 2004 on the wearing of religious symbols in schools, [this survey] was undoubtedly strongly influenced by this context’. Moreover, they establish that among older graduates, people supporting right-wing values and the attachment to laïcité increases with hostility to immigrants. 10  Maurice Barbier, ‘Pour une définition de la laïcité française’, Le Débat 2.134 (2005): p. 130. 11  Stasi et al., Commission de réflexion, p. 36. 12  Ibid. 13  On the latter distinction, see Alessandro Ferrari, ‘De la politique à la technique: laïcité narrative et laïcité du droit. Pour une comparaison France/Italie’, in Le droit ecclésiastique de la fin du XVIIIe au milieu du XXe siècle en Europe, ed. Brigitte Basdevant-Gaudemet and François Jankowiak (Leuven: Peeters, 2009): pp. 333–345. In this regard, the phrasing of the report and its recommendations somehow contrast with the name of the commission, i.e. Commission for Reflection on the Application of the Principle of Laïcité in the Republic. See also David Koussens, ‘Expertise publique sous influence?’ Archives de sciences sociales des religions 155 (2011), pp. 61–79. 14  Beaugé and Hajjat, ‘Élites françaises,’ p. 48.

94  Anne Fornerod 15  The recommendations are included in the report (p. 66), available on line at: (accessed 8 February 2017). A helpful partial translation together with an analysis of the report is available in: Robert O’Brien and Bernard Stasi, The Stasi Report: The Report of the Committee of Reflection on the Application of the Principle of secularity in the Republic (Buffalo, NY: William S Hein and Co, 2005). 16  Stasi et al., Commission de réflexion, p. 43. 17  On this topic, see Stasi et al., Commission de réflexion, 53 and Haut Conseil à l’Intégration, Avis relatif à l’expression des religions dans les espaces publics. Recommandations du Haut Conseil à l’intégration relatives à l’expression religieuse dans les espaces publics de la République remises au Premier Ministre (Paris: La documentation française, 2010), accessed 19 November 2014, http://archives.hci.gouv. fr/Avis-relatif-a-l-expression-des.html. See also the parliamentarian question (Journal Officiel, n. 18,691, 2 February 2013, 1741) arguing that ELCO goes against integration and the ministerial response (Journal Officiel, 6 August 2013, 8474), which makes it very clear that ending them has not been envisaged. 18  See Council of State, Union des athées, n. 17,651, 1 October 1980. 19  Jacques Chirac, Discours prononcé par M. Jacques Chirac Président de la République relatif au respect du principe de laïcité dans la République (Palais de l’Élysée, 2003), accessed 27 November 2014, 20  Stasi et al., Commission de réflexion, p. 63. 21  Ibid., p. 68. 22  Council of State, Rapport public 2004: Un siècle de laïcité (Paris: La documentation française, 2004), p. 332. 23  Question n. 45,514 published in Journal Officiel, 8 August 2004, 6003; response published in Journal Officiel, 26 October 2004, 8526. See also question n. 31,764, Journal Officiel, 1 January 2004, 227; response, Journal Officiel, 15 March 2005, 2809. This time, the response clearly calls for a legislative stance on this issue. 24  Ministère du travail, de l’emploi et de la santé, Circulaire no. DHOS/G/2005/57 du 2 février 2005 relative à la laïcité dans les établissements de santé, accessed 27 November 2014, 25  Circulaire no. DHOS/G/2005/57 du 2 février 2005 relative à la laïcité dans les établissements de santé. 26  See Diane Roman, ‘Le respect de la volonté du malade: une obligation limitée?’ Revue de Droit Sanitaire et Social 3 (2005): pp. 423–441. 27  Observatoire de la laïcité, Point d’étape sur les travaux de l’Observatoire de la laïcité (Paris: La documentation française, 2013), p. 112, accessed 19 November 2014, www. 28  André Rossinot, La laïcité dans les services publics, 2006, 23, accessed 19 November 2014, rapport_la_cit_rossinot_16380.pdf. Indeed, a circular is not legally binding for public service users (i.e. patients) for the reason that it applies only to civil servants and personnel working for the public service. 29  Stasi et al., Commission de réflexion, p. 67. 30  Ibid., pp. 50–51. 31  Haut Conseil à l’Intégration, Charte de la laïcité dans les services publics et autres avis (Paris: La documentation française, 2007), 202 et seq., accessed 19 November 2014, 32  Le Premier Ministre, Dominique de Villepin, Circulaire no. 5209/SG, du 13 avril 2007 relative à la charte de laïcité dans les services publics. 33  Commission nationale Consultative des Droits de l’Homme, Avis sur la laïcité, Journal Officiel, n. 0235, 9 October 2013, text n. 41.

Outcome of the Stasi Report in France    95 34  See the charter:­laicitediversite, accessed 19 November 2014. 35  Ministère de l’intérieur, de l’outremer, des collectivités territoriales et de l’immigration, Laïcité et liberté religieuse : Recueil de textes et de jurisprudence (Paris: Les éditions des journaux officiels, 2011), p. 2. 36  Ministère de l’intérieur, de l’outremer, des collectivités territoriales et de l’immigration, Laïcité et liberté religieuse, p. 2. 37  Stasi et al., Commission de réflexion, p. 67. 38  See question n. 66,307 (Journal Officiel, 24 September 2001, 5397) and ministerial response (Journal Officiel, 11 November 2001, 6612). 39  See question n. 15,281 (Journal Officiel Sénat, 25 April 1996, 987) and ministerial response (Journal Officiel Sénat, 20 June 1996, 1533). 40  Council of State, Rapport public 2004, p. 392. 41  Ibid. 42  Stasi et al., Commission de réflexion, pp. 23, 27. 43  Ibid., pp. 39–40, 63. 44  Ibid., p. 42. 45  Ibid., p. 61. 46  On this issue, see Céline Béraud and Claire de Galembert, ‘Des hommes et des dieux en prison’, 2014, 5, available at: uploads/2014/05/Entretien_hommes-dieux-en-prison.pdf and, more generally, Céline Béraud, Claire de Galembert, and Corinne Rostaing, Des hommes et des dieux en prison (Paris: Mission de recherche Droit et Justice, 2013). 47  See, for example, parliamentary question n. 96,754 (Journal Officiel, 2 December 2010, 13,654) and ministerial response (Journal Officiel, 8 March 2011, 2315). See also the document presented by a member of the Senate on 20 November, 2014, n. 114, on the 2015 Financial Bill and especially prison service, accessed 30 November 2014,, p. 46 et seq. 48  Stasi et al., Commission de réflexion, p. 66. 49  In the same vein, see Rossinot, La laïcité dans les services publics, p. 28. 50  Council of State, Rapport public 2004, p. 326. 51  Stasi et al., Commission de réflexion, p. 38. 52  For public schools, see the circular of 16 August 2011: ‘Rappel des règles afférentes au principe de laïcité – demandes de régimes alimentaires particuliers dans les services de restauration collective du service public’, Ministère de l’intérieur, de l’outremer, des collectivités territoriales et de l’immigration, accessed 25 November 2014, www. 53  ‘La laïcité aujourd’hui’, l’Observatoire de la laïcité, accessed 25 November 2014, www. 54  Stasi et al., Commission de réflexion, p. 67. 55  Ibid., p. 65. 56  Jean-Pierre Sueur and Jean-René Lecerf, Bilan et perspectives de la législation funéraire – Sérénité des vivants et respect des défunts. Rapport d’information fait au nom de la commission des lois et de la mission d’information de la commission des lois, n. 372, 2006, pp. 90–91, accessed 27 November 2014, 57  Philippe Gosselin, Rapport fait au nom de la commission des lois constitutionnelles, de la législation et de l’administration générale de la république sur la proposition de loi (no. 51), adoptée par le sénat, relative à la législation funéraire, n. 664, 2008, 38, accessed 27 November 2014, 58  Circular available at: ‘Police des lieux de sépulture: Aménagement des cimetières – Regroupements confessionnels des sépultures’, Ministère de l’intérieur, de l’outremer, des collectivités territoriales et de l’immigration, accessed 28 November 2014,

96   Anne Fornerod On this point, see also Chapter 4 in this book. 59  Stasi et al., Commission de réflexion, p. 52. 60  Marianne is an allegorical figure of the French Republic. 61  Discussions available at: ‘Rapport fait au nom de la Commission des affaires culturelles et de l’éducation sur le projet de loi d’orientation et de programmation pour la refondation de l’école de la République’, Assemblée nationale, accessed 27 November 2014, 62  For translation and comment, see: Frank Cranmer, ‘France, laïcité and the Charter of Secularism at School’, in Law & Religion UK, last modified 11 September 2013, 63  Text available at: ‘Charte de la laïcité à l’École: Valeurs et symboles de la République’, ministère de l’Éducation nationale, de l’enseignement supérieur et de la recherche, accessed 28 November 2014, html?cid_bo=73659 64  The Act n. 2016-483 was eventually adopted in April 2016 and explicitly provides that the civil servant performs his/her duties in accordance with the principle of laïcité. 65  Stasi et al., Commission de réflexion, p. 44. 66  Ibid. 67  Ibid. 68  Ibid. On the notion of ‘claim’ in labour law applicable to religious practice, see Philippe Auvergnon, ‘Les “revendications” du salarié en matière religieuse’, Revue du droit canonique 63 (2013): pp. 109–148. 69  Stasi et al., Commission de réflexion, p. 68. 70  Haut Conseil à l’Intégration, Avis, expression religieuse et laïcité dans l’entreprise, 2011, p. 17, accessed 19 November 2014, 71  Observatoire de la laïcité, Point d’étape sur les travaux de l’Observatoire, p. 39 et seq. 72  See the release at: ‘Communiqué de l’Observatoire de la laïcité sur la proposition de loi n. 61’, Observatoire de la laïcité, accessed 28 November 2014, www.gouvernement. fr/sites/default/files/contenu/piece-jointe/2015/03/communique_odl_ppl_accueil_ mineurs.pdf. However, it should be noted that the Act n. 2016-1088 of 8 August 2016 on labour, modernization of the social dialogue and securing the professional careers introduces new provisions and amends the Labour code by allowing a company’s bylaws to affirm the principle of neutrality at and to restrict the expression of employees’ convictions (including religious convictions) if these restrictions are justified by the exercise of other fundamental rights and liberties or by the necessities of proper functioning of the company and if they are proportionate to the aim sought (Art. L. 1321-2-1 of the Labour code). 73  Beaugé and Hajjat, ‘Élites françaises’, p. 48. 74  Haut Conseil à l’Intégration, Avis, Expression religieuse et laïcité dans l’entreprise, p. 3. However, this approach has not been as steady as the HCI would like to suggest. See Beaugé and Hajjat, ‘Élites françaises,’ p. 37 et seq. 75  Nine members of the Stasi Commission are or were also members of the HCI. Beaugé and Hajjat, ‘Élites françaises’, p. 48. 76  Rossinot, La laïcité dans les services publics, pp. 3, 6. 77  Jacques Chirac, ‘Discours de Président de la République prononcé à Troyes’, accessed 28 November 2014, francais/interventions/discours_et_declarations/2002/octobre/discours_du_president_ de_la_republique_prononce_a_troyes.1560.html 78  Act n. 2004-1486 of 30 December 2004.

Outcome of the Stasi Report in France    97 79  The case involved the employee of a nursery run by a private association, the Baby Loup Nursery, in a Paris suburb. An employee had been dismissed because of her refusal to remove her headscarf. She referred the matter to the HALDE, which originally supported the employee (March 2010). In fact, the equality organization had held that both principles of laïcité and neutrality do not apply to the employees of a private association in the absence of public service activity. In addition, the bylaws amounted to an unlawful general and absolute forbidding of religious freedom. Consequently, the dismissal was discriminatory on grounds of religion (see deliberation n. 2010–82 of 1 March 2010). However, a new leader of the HALDE was appointed, who publicly challenged this deliberation. While the case was pending before the Labour Court, the HALDE issued a note in which it maintained its initial opinion concluding with a discriminatory dismissal. Beyond the turmoil which accompanied this affair, it has raised an important debate on the enforceability of the principle of laïcité in private companies. Thus followed a deliberation of the HALDE of 28 March 2011 on religious freedom in the workplace (n. 2001-67), which aims at ‘examining the opportunity to make the duty of neutrality enforceable in private welfare companies’. 80  See the Observatoire’s website: 81  Observatoire de la laïcité, Rapport annuel de l’Observatoire de la laïcité 2013–2014, p. 261. 82  Observatoire de la laïcité, Point d’étape sur les travaux de l’Observatoire, p. 133. 83  It follows that opposite or various analyses of the report sound equally correct. See Jean Baubérot, ‘La laïcité française: républicaine, indivisible, démocratique et sociale’, Cités 4.52 (2012), pp. 11–20 and Freedman, ‘Secularism as a Barrier to Integration’.

6 The Bouchard–Taylor Commission in Quebec and reasonable accommodations Collective creation and multilevel reception Solange Lefebvre The Canadian province of Quebec shares certain traits with a number of Western European countries, to the extent that the culture is largely inspired by a strong national conscience founded on a common ethno-linguistic and primarily religious origin: francophone and Catholic. The rest of Canada demonstrates both similarities and differences, to which we will refer throughout this chapter. We should remember that as a primarily francophone province, Quebec has always stood out from the rest of Canada in several respects. In 2001 and 2011, the Canadian decennial statistics revealed several facts about Quebec (see Table 6.1). Among the strong Catholic majority, over 70 per cent are of French-Canadian origin. On a broader scale, the religious configuration of Canada is quite unique, for several reasons which we will briefly mention. First, it is the immediate northern neighbour of the United States, a country renowned for its religious vitality.1 Second, aside from the First Nations peoples who have specific status across Canada and have been established there for thousands of years, its principal and next oldest ethnic groups arrived from Europe between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, bringing the major denominations of Christianity – Roman Catholic, Anglican and Protestant.2 In the nineteenth century, this pattern increased, along with successive migratory waves of Jewish people, which resulted in large Jewish communities across Canada, particularly in Toronto and Montreal. The First Nations people represent diverse backgrounds: the majority now being Christian, others adhering to recent trends from traditional Native American spirituality that could be seen more or less as separate from Christianity, depending on the case.3 Various minority religious movements have established themselves over the course of the twentieth century. They currently benefit from significant legal protection and have been more socially accepted since the 1960s. Like everywhere in the West, extremely diverse spiritual trends mark individual pathways and biographies, often being combined with traditional affiliations. Especially since the 1980s, the country has experienced significant migratory waves and an increase in the number of members of other major world religions, particularly Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism. Yet, even recent immigration – from South America, Latin America and Africa – remains largely Christian, and in particular Catholic. Of the 25,000 Syrian refugees welcomed into Canada

The Bouchard–Taylor Commission in Quebec    99 Table 6.1  Statistical table: reported religions in Quebec

Population of Quebec Catholics (Total Catholics in Canada) Protestant Orthodox Christian Muslim Jewish Buddhist Hindu Sikh No religion



7,125,580 5,939,715 (12,936,905) 335,590 100,375 108,620 89,915 41,380 24,525 8,225 413,190

7,732,520 5,775,745 (12,810,705) 202,795 129,780 243,430 85,105 53,385 33,540 9,275 937,945

Source: Statistics Canada, 2011.

in recent months, many are Christian.4 However, a proportional increase in the number of members of other major religious groups is expected. The diverse groups of people who declare themselves to have no religion is also rising rapidly. According to Canadian statistics from 2011, there are about 10,000 atheists, around 3,000 agnostics and more than 900,000 people who simply declare ‘No religion’.

Moving the legal debate over reasonable accommodation to political and identity issues In this diverse context, a debate on reasonable accommodation, and whether to grant the demands of individuals regarding adaptation to their religious practices, was rumbling in Quebec throughout the 2000s. A Canadian Supreme Court decision that authorized a Sikh adolescent to wear a kirpan at school, under strict conditions, fanned the flames during the spring of 2004.5 Then an unusual code of conduct put forward in January 2007 in Hérouxville, a small town near Quebec City, created controversy by attacking religious fundamentalism and reasonable accommodation (including suggesting a ban on the stoning of women, which was – of course – already prohibited in Canada). A veritable media hunt for in-depth stories of reasonable accommodation of a religious nature raged for several months. It is important to bear in mind that since 1985, the Ontario Human Rights Commission, which had introduced this concept to Canada, has clarified the basic parameters: ‘The complainant first must establish a prima facie case of discrimination. The onus then shifts to the employer to show that he has taken such reasonable steps to accommodate the employee as are open to him without undue hardship.’6 From the beginning of the 2000s, Quebec’s Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse/CDPDJ (Commission on Human and Youth Rights) had taken the lead on this issue, particularly through Pierre Bosset,

100  Solange Lefebvre lawyer and then director of research for the commission.7 Sensing the need for a more specific debate to shape public policy, CDPDJ tried to set up a public study. I was called, among other experts for this purpose, to begin the discussion on 26 October 2006. A working paper dated July 2006 and entitled Un projet de discussion publique sur la place de la religion dans l’espace public québécois (A Public Discussion Project on the Place of Religion in Quebec’s Public Space) lays out the intentions for this debate, particularly around themes of accommodation and the neutrality of the State. But on 8 February 2007, at the height of the crisis a few months before an election period, the Liberal Government led by Premier Jean Charest chose instead to establish the Commission de consultation sur les pratiques d’accommodement reliées aux différences culturelles (Consultation Commission on Accommodation Practices Related to Cultural Differences) in response to public discontent concerning reasonable accommodation. As its co-chairs, Charest appointed two academics rather than lawyers, one versed in history and the sociology of nationalism (Gérard Bouchard) and the other in political philosophy (Charles Taylor). During the summer of 2007, Bouchard asked me to join the advisory committee of the commission, which was composed of fifteen members. I accepted this honour with pleasure and anticipation. Various opinions were expressed on the choice of co-chairs. In the context of an already agitated society, ‘in crisis’ as some would state, the choice of two venerable academics considered as wise elderly men could perhaps calm the situation. Others criticized the fact that two men had been chosen, both being in social sciences and humanities, with thus little complementarity. Others added that, moreover, neither one had been working on immigration policy or reasonable accommodation. A relative political complementarity nevertheless characterizes the choice of co-chairs. One, Taylor, had been a long-time activist for the New Democratic Party (NDP) in Canada, a federalist, left-wing party for which he had been defeated as candidate during the 1970s. The other, Bouchard, was a veteran activist for the separatist Parti Québécois (PQ) associated with a fringe intellectual left. Taylor was known mainly for his substantive work on religion in the modern era, the politics of recognition and his Catholic faith. Bouchard’s renown came from his reflections on national imaginaries and myth, as well as nationalism and the integration of diversity, who was representative of a generation of francophones disconnected from their inherited Catholic religion. Undeniably, both possessed the intellectual sensitivity required to address the identity crisis that had been palpable for months. The mandate of the commission was as follows: a) take stock of accommodation practices in Québec; b) analyse the attendant issues bearing in mind the experience of other societies; c) conduct an extensive consultation on this topic; and d) formulate recommendations to the government to ensure that accommodation practices conform to Québec’s values as a pluralistic, democratic, egalitarian society.8

The Bouchard–Taylor Commission in Quebec    101 The co-chairs explained at the beginning of the final report that they preferred to interpret their mandate not in a narrow legal or technical9 sense, but in a larger way, addressing: the debate on reasonable accommodation as the symptom of a more basic problem concerning the sociocultural integration model established in Québec since the 1970s. This perspective called for a review of interculturalism, immigration, secularism and the theme of Québec identity.10 During the process of the commission, unease with such an extension of the mandate was expressed.11 Yet, the very choice of co-chairs inevitably oriented the commission in this direction: how could a historian and a philosopher be asked to confine themselves to a legal analysis of adaptation practices related to cultural and religious diversity? Furthermore, the CDPDJ, which had previously oriented the debate, had seemingly failed in its plan to take leadership of the public consultation. The co-chairs engaged in this adventure in a spirit of curiosity, passion and conviction. They set up an impressive plan for consultation. They collaborated with a team of thirteen researchers and analysts. The appendices of the report mention 13 research projects, 10 brief memos on particular issues, and 23 methodologically oriented working documents to guide the various phases of the commission and produce preliminary analyses. Numerous consultations were conducted: 31 focus groups with individuals from different contexts in Montreal and the regions of Quebec, 59 meetings with experts and representatives of sociocultural organizations, and various types of forums.12 As in the case of the commission chaired by Bhikhu Parekh in Britain from 1998 to 2000, the Bouchard–Taylor Commission was largely composed of academics (see Chapters 2 and 3). Among the fifteen experts, thirteen academics were included, along with the director of a community organization as well as the director of a government agency. The members were thus not very representative of society at large, something that could theoretically be compensated with broad consultation. From the beginning, the co-chairs presented the experts of the advisory committee with the possibility of a joint signature. In the light of our hesitations or refusals – some were worried about being too connected to aspects representing the result of a consensus to which they did not individually adhere; others mentioned that their positions could evolve over time – the co-chairs decided that theirs would be the only signatures on the final report. After detailing the aspects of this colossal consultation, the co-chairs presented a section immediately afterwards where they declared: ‘After a year of research and consultation, we have come to the conclusion that the foundations of collective life in Quebec are not in a critical situation.’13 The report nonetheless frequently raises the issue of a reasonable accommodation crisis or a crisis of public opinion. Above all, its main conclusion on reasonable accommodation is that a significant gap exists between perceptions on accommodation that might be qualified as excessive and the facts themselves: ‘There was indeed a crisis, but

102  Solange Lefebvre not really regarding actual accommodation practices; it was mainly in Quebecers’ minds and perceptions.’14 If we refer to Chapter 3, the Bouchard–Taylor Commission can undeniably be categorized as a public exercise created in response to a crisis. In the media – and in a number of public and political spaces – the debate had taken an acrimonious and disturbing turn.

Tensions between the commission, media and political arena This extensive project no doubt had a catalytic effect, if one believes the calm that followed the storm after the immediate reception of the report. During my attendance at a live television broadcast of one of the citizens’ forums, I met a public official born outside Quebec who said: ‘You know, such a transparent debate on such contentious issues – that would only be possible in Quebec, I think. It couldn’t happen anywhere else.’ However, she later admitted to having suffered from some xenophobic and racist remarks during the public forums. In a packed room, under hot spotlights and in front of cameras, the two co-chairs and the public attended these evening meetings that went on for hours. The relationship between the media and the commission was difficult. Not only did the final report mention the media’s irresponsibility in the wake of the accommodation crisis, with their frequently inadequate treatment of the facts, but the early work of the commission was also marked by some critical statements made by Gérard Bouchard even before the beginning of the hearings.15 Moreover, he declared that independence would solve several identity problems among Quebecers, which caused the largest English-language newspaper in Quebec, The Gazette, to question his impartiality. Not only did he assert that his recent book, La crise de la culture (The Culture Crisis), would constitute, in some ways, the first volume of the commission’s report, but he proposed that in order to better combine French-Canadian and immigrant culture, ‘Quebec needs to perform a founding act. Now, national independence would be a founding act, which Quebecers could then use and develop for centuries.’16 The political sphere played an ambiguous role during the course of the commission, seemingly not wanting to be outdone. In order to demonstrate, no doubt, that the Charest government was acting firmly, particularly in relation to the attention given to the issue of equality between men and women in the debates, in December 2007 it announced the introduction of an interpretive clause in the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, making equality between men and women a fundamental value.17 Within the team of experts assembled around the commission, some expressed surprise that this decision had been made in advance of the final publication of the report. It must also be stated that the body responsible for advising the government on women’s issues, the Conseil du statut de la femme (Council on the Status of Women), had taken a secularist position on the subject and was urging the government to take a stand.18 As will be discussed later in the chapter, the Minister of Immigration also made a number of premature decisions. In addition, on the launch date of the report, 22 May 2008, the government made a dramatic move, one that was widely covered in the

The Bouchard–Taylor Commission in Quebec    103 international press. Among the numerous recommendations of the report, the following stands out: In the name of the separation of the State and the churches and in the name of State neutrality, we recommend that: the crucifix above the chair of the president of the National Assembly be relocated in the Parliament building in a place that emphasizes its meaning from the standpoint of heritage.19 However, an official act of the Government of Quebec, on the very day of the release of the report, was to vote in favour of the motion to keep the crucifix on the wall of the National Assembly (see the detailed analysis of this question in Chapter 11).20 Unanimously, 100 elected officials voted this way, including a Muslim, Fatima Houda-Pépin, demonstrating the rift that had formed between the legal, intellectual and political worlds. It should be mentioned, however, that some politicians admitted to voting without any real sense of conviction. Most notably, during a public conference, the PQ MNA, Daniel Turp, a practising Protestant, recounted that he felt somewhat constrained to vote in favour of the motion.21 He admitted that several of the MNAs feared reactions from the segment of the electorate who were very attached to religious symbols. It is an ongoing discussion in Quebec and, as of 2016, the crucifix remains on the walls of the National Assembly and of many city council halls. Bills discussed since 2008 regarding neutrality of the State still include a clause protecting Quebec’s cultural and religious heritage.22

Contents of the report: open secularism and interculturalism The tenor of the report is marked by a double perspective.23 On one hand, it affirms in various ways that Quebec society has already made clear choices with regard to the issue of religious accommodation, and that these choices are themselves part of an international perspective with well-defined legal and political parameters. On the other hand, the report also recognizes the need to clarify certain aspects that are imprecise. The most contentious discussions that were conducted as part of the commission focused on a number of anticipated social and political issues. How is Quebec different from the rest of Canada? What vision of laïcité ought to be adopted? Which values should be reaffirmed and promoted? What are the existing markers and which ones require clarification? These markers tend to orient various levels of regulation of social life. They specifically consist of political and legal norms, as well as references specific to each context. With regard to the political aspect, three markers already existed: liberal democracy that defends the rights and freedoms of all citizens provided that they respect the rights of others and the collective interest; French as the common public language, as well as the protection of minority languages; and Quebec’s immigration and integration policy, the last definition of which dates to 1990. However, for greater clarity, the report recommends that the government define interculturalism and laїcité with more precision. We later learned that the

104  Solange Lefebvre demand for fundamental texts came primarily from Bouchard, Taylor being more reticent with regard to definitive statements.24 For several years, interculturalism has been presented as a Quebec-specific approach with regard to multiculturalism. The term interculturalisme represents a neologism in French, created in Quebec. Elsewhere in the francophone world, the term interculturalité is generally employed.25 The report states that this approach ought to be further clarified in connection with integration policy, in a piece of legislation or official statement. The report suggests some elements of definition in order to better reflect the reality of Quebec as being distinct from the rest of Canada, particularly by recognizing the existence of a majority ethnic group – namely, francophones of French-Canadian origin, who are concerned about their survival in a majority English-speaking North American environment. According to the report, Canadian multiculturalism has been envisaged as something more concerned with social cohesion than with the preservation of a ‘founding cultural tradition’, as is the case in the province of Quebec. As for the rest, several of the proposed aspects intersect with the Canadian multiculturalist model. Bouchard would acknowledge a few years later that the Canadian model itself is partly founded on a common Anglo-Saxon tradition, a majority group in English-speaking Canada until relatively recently. In his 2012 book where he offers a more complete development of interculturalism, he explains that among the lessons to be learned from the ‘reasonable accommodations crisis’ is the acknowledgement of the fragility of the majority francophone Quebecer core; it is important ‘to not give up the management of identity to the free market of demagogues and opportunists’.26 The report also proposes the preparation of a white paper on secularism (laïcité) in order to define the Quebec system of secularism. For several decades, Quebec has presented various policies that are respectful of the freedom of belief and religion. The concept of laïcité had been introduced in the 1999 report Religion in Secular Schools, authored by the Working Group on the Place of Religion in Schools and commonly referred to as the Proulx Report, named after its chairperson, Jean-Pierre Proulx. The report recommended the secularization of the public school system, yet without excluding religious and spiritual realities, by teaching neutrally about religions within the whole school system. From this report arose the notion of an ‘open secularism (laïcité)’, differentiated from the stricter French laïcité that does not teach religion in a specific discipline.27 In their report, Bouchard and Taylor discuss a number of principles that could form the basis for this open secularism, in which they endorse, most particularly, State neutrality: ‘the ideal proposed here is that of a pluralistic society that achieves an overlapping consensus on basic political principles, i.e. solid agreement between citizens on these principles, even if they adhere to a wide range of fundamental beliefs’,28 especially with regard to religious convictions. Although it has only been cited once, in our humble opinion, this well-known principle, which parallels the philosophical horizon of Rawls on the vision of State neutrality, underpins the entire report. We will revisit this idea below, through an examination of some of Taylor’s reflections.

The Bouchard–Taylor Commission in Quebec    105 The report also notably addresses two highly contentious issues regarding the management of religion in such a framework: the wearing of religious symbols by employees of the State, and the religious heritage of Quebec. On the issue of religious symbols and State employees, the report concluded that this practice could be permitted if two principles were respected. First, the religious symbol in question should not hamper the individual’s ability to do his or her work by representing an excessive constraint. Such was the case for the burka worn by a teacher; by covering her entire face, she hindered communication with the students. Second, the religious symbol should not violate the neutrality of the State. Persons who occupy official positions that require a dimension of coercion and must incarnate State neutrality, such as judges, prosecutors, police officers and the president of the National Assembly, are not to broadcast their religious affiliation when they perform their duties. With this recommendation, the report deliberately opposes existing case law.29 As for the subject of Quebec’s religious heritage, it is introduced along the following lines: the religion of the majority cannot be expressed within State norms.30 According to the principle of neutrality, privileges (denominational schools) and institutional practices (theistic prayers introducing municipal assemblies) have no place in such contexts. In this regard, the authors of the report advocate Canadian jurisprudence in part, in relation to general norms stemming from religious sources, the most famous case being the obligatory Sunday holiday that was declared unconstitutional in 1985 by the Supreme Court of Canada.31 With respect to heritage symbols, the report distinguishes between those with regulatory and those with heritage functions. The cross atop Mount Royal, in the centre of the city of Montreal, represents an example of a heritage function. However, the crucifix in the National Assembly symbolizes a regulatory function, a religious affirmation of the majority at a seat of power and policy-making. In the second case, as was explained earlier, the report recommends removing the religious symbol – another way to limit religious expression within central locations in which power is exercised. It should be noted, however, that in a book co-authored with Jocelyn Maclure, one of the writers of the commission, Taylor developed his own positions on laïcité shortly after the release of the report. In that book, Taylor takes a different position with regard to religious symbols worn by certain State officials.32 While the Bouchard–Taylor Report recommends that public officials whose function has a dimension of coercion should be prohibited from wearing religious accessories, the book published afterwards does not, however, advocate this limitation. Bearing this differing position in mind, what can we make of the genesis of the fundamental positions of the co-chairs that can be understood as a liberal laïcité?

Genesis of the report in the previous work of the co-chairs and experts The report, which comprises 5 parts, 11 chapters and 20 pages of general and specific recommendations, manages to create an amazing synthesis from multiple

106   Solange Lefebvre contributions. Its fundamental orientations are clearly rooted in an integration of both the earlier established perspectives of the co-chairs and those of the experts consulted during the commission. Several specialists have noticed that their words and ideas – sometimes cited, sometimes not – were used over the course of consultation meetings, suggestions, expert reports and memos sent during the consultation work and report’s writing. Certain reports and memos found their specific place in the illumination of particular issues. Large sections of the report represent new work on the part of the co-chairs, particularly those relating to the management of reasonable accommodation granted to persons desiring that their particular religious practices be respected in different contexts and organizations. The report offers pages of exceptional material on facts and practices. In addition, the first part presents a critical analysis of the media reception of several cases of accommodation that have made the headlines and have caused an uproar in public opinion. In general, it endorses the approaches promoted in recent years by the CDPDJ, as previously mentioned. In addition, the prior work of members of the advisory committee, especially Pierre Bosset, Bergman Fleury, Myriam Jézéqel, Marie McAndrew and Micheline Milot, has been put to use, especially on the subject of reasonable accommodation and diversity management.33 Nevertheless, we can trace in the final report of this commission the genesis of Bouchard and Taylor’s substantive positions on the large issues regarding the public sphere and religion, as well as the political management of pluralism.34 Notably, the importance granted to the centrality of official texts as well as the approach to religion can be largely traced to Bouchard’s earlier work, especially regarding the following two ideas.35 The first concerns a national project that welcomes diversity; the second relates to collective myths. In that context, it is important to remember that the Bouchard–Taylor Report devotes several pages to the definitions of political models such as interculturalism and open laїcité, proposing that the government develop a judicial text or policy statement for the former and a white paper on the latter. It is well known that Taylor was not really comfortable with such official texts, as he considered the charters of rights and the existing approach to accommodation requests to be sufficient. Neither did Taylor endorsed the concept of myth, which is absent from the report. The Bouchard–Taylor Report, in this light, can be seen as the product of a consensus on some points, but not on all previously held positions, as reflected in areas of silence demonstrating indirectly the limits of agreement between these two academics. In Sources of the Self and other writings, Taylor postulates horizons of meaning, among them being religions, which can contribute to the constitution of the modern subject.36 Taylor nonetheless sides in favour of strict State neutrality in the Western context. With regard to religion in the public sphere, I would emphasize two points. For Taylor, cultural particularism is more acceptable than religion, except in the case of non-Christian nations. Also, for several years, Taylor has defended the thought derived from John Rawls concerning overlapping consensus with regard to neutrality in the public sphere.37 Taylor’s more recent

The Bouchard–Taylor Commission in Quebec    107 and major book, A Secular Age, develops a number of aspects that are dear to him.38 A revealing element perhaps, Taylor only discusses Quebec a few times in order to evoke the decline of its historically close relationship with Catholicism and the normative recess of its commitment to religious dimensions such as confessional religious education.39 It should be noted that the book was completed several months before the commission’s work began. Although Taylor argues that religious meaning represents a legitimate horizon for the interpretation of beliefs at the heart of modernity, we also get a strong sense that he stands in favour of a neutral, pluralist and egalitarian political space with regard to religion, so that there remains hardly any room for particular religious nationalisms. All of these aspects are reflected in the final position of the report.40

Complex, multiple receptions Among the works of the commissions studied in this volume, along with the Stasi report, Bouchard–Taylor no doubt figures among those who received the most significant overall reception. A quick search in Google Scholar reveals close to 2,000 references. In addition, we observe that the concept of reasonable accommodation is often taken out of its legal context, taking on a great variety of meanings. The Stasi Commission produces a greater number of hits on the Internet, as does its well-known law banning conspicuous symbols in public schools. In both cases, the concept of laïcité lends itself to much discussion. In Canada the terms ‘reasonable accommodation’, ‘Bouchard–Taylor Report’, and ‘laïcité’, became ‘word-events’, insofar as their mention creates a mental image recalling a stream of controversies and previous discourse. These word-events: have a memory … [and] are at the same time sites of registration for semantic conflicts between the pragmatic target of the speaker, the different meanings they acquired in previous discourse and other language communities, and those given to them by their recipients.41 They constitute ‘a catchword, a discursive element which records details of the event and, more generally, speeches, pictures, epilinguistic elements, shared ideas, and stereotypes that constitute this event, inasmuch as it has a place in the memory of a society’.42 The references to the Bouchard–Taylor Commission that can be found in book titles, introductions and various university writings exist without necessarily having to explicitly state what they refer to. The commission has addressed so many questions that the interest it has garnered is quite extensive. A wide variety of social actors, lawyers and experts have commented on, criticized or affirmed different facets of the commission. Since its central theme is reasonable accommodation, it would be pertinent here to relate some reactions from lawyers. In an analysis of the final report, Pierre Bosset, who was also a member of the expert advisory committee, noted that both the mandate and the report moved away from ‘the current legal sense of the term reasonable accommodation, a term

108  Solange Lefebvre developed in the context of anti-discrimination legislation, where “culture” is not, strictly speaking, a concept that is used’.43 Most importantly, he concluded that the report does not propose any law reform, understanding that the actual legal framework is relevant, flexible and scalable enough. Like many experts, he was disappointed in the choice made by the co-chairs to cement the distinction between reasonable accommodation of a legal nature and concerted adjustments or adaptations made in the field, thus ignoring the mediation and research solutions promoted by law.44 The choice of co-chairs seems to demonstrate the political twist of the debate and the government’s preference for a non-technical approach to reasonable accommodation, as well as a false perception that the law and the courts had shown themselves to be incapable of properly framing the application of accommodation practices. If we refer to the chapter on media reception of the three European commissions, which proved to be very narrow and limited to a handful of similar ideas (see Chapter 8), the reception of the Bouchard–Taylor Commission was more differentiated, even if the number of topics proved equally small. The mere fact that Canada has both English and French media was enough to significantly vary the reception. In this debate, the anglophone media played a role that was largely critical of the francophone debate, referring to an Anglo-Saxon approach that is generally flexible with regard to the treatment of singular and visible expressions of religion, and frequently reproaching Quebecers for being stuck in an identity that is not very welcoming of minorities.45 However, the francophone media had its own differences of opinion, in fact. The keyword ‘Bouchard–Taylor Commission’ receives thousands of hits in Canadian media databases.46 After the launch of the report on 22 May 2008, we can identify the main editorial lines, even though specific positions vary among journalists and columnists. Le Devoir, separatist and critical, showed itself to be closer to the republican-type position on laïcité. Its editorial of 23 May 2008 recognizes several merits of the commission and the report, while criticizing the Liberal Charest government, both for its motion on the crucifix in the National Assembly and for its refusal to adopt an official text – as constitutional – in response to the Quebec identity crisis.47 The more liberal La Presse made analyses more open to expressions of religious pluralism. An editorial from 25 May 2008 takes the opposite position to that of Le Devoir. It appreciates the nuanced conclusions of the report, attributing the disappointment expressed by many to an illusion that a simple solution, such as the adoption of an official text or independence, would once and for all resolve the identity crisis: ‘On the subject of intercultural relations, nothing is simple, neither the problems nor the solutions.’48 Le Journal de Montréal, both sensationalist and nationalist, often waged a battle against reasonable accommodation, while maintaining a traditional type of nationalism – i.e. one attached to the cultural expressions of Catholicism. This newspaper and its network were especially targeted by the criticism that the report levelled at the media. The day after the report’s release, the following ironic title made it to the front-page headlines: ‘Bouchard and Taylor’s Message to Quebec: Be even more Accommodating’; and the survey question of the day was as follows: ‘According to the

The Bouchard–Taylor Commission in Quebec    109 Bouchard–Taylor report, there is no crisis of reasonable accommodation, only a problem of perception. Do you agree?’49 One article in particular challenges the way the report supposedly corrects misquotations made by the media.50 The political landscape also reveals some differences. As one of the larger parties, the Liberal Party demonstrated that it was in general more at ease with the state of the law on accommodation. The Parti Québécois, in seeking to make markers more evident, placed a greater emphasis on the identity of francophone Quebecers. A smaller party, Action démocratique du Québec (ADQ), at once conservative and nationalist, took advantage of the debate to try to increase its own popularity by expressing its disappointment with the results of the commission. What about subsequent policy responses? During its short tenure as a ruling minority party, the Parti Québécois would once again provoke waves of identity concerns, in autumn 2013, by submitting a proposed Charter of Secularism or Charter of Values, with all the ingredients required to relaunch public debate: reasonable accommodation, the wearing of religious symbols and an official declaration of laïcité. On 7 November 2013, the government filed Bill 60: ‘Charter affirming the values of State secularism and religious neutrality and of equality between women and men, and providing a framework for accommodation requests’.51 Although the motion was not aligned with all the perspectives of the Bouchard–Taylor Report, it nonetheless corresponded to Bouchard’s proposals, who wished for the elaboration of official texts. Intellectuals who have adopted a nationalist perspective often request declarations, texts and symbols that could reinforce identity attachment to Quebec as a territory or distinct nation. The Liberal Party, since the filing of this motion, has remained relatively quiet on the subject, except on a few aspects that we will later explore. The party never really seemed interested in the idea of having official texts enacted. Following a controversy on the burka, it nevertheless submitted in 2010 a motion for Bill 94 to address relevant claims, but this died throughout the course of debates between the parties at the National Assembly.52 As was mentioned before, a new Bill is under discussion.53 Beyond these generalizations, each major party comprises subgroups who do not share the same convictions on the subject of religious diversity management. The feminist groups also find themselves divided. Some are irritated with the wearing of hijabs and all religious exceptions concerning women and advocate a republican approach, while others are more empathetic to diverse expressions of religious freedom.54 While this book is under printing, the tragic assassination of six Muslims in a Mosque in Quebec City has provoked many questions on the part of the most secularist factions in Quebec.

Receptions of the recommendations: partial? Many have concluded that the commission was a failure, but it is important to distinguish between the various levels and objects of reception. Let us consider the recommendations in more detail. They unfold within two major sections: a general presentation divided into 5 themes and 37 specific recommendations grouped under 8 themes.55 Following the example of the mandate, they cover a

110  Solange Lefebvre great number of aspects and they mostly concern the Government of Quebec. The first and primary objective is the formulation of key orientations around the notions of interculturalism and laïcité, which correspond to ten recommendations. The recurring conclusion that the Bouchard–Taylor Commission was a failure especially concerns these aspects of national identity. Since 2008, in fact, with the exception of the spectacular motion in favour of maintaining the crucifix, no official statement or text has been developed on these subjects that were considered priorities by the report.56 At first glance, there thus appears to exist a significant political disavowal of the results of the Bouchard–Taylor Commission. In Quebec, the report received a rather icy reception from the nationalist intelligentsia, who would have preferred a more measured celebration of diversity and a greater emphasis on national unity, endorsing the need to define ‘social, political and cultural frameworks for living together’.57 Among these nationalist intellectuals, Jacques Beauchemin was on the advisory committee of the commission and his criticisms are clear-cut. He reproves the apolitical nature of the commission, as well as its culturalist celebration of diversity, ‘which had the effect of causing the evacuation of the debate of the Quebec national question and the majority/ minority relationships it presupposes’.58 In contrast, others criticize strongly the ethnic founder core, which would structure the debate around ‘us’ and ‘them’.59 However, the second goal of the recommendations, which was to both strengthen existing aspects and create new ones for the benefit of integration,60 more easily garnered the attention of the government and the public service. One commentator observes, and quite aptly so: ‘If the government follows, it will spend a fortune to create a whole new national “harmonization” industry.’61 It is worth noting, for example, that the creation of an Advisory Service on Reasonable Accommodation by the CDPDJ could represent a response to the recommendation that the human rights commission ought to develop a reference tool on reasonable accommodation practices.62 One possible approach with which to verify the status of the recommendations is to study the annual reports produced by the ministry in charge of immigration in Quebec (see Chapter 10). The 2007–2008 report mentions the Bouchard–Taylor Commission in the introduction, in conjunction with which the ministry had already taken certain measures. One measure occurred prior to the submission of the report, in November 2007, and concerns the transfer of funds for francisation to the Ministry of Immigration. Others were announced on 17 March 2008, about a month before the release of the report, and also aim at improving the francisation and employment integration of immigrants.63 The 2008–2009 report mentions another product of the commission – i.e. a comprehensive plan to integrate immigrants and to value diversity within Quebec society.64 The Liberal Minister, Yolande James, also submitted a bill to the National Assembly to support the implementation of a government policy, Diversity: An Added Value, and its action plan.65 However, from its introduction, the text emphasizes a public consultation held in autumn 2006 to provide Quebec with a policy to fight against racism and discrimination, and the document makes no mention of either the Bouchard–Taylor Commission or the concept of reasonable accommodation. This consultation had received 124 briefs and 95 emails. The

The Bouchard–Taylor Commission in Quebec    111 plan nevertheless emphasizes equality between men and women, the need to properly inform new immigrants about common values, and strengthening specific elements in order to favour a strong integration policy. These aspects relayed by the ministry therefore concern the sociopolitical and identity aspects of the Bouchard–Taylor Commission (without naming it), in connection with its ministerial responsibilities. It also fits into the continuity of Quebec’s public policies.66 Another level of reception is in the courts. In addition to the crucifix remaining at the National Assembly, prayers were still being recited at the beginning of municipal council meetings in many cities, as previously mentioned.67 The recommendation of the Bouchard–Taylor Report to put an end to this practice did not meet with success. In 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada finally instituted the requirement for State neutrality, which was already largely affirmed and promoted in the country, after hearing a case in Quebec concerning prayer in the municipal arena. The Supreme Court positively cites the Bouchard–Taylor Report in its long decision.68 The highest court in the country also cited the final report in another decision regarding a case heard in Quebec about religious education in a private school.69 Finally, some recommendations bear the mark of one expert or another attached to the commission, who wished for reinforcement of their field of work. Shortly before the final writing stage of the report, the experts of the advisory committee and others connected to the commission were asked to send their suggestions for recommendations.70

Omissions and silences The commissioners have explained why they excluded issues concerning the English-speaking minority in Quebec and Aboriginals from their analysis.71 Three other important aspects appeared to me to be absent from the work of the commission: a study of the Quebecer’s relationship with religion, the challenges in the private sector and the relationship between animals and religion. With regard to the first, the relationship to religion is largely subsumed by discussions on ethnicity, immigration, discrimination and minority status, even though the term ‘religion’ appears 783 times in the report, as analysed thoroughly in Chapter 10. By analysing the contributions of churches and religions to the works of the commission in the four national contexts under study in the first two sections of this book, we can conclude that the Bouchard–Taylor Report represents the one with the least number of references to religious organizations.72 Although, like the other commissions considered in this book, it held hearings with several religious groups (and with much less restrictive guidelines, since more than 900 organizations and individuals submitted briefs),73 the commission ultimately accords them a very minor place within the pages of the report itself. For example, the Assembly of Catholic Bishops submitted a brief in favour of religious diversity and the respect for its expressions.74 This brief finds itself cited only as a secondary source in a footnote.75 Christianity is recognized as having public legitimacy from the perspective of respecting historical heritage. Religions are recognized only in their moral utility, mirroring a philosophical stance of Taylor,

112  Solange Lefebvre in which the justification of faith in God during the modern era is mainly based on ethical arguments.76 In short, the final report insists primarily on individual rights, the religious dimension of their expressions and some cultural aspects of religion, thus endorsing the laicization of the Quebec state without any recognition of religious groups as such. As evidenced by the report, the second major oversight of the commission is the private sector. My analysis of the subject of the private sector in the documents produced throughout the Bouchard–Taylor Commission’s work (final reports, research reports, briefs) revealed, above all, that this sector was missing in the commission’s work.77 In the section on the interpretation of the mandate, the co-chairs write the following: Given the range and complexity of the questions to be analysed, we decided to concentrate our efforts on the question of accommodation in public institutions, where most of the problem cases arose that fuelled the crisis. Consequently, we will focus to a limited extent on businesses, despite the difficulties that they are experiencing, as in any other pluricultural milieu. We must also point out that the business community, which submitted only one brief and participated very little in the public debate, had little contact with the Commission.78 What happened during the consultation process that preceded the report’s development? The commissioners included private companies in the consultation document in several ways.79 The consultation document focuses on work-related issues and discusses integration and language issues. It refers to the various exemptions requested and obtained at work (religious holidays, in particular). The consultation document provides private sector examples while inviting citizens to develop solutions to problems. This raises the question of why the private sector did not respond. It could certainly be credited to an interest in confidentiality and the fear of public opinion. Nevertheless, a careful analysis shows a few ideas that came out of the commission, despite the limited participation of the private sector. Although the final report indicates that only one brief was received from the private sector, in our own analysis, we found a dozen documents, if we include those from various professional associations (construction workers, accountants, chambers of commerce). Finally, two briefs came from veterinary associations, which allows us to address the last instance of omission in the report. The question of the relationship between animals and religion totally escaped the team drafting the report, despite the filing of the two aforementioned briefs.80 Neither of the authors was invited to present this issue at a hearing. The only commission studied in this book that addresses the issue is the one from Belgium that evokes the question of desensitization or anaesthesia before ritual slaughter, particularly as related to the practice of the Jewish and Muslim religions. While the exception granted in the case of ritual slaughter is increasingly challenged, the Round Tables on Interculturalism recommend its preservation.81 This discovery of the Quebec briefs led me to contact these veterinary associations, who explained

The Bouchard–Taylor Commission in Quebec    113 that they had been unsuccessful in getting the attention of the commission and its research and editing team. This contact that I initiated led to the organization of a seminar in partnership with the Ordre des médecins vétérinaires du Québec (the Order of Medical Veterinarians of Quebec) and the Association des médecins vétérinaires du Québec (the Association of Medical Veterinarians of Quebec), on 10 November 2011.82 In Canada, this issue has rarely been addressed. Just as this book was going to press, we received the tragic news that six Muslims had been murdered in a mosque in Quebec City on January 29, 2017, by a young French Canadian resident of Quebec. This incident has resurrected the debate about the limits of laïcité and about the problem of resentment toward minorities, who are too often the target of negativity in such debates.

Conclusion Our analysis illustrates the complexity of the reception of a public commission. As many chapters in this book note, the dissemination of the controversies on the Internet and the timeliness of the topic, as well as its strong emotional and identity content, contributed to an intense media, academic and social reception. The consultation process itself was strewn with obstacles and new challenges. No doubt due to Taylor’s prominence, the final report would also enjoy wide distribution throughout the world. At the political level, the reception was varied and full of pitfalls. The central recommendations received no concrete follow-up, but those concerning the reinforcement of integration policies and the rights of individuals regarding approaches for accommodation were quietly integrated at various times. Important decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada consider the report’s conclusions concerning State neutrality. The analysis also demonstrates the richness and the composite character of a commission. It is, above all else, a sophisticated social and collective process which combines a variety of expertise and differing political visions, amid anxieties and collective desires, in a common search to give meaning to human relations in a shared society or within a national territory, in the case of Quebec. Both religious symbols and the concept of reasonableness captured the collective imagination in an exceptional manner throughout several years, which is reflected in media coverage that could be described as excessive.

Notes 1  Peter Berger, Grace Davie and Effie Focas, Religious America, Secular Europe?: A Theme and Variation (Aldershot, Hants; Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2008). 2  Marguerite Van Die, ed. Religion and Public Life in Canada: Historical and Comparative Perspectives (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2001). 3  Marie-Pierre Bousquet and Robert Crépeau, ed., Dynamiques religieuses des autochtones des Amériques. Religious Dynamics of Indigenous People of the Americas (Paris: Karthala, 2012). 4  For example, Mathieu Perreault, ‘Un nouveau diocèse canadien pour les réfugiés syriaques’, La Presse, 28 February 2016,

114  Solange Lefebvre 01-4955433-un-nouveau-diocese-canadien-pour-les-refugies-syriaques.php: ‘At least 500 families of Syrian Christian refugees were admitted to Canada for three years, according to Georges Chahine, General Coordinator of the Syrian Catholic community in Canada. This adds a few thousand faithful to the 15,000 Syrians in Canada in 2009, according to the last census of the community.’ Please note that all foreign language texts have been translated by the author. 5  Multani v. Commission scolaire Marguerite-Bourgeoys [2006] 1 SCR 256, SCC 6. 6  Ont. Human Rights Comm. v. Simpsons-Sears [1985] 2 SCR 536, Held. 7  See, for example, Pierre Bosset and Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse, Réflexion sur la portée et les limites de l’obligation d’accommodement raisonnable en matière religieuse (Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse Québec, 2005). 8  Gérard Bouchard and Charles Taylor. Commission de consultation sur les pratiques d’accommodement reliées aux différences culturelles (CCPARDC). Building the Future: A Time for Reconciliation (Quebec City: Gouvernement du Québec, 2008), 17. I set up a database with hundreds of documents related to commissions on diversity, notably the Bouchard–Taylor Commission. See PLURI: Directory about cultural and religious diversity. Chair on Cultural and Religious Diversity Management, University of Montreal. 9  Ibid. 10  Ibid., p. 33. As with authors like Anne Fornerod in this volume, Grace Davie and others, I prefer not to translate the concept of laïcité, which is very different from secularism. But since the report translates the word with secularism, I respect this editorial choice when I mention its content. 11  See, for example, Carole Beaulieu’s article Arrêtons de tout mélanger (Stop Mixing Everything Up) in the influential magazine L’actualité, 20 August 2007: ‘Was the decision of the Bouchard–Taylor Commission to interpret its mandate in a broad manner a blessing or a curse? Jean Charest must already be asking himself.’ 12  Bouchard and Taylor, Building the Future, 17: ‘As for the public consultations, we commissioned four province wide forums … in which over 800 people participated. The Commission held sessions in 15 regions, in addition to Montréal, for a total of 31 days of hearings. The public responded very generously to our appeal by submitting more than 900 briefs. We read all of these texts and discussed them with their authors during 328 hearings, during which we heard testimony from 241 individuals. In the centres where hearings were held, we organized 22 evening citizens’ forums open without restriction to the public and broadcast live or pre-recorded by a number of television networks, which attracted a total of 3,423 participants. Each forum, which lasted for nearly three hours, afforded the opportunity, on average, to 40 participants from all social backgrounds to take the floor and express their opinions. Between August 2007 and January 2008, the Commission also operated a website that gave the public opportunities to engage in discussions (over 400,000 visits).’ 13  Ibid., p. 18. 14  Ibid., p. 25. 15  See Jeffe Heinrich and Valérie Dufour, Circus Quebecus: Sous le chapiteau de la commission Bouchard–Taylor (Montreal: Boréal, 2008). This book appeared before the report itself, and is written by two journalists who covered all the forums and panel hearings of the commission. They reveal an animosity on the part of the co-chairs with regard to the media during the process. Still, they paint an overall positive picture of the exercise, reporting on a large number of the comments they heard, of many kinds, noting that the mandate that was interpreted in a broad manner had in the end proved useful in terms of allowing the collection of a wealth of public opinion. 16  Elias Levy, ‘La majorité minoritaire’, Voir, 29 March 2007, accessed 15 April 2015, An interview with Gérard Bouchard taken up in ‘L’impartialité de Gérard Bouchard

The Bouchard–Taylor Commission in Quebec    115 attaquée’, 17 May 2007, 17  Bill 63 introduced by the minister responsible for the Status of Women, Christine StPierre, in December 2007. The bill was adopted on 10 June 2008: a law modifying the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The parliament of Quebec decrees: ‘The preamble to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (L.R.Q., chapter C-12) is amended by replacing the third paragraph by the following: “Whereas respect for the dignity of the human person, equality between women and men and recognizing the rights and freedoms they hold are the foundation of justice, freedom and peace.”’ 18  The Council for the Status of Women had pushed for such a clause, and clearly approved the fact that the government had taken restrictive parallel initiatives. The then president, Francine Pelchat, was very opposed to reasonable accommodation and did not appreciate the pluralistic approach of the co-chairs. Her succeeding president attempted to limit the influence of ‘secularists’ on the council. See Solange Lefebvre and Lori G. Beaman, ‘Protecting Gender Relations: The Bouchard–Taylor Commission and the Equality of Women’, Canadian Journal for Social Research 2.1 (2012): pp. 95−104. 19  Bouchard and Taylor, Building the Future, p. 271. 20  The actual text of the motion can be translated as follows: ‘The National Assembly reiterates its commitment to promote the language, history, culture, and values of the nation of Quebec, favouring the integration of each in our nation in a spirit of openness and reciprocity that bears witness to our attachment to our religious and historical heritage represented by the crucifix in our Blue Room and the coat of arms that adorns our institutions.’ See Chronologie parlementaire, 2008, fr/patrimoine/chronologie/chrono98.html, accessed 2 April 2016. 21  Presentation by Daniel Turp, ‘Religious Freedom in Education: Pluralism, Religion, and Public Policy Symposium’, McGill University, 3 October 2013. 22  See, for example, Gouvernement du Québec, Bill 62: An Act to foster adherence to State religious neutrality and, in particular, to provide a framework for religious accommodation requests in certain bodies, 2015, accessed 16 May 2016, www.assnat. 23  This section addresses a variety of aspects dealt with in previous publications. See Solange Lefebvre, ‘Secularism According to Charles Taylor and Gérard Bouchard’, in Cultural Clash and Religion, ed. William Sweet (Washington: The Council for Research in Values and Philosophy, Cultural Heritage and Contemporary Change, 2015), pp. 203−223. 24  See the interview with Charles Taylor, ‘Laïcité: l’impatience des commissaires Bouchard–Taylor’, Second Regard, télévision de Radio-Canada, 17 January 2010. 25  See, for instance, the Belgian commission, Marie-Claire Foblets, Christine Kulakowski et al., Les Assises de l’Interculturalité (Brussels: Ministère de l’Emploi et de l’Égalité des Chances, 2010), p. 10. 26  Gérard Bouchard, L’interculturalisme: Un point de vue québécois (Montreal: Boréal 2012). On Canadian identity, see Elke Winter, Us, Them and Others: Pluralism and National Identities in Diverse Societies (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011). 27  See Jean Pierre Proulx and the Task Force on the Place of Religion in Schools in Québec, Religion in Secular Schools: A New Perspective for Québec (Quebec City: Gouvernement du Québec, 1999), p. vii. With regard to the concept of laïcité, I conducted a semantic study of the Proulx Report, the studies commissioned by the committee, and the briefs that were filed before the hearings that followed. Undeniably, this usage was made according to the distinction proposed by the historian Jean Baubérot between secularization and laïcité. The former would refer to a sociocultural phenomenon witnessing the decline of beliefs and practices, while the latter applies to the State sphere. Only sometimes employed up until then, the adjective ‘secular’ would no longer be really present in the Quebec debates thereafter. Baubérot’s distinction would be included in the Bouchard–Taylor report. See Jean Baubérot ed., Religions et laïcité dans l’Europe des douze (Paris: Syros, 1994), 280; Solange Lefebvre,

116   Solange Lefebvre ‘L’approche québécoise, entre laïcité et sécularité’, in Le programme d’éthique et culture religieuse: De l’exigeante conciliation entre le soi, l’autre et le nous, ed. Mireille Estivalèzes and Solange Lefebvre (Quebec City: Presses de l’Université Laval, 2012), pp. 85–110. 28  Bouchard and Taylor, Building the Future, p. 135. See also John Rawls, Political Liberalism (New York: Columbia University Press, 1993). 29  Indeed, in the past, courts have rendered such favourable decisions as the wearing of the Sikh turban by members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), whose standardized hat is a well-known Canadian symbol. In suggesting that certain officials should abstain from the wearing of such symbols, however, the report advocates a stricter vision of State neutrality that extends to certain functions performed under the auspices of the State. 30  Bouchard and Taylor, Building the Future, p. 152. 31  R. c. Big M Drug Mart Ltd. [1985] 1 SCR 295. This decision lifts the ban on operating commercial establishments on Sundays. 32  Jocelyn Maclure and Charles Taylor, Laïcité et liberté de conscience (Montreal: Boréal, 2010), pp. 58−59. 33  See Bibliography in Bouchard and Taylor, Building the Future, pp. 291−298. 34  I have conducted a detailed analysis of this genesis in the chapter already cited: Lefebvre, ‘Secularism According to Charles Taylor and Gérard Bouchard’. See also Bernard Gagnon, ed. La diversité québécoise en débat: Bouchard, Taylor et les autres (Montreal: Québec Amérique, 2010); Will Kymlicka and Kathryn Walker, ed., Rooted Cosmopolitanism: Canada and the World (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2012). 35  See, for example, Gérard Bouchard, La culture québécoise est-elle en crise? (Montreal: Boréal, 2007); Gérard Bouchard, La pensée impuissante: échecs et mythes nationaux canadiens-français (Montreal: Boréal, 2004). 36  Charles Taylor, Sources of the Self: The Making of the Modern Identity (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1989). 37  Charles Taylor, ‘Modes of Secularism’, in Secularism and its Critics, ed. Rajeev Bhargava (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1998), pp. 31−53. See also Charles Taylor, ‘A World Consensus on Human Rights’, Dissent 43.3 (1996); and the even earlier Charles Taylor, ‘L’état et la laïcité’, Cité libre 54.2 (1963): 6. On the proximity between Taylor’s thought and the Rawlsian model, see Bernard Gagnon, ‘Du communautarisme à la neutralité libérale: un tournant radical dans la pensée politique de Charles Taylor’, Politique et sociétés 31.127 (2012): pp. 127−157. 38  Charles Taylor, A Secular Age (Cambridge, MA and London: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2007). 39  Ibid., p.598. 40  It may support the fact that Taylor is quite in line with a Catholic ‘personalism’, a strong trend that valued authentic spirituality before the 1960s and disqualified ritual or cultural religion. On personalism in Quebec, see particularly E.-Martin Meunier, Le pari personnaliste: Modernité et catholicisme au XXe siècle (Montreal: Fides, 2007). 41  Sophie Moirand, Les discours de la presse quotidienne: Observer, analyser, comprendre (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 2007), p. 51. 42  Laura Calabrese-Steimberg, ‘Nom propre et dénomination événementielle: quelles différences en langue et en discours?’ Corela 7.1 (2009), accessed 5 April 2013, http:// 43  Pierre Bosset, ‘La “crise” des accommodements raisonnables: regards d’un juriste sur le rapport Bouchard-Taylor’, Revue de droit parlementaire et politique 3 (2009): pp. 323−347. Bosset was also a member of the advisory group for the commission, with two other lawyers. 44  Bosset agrees with Stéphane Bernatchez, ‘Un rapport au droit difficile – La Commission Bouchard-Taylor et l’obligation d’accommodement raisonnable’, in Droits de la

The Bouchard–Taylor Commission in Quebec    117 personne – Éthique et droit : nouveaux défis – Actes des Journées strasbourgeoises 2008 (Cowansville: Éditions Yvon Blais, 2009), pp. 69−92. 45  See, for example, editorials ‘Don’t prohibit all visible symbols’, Globe & Mail (Toronto, Canada), 10 October 2007, A20; and ‘Far from “reasonable”, Globe & Mail, 3 November 2007, A26. 46  See, for example, Thierry Giasson, Colette Brin and Marie-Michèle Sauvageau, ‘La couverture médiatique des accommodements raisonnables dans la presse écrite québécoise. Vérification de l’hypothèse du tsunami médiatique’, Canadian Journal of Communication, 35 (2010): pp. 431–453. On the media reception, the commission and the Quebec debates, see also Jean Baubérot, Une laïcité interculturelle. Le Québec, avenir de la France? (Paris : Aube, 2008). 47  Bernard Descôteaux, ‘Éditorial. Le défi de la diversité’, Le Devoir, 23 May 2008, a8. 48  André Pratte, ‘LA solution’, La Presse, 25 May 2008, A14. Note, however, that the report itself proposed the adoption of official texts. 49  ‘La question Canoë’, Journal de Montréal, 23 May 2008, p. 24. 50  One case concerns a group of Muslim customers at a sugar shack who requested that the music be interrupted to allow a ritual prayer. Valérie Dufour, ‘Cabane à sucre. Le dénonciateur outré. Un traitement trop cavalier?’, Journal de Montréal, 24 May 2008, p. 9. 51  Bill 60: Charter affirming the values of State secularism and religious neutrality and of equality between women and men, and providing a framework for accommodation requests, introduced by Bernard Drainville, Minister responsible for Democratic Institutions and Active Citizenship, Parti Québécois, October 2013. 52  Bill 94: an Act to establish guidelines governing accommodation requests within the Administration and certain institutions, introduced by Kathleen Weill, Minister of Justice, 24 March 2010. It was filed in the wake of a media debate on the burka. 53  Gouvernement du Québec, Bill 62, 2015. 54  The two most prominent feminist groups, the Conseil du Statut de la femme (Council on the Status of Women) and the Fédération des femmes du Québec (Federation for Quebec Women), had divergent positions. See Lefebvre and Beaman, ‘Protecting Gender Relations: The Bouchard–Taylor Commission and the Equality of Women’. 55  Bouchard and Taylor, Building the Future, pp. 265−272. 56  In 2013, Le Monde stated as follows: ‘Once completed, the report, published in 2008, had no tangible effect. It proposes including the drafting of a white paper on secularism, which was not done. A bill was filed to compel officials to work with their faces uncovered, but it was eventually abandoned. Jean Charest’s Liberals had little appetite for the subject.’ See Marc-Olivier Bherer, Le Monde., ‘Au Québec, petits accommodements avec la laïcité’, Le Monde. Idées. Analyses, 25 September 2013, p. 20. 57  See Gagnon, ed. La diversité québécoise en débat, p.22. This book elaborates on many critics of the report and on its foundations. 58  Jacques Beauchemin, ‘La notion de diversité comme lieu commun’, in ibid., p. 40. 59  Howard Adelman and Pierre Anctil, eds. Religion, Culture, and the State: Reflections on the Bouchard-Taylor Report (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011). 60  Integration (recognition of immigrants’ diplomas, their francisation and regionalization) (9 recommendations); reinforcement of intercultural training and practices (4 recommendations); reinforcement of harmonization policy (9 recommendations); fight against inequality and discrimination (3 recommendations); support of research (2 recommendations). 61  ‘The commission recommends a plethora of studies, training programs, subsidies to a multitude of employment positions, groups and institutions, all related to fostering “conciliation” between immigrants and mainstream society.’ See William Johnson, ‘Opinion and Editorial: A New Harmony’, Globe and Mail, 23 May, 2008, A19. This Anglophone newspaper, which is no doubt the largest in Canada, expressed the opinion that the report was fair, but impractical in its proposals.

118  Solange Lefebvre 62  Bouchard and Taylor, Building the Future, p. 266, accessed 27 April 2016, www.cdpdj. 63  Ministère de l’immigration et des communautés culturelles (MICC), Rapport annuel de gestion, 2007–2008, Gouvernement du Québec, IX, accessed 16 February 2016, www. pdf 64  MICC, Rapport annuel de gestion, 2008–2009, Gouvernement du Québec, accessed 16 February 2016, Rapport-annuel-2008-2009.pdf 65  Québec. MICC, Diversity: An Added Value. Government Policy to promote participation of all in Quebec’s development, 2008, Gouvernement du Québec, accessed 20 February 2016, Synthese_en.pdf 66  After the public reproached the government for not having implemented the report’s recommendations, minister Yolande James stated in 2009 that over 80 per cent of the recommendations had been carried out. Even more recently, the Liberal government in power said that all of the recommendations had been implemented. It is difficult to measure this. François Rocher has tried to do a painstaking evaluation and has concluded that follow-up was done, most of the time in a very small measure. See François Rocher, ‘La mise en œuvre des recommandations’, in Lomomba Emongo et Bob W. White, eds, L’interculturel au Québec (Montréal: Les Presses de l’Université de Montréal, 2014), p. 87. 67  Among the decisions made in Canada, there are: Mouvement laïque Québécois v. Saguenay (City) [2015] 2 SCR 3, SCC 16; Saguenay (Ville de) v. Mouvement laïque québécois 2013 QCCA 936; Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse c. Laval (Ville de) 2006 QCTDP 17; Allen v. Renfrew (Corp. of the County), 2004 CanLII 13978 (ON SC). Freitag v. Penetanguishene (Town), 1999 CanLII 3786 (ON C.A.). 68  Mouvement laïque Québécois v. Saguenay (City) [2015] 2 SCR 3, SCC 16, par. 87: ‘I note with interest a passage from the report of the Consultation Commission on Accommodation Practices Related to Cultural Differences entitled Building the Future: A Time for Reconciliation (2008). The Quebec government had given this commission a mandate to study the issue of religious accommodation in the Quebec context in 2007. In its report, the Commission urged that the following distinction be made: “However, we must avoid maintaining practices that in fact identify the State with a religion, usually that of the majority, simply because they now seem to have only heritage value [p. 152].”’ 69  Loyola High School v. Quebec (Attorney General), [2015] 1 SCR 613, SCC 12, par. 46. 70  We note, for example, the request for increased funding for CDPDJ, the Conseil des relations interculturelles (which would be abolished shortly thereafter) and of several other organizations whose members supported the commission. 71  Bouchard and Taylor, Building the Future, p. 34. 72  See Solange Lefebvre, ‘Les Églises et les débats sur la diversité ethno-religieuse’, in Vivre ensemble : Un défi pratique pour la théologie, ed. Karlijn Demasure; Arnaud Join-Lambert and Gabriel Monet (dir.), Vivre ensemble : Un défi pratique pour la théologie, (Bruxelles/Montréal/Namur: Novalis/Lumen vitae, 2014), pp. 21−32. 73  Around thirty submissions from groups referring to a religion in their designation were received; thirteen were heard during the so-called national audiences. 74  Quebec Bishops’ Assembly, Brief, CCPARDC, 12 October 2007. 75  Bouchard and Taylor, Building the Future, p. 145, n. 27. 76  See the analysis of The Secular Age by Jean Grondin, ‘Charles Taylor a-t-il des raisons de croire à proposer? Grandeur et limites d’une justification de l’option métaphysique de la croyance par des enjeux éthiques’, Science et Esprit 64/2 (2012): pp. 245−262. 77  See S. Lefebvre, ‘Beyond Religious Accommodations in the Workplace: A Philosophy of Diversity’, in Religion in the Public Sphere: Canadian Case Studies, ed. Solange

The Bouchard–Taylor Commission in Quebec    119 Lefebvre and Lori G. Beaman (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2014), pp. 173−200. 78  Bouchard and Taylor, Building the Future, 33−34. 79  Gérard Bouchard and Charles Taylor, Accommodation and Differences. Seeking Common Ground: Quebecers Speak Out. Consultation Document. CCPARDC (Quebec: Gouvernement du Québec, 2008), p. 17. 80  See the Briefs of the Académie de médecine vétérinaire du Québec, Pour une condition animale libre de l'arbitraire religieux, 30 November 2007, 8 pages; Fédération des sociétés canadiennes d’assistance aux animaux (CFHS), Frédéric Back, Société protectrice des animaux de la Mauricie, Société protectrice des animaux de l’Estrie, Société protectrice des animaux de Victoriaville et Société québécoise pour la défense des animaux, Les pratiques rituelles à l’origine de souffrance animale: des accommodements à baliser, 18 October 2007. 81  Foblets and Kulakowski, Les Assises de l’interculturalité, p. 82. Ritual slaughter is very briefly mentioned in the Stasi Report. 82  See the results of the reflexion, Solange Lefebvre, ‘Halal, Casher, religion et animaux’, Le Veterinarius: La revue de l’Ordre des Médecins vétérinaires du Québec 28.2 (April 2012), pp. 54−55. See also ‘Pourquoi le Québec est-il en retard quant au traitement décent des animaux?, Journal Forum, 5 December 2011, accessed 15 September 2015,

7 Debating intercultural integration in Belgium From the Commission for Intercultural Dialogue to the Round Tables on Interculturalism Karel J. Leyva and Léopold Vanbellingen Introduction For over thirty years, questions related to cultural and religious diversity, in relation to the issue of integration and living together in broad terms, have become increasingly important in the public debates of Belgium. This growing attention became particularly evident during the last decade or so, through the establishment of two government commissions charged with examining ways of envisaging social cohesion in the context of an increasingly pluralistic Belgium, and formulating concrete recommendations in this regard. The first part of this chapter addresses the Commission du Dialogue Interculturel (Commission for Intercultural Dialogue/CID) that existed between 2004 and 2005, which gave way just three years later to Les Assises de l’interculturalité (The Round Tables on Interculturalism/RTI), whose work took place between 2009 and 2010 and is the subject of the second part of this chapter.1 The context of questions of cultural and religious diversity and of their integration into the political agenda actually started back in 1989, through the establishment of the Royal Commissariat for Immigrants.2 Its creation specifically represented a response to the growing power of the extreme right-wing during the elections since the 1980s, in particular in Flanders with the nationalist party Vlaams Belang and the xenophobic discussions that it engendered.3 The mission of this Commissariat consisted of analysing and defining a real policy for immigrants in Belgium, in relation to employment, education and housing matters. The perspective chosen to address integration issues was thus primarily socioeconomic: the two successive reports submitted by the Commissariat do not address multiculturalism or interculturalism, but mainly focus on the integration of ‘immigrants’, ‘foreigners’ or ‘strangers’ from an essentially material point of view.4 The Commissariat also considered the definition of core values and common standards for citizens of Belgium, as well as the establishment of a policy against discrimination, as support for socioeconomic integration policies.5 Beginning in the 2000s, particularly in the context of a more sensitive social climate following the attacks of 11 September 2001, the focus moved to cultural

Debating intercultural integration in Belgium    121 and religious dimensions of the challenges linked to integration and diversity, at the expense of socioeconomic aspects. This ‘paradigm shift’6 began in December 2002 through the organization of a Round Table by Guy Verhofstadt, the Prime Minister at the time, and Laurette Onkelinx, then Deputy Minister in charge of Equal Opportunity. They were aiming ‘for mutual respect and “better living together”’,7 and for the reuniting – in addition to socioeconomic and civil society actors – of various representatives of religious and philosophical communities from around the country. This new approach would also influence the processes of the two commissions later established by the federal government, the Commission for Intercultural Dialogue (CID) and the Round Tables on Interculturalism (RTI). Furthermore, it is important to emphasize that the manner in which issues of diversity have been treated in Belgian public debates, and addressed by public authorities of the country, is strongly linked to the institutional and sociopolitical evolution of the Belgian state over the last few decades. The specificity of the Belgian context can be considered on three levels. First, the process of federalization that was initiated in the 1970s has been particularly defined by the transfer of a number of areas of expertise related to policies that fight discrimination, that relate to integration and that promote diversity within various federated entities of the nation – the Flemish Region, Wallonia and Brussels, as well as the Flemish, French-speaking and Germanspeaking communities. Consequently, one can note the gradual emergence of a dichotomy in how the respective authorities from the two larger linguistic communities (Flemish and French-speaking) envision and carry out their policies.8 Since 2003, for example, we have observed the existence of a compulsory integration program in Flanders that includes citizenship and language courses for newcomers, in contrast to the optional nature of the integration process in the region of Brussels and, until recently, the utter lack of such a process in Wallonia. Second, the sociopolitical evolution of Belgium has resulted in the affirmation of Belgium as a ‘consociational democracy’, based on the historical opposition between various pillars – notably linguistic and philosophical – that is, between Catholics and non-confessional organizations.9 This pluralism à la belge has led to the formal recognition of these various communities – especially linguistic – within the political and institutional landscape of Belgium, and to the positive intervention of the state in favour of an equal representation of ideological tendencies within society at large. This approach is particularly evident in the public financing of religious groups, and the organization of religious or non-confessional moral education in public primary and secondary schools. Thus, the main challenge Belgium faces in this regard is to take into account this new cultural and religious diversity, alongside historically recognized forms of pluralism. Finally, the difficulty in defining Belgian national identity has had implications with regard to integration and cultural diversity. How could Belgian society be in a position to propose a model for integration, when the country itself has been unable to internalize a foundation of common values for its citizens?10 According

122  Karel J. Leyva and Léopold Vanbellingen to philosopher Edouard Delruelle, the heated debates that have occurred in Belgium with regard to these questions of interculturalism are clearly linked to the identity crisis that traverses its landscape, between the French-speaking and Dutch-speaking communities.11 In fact, as attested to by the processes and methods adopted by the CID and the RTI described hereafter, the spirit of compromise and a sense of pragmatism12 – considered by many to be the veritable traits of Belgian identity – have greatly contributed to the debates and policy recommendations within these two citizen commissions, concerning the management of cultural and religious diversity in Belgian society. For each of the two following sections focusing on the CID and the RTI, a brief introduction will present the context and objectives assigned to the commission in question. From there, we will examine the content of the commission’s report, as well as its reception in the Belgian public sphere. Finally, we will provide an analysis of the follow-up and implementation of the recommendations made by the commissions.

The Commission for Intercultural Dialogue (CID) The CID was launched on 23 February 2004 as an initiative of the federal Minister of Social Integration, Equal Opportunity and Interculturalism – Maria Arena, whose successor, Christian Dupont, would ultimately receive the final report. In a polemic context marked by the assassination of film director Theo Van Gogh in the Netherlands, the controversy around religious signs and symbols in France, and the ‘Rik Remmery’ affair,13 the commission represented a reaction to increasing racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia. It was therefore important to propose an attitude of dialogue, rather than endorse the position taken by those who advocated banning the wearing of religious symbols in schools, particularly the Islamic veil.14 It should also be noted that one month prior to the launch of the CID, in January 2004, a Commission des Sages had been instituted at the behest of Antoine Duquesne, President of the liberal francophone party, Mouvement Réformateur (Reformist Movement), in order to examine the content of the democratic values that serve to connect Belgian society. The work of this committee would ultimately be incorporated with that of the CID, as was the case for the five members who composed it, including its president, political scientist and journalist Jacques Riflet. Furthermore, the work of the Stasi Commission in France, as well as the report it published in December 2003, were equally important in nourishing the debate on these issues in Belgium some months earlier.15 The commission, chaired by Honorary President of the Senate, Roger Lallemand, and Deputy of the European Parliament, Annemie Neyts, was initially composed of twenty-two members, but would grow to twenty-seven after the integration of the members of the Commission des Sages. It therefore came to include political representatives, senior officials in the field of education, academics and representatives of associations with experience in the domain of intercultural dialogue. The selection of the members rigorously respected the linguistic parity between the Dutch and the French. Roger Lallemand and Annemie Neyts,

Debating intercultural integration in Belgium    123 both Ministres d’État (State Ministers), co-chaired the commission, while Édouard Delruelle, Professor of Political Philosophy at the University of Liège, and Rik Torfs, Professor of Canon Law at the Catholic University of Leuven, oversaw the drafting of the commission’s findings, Delruelle ultimately assuming the larger share of the work. Note also the major role played by the Centre for Equal Opportunity, an independent public organization, throughout the work of the CID. The primary goal was to facilitate dialogue with institutional representatives, representatives of religious and philosophical movements, field workers and experts in order to assess the intercultural relationships existing in Belgium.16 A secondary objective of this endeavour was to identify concrete recommendations to promote living together, in the context of contemporary Belgian society and all its diversity. In the interest of receiving the maximum number of testimonials from field workers as well as observers faced with the issue of interculturalism, the CID devoted a large part of its mandate – perhaps too large in the eyes of some17 – to conducting 100 hearings. Four working groups were involved in the 33 plenary sessions that were held after the official establishment of the CID. They respectively worked on the following topics: a) the basic principles of the operation of public services (equality, non-discrimination and neutrality) and their implementation in an intercultural context; b) citizenship as a remedy for the fear of the Other and isolationism; c) equality between men and women as an emancipatory value; and d) space for and recognition of the expression of religious affiliation. The CID had also committed to providing a comparative dimension to its work by organizing an analytical session to critique the experiences and models of integration of several neighbouring countries.18 Throughout these sessions, 68 reference figures were interviewed, 24 working group meetings and round tables were organized, and 31 specific interviews were conducted. The aforementioned primary data was also complemented by 100 memoranda, orientation notes and the creation of a website whose purpose was to gather the opinions of citizens.19 An interim report was submitted to Minister Christian Dupont on 8 December 2004 and the final report was published in May 2005. Content of the CID report The final report of the CID explicitly subscribes to a pluralist viewpoint that places co-operation, tolerance and the sharing of fundamental values from the Declaration of Human Rights above all else.20 It affirms the multicultural character of Belgian society (p. 5), while founding its discourse on respect for cultural diversity and adopting a perspective that emphasizes the need to avoid reducing culture to religion, religion to Islam, and Islam to the headscarf issue (p. 7). This valorization of cultural diversity, understood in a broad sense, implies not only the acceptance of different cultural groups as part of Belgian society, but also their effective recognition. At the heart of this position, we find a concept of culture as the basis of the personality of an individual. Culture is constitutive of the human personality, as

124  Karel J. Leyva and Léopold Vanbellingen it produces the normative, intellectual and imaginary framework that conditions us to think, dream and act. It is therefore not something superficial that can be discarded. The recognition of cultural diversity thus requires understanding the extraordinarily complex nature of culture that exists via singular cultures and which is only incarnated in individuals. It would, however, be an error to assume fixed cultural identities, since these are the result of a combination of factors including, obviously, the personal background of the individual. The authors of the report affirm that the plural identities of many Belgian citizens deserve to be valorized (p. 29). In the same way that the report advocates identity recognition of minority groups, it denounces all forms of cultural relativism that challenge the standards defining a democratic constitutional State. A cultural practice is not necessarily acceptable outright, and its valorization is conditional upon its full compliance with certain principles such as the equality of men and women, freedom of expression or the principle of progress through critical thinking and knowledge. Recognizing cultural diversity does not therefore signify having to accept the excesses of a community that confines individuals within its cultural particularities. While all individuals maintain the right to belong to a community, they also have the right to leave it if they so desire. According to the CID, contemporary Belgian society has been tasked with the integration of this cultural pluralism, or: transforming the cultural diversity that has issued from waves of immigration into active pluralism; creating an institutional policy framework, but also establishing a social climate that allows those whose culture of origin is nonEuropean to live as full citizens, while allowing Belgians of European origin to understand them and accept them as such. (p. 27) It is not a simple matter of being tolerant and open towards diversity; it is not the mere juxtaposition of valorized identities in the public sphere that permits their full integration into Belgian society. Successful integration entails engaging in a process that favours interaction, in which each person can be open to the other, in which encounters and dialogue between cultures are encouraged. It is specifically dialogue, interaction, cultural and social mixing, and knowledge and recognition of the other that defines the intercultural concept found in the report. The discourse of the CID rests on the capacity to accommodate the most diverse beliefs without, however, renouncing the democratic values that have made this dialogue possible. In order for this coalescence to occur, it is necessary to highlight the factors that serve to unite rather than those that are in opposition, to leave behind the model of assimilation implicitly present in certain integration policies and to be oriented towards a model that respects the singularity of each individual. For this reason, the recognition of members of cultural groups with a view to their social integration must necessarily be accompanied by the implementation of affirmative action policies in the areas of employment, public services and

Debating intercultural integration in Belgium    125 social housing. These policies allow the passage from a legal approach based exclusively on formal equality to another, more just, model that takes substantive equality into account.21 Thus, the precariousness of certain minority groups22 calls for not only their cultural recognition, but also for an awareness of their economic realities. This combination of identity recognition and the implementation of affirmative action policies promoting social and economic integration of cultural minorities, as well as joint respect for minorities but also for the values central to Belgian democratic culture, are at the heart of the recommendations proposed by the CID to the Belgian government. It is from this perspective that the commission proposes that the policies of integration (at the federal, community and regional levels) be re-examined on the basis of the logic of recognition promoted by the report. It recommends that an interpretative framework based on gender be implemented in all fields in order to assess the construction sequences of policy decisions regarding the equality of men and women; that sufficient public funding be provided to encourage the learning of national languages; and that discrimination, xenophobia and racism be vigorously opposed on both the repressive plane (in the application of laws) and on the preventive plane (in the battle against stereotypes and prejudice). The report also recommends that tax incentives be put in place to encourage the economic integration of cultural groups; that an inter-university observatory for the analysis of migration and cultural minorities, an interfaith institution and a Belgian institute of Islam be created; and that courses on the great religious and secular traditions, as well as an introduction to philosophical reasoning and civic education, be offered in the secondary education system. With regard to the wearing of religious symbols at school, the commission maintained throughout the entire course of the hearings that the issue of the headscarf represented neither one of the most important nor one of the most recurrent concerns from the perspective of daily life.23 Most of the members of the commission decided that they did not want to embark on the same path taken by France, especially since Belgium represents a different nation entirely – institutionally, constitutionally and historically.24 Concerning the wearing of religious symbols by officials of the State, three positions emerged within the CID. The first advocates banning all religious symbols for all officials working in the civil service. The second proposes banning all religious symbols for officials in a relationship of power or authority over the public. The third recommends the complete absence of restrictions with regard to the wearing of religious symbols by public officials. The report goes on to express its ‘desire for evaluating the potential effects of the prohibition of any religious sign on the integration of women, especially in the public employment market’ (p. 56). The CID also recommends ‘studying the possibility of choices for holidays’ (p. 77), emphasizing that holidays are important to individuals on a psychological and symbolic level. Even though some requests came from federal entities (communities and regions) to integrate certain holidays within the calendar, it was also deemed justifiable for cultural groups to demand some flexibility on the

126   Karel J. Leyva and Léopold Vanbellingen part of the federal government in order to recognize public holidays they consider important. The report advocates that, wherever possible, significant days from the point of view of non-historical cultural groups be taken into account, whether at school or at work; and the CID finds it equally reasonable that cultural groups be able to request more flexibility. It nonetheless refrains from recommending the integration of these festivals in the official calendar of holidays: With no desire to interfere in the revision of the schedule of these mandatory days of rest that today contribute to the management of collective leisure time, or to enter into the debate about whether to expand the number of legal holidays, the commission nonetheless advocates that, inasmuch as possible, the holidays of cultural groups other than Northern European be taken into account during the organization of the annual schedule (be it at school or in the workplace). (p. 78) Ultimately, a Charter for Belgian Citizens, drafted by Édouard Delruelle, is proposed in the conclusion of the report. This charter informs citizens about their rights and responsibilities, as well as the fundamental norms and values of Belgium, and is based on the European Convention on Human Rights and the Constitution, and on specific rights and laws of Belgium (the right to euthanasia, gay marriage, abortion, etc.). Although without legal status, these rights and freedoms should not only be made available to newcomers, but also to all citizens of the country. The Charter serves as a sort of ‘symbolic social contract’ for Belgian society by setting out ‘the cultural DNA of Belgium’.25 Reception of the CID report Despite the limited amount of attention it received at the political level, there is a consensus that the report was well received in Belgium.26 It is worth examining, however, some of the reviews that were sent to the commission by Felice Dassetto, founder of the Centre for the Study of Islam in the Contemporary World and Professor Emeritus of the Catholic University of Louvain. To a lesser extent, we should also consider comments made by the lawyers Hugues Dumont and Xavier Delgrange, the first of whom was a member of the CID. In a text published in 2009,27 Dassetto takes up certain criticisms that had already been addressed to the CID in an opinion piece, the title of which attracted a lot of attention: Exorcisme interculturel (Intercultural Exorcism). Basically, Dassetto considers that the commission was in reality a ‘practice of exorcism’ set up by the Belgian government to chase away the so-called demons that arise in connection with the Arab-Muslim community, even though these questions were not considered ‘utterable’ by the authors of the report. The professor also criticized that while the report discusses the idea of cultural dialogue generically, in fact it excludes certain European groups – Albanians, Spaniards, Greeks, Italians, Portuguese – as well as people from Latin America, Cambodia, China and

Debating intercultural integration in Belgium    127 Pakistan. Furthermore, Dassetto points out that the report ignores the ‘very difficult dialogue’ between the Flemish and French-speaking communities;28 consequently, the idea of intercultural dialogue became a euphemism, a ‘denunciation of the shortcomings of a host society’. With regard to the idea of ‘cultural minority’, the report was also criticized by Dassetto for being doubly vague: first, because in a plural society we can find many different types of minorities – homosexuals, artists, agnostics, Jews, Catholics, etc. – but also because Arab-Muslim cultural minorities are recognized to a greater extent in real life than the report suggests. This explains why the report would be quickly forgotten by public authorities, ‘because its framing, its wording could only make a stillborn’.29 Furthermore, if the discourse about the recognition of the report is ‘inflated’, it is because we find ‘echoes of a certain communitarian philosophy imported from America’ even while keeping in mind common values, and this transfer of community advocacy is simply inappropriate in the Belgian context.30 Dumont and Delgrange point out what they consider to be the weak points of the report, which can be characterized as setting a tone of ‘deliberate modesty’. First, the report does not denounce the inconsistencies of Belgian public law in relation to progressive fragmentation, institutional reforms over the past decades, skills required for integration, the fight against discrimination, and diversity issues between federal and federated entities. According to them, these inconsistencies are obvious ‘when we confront the federal code of nationality and the Flemish decree on civic integration programs for immigrants and “newcomers”’(inburgering can be translated as ‘civic integration’). The report would also be characterized as being too timid regarding the issue of monitoring cults ‘against the risks of theocratic excess’. It is also criticized for underestimating the spiritual dimension of intercultural dialogue, when it makes presumptuous statements about religion classes and proposes adding, or replacing a portion of them with a course in philosophy and the history of religious and secular traditions. Finally, the report is also considered to put too little emphasis on the responsibilities located within the Charter for Citizens that it has proposed.31 Note, however, that while the authors mention these weak points in the report, they do not actually analyse them. Follow-up and implementation of the CID report Two months after the official presentation of the report, the Charter of Citizenship proposed by the CID was then presented – in a slightly revised version – to the federal government’s Minister of Social Integration, Christian Dupont, in 2005. In August, the press announced that the Charter would be adopted and communicated to the communities, which would then be responsible for its distribution in schools and in public buildings in September.32 Eight years later, however, Delruelle remarks that the Charter was never adopted: The various political parties and the different entities of the nation (federal state, regional) will never agree on the text itself. Here is something highly

128  Karel J. Leyva and Léopold Vanbellingen significant: we think we have a problem with the “other”, while each of us also has problems with … ourselves, since “we” are unable to agree on a basic set of core values. If the moral basis of our geoculture is not solid, why would it be a surprise that ethnocultures within it have difficulties with integration? How does one integrate into a country that is disintegrating? The Commission for Intercultural Dialogue was thus a failure.33 In a more general manner, there appears to be a consensus that the CID had no impact at the political level, since political authorities were absorbed with other problems at the time.34 This position seems to be at least partially supported by minister Maria Arena who, four years after the publication of the report, remarked that ‘all of the recommendations have not yet been fully integrated in the various policies … Each level of authority [federal state, regions, communities, municipalities] has become aware of these recommendations and has established their priorities. Many things have not been accomplished, either because they were not prioritized, they were prioritized but lacked means, or simply because there was a lack of consensus.’35 One major difficulty with the follow-up for and implementation of the CID recommendations, apart from the fact that no monitoring system was proposed by the committee itself, is the fact that the commission was established by the federal government, without consultation or prior coordination with other – federated – entities of the country with respect to the actual objectives assigned to the commission. This approach showed itself to be inadequate from the time the report was submitted, when, despite the organization of an interministerial conference that brought together authorities from different levels of administrative power, no real co-operation in the choices for implementation of or follow-up on the CID recommendations occurred between these political entities.36 In contrast to the Round Tables on Interculturalism (as discussed below), we observe that the relationships between the various members of the CID remained largely positive throughout the course of their work, in spite of the diversity of mind-sets represented and the sometimes substantial disagreements, notably on the issue of wearing religious symbols. Henri Goldman, editor-in-chief of the journal Politique, considers that the ‘over-representation of minority representatives’ within the CID, in addition to the discrepancy between the ideological trends represented in the CID and the political currents that were dominant at the time in Belgium, had the unquestionable effect of creating an absence of initiative or implementation by political authorities with respect to the recommendations of the CID.37

The Round Tables on Interculturalism (RTI) In 2008, the issue of immigrants in Belgium, along with concern about the Islamic headscarf in schools and public services, was once again the order of the day.38 Following an agreement of the federal government on 18 March 2008 and on the initiative of Joëlle Milquet, the federal Deputy Prime Minister and

Debating intercultural integration in Belgium    129 Minister of Employment and Equal Opportunity, another commission on diversity was established,39 one explicitly designed as an extension of the CID.40 In fact, it sought to revive the reflections of the 2005 commission that had resulted in few concrete outcomes. The idea was not only to improve the readability of the recommendations, but also to make them easier for political authorities to apply.41 The minister proposed four objectives to the steering committee of the RTI: 1) produce recommendations on various themes related to interculturalism; 2) organize forums for dialogue and citizen meetings across the country; 3) develop a communication policy at the national level to promote the success of integration, social mixing, richness of cultures and the development of talent, while trying to dispel stereotypes; and 4) enable field workers and public authorities to exchange best practices developed at local or broader levels.42 The steering committee was chaired by Marie-Claire Foblets, Professor at the Catholic University of Leuven, and Christine Kulakowski, Director of the Brussels Centre for Intercultural Action. The committee was initially composed of thirty experts – university professors, representatives of various associations and religious groups, lawyers, etc. – but only twenty-two would ultimately sign the final report. In fact, from the very launch of the RTI, the composition of the steering committee provoked several controversies.43 Some have denounced the existence of certain imbalances within the committee – that the CID could have avoided at the time – such as ‘over-representation’ of ethnic or religious minorities to the detriment of representatives of ‘organized secularism’ (who were subsequently invited into the committee) and actors of the socioeconomic world faced with concrete issues related to diversity management.44 Daniël Cuypers, for example, asserts that by neglecting to include organizations representative of workers or employers, the steering committee – and, consequently, the report it produced – failed to effectively express the power relations present within Belgian society.45 Moreover, some tension was felt within the steering committee itself, which led to several resignations during the process and the inclusion of two dissenting notes in the final report.46 The commission worked in subcommittees on six themes linked to intercultural issues: Education, Employment, Governance, Goods and Services (including Housing and Health), Community Life and Media. The reflection process was to be oriented around three points: the evaluation of the follow-up of the recommendations formulated by the CID; an overview of the core issues that had arisen since 2005 and any achievements made since then; and the formulation of recommendations, whether they represented new insights or continuations of the CID.47 A sixth subcommittee was created in May 2010 to develop proposals regarding police action, the duty of remembrance and housing. On the basis of the reports developed by these commissions, writer and journalist Tom Naegels composed a first synthesis of the work.48 In parallel, four research projects were ordered by the commission. The first was to study the status of research and public policies carried out since 2005 on topics of interest to the committee. The second was to

130   Karel J. Leyva and Léopold Vanbellingen conduct a survey on the self-perception of cultural minorities with regard to their participation in Belgian society. A third group was mandated with conducting a study on cultural harmonization practices in the workplace. Finally, the task of the fourth was to examine the issue of state neutrality, particularly the wearing of religious symbols by public officials. The approach chosen by the steering committee was ‘bottom-up’ in that it was based primarily on the conclusions reached at the various hearings that took place over the course of the preparation of the report and its recommendations.49 This stated objective of citizen participation in the RTI’s processes materialized via the support of local associations in the organization of citizen meetings and discussion forums, in the form of workshops, seminars and even cultural events across the country.50 On 8 November 2010, after a year of work (September 2009 to September 2010 – a period much longer than the five months initially planned), the steering committee finally submitted its report to minister Milquet. Content of the RTI report In this section, while summarizing some key points of the RTI report, we will also compare it with certain aspects of the CID report. Several recommendations found in the RTI report match, either partially or totally, those proposed by the CID. As in the previous instance, the steering committee: a) highlights the situation of isolation and helplessness experienced by teachers who face difficult intercultural situations; and b) advocates the establishment of structural support as a means to help them better manage these situations (p. 34). Both also make recommendations promoting: the teaching of comparative religions and philosophies from the perspective of social sciences and humanities (p. 40); the integration of the history of peoples, migration and cultures into school curricula and library collections (p. 39); or the creation of a Museum of Immigration (p. 86). In certain cases, the second committee goes even further. For example, the CID advocates that Arabic and Turkish be offered as language options at school (as was already the case with Spanish and Italian), since they represent the native language of many young foreigners living in Belgium (p. 90). However, the RTI proposes the teaching of the ‘standard’ language of various countries of origin (p. 44) along with and in the same manner as existing language courses, such as national languages (Dutch, French, German). In this respect, both commissions emphasize the importance of mastering at least one of the official Belgian languages for the full integration of students not only at school, but also within Belgian society, while at the same time stressing the relevance of learning original languages. Both reports also concur regarding the need to promote the work of intercultural mediators51 and on the importance of giving attention to two particular groups: youth issuing from immigration and women. One noticeable difference between the two reports can be found in the wording of the recommendations, which are often more distinct and more concrete in the case of the RTI. In fact, while the CID proposes to ‘evaluate’ the eventual effects of banning all religious symbols in public services, the RTI steering committee

Debating intercultural integration in Belgium    131 ‘recommends a general freedom for the wearing of religious signs, with the ban limited only to government officials vested with a function of authority’ (p. 117). The CID also considers it undesirable to ban religious signs at school, but the RTI proposes: ‘general freedom with regard to the wearing of religious symbols by pupils in the final three years of secondary education and the complete prohibition for the first three years of secondary school’ (p. 117). The CID recommends ‘studying the possibility of a choice for holidays’, without making a concrete proposal, yet the RTI goes so far as to propose amending the calendar of legal holidays (p. 69).52 Finally, whereas the CID recommends the implementation of ‘incentive policies’ to favour the integration of certain groups into the work force, but without actually imposing hiring quotas (p. 65), the RTI recommends ‘that public authorities develop a quota system’ for the recruitment of persons belonging to minorities (p. 117). Reception of the RTI report The publication of the RTI report in November 2009 saw a difference in the response of the academic world and that of the media and political spheres, to the conclusions and recommendations of the steering committee.53 Although the reception of the RTI report was of a greater magnitude than that of the CID, the coverage was principally focused on the most controversial recommendations. The higher proportion of negative criticism in the press can be explained not only by the greater media coverage of the RTI, but also by the more definitive – and thus riskier – positions taken by the steering committee on sensitive subjects. Moreover, these somewhat superficial and partial analyses of the RTI’s conclusions occurred at a time of political and social tension. Several months before the release of the report, the press had already echoed the criticism of some politicians and many members of the committee – some of whom had resigned – of the RTI’s working practices. In addition, the release of the report came at a time when several governing bodies were intending to make clear decisions about the wearing of religious symbols in the public sphere, particularly the Islamic headscarf. It should also be noted that political interest in, and media impact on, the work of the RTI was much more modest in the Flemish part of the country. Also, as our analysis has revealed, the RTI proposed solutions more explicit than those of the CID; these also elicited a greater number of reactions. This issue was commented on before the report was actually released. We should also add that for the RTI, the recommendations concerning the modification of the law on genocide denial54 and the addition of legal holidays proved disastrous to public opinion. These issues, along with questions around ‘reasonable accommodations’,55 would be the focus of vivid criticism, drawing suspicion that the report was a plea for communitarianism (see Chapter 1).56 With regard to the academic world, we do not have enough space in this chapter to examine each of the articles that have been written about the RTI, a commission that garnered much more attention than the CID and about which a

132   Karel J. Leyva and Léopold Vanbellingen large volume was published in 2013.57 Although various criticisms have been made about the content of the recommendations of the steering committee, the report is generally considered balanced. In particular, the working methodology behind this report is highlighted as an example of compromise. Some would even call it a compromise à la belge58 that serves as proof of a ‘structured and negotiated pragmatism’,59 evolving ‘outside the media and political fields’, as emphasized in the report itself (p. 15), and in this manner it constitutes ‘the greatest triumph of the choices proposed by the steering committee’.60 Some authors also point to the need to apply this search for compromise to the implementation of the RTI’s recommendations.61 Authors such as Jean Baubérot have been interested in comparing the methodology and results of the RTI’s work with that of the Stasi Report.62 For Baubérot, the analyses conducted in Belgium and the recommendations ‘resulted in an image of Belgium as having found a middle ground between British multiculturalism and the return to Jacobinism in France’.63 The most representative case of this position can be found in the Belgian steering committee’s recommendation to prohibit the wearing of religious symbols for the first three years of secondary school and to allow general freedom for the same in the final three years. This proposition was interpreted in a different way by Louis-Léon Christians, who considers it to be a technique of consensual resolution, ‘preventing any binary approach involving winners and losers’.64 Nadia Fadil, however, considers that this option seeks to reconcile two contrasting concerns among members of the commission: that of the group troubled about the social pressure that obliges Muslim girls to wear the veil and that of the group strongly defending freedom of religious practice.65 From a comparative perspective, Solange Lefebvre, one of the specialist members of the Bouchard–Taylor Commission, has provided a study of the RTI that examines the experiences of four societies that have produced similar reports – namely, Britain, France, Quebec and Australia.66 Lefebvre concludes that adaptation to cultural and religious diversity in these contexts is a prerequisite sine qua non for social stability. Diversity must be seen as a cultural and economic asset. For this reason, the author salutes the path taken by the RTI: that of progressive work taking diversity into account, but tempered by the necessity to obtain the approval of all the experts united around the commission. From a multiculturalist perspective, Tariq Modood, an adviser for the Parekh commission, has described the report as reasonable and balanced. For Modood, the concepts of interculturalism employed by the RTI ‘draw upon four distinct modes of integration. In so doing they create their own distinctive amalgam, something appropriate and timely for Belgium today’.67 Some authors have remarked that the RTI report did not include a welldeveloped chapter to explain its theoretical framework, as did the Bouchard– Taylor and Stasi Reports, particularly in relation to the understanding of interculturalism unique to the commission.68 In seeking the principles on which the report rests, one must therefore watch for certain indications that are provided throughout its pages. In so doing, we come to discover that interculturalism is

Debating intercultural integration in Belgium    133 presented as a social project aimed at responding to the multicultural nature of Belgian society; it would evoke ‘interpersonal relationships, dialogue, interactions that are sometimes conflicting, as part of a joint project that allies unity and diversity, respect for identities and collective projects’.69 Beyond this definition and other central principles (the equality of citizens, the fight against racism and xenophobia, and the equality of men and women), the report focuses more on concrete problems and solutions than on the definition of theoretical principles. We must remember, however, the report’s admission that the commissioners were deeply divided regarding preferred values. The search for a consensus on concrete recommendations thus prevailed over the desire to sketch a global vision of the values to be fostered and the foundation on which to construct Belgian society.70 Nevertheless, the RTI report is based on at least two fundamental rules that Marie-Claire Foblets summarizes as follows: The first basic rule consists of the non-discrimination principle, which means maximum opportunities for participation for everyone who is a legal resident of the country. The second basic rule is that integration of newcomers and minorities into society should go hand in hand with due respect for a person’s religious, ethnic and/or cultural identity.71 These two rules harmonize perfectly with the philosophy driving the CID report.72 However, although the RTI report was specifically intended to be a continuation of the CID, and while the two reports have much in common, we observe that the theoretical frameworks that largely orient their respective discourses (whether such a framework has been explicitly presented or not) are not exactly the same. First, the RTI report insists less on the recognition of identities as such. It pleads for the recognition of the importance of native languages for students, by affirming that this represents a manner to recognize that these students ‘are themselves’ (p. 43). The report also recommends the acknowledgement of Belgium’s colonial past, so that certain populations of youth issuing from immigration, notably sub-Saharan, ‘can grow up in a country that recognizes this contentious history and expresses its regret and responsibility for these drastic events’ (p. 86). It pleads for recognition of the problem of Métis children abandoned by Belgians in Africa (p. 85) and that skills acquired abroad be recognized in Belgium (p. 71). While many of these issues had already been addressed from the point of view of recognition in the CID report (p. 73, 88), we can also note that the latter report insists, more or less explicitly, on the necessity of recognizing difference (p. 5), cultural groups (p. 7, 45), expressions of religious belonging (p. 11), youth issuing from immigration (p. 37), plural identities (p. 38), cultural minorities (pp. 43–46), diversity (p. 65), particularities and cultural rights (pp. 44, 73). The same is also true with regard to affirmative action policies, to which the CID devotes a chapter and of which an explicit formulation is absent in the RTI report. With regard to economic issues which are very present in the CID report,73 the issue is not directly treated in RTI since the

134   Karel J. Leyva and Léopold Vanbellingen steering committee decided that this issue extends beyond the bounds of their subject (p. 23). This reason, among others, pushed one of the members, Edouard Delruelle, rapporteur of the preceding the CID, to compose a dissenting note in which he deplored the sidelining of the socioeconomic dimension of intercultural issues (p. 123) directly linked, according to the author, to the absence of actors from the socioeconomic world within the members of the RTI steering committee – the opposite of the CID.74 These differences are important because they suggest a clear divergence in theoretical choice. In effect, the approach of the RTI proves to be ‘more pragmatic than conceptual’,75 whereas the CID seemed to be inspired by the political philosophy of Nancy Fraser, a philosophy that articulates recognition and economic distribution (and/or reorganization), without which, it claims, social actors are not able to interact with others as equals.76 Follow-up and implementation of the RTI report The need for a political follow-up of the RTI’s recommendations was expressed with urgency by the steering committee in its report; the ultimate recommendation specifically calls for the rapid establishment of a ‘follow-up and evaluation mechanism … at each level of the state affected’ (p. 120). Given the almost complete absence of follow-up on – and thus of impact by – the recommendations of the CID, some insisted from the start of the RTI on the necessity of an appropriate follow-up of the conclusions of this new commission, as well as on the counterproductive effects on democracy of once again resorting to this process of civic reflection without a proper follow-up or implementation.77 Yet, just days after the official launch of the RTI in September 2009, Minister Milquet of the Humanist Party saw two other French political parties effectively ‘short circuit’ the processes of the RTI, by launching their own set of legislative propositions regarding the wearing of religious symbols. Nevertheless, as was the case after the work of the CID, an interministerial conference uniting federal and federated authorities was held on 18 March 2011, at which the minister requested each level of authority to ensure follow-up of the RTI report. This request, however, ultimately remained in the realm of wishful thinking since, at both the federal and federated levels, political authorities have been unable to pursue any real implementation of the recommendations. Three elements explain the failure to follow up on the RTI. The first relates to the political context around the presentation of the report, Belgium having been immersed in the longest governmental crisis in its history following the anticipated federal elections of April 2010.78 The acting government of the time had another set of fundamental priorities, particularly the Belgian Presidency of the EU Council of Ministers. Second, according to philosopher François De Smet, it proved particularly difficult for the political representatives to take ownership of the recommendations which constitute, individually and collectively, the result of a compromise reached between experts.79 Finally, as with the CID, the processes of the RTI correspond to an initiative of the federal government for which no

Debating intercultural integration in Belgium    135 effective coordination with the regions and communities had been provided, so the governments did not ultimately feel obligated by the results.

Conclusion Returning to the mandates giving to the CID and RTI – i.e. to make concrete proposals on issues of diversity and to establish a peaceful dialogue on the modalities of living together in an intercultural Belgium – we can draw a mixed picture of the results obtained at the end of these two processes of civic reflection. The first contribution of the two commissions, in the context of twenty-first century Belgian society, is no doubt the fostering of an open and peaceful debate, which brought together experts and actors from the field in a setting free from media pressure and political influence. We should also emphasize the citizen dimension of the two processes, mainly assured by the participation of civil society organizations active within the field of interculturalism or confronted with these issues in their work. In contrast, the objective of achieving political and legislative recommendations proposing concrete solutions to intercultural issues does not seem to have been truly achieved. We could point out the accomplishment of the two commissions, particularly the RTI, in generating, in a spirit of compromise between the different positions represented, practical recommendations on the most difficult issues. However, it is clear that, in their implementation, the proposals made by both the CID and RTI suffered from a general lack of political follow-up. The lack of implementation of the work and conclusions of the CID and RTI by the policy-makers of the country finds its origin in both the content of the recommendations in question and in the processes through which they were established. First, the formulation of these proposals, be they very broad or, inversely, very precise, has made it difficult to exactly measure the true influence they have had on diversity policy, as well as their literal implementation as specific public measures. Second, the composition of the committees, in addition to the decision-making processes which led to their recommendations, do not necessarily reflect the political and linguistic divisions inherent in the Belgian political landscape that, despite the willingness to see these divides become obsolete, exerts a significant influence over public decisions. Additionally, the reduced involvement of federated entities in the CID and RTI, as well as the generally more limited participation of the Dutch-speaking part of Belgian society, prevented the ensemble of policy-makers and the different levels of authority from feeling connected, in one way or another, to the recommendations relating to their skills. The plurality of approaches that continue to exist today across both sides of the linguistic borders of the country, with regard to diversity policy and integration, reflect the difficulty authorities have in finding a common ground on these issues in a political system that is regularly torn between the concerns of both linguistic communities.80 We can also consider the types of media and political repercussions associated with each of the reports. In the case of the CID, the minimal reception that the

136   Karel J. Leyva and Léopold Vanbellingen report received in the press and among politicians was relatively positive, whereas the work of the RTI gave rise to a greater volume of media and political reactions, which were, at the same time, largely disapproving. The difference in the kind of treatment each report basically parallels the degree to which the recommendations were decided and concrete – more for the RTI and less for the CID. In addition, these often ideological and doctrinal positions on intercultural issues in the public debate contrasted with the pragmatic and consensual approaches that are usually adopted by people when they actually face these issues of diversity in their day-to-day lives.81 This discrepancy probably illustrates the limits of the Belgian model in its capacity to compromise in order to resolve issues regarding interculturalism in the face of recurring ideological divisions and linguistic conflicts between the policy-makers of the country. In any case, the resolution of issues linked to questions of cultural diversity and required integration, as treated in the first report by the Royal Commissariat of Immigrants in 1989, represents a long-term policy. Thus, the true value of these two exercises in civic reflection, the Commission for Intercultural Dialogue and the Round Tables on Interculturalism – even if they have today proved themselves to be undeniably limited in terms of their political consequences – lies in their stimulation of long-term public discussion of interculturalism in Belgium.

Notes 1  Roger Lallemand, Annemie Neyts et al. Commission du Dialogue Interculturel: Rapport final et Livre des auditions (Brussels: Ministère de l’Égalité des Chances, de l’Intégration sociale et de l’Interculturalité, 2005); Marie-Claire Foblets, Christine Kulakowski et al., Les Assises de l’Interculturalité (Brussels: Ministère de l’Emploi et de l’Égalité des Chances, 2010). These will be referred to as the CID report and the RTI report in the following notes. 2  Jean Marie Faux, ‘De la société multiculturelle au dialogue interculturel: Étapes de la réflexion politique en Belgique’, in Documents d’analyse et de réflexion (Brussels: Centre Avec, 2010), pp. 4–5; Bruno Vinikas, ‘Des rapports et des politiques’, Agenda Interculturel 288 (2010), pp. 10–12. 3  Gily Coene, ‘Être féministe, ce n’est pas exclure! Le pragmatisme féministe dans le débat sur le multiculturalisme en Flandre’, Revue européenne des migrations internationales 2 (2007): 81,; Felice Dassetto, ‘Interculturalité en clair: Question en marge des “Assises de l’Interculturalité”’, Cismoc Papers on-line (2009): p. 7,; Pascal Delwit and Jean-Michel De Waele, ‘Partis et systèmes de partis en Belgique: 1830–1998’, in Gouverner la Belgique: Clivages et compromis dans une société complexe, ed. Pascal Delwit, Jean-Michel De Waele and Paul Magnette (Paris: PUF, 1999), p. 146. 4  Faux, ‘De la société multiculturelle au dialogue interculturel’, p. 4. 5  Edouard Delruelle, ‘Du “Commissariat Royal Aux Immigrés” Aux “Assises de l’Interculturalité”: 20 ans de débats publics sur l’intégration’, in Les Assises de l’Interculturalité. The Round Tables on Interculturalism, ed. Marie-Claire Foblets and Jean-Philippe Schreiber (Brussels: Larcier. 2013), p. 34. 6  Delruelle, ‘Du “Commissariat Royal aux Immigrés” aux “Assises de l’Interculturalité”’, p. 34. 7  Please note that all foreign language texts have been translated by the authors.

Debating intercultural integration in Belgium    137   8  On this progressive dichotomy, see Ilke Adam, Les entités fédérées belges et l’intégration des immigrés (Brussels: Éditions de l’Université de Bruxelles, 2013).   9  Caroline Sägesser, ‘A la recherche de bases communes’, in Les Assises de l’Interculturalité: The Round Tables on Interculturalism, ed. Marie-Claire Foblets and Jean-Philippe Schreiber (Brussels: Larcier, 2013), p. 212. 10  Hassan Bousetta and Dirk Jacobs, ‘Multiculturalism, Citizenship and Islam in Problematic Encounters in Belgium’, in Multiculturalism, Muslims and Citizenship: A European Approach, ed. Tariq Modood, Anna Triandafyllidou and Ricard ZapataBarrero (New York: Routledge, 2007). 11  Edouard Delruelle, ‘Que le débat continue!’ Agenda Interculturel 288 (2010), pp. 6–8. The opposing viewpoint of political scientist Vincent de Coorebyter should also be noted, according to which the absence of a strong national identity in a country such as Belgium has no real impact on its ability to integrate immigrants. Vincent de Coorebyter, ‘Comment s’intégrer dans un pays qui se désintègre?’ Agenda interculturel 292 (2011), pp. 4–6. 12  Bousetta and Jacobs, ‘Multiculturalism, Citizenship and Islam in Problematic Encounters in Belgium’, p. 24. 13  For a period of several months, Rik Vannieuwenhuyse suffered harassment from extremists for employing Naïma Amzil, a Muslim worker wearing a headscarf. Vannieuwenhuyse’s factory was set on fire, people close to him were intimidated, products from his business were poisoned, revolver bullets were slipped into letters and a price of 250,000 euros was placed on his head. See the CID report, p. 9; Annick Hovine, ‘L’autre Flandre’, La Libre Belgique, 4 March 2005. 14  Hugues Dumont and Xavier Delgrange, ‘Le principe de pluralisme face à la question du voile islamique en Belgique’, Droit et société 68 (2008): p. 76. 15  Ibid., p. 87. 16  Coene, ‘Être Féministe’, p. 19. 17  This mandate has been described by some of the members as disproportionate: the members not only lacked sufficient time to reach a consensus, but they also missed the opportunity to take into account the contributions of the five members of the Commission des Sages. See Dumont and Delgrange, ‘Le principe de pluralisme’, p. 88. 18  Martine Vandemeulebroucke, ‘La Commission du dialogue interculturel fait l’inventaire des réussites et échecs à l’étranger’, Le Soir, 27 October 2004. 19  This consultation website is no longer accessible ( See the CID report, p. 11. 20  Page numbers will be included in-text for sequences of citations from the same report. 21  That being said, the CID recognizes that this preoccupation vis-à-vis the uneven effects of legal equality has been taken into account by public authorities in Belgium, and that concrete actions have already been taken in this direction (p. 32). 22  The report prefers discussing ‘cultural minorities’ as opposed to ‘ethnic minorities’, the latter having a pejorative racial connotation. The idea of cultural minority in the report refers to certain populations who are in precarious economic situations and lack recognition in Belgian society. This awareness translates into ‘a specifically cultural reality and a circumstance of inequality in relation to the dominant cultural model’, the CID report, pp. 39–40. 23  The report avoided focusing on the issue of the headscarf, considering that the real challenges to integration issues lay elsewhere. Some authors have noted that the CID had been warned by one of its own members, the journalist Eddy Caekelberghs, ‘against the trap that the Stasi report had fallen into a few months earlier, namely excessive media coverage on its proposal regarding this sole problem at the expense of all other suggestions’. Dumont and Delgrange, ‘Le principe de pluralisme’, p. 92. 24  In French-speaking Belgium, discretion was given to school principals, the great majority of whom banned the wearing of religious symbols. For the Flemish

138   Karel J. Leyva and Léopold Vanbellingen community, the wearing of religious signs was banned by decree for schools within the public network, in contrast to schools within the free network, who maintained their autonomy over the matter. The question thus regards a comprehensive ban from above, by the relevant parliaments, in the image of France. 25  Delruelle, ‘Du “Commissariat Royal aux Immigrés” aux “Assises de l’Interculturalité”’, p. 35. 26  Dumont and Delgrange, ‘Le principe de pluralisme’, p. 95; the RTI report, p. 119. 27  Dassetto, ‘Interculturalité en clair’, pp. 1–17. 28  We should also note the willingness demonstrated by Co-chair, Annemie Neyts, at the launch of the CID, to reconcile the differing views between the Flemish and French on intercultural issues. See Christian Laporte, ‘Le dialogue interculturel à mi-parcours’, Le Soir, 27 April 2005. 29  Dassetto, ‘Interculturalité en clair’, pp. 10–11. 30  Felice Dassetto, ‘Exorcisme interculturel’, La Libre Belgique, 6 June 2005. 31  Dumont and Delgrange, ‘Le principe de pluralisme’, pp. 90–91. 32  Michelle Lamensch, ‘Les douze commandements citoyens’, Le Soir, 5 August 2005. 33  Delruelle, ‘Du “Commissariat Royal aux Immigrés” aux “Assises de L’Interculturalité”’, p. 36. 34  Faux, ‘De la société multiculturelle au dialogue interculturel’, p. 7. 35  Alexandre Ansay and Gaëlle Lanotte, ‘Dialogue interculturel … les monologues du voisin? Entretien avec Maria Arena’, Agenda interculturel 269/270 (2009), p. 2. We have observed support, since the beginning of the political response to the findings made by the CID, for the necessity to ‘further support grassroots organizations’ in their initiatives on intercultural questions through the funding of twenty ‘local platforms for democracy’, the CID report, p. 76. 36  Delruelle, ‘Que le débat continue!’, pp. 6–8; Dumont and Delgrange, ‘Le principe de pluralisme’, pp. 87–88. 37  Henri Goldman, ‘Un progrès à condition que …’ Agenda Interculturel 288 (2010), pp. 4–5. 38  Delruelle, ‘Du “Commissariat Royal aux Immigrés” aux “Assises de L’Interculturalité”’, p. 36. 39  Joëlle Milquet, ‘Note de politique générale de la ministre de l’Emploi et de l’Égalité des chances’, Chambre des représentants, Doc. 52 0995/016 (2008), pp. 16–17. 40  The RTI, p. 10. 41  Daniël Cuypers, ‘Van multiculturaliteit naar interculturaliteit’, De Juristenkrant, 9 March 2011, p. 13; Marie-Claire Foblets, ‘In een democratie gaan alleen de compromisdenkers vooruit’, De Juristenkrant, 23 February 2011, p. 8. 42  The CID report, p. 10; Christine Kulakowski, ‘Assises de l’Interculturalité: objectifs, déroulement, positions de départ’, Cahiers du CIEP 10 (2011), p. 8. 43  Hugues Dorzée, ‘Diversité: le grand ratage’, Le Soir, 11 May 2010. 44  Delruelle, ‘Que le débat continue!’, p. 6; Goldman, ‘Un progrès à condition que’, p. 5. 45  Cuypers, ‘Van multiculturaliteit naar interculturaliteit’, p. 13. 46  The CID report, pp. 122–126. 47  Kulakowski, ‘Assises de l’Interculturalité: objectifs, déroulement, positions de départ’, pp. 8–9. 48  The RTI report, pp. 13–15; ibid., p. 9. 49  Foblets, ‘In een democratie gaan alleen’, p. 8. 50  According to sociologist Stéphane Jonlet, if the goal of creating spaces for dialogue within the associations was certainly met, it nevertheless qualifies the scope of these meetings in terms of citizen participation. Stéphane Jonlet, ‘Des Assises citoyennes?’ Agenda Interculturel, 288 (2010), pp. 22–25. 51  The CID report, p. 85; the RTI report, p. 52. 52  Cuypers, ‘Van multiculturaliteit naar interculturaliteit’, p. 13.

Debating intercultural integration in Belgium    139 53  Julie Ringelheim, ‘Le Rapport des Assises: Une contribution nuancée au débat public’, in Les Assises de l’Interculturalité, eds. Foblets and Schreiber, pp. 183–184. 54  The committee suggests ‘removing the explicit reference to the genocide perpetrated by the German Nazi Party during the Second World War, in such a way that the reference can be applied to other genocides’ (p. 85). 55  The recommendation calls for ‘the examination of potential advantages and disadvantages’ in order to broaden the concept of reasonable accommodation, to make it relevant to situations ‘related to religious and philosophical convictions’ (p. 118). 56  Christine Laurent, ‘De bien étranges paravents’, Le Vif/L’Express, 5 November 2010. 57  Little explicit academic reception can be noted for the two reports produced in Belgium. In this regard, the most significant effort can be located in the collective work edited by Foblets and Schreiber. In addition to this work, it is worth mentioning some other works on the topic of the commissions. A few articles portray the two reports as part of the journey of reflection on diversity in Belgium (Faux, 2010), linking them to the content of previous reports, while stressing differences in context and orientation (Dassetto, 2009). Other works refer to specific aspects of the commissions to review the policies and regulations concerning multicultural materials in Dutch-speaking Belgium, according to specific topics such as gender. This is the case for Gily Coene’s text that addresses the objectives of the CID, of which she had been a member, and the position of the CID on the subject of wearing religious symbols by public officials (Coene, 2007). The issue of the headscarf also found its place in certain studies interested in, for example, the differences in the perspectives between the Stasi and CID reports with regard to the management of cultural and religious diversity (Coene and Longman, 2008). 58  Nathalie Caprioli, ‘Interculturalité: quelles avancées?’ Agenda Interculturel 288 (2010): p. 3; Goldman, ‘Un progrès à condition que’, p. 5. 59  Dassetto, ‘Interculturalité en clair’, p. 9. 60  Jean-Yves Carlier, ‘Les Assises de l’Interculturalité: un modèle à suivre’, in Les Assises de L’interculturalité, eds. Foblets and Schreiber, p. 153. 61  Marc Jacquemain, ‘Assises de l’Interculturalité : où est la “pente glissante’”?’ in ibid., pp. 184–186; Sägesser, ‘A la recherche de bases communes’, in ibid., p. 209. 62  Jean Baubérot, ‘Le rapport du Comité de Pilotage des Assises de l’Interculturalité et la Commission Stasi’, in ibid., p. 89. 63  Ibid. Delruelle (2013) suggests that the recommendations of the RTI were strongly inspired by the multicultural Anglo-Saxon current, notably the Bouchard–Taylor Commission. Delruelle’s observation is all the more intriguing since the BouchardTaylor Commission positioned itself as interculturalist, demarcating itself from Canadian multiculturalism. On the distinction between interculturalism and multiculturalism, see Nasar Meer and Tariq Modood, ‘How does Interculturalism Contrast with Multiculturalism?’ Journal of Intercultural Studies 33.2 (2011): pp. 1–22. 64  Louis-Léon Christians, ‘Le nécessaire effort de diversité des modes de gestion du pluralisme’, in Les Assises de L’interculturalité, eds Foblets and Schreiber, p. 159. 65  Nadia Fadil, ‘Performing the Salat [Islamic Prayers] at Work: Secular and Pious Muslims Negotiating the Contours of the Public in Belgium’, Ethnicities 13.6 (2013): pp. 1–22. 66  Solange Lefebvre, ‘Faire de la diversité un atout. Un défi commun à plusieurs sociétés’, in Les Assises de L’interculturalité, eds Foblets and Schreiber, pp. 73–91. 67  Tariq Modood, ‘Four Modes of Integration’, in ibid., p. 43. 68  Ringelheim, ‘Le Rapport des Assises’, p. 189. While fair, we should nonetheless consider that the final point of the introduction offers five preliminary starting positions, particularly in relation to interculturalism. See Kulakowski, ‘Assises de l’Interculturalité’, 2011.

140  Karel J. Leyva and Léopold Vanbellingen 69  The RTI report, 10. 70  Ringelheim, ‘Le Rapport des Assises’, p. 194. 71  Marie-Claire Foblets, ‘Editorial’, in Les Assises De L’interculturalité, ed. Marie-Claire Foblets and Jean-Philippe Schreiber, p. 19. 72  Both reports share a vision of interculturalism founded on encounter, dialogue, social diversity and respect for cultural and religious identities, even though both reports start with a minimum understanding of the notion of interculturalism rather than a formal definition. 73  Notice in passing that the actual definition of ‘cultural minority’ provided by the CID takes the economic insecurity of cultural groups into account. Furthermore, while the CID preferred to utilize the expression ‘cultural minorities’, the RTI report argues that the adjective ‘cultural’ does not adequately cover ‘visible minorities’, who are identifiable by their appearance or patronymic, independently of their cultures, and who are involved in the fight against discrimination. Similarly, there exist other people who define themselves primarily on the basis of their religion. The RTI steering committee chose the expression ‘ethnic, cultural and/or religious minorities’ in order to place the emphasis on the specific minority in question. See the RTI report, 26. 74  Delruelle, ‘Que le débat continue!’, p. 6. 75  Jacquemain, ‘Assises de l’Interculturalité’, p. 197. 76  Nancy Fraser, ‘Rethinking Recognition’, The New Left Review 3 (2000): pp. 107–120. Even though Fraser’s name does not appear in the report itself, this does not negate the fact that we can find certain aspects of her philosophy within it. It is also telling that Delruelle, one of the editors of the CID report, also affirms the following elsewhere: ‘on a philosophical level, what the Belgian case demonstrates is that we cannot afford not to think on the relationship between a policy of identity recognition and policy of social redistribution. In the debate between Axel Honneth, supporter of recognition policy and Nancy Fraser, supporter of social redistribution policy, it is not surprising that I chose the path advocated by Nancy Fraser.’ Delruelle, ‘Du “Commissariat Royal aux Immigrés” aux “Assises de L’Interculturalité”’, p. 37. 77  François De Smet, ‘Les Assises centrifuges d’une interculturalité résignée’, in Les Assises de L’interculturalité, eds Foblets and Schreiber, p. 222. 78  Kulakowski, ‘Assises de l’Interculturalité’, p. 9. 79  De Smet, ‘Les Assises centrifuges’, p. 221. 80  Bousetta and Jacobs, ‘Multiculturalism, Citizenship and Islam in Problematic Encounters in Belgium’, p. 28. 81  Ibid., p. 34.

Part II

Comparative and theoretical perspectives

8 The commissions Caught between media simplifications and political interests Solange Lefebvre, Karel J. Leyva,Giomny H. Ruiz and Mathilde Vanasse-Pelletier Interrelations between journalistic coverage and religious issues have become more complex than ever in the light of intense media proliferation. The attention given to the public exercise of commissions addressing questions of religious diversity and management has allowed a targeted, comprehensive and revealing analysis. It has especially facilitated an understanding of media production within particular networks of social influence – namely, political figures, experts and other actors within civil society. The previous chapters have presented the European commissions and their associated reports; the current chapter subjects the media reception of these commissions to scrutiny. The discussion will include The Future of MultiEthnic Britain Report (2000), commonly known as the Parekh Report; the work of the French Commission for Reflection on the Application of the Principle of Laïcité in the Republic, usually called the Stasi Report (2003); as well as the respective reports for the Belgian Commission for Intercultural Dialogue (CID, 2005) and the Round Tables on Interculturalism (RTI, 2010). Reference will also be made to the Quebec Bouchard–Taylor Commission (2008), but without offering a detailed analysis of this report, which came from a single province of Canada. According to our analysis of the British commission, before the 9/11 tragedy propelled Islamist fanaticism to the media forefront, especially in the West, the dominant controversy in British public life was national identity in relation to racism. The subsequent commissions also addressed a number of cultural and identity politics issues, but the media mainly discussed their connection to religion: the wearing of symbols, the observance of holidays and accommodation practices. It follows that a problematic relationship with ethnic minorities would emerge, which after 2001 became more focused on their religions. The first part of this chapter identifies some relevant media analyses, and a second lays out the details of media reception in the three national contexts in question. The final section develops elements of comparison among the three commissions under analysis, which in fact show striking similarities.

144  Lefebvre et al

Booby traps: the media, minorities and religions The media, alongside other major social institutions, contribute to the interpretation and regulation of religious issues, just as they do to all elements of common culture. While certain issues frequently receive quite favourable treatment (papal elections, world youth days, the Dalai Lama, official national religious holidays, charitable pursuits, mainstream spiritual trends),1 the same does not hold true when the minority factor comes into play. In 2002, a European report on racism and mass media followed the logic of ‘self-reproduction’ of negative news, contributing to the establishment of a ‘fixed repertoire’ that rejects both pertinent and positive information.2 Several studies from the 1980s and 1990s deemed that these representations failed to be neutral and rarely provided a balanced view when it came to controversy, promoting ‘a dominant ideological status quo, a hegemonic approach to issues’.3 As for minority religious movements, Jim Richardson has observed that the media, rather than playing a neutral and objective role in disseminating information on all aspects of an issue, often prove to be the actors who actually develop information and opinions that lead to defining groups as ‘deviant’.4 More recently, in the United States, some Christian churches have taken advantage of this rather homogenizing trend in the media. Since the 1980s and even more since September 2001, the religious right has managed to marginalize forward-thinking Christian churches in the media (at least during the early 2000s), as well as some minority groups. ‘Trend stories that buck the (conservative) narrative are rarely reported … For example, newspaper and television audiences would be unlikely to know about the recent moves to develop an American Islam.’5 Based on an analysis of media content from the year 2011, a Pew Forum study concludes that religious issues generally arise in concurrence with high-profile events and/or controversies.6 Other studies claim that market forces largely determine what makes the news, and, of course, public interest in conflict, drama, controversy, and scandal strongly influences editors to provide such coverage.7 The religious tend to attract the critical eye of the press mainly when conflicts emerge between various factions, or when the norms and customs of a particular group visibly conflict with those of wider society. More generally, in certain contexts researchers have remarked on the lack of religious culture in many journalists,8 as well as their subjective bias, 9 which is often antireligious.10 Of course, each context has a different media dynamic, but in the cases being studied in this chapter, these differences are not very significant. The concept of ‘media-hype’ developed by Peter Vasterman (2005) aids in understanding the journalistic dynamic of fabrication and amplification of a news story, defined as follows: a media-generated, wall-to-wall news wave, triggered by one specific event and enlarged by the self-reinforcing processes within the news production of the media. During a media-hype, the sharp rise in news stories is the result of making news, instead of reporting news events, and covering

Caught between media and political interests    145 media-triggered social responses, instead of reporting developments that would have taken place without media interference.11 This theory seems to apply, in part, to the media corpus for France, Belgium and Britain used for our study, and, according to certain recent analyses, is also reflected in the situation that occurred in Quebec around the reasonable accommodations ‘crisis’.12 The theory presents the tendency of the media to amplify certain isolated events to the point where they become real social problems, especially by projecting the issues of a case that is particularly problematic onto many similar contexts. The media frenzy can actually take on enough magnitude to guide public opinion one way or the other; and sometimes media-hype can lead to political intervention. A false sense of urgency can be created by the great emphasis on, and exposure of, a specific topic by collective media coverage, especially over a relatively short period.13

The commissions in the media cyclone Our team decided to conduct a thorough collection and coding of newspaper articles published on the subject of the commissions. While several qualitative and theoretical analyses are possible, it is nonetheless essential to clearly examine the dynamics of media reception from a quantitative perspective as well. The first challenge posed by such an analysis is the limited access to archives, and our dependence on banks of selected media data.14 Despite these limitations on our data collection, we believe that the findings prove to be quite significant. The period covered for each of the four commissions is two years: one year before the publication of the official report and one year after, with special attention to the day before, the day of, and the day following its publication. The following sections present the most salient points for each of the three commissions (with the analysis taking into account common variables)15 and several general conclusions. Given the magnitude of the overall media coverage, our analysis has been limited to national print media coverage. The commissions are presented in chronological order.

The Parekh Report in Britain: the difficulty of challenging the national narrative Set up in January 1998 by the Runnymede Trust Foundation, the Commission on the Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain officially published its 417-page report on 11 October 2000.16 However, it was made available in bookstores on 10 October and some newspapers started to comment on the report on 9 October, having been allowed to preview it. The corpus of British articles includes 135 texts.17 Since the report was released prior to the explosive growth of the Internet, the database Factiva contains only a small number of articles, which are nonetheless significant. The following table shows the months in which the articles were released.

146   Lefebvre et al NUMBER OF ARTICLES BY PERIOD 140 120 100 80 60 40 20 0

January February March April May June July August September October 00- November December 00-Before 00-Before 00-Before 00-Before 00-Before 00-Before 00-Before 00-Before 00-Before Month of 00-After 00-After

Report’s release date: October 11, 2000

Total: 135 articles

Figure 8.1  Number of articles by period (British Commission)

It should be noted that even though the commission held many consultations, especially during ‘open forums’,18 its twenty-four members worked on the final report in closed session.19 In addition, the launch of the commission and its work led to hardly any public debates; media reaction was triggered after the report was released, with the exception of a few isolated articles by the press about the evolution of racism in British society. Therefore, most of the articles pertaining to the Parekh Report were published during the month immediately following its publication. Regarding the number of articles per period, the evidence reveals little expectation by British society in connection to the report. During the year preceding its publication, only 2.2 per cent of the articles mentioned the work that was being carried out by Runnymede.20 This result contrasts starkly with the media reaction triggered by the release of the report, specifically by the preview offered to the press. As for the tone of the articles, media reception of the Parekh Report was extremely negative, an issue that has subsequently been raised both by members of the commissions and by researchers (see Chapters 2 and 3). This reception process perfectly illustrates the media-hype theory mentioned earlier. Interestingly, the political positions or biases of the newspapers did not seem to have any effect on their reception of the report. The arguments used to justify the prevailing negative position were taken up by all the newspapers in a more or less uniform manner. Almost half of the articles (47.4 per cent) and letters to the editor (49.6 per cent) consider the results of the report to be clearly negative. Notice that the report was labelled by the media as ‘sub-Marxist gibberish’, ‘dreadful rubbish’ and ‘an assault to our national pride’.21 Some 30.4 per cent of the articles maintain a neutral tone and a meager 10.4 per cent support the

Caught between media and political interests    147 Parekh Report – but in these cases, the authors consisted of a number of commission members taking a stance against the arguments presented by the media. Only a very small number of the articles and letters to the editor (7.3 per cent) provide nuanced positions. The criticisms barely touch the content of the report itself, but rather target the comments made by commission members during its public presentation. Two members in particular were widely cited by the media: Lady Gavron (24.4 per cent), the Vice Chair of the commission; and Lord Parekh, the Chair himself. Lady Gavron was cited for her comment that the marriage of Prince Charles to a black woman would send a real message against racism in Britain. In relation to this statement, Robin Richardson explained that Lady Gavron had been trapped by a journalist into answering a hypothetical question; she did not bring up the subject herself.22 A sort of campaign to discredit the report targeted the aforementioned Chair and Vice Chair, as well as the Runnymede Trust, given that a significant number of the articles (38 per cent) focus on the personal histories of such members and the financial and political history of the institution. The press described the members of the commission as ‘nation breakers’, ‘learned and wellintentioned idiots’ and ‘left wing cronies’, to cite but a few examples.23 The Runnymede Trust was accused of applying a double standard when the media discovered that most of its employees were white, and that a black administrative assistant had been dismissed.24 The rest of the commission members and the report as a whole are seldom mentioned (7.4 per cent of the articles). In fact, it is impossible to gain a sense of the content of the report by reading the news alone. Two politicians, Tony Blair and Jack Straw (Home Secretary), who had publicly supported the launch of the commission, radically changed their minds within hours of the publication of the Parekh Report. The reaction of the Home Secretary was particularly virulent following the publication of a key article entitled ‘Straw Wants to Rewrite our History: British is a Racist Word, Says Report’ that appeared on the cover of The Daily Telegraph the day before the publication.25 The next morning, Straw went on to describe the report as specifically being ‘an insult to our history and intelligence’, ‘an insult to our countrymen’, etc.26 On the same day, during the official launch, he distanced himself from the report, declaring: ‘[I am] proud to be British and I’m proud of what I believe to be the best of British values’.27 The Parekh Report includes a chapter specifically entitled ‘Checklist of Recommendations’, but the entire publication is criss-crossed with suggestions that can be equally interpreted as recommendations.28 In a subsequent document, Realizing the Vision, the Runnymede Trust mentions that there are approximately 130 suggestions in the report.29 Of these, about 30 were discussed after the publication, less than a quarter of the total. Among them, seven focus on the generally challenged notion of Britishness, one that is treated in the first and most controversial section of the report, ‘A Vision for Britain’. The others relate to education, the goal of which is to foster improved access to education for minorities, implicitly challenging the way Britishness ought to be taught. These recommendations were discussed in the media, but much less than the ones regarding

148  Lefebvre et al TOPICS OF THE ARTICLES 2.67% 1.30% 3.33% 3.33% 4% 4.67% 8.67%


Total: 133 articles 28% Britishness









Figure 8.2  Topics of the articles (British Commission)

British identity. The most controversial recommendations on education were: the suggestion to change the approach to teaching Britishness (almost all the articles on this topic have a negative tone); and the access of ‘racial’ minorities to education (almost all the articles on this topic have a positive tone). The remainder of the recommendations were discussed very little, if at all, in the press. The key problem was that the media drew a direct link between Britishness and racism (see Chapter 2). The report itself actually states: ‘Britishness … has systematic, largely unspoken, racial connotations’, which was interpreted by the media as ‘Britishness has racist connotations’. From there, the situation escalated with Lord Parekh’s intervention, which did not seem to have the desired effect. As a subject unto itself, Britishness is taken up by 66.7 per cent of the articles, without really providing a definition of the term. Associated with the word ‘racism’ and other similar terms, the concept of Britishness represents the focus of 59 per cent of the articles. Aside from racism, the other terms frequently associated with Britishness provide an idea of the elements related to this idea, in support of the concept of Britishness – namely, the monarchy (30.1 per cent), multiculturalism (4.4 per cent) and Anglicanism (2.2 per cent). The media also criticized the interpretation of Britain as ‘a community of communities’, even though the report itself discusses Britain as both ‘a community of citizens and a community of communities’. The central idea promoted within this media frenzy is aptly summarized in the following two excerpts: ‘Britishness was … from the beginning multinational, multicultural and multi-ethnic’30 and ‘[the

Caught between media and political interests    149 Commissioners] seek to pretend that it is “racist” for us to defend and preserve the very laws and traditions which make us British’.31 As previously mentioned, it is almost impossible to gain a precise idea of the content of the report by reading the media articles, especially because of the magnitude of the debate around the linked notions of Britishness and racism. As for the religion issue, it is scarcely discussed in the media following the publication of the report. In fact, only 7 per cent of the articles in our corpus refer to religion at all. It is, however, interesting to note that in 37 per cent of the small number of articles addressing religion, the Church of England – and Protestantism in general – is understood as a crucial unifying element in identity, although one that is judged as being less important than the rights of citizens proposed by British legislation. The peaceful existence of religious minorities such as Catholics, Jews, Sikhs and Muslims is used to demonstrate British society’s propensity for inclusion and tolerance; 11 per cent of these articles discuss the role of religion in British society.

The Stasi Report in France: media reports and the hijab drama in public schools Established in July 2003 by French President Jacques Chirac, the Commission for Reflection on the Application of the Principle of Laïcité in the Republic published its 78-page report on 17 December of the same year.32 The corpus of media obtained regarding the French report is quite significant, totalling 603 documents. Over the three periods before, during and after the publication of the Stasi Report, the great majority of articles and dispatches maintain a neutral tone. In the before section, the documents mainly relay information about the commission or provide testimonies taken directly from the commission or commentaries about it. The cited actors are primarily politicians (48.73 per cent), religious leaders or members of religious organizations (22.57 per cent), members of the commission (18.57 per cent), school staff (8.02 per cent), hospital workers (1.05 per cent), unions (5.49 per cent), non-religious organizations (6.33 per cent) and intellectuals (2.74 per cent). The main issues presented by these actors are (in order of decreasing frequency): the law concerning ostentatious (ostentatoires) religious signs and symbols (64.56 per cent), which focuses almost exclusively on forbidding the hijab in public schools; the proposal regarding the inclusion of new holidays (16.46 per cent); the report and its proposals in general (9.28 per cent); the commission itself (7.81 per cent); the concept of laïcité (3.16 per cent); the ostentatious character of religious symbols (0.84 per cent); and the members of the commission (0.21 per cent). It is also pertinent to note that issues of social and religious diversity, as well as diversity in sports institutions, were raised during the work of the commission (a little under 1 per cent of all the articles). However, these issues seem to have fallen off the radar after the publication of the report, overshadowed by the two flagship proposals to ban the wearing of religious symbols and create new religious holidays.

Ju A ly Se ug 03pt us Be em t 0 fo r 3 O ber -Be e c N tob 03- fore ov e B D em r 03 efo ec b - r em er Be e be 03- fore r 0 Be Ja 3- for e n M Fe uar ont br y 0 h o ua 4 -A f r M y 0 fte ar 4- r ch A f Ap 04 ter ri -A M l 04 fter ay -A f Ju 04- ter ne Af te Ju 04- r A ly Aft Se ugu 04- er pt st Aft em 0 er 4 O ber -Aft c e N tob 04- r ov e A ft e r D mb 04- er ec e A em r 0 fte 4 r Ja ber -Aft n 0 er Fe uar 4-A br y 0 fte ua 5- r A r M y 0 fte ar 5- r ch Af t Ap 05- er ril Af 05 ter M ay -Af t Ju 05 er ne -A fte 0 5 Ju - r Af A ly t Se ug 05 er pt ust -Af em 0 te r 5 O ber -Af c 0 te N tob 5- r ov er Af te e D mb 05- r ec e Af em r 0 te be 5-A r r 0 fte 5- r Af te r










Report’s release date: December 17, 2003

3.16% 0.84%

16.46% Total: 603 articles

Figure 8.3  Number of articles by period (French Commission)






Total: 603 articles

Religious symbols





Term “ostentatious”


Figure 8.4  Topics of the articles (French Commission)

Caught between media and political interests    151 The journalists were in agreement that a law regarding the hijab, or headscarf, would probably be enacted by Chirac. A speech of the Head of State delivered on 21 October particularly drew the attention of the press, who reported that Chirac had ‘clearly expressed a preference for a law’, which was perceived by many as a message sent directly to the committee members who opposed it.33 Some even went so far as to claim that the commission was only window dressing and that the decision had already been made before it was established. The Associated Press reported that the radio station Europe 1 stated clearly that Chirac had already chosen to implement a law banning any conspicuous political, religious or trade union symbols.34 Ouest France specifically argues that Chirac and Raffarin, without actually relying on the reflection of the experts, had already made their choice.35 Chirac tried to calm the journalistic frenzy and appease public opinion by stating that he certainly expected to consult the Stasi Report before making a decision, even while indirectly addressing members of the commission and reaffirming that he would be ready to take legal action if necessary. He clarified that ‘with regard to education, we cannot accept ostentatious signs of religious proselytizing, regardless of what they are and what religion is represented’.36 In this regard, one newspaper reported, ‘The members of the Stasi Commission started their public hearings in September … And, to the chagrin of the wise (sages), the politicians are the ones who set the tone.’37 The president, Bernard Stasi, expressed his frustration with the media, which had reduced the debate to the single issue of the ban on the hijab in schools, while ignoring the other elements. Many times, the dispatches reported that Chirac had asked the sages to accelerate the publication of the report, according to comments or leaks from his entourage. Chirac ended up announcing his decision to introduce a law banning ostentatious religious symbols just days before the publication of the report. It is important to highlight the close link between the ban on religious symbols, especially targeting headscarves, and national identity, as illustrated by the wording used both by the commission as well as the media: ‘If we had voted on the first day’, Bernard Stasi explained, ‘we would have voted against the principle of a law banning religious symbols in schools. But after 104 hearings, we changed our minds. We are now convinced that Islamist groups are a threat to the Republic.’38 When the commission published its report just five months after its inception, most public attention was riveted on the law banning religious symbols, especially the hijab. Little focus was placed on other aspects of the legislation recommended by Stasi and the members of the commission, for example, banning political signs or extending the law into other contexts such as hospitals (see Chapter 5). Similarly, the remaining proposals in the report went almost unnoticed by the press, with the notable exception of the controversial and unexpected idea regarding the official calendar. The brief and lively debate surrounding this issue also demonstrates the difficult relationship between certain minority religions – in this case Islam – and national identity. The twenty-six recommendations are grouped into four main categories in the fourth section of the report. Although there have been debates in certain political

152  Lefebvre et al parties or organizations about the subject, the data reveals a consensus on the merits of the law concerning the religious symbols ban, and a great reluctance towards the proposal of introducing new holidays for Yom Kippur and Eid al-Adha: ‘Jacques Chirac is expected to vote tomorrow in favour of a law on laïcité. However, the idea of establishing holidays in schools for a Muslim celebration and a Jewish celebration is unlikely to be carried out.’39 It was reported that objections were coming from all directions, thus creating ‘criticisms and questions from both the right and left’.40 The reaction to the proposed addition of holidays was even stronger because it came in the context of a possible withdrawing of the holiday of Pentecost, one that is culturally dear to the French.41 Moreover, the subject of holidays did not appear to have been discussed before the publication of the report. Some even suggested that the government would seek to ‘discreetly bury this foul-smelling idea’ that it had not anticipated.42 The testimonials presented to the commission did not address this subject, as it was not a key part of the debates. The dynamics surrounding the reception of the report’s recommendations have been reflected in our quantitative analyses. The most controversial recommendation in the Stasi report was the legal recognition of a Muslim and a Jewish holiday (1 out of 26 recommendations). In this case, 46.43 per cent of the articles about this issue gave a negative opinion, while the others simply used a descriptive tone, keeping in mind that the discussion of this proposal started after the publication of the report. The other main topic presented by the press, the recommendation concerning the implementation of a law restricting the wearing of religious symbols (6 out of 26 recommendations), generated greater consensus. In contrast to the holiday topic, only 23.2 per cent of the articles expressed a negative opinion about this kind of law. Finally, the other recommendations of the Stasi Report (19 out of 26 recommendations) were almost totally ignored by the press or made only fleeting appearances. As for the law prohibiting religious symbols, the majority of the political class were in favour. In this regard, only the portion of the law concerning the prohibition of ostentatious religious symbols in public schools was retained, as much by the media as the politicians, despite the fact that the commission’s recommendation also included political signs and those from other social groups. Although they initially opposed the creation of such a law, ministers Nicolas Sarkozy (Interior and Religious Affairs) and Luc Ferry (Education) later rallied with the side that was in favour, thereby strengthening the consensus. The largest wave of protest came from the French religious sector. The main contentions with the law stemmed from Jewish, Muslim and Christian religious representatives. For example, ‘The idea of a new law on laïcité regulating the issue of wearing the Islamic headscarf at school worries the Catholic Church, which sees therein the risk of reawakening a religious war.’43 Major trade union organizations and groups against racism also proclaimed themselves to be against the implementation of such a law. It is nevertheless possible to surmise that the flagship proposal of the Stasi Report was the result of a broad consensus or, at least, that it was presented as a consensus by the French press who mainly

Caught between media and political interests    153 reported the viewpoint of their supporters. In any case, the press listed all the proposals from the report, which demonstrated that the public and journalists were quite interested in hearing about all of the conclusions reached by those ‘20 sages’. Finally, during the entire period under study, the reactions of politicians and religious groups concerning the various proposals and the report itself revealed a consistent interest in the findings of the Stasi Commission. A number of people have questioned the actual usefulness of the commission, and we could also ask if there was perhaps a degree of rivalry between elected officials and members of the commission. Some committee members expressed their disappointment in the lack of attention to the whole of the report and to their work, as well as its reduction to the idea of a single prohibitive law. Stasi deplored the lack of visibility of the positive measures proposed in favour of Muslims, which oversight had the effect of creating the impression of Islamophobia and thus provoked defensive reactions from the Muslim community.44 René Rémond stated in an interview that ‘the debate has narrowed to the point that what we have forgotten what the commission reached an agreement upon: a law on the principles of laïcité, not just prohibitions, but in positive terms’, pointing out that the integration of minorities was the core issue. In the same article, Ghislaine Hudson observed that ‘the commission members did not feel the urgency to legislate … “We missed the opportunity to connect the issues, it’s restrictive and it’s a shame.”’45 Jean Baubérot, who had abstained from the vote taken on the famous recommendation, thereafter repeatedly insisted on the progressive development of the hijab as a problem, during the work and panel hearings of the commission.46

Mixed media reception: the Commission on Intercultural Dialogue and the Round Tables on Interculturalism in Belgium During the 2000s, Belgium organized two commissions on the topic in question (see Chapter 7). In 2005, the Commission on Intercultural Dialogue (CID) published its 94-page report (totalling 246 pages including annexes and a record of hearings). The second, the Round Tables on Interculturalism (RTI) published its 126-page report in 2010, with the goal of reinvestigating issues already dealt with in 2005 that did not receive the desired follow-up.47 The CID was launched on 23 February 2004 and the final report was made public on 2 May 2005. The RTI was implemented on 21 September 2009 and the final report was published on 8 November 2010. With regard to media reception in Belgium, there exists a rather marked difference between the French and Dutch linguistic contexts.48 This chapter takes this dissimilarity into account, but analyses the francophone reception in more statistical detail. In the French-language press, the media coverage of the CID was relatively insignificant compared to that received by the RTI. We found 41 articles on the CID, whereas there were 186 on RTI. On the Dutch side, the reaction to the CID was higher in comparison to the RTI, but less overall.49

Ja n Fe ua br r y ua 09 M ry -B ar 09 efo c Ap h 0 Be re ril 9-B for M 09 efo e a -B Ju y 0 ef re ne 9-B ore Ju 09 ef Se Au ly -B ore g pt u 09- efo em st B re e O be 09 fo N cto r 0 -Be re ov b 9 fo e e B D m r 0 e re ec b 9 fo em er -B re e Ja be 09- for r B e Fe nua 09 efo br ry -B re ua 10 efo M ry -B re ar 10 ef ch -B or Ap 10 ef e r - or M il 10 Bef e ay - or Ju 10 Bef e ne -B or e Ju 10 efo Se Au ly -Be re pt gus 10- fo em t B re 1 e N Oc be 0-B for ov to r 1 e e em b 0- fo be er 1 Be re D r 0 fo ec 1 -B re em 0-M ef Ja be on ore Fe nua r 10 th o br ry -A f M uar 11- fter ar y Af ch 11 te 1 -A r Ap 1-B fte r e r M il 11 for a - e Ju y 11 Aft ne -A er Ju 11 fte Se Au ly -Af r pt gus 11- ter em t A O be 11- fter N cto r 1 Aft ov be 1- er D em r 1 Aft ec b 1 er em er -Af be 11- ter r 1 Af 1- ter Af te r Ja n Fe uar br y 0 ua 4B M ry 0 efo ar 4 c -B re Ap h 0 efo r 4- r M il 0 Be e a 4- fo Ju y 04 Be re ne -B for e Ju 04 efo Se Au ly 0 -Be re pt gus 4- for em t B e 0 e O be 4- for N cto r 0 Bef e ov be 4- or e r D m 0 Bef e ec b 4- o em er Be re Ja be 04- for n r B e Fe ua 04 efo br ry -B re ua 05 ef M ry -Be ore ar 05 fo ch -B r A 05 ef e M pril -B ore ay 05 ef 05 -B ore e Ju -Mo for ne nt e h Ju 05 of Se Au ly -Af pt gus 05- ter em t A 0 f O be 5- ter N cto r 0 Afte ov b 5- r e D em r 0 Afte ec b 5 r em er -A Ja be 05- fter n r A Fe ua 05 fter br ry -Af ua 06 te M ry -Af r ar 06 te ch -A r Ap 06 fte ri -A r M l 06 fte a - r Ju y 0 Afte ne 6-A r Ju 06 fter Se Aug ly 0 -Af pt us 6- ter em t Af O b 06- ter N cto er 0 Aft ov b 6 er e D em r 0 -Aft ec be 6 e em r -A r be 06- fter r 0 Aft 6- er Af te r

154  Lefebvre et al









Report’s release date: May 2, 2005

Report’s release date: November 8, 2010 Total: 41 articles

Figure 8.5  Number of articles by period (CID) (Belgium Commission, 2005)









Total: 186 articles

Figure 8.6  Number of articles by period (RTI) (Belgium Commission, 2010)

For the RTI, the Dutch press produced 37 articles and about the same amount (38) for the CID. In the Flemish sector, a lower proportion of political figures reacted in the media. As for the French-language press, in certain newspapers that covered RTI, we could find no articles on the CID. It should be noted that the CID had produced an interim report that was published in December 2004 and commented on by the

Caught between media and political interests    155 press, which likely allowed the members of the commission to gauge media reception before publishing its final report. In fact, the RTI was criticized for not having published its interim report scheduled for May 2010. The reports aroused visibly less media polemics in the Flemish sector as compared to the French sector, both in the number of proposals that were discussed and in the intensity of criticism. A substantial number of the articles in the Dutch press mentioning one or another of the commissions, or both, consisted on one hand of generally neutral press releases dedicated to describing the content of the reports, and, on the other hand, of passing remarks about the work of one of the commissions in the framework of a related subject. The media in the Flemish context will be discussed later, but this section mainly focuses on the reception by the French media. Round Tables on Interculturalism in tumult Belgium is administered by a federal government and powerful regional governments (see Chapter 7). The start of the RTI was marked by political tensions, as several groups decided to propose their own solutions alongside those of the RTI. Since the French population of Belgium is quite significant, the issue of the Muslim headscarf dominated the discussions just as it did in France. Before this time, the absence of clear legislation in the linguistic regions of the country regarding the wearing of religious symbols left the choice of whether to allow or ban the wearing of the headscarf in schools to each institution. As a result, the vast majority of schools regularly prohibited the wearing of headscarves, which had the consequence of creating a concentration of young Muslim girls in ghetto schools. Before the release of the report, the Council of State, the Ecologist Party (Écolo) and the Humanist Democratic Centre (HDC) chose not to vote on a law banning religious symbols. However, the Reform Movement (RM), a right and centre-right political party, refused to wait for the conclusions of the commission and presented texts to parliament in favour of banning the wearing of religious symbols in public service and in schools.50 It also proposed a law prohibiting masking or concealing one’s face in public places. These parallel initiatives of the RM provoked the criticism of Joëlle Milquet, Minister for Equal Opportunity and initiator of RTI, who admonished them for ‘playing lone ranger’.51 The Socialist Party (SP), while claiming that they did not wish to encroach on the work of RTI, nonetheless held parallel hearings on the issue of the wearing of religious, political or philosophical symbols at school and in public service.52 An elected Socialist delegation (which included Maria Arena, the former minister who initiated the CID) even proceeded with hearings from representatives of civil society. In January 2011, after the release of the RTI report, the RM redoubled its efforts in criticism of the fact that the government had not yet formulated a position concerning a ban on the hijab. Generally, the great majority of articles that mention both commissions maintained a neutral tone (CID 80.49 per cent, RTI 81.18 per cent). However, the

156   Lefebvre et al proportion of articles that present a negative perspective is much higher for the RTI (CID 2.4 per cent, RTI 12.37 per cent). With regard to articles with a positive viewpoint, this figure is higher for the CID (CID 17.07 per cent, RTI 5.91 per cent). As for the collection of articles reporting on the various actors, the analysis reveals that 43 per cent of those on the CID were positive and only 7 per cent negative. The articles on the RTI in this regard were largely negative (58 per cent) with few being positive (11 per cent). In both cases, the articles citing social actors predominated. While these actors are mainly politicians (CID 61 per cent, RTI 56 per cent) and members of the commission (CID 17 per cent, RTI 12 per cent), other figures were also cited, including the leaders of religious organizations (CID 2 per cent, RTI 4 per cent) and school principals in RTI (2 per cent). The issue of the hijab also received more commentary in the context of the CID. The issues debated The question broached most often in both reports was the wearing of religious symbols, particularly the hijab (CID 17 per cent, RTI 62 per cent). The treatment of the two commissions differed, however, as did the final recommendations. In general, the tone of the 30 recommendations of the CID was more reserved. Concerning religious symbols, for example, the CID made no comment on regulatory approval or prohibition, while the RTI suggested their partial authorization in all Belgian schools.53 While the press did not report any significant controversies with regard to the recommendations of the CID, certain RTI recommendations were quite strongly criticized (eight major recommendations were found at the end of the report, but more were disseminated throughout). Indeed, among the almost 70 recommendations formulated by the RTI, only four were highlighted in press coverage, all of them in a negative light. These recommendations were as follows: a) A general freedom for students to wear religious symbols except for the last three years of secondary school. b) With regard to reasonable accommodation (the report uses the term aménagement, which seems preferable to the term accommodement used in the Bouchard–Taylor Report), the steering committee suggested considering the potential advantages and disadvantages of extending the concept of reasonable accommodation, so that these accommodations no longer solely concerned people with disabilities and could be applied to other situations, including those connected to religious or philosophical convictions. c) The modification of the calendar of public holidays. d) The removal of the explicit reference to genocide committed by the German Nazi regime during the Second World War, in order to apply the principle to other genocides.



10% 32%

Total: 41 articles

Religious symbols



“Plateforme démocratie”



Figure 8.7  Topics of the articles (CID) (Belgium Commission, 2005)

TOPICS OF THE ARTICLES (RTI) 1% 10% 5% 3% 6% 62%

7% 6%

Total: 186 articles Religious symbols





Church-State separation



Figure 8.8  Topics of the articles (RTI) (Belgium Commission, 2010)

158  Lefebvre et al The proposals of the RTI regarding the wearing of the headscarf in compulsory schooling and the modification of the calendar of public holidays drew much attention in the Dutch sector. On these specific matters, despite the small number of articles, the CID report seems to have been better received than that of the RTI in this language group. Among the 37 Dutch articles about the CID, 25 were written from a neutral perspective (67 per cent), 8 offered a positive viewpoint (22 per cent) and 4 were negative (11 per cent). Among the 38 Dutch articles on the RTI, however, 28 were written from a neutral perspective (74 per cent), 3 offered a positive viewpoint (8 per cent) and 7 were negative (18 per cent). This sensitive reaction among the Dutch is probably due to the fact that the decision to ban the headscarf for public school teachers had been made in September 2009, one year before the publication of the RTI report, and the validity of the prohibition was subject to a decision of the Constitutional Court (which upheld it in March 2011).54 This regulation contrasts with the situation in the French-language education system, in which discretion is left up to school principals (which has, in practice, led to a widespread ban). This last point explains the rather negative reaction generated by the RTI’s proposal of partially allowing the wearing of headscarves by students. The most common concerns are the enforceability of the practice and the possibility that it may create tensions within scholastic institutions. This negative reaction is present in both the French and Dutch sectors.55 In the case of the CID, we should mention that among its thirty recommendations, the one related to creating a charter of citizenship (10 per cent), which was favourably received by Christian Dupont, Minister of Social Integration, resonated with the media, even though it was not actually implemented.56 The reception of the final CID report was largely positive, but the press, the analyses and the RTI all mentioned the lack of follow-up on the recommendations.57 Among certain criticisms, some authors questioned the very relevance of the CID, affirming that ‘action must be taken on the ground’.58 For others, the report’s epistemology was too ‘communitarian’ in character, even though it evoked shared values.59 Politicians also reacted after the release of the intermediate report of December 2004. The SP stated that they agreed with most of the recommendations, except the proposal to grant Belgian nationality conditional on learning a national language. The Écolo party deplored the silence on the issue of illegal aliens being detained in ‘closed centres’.60 A pilot project launched by the Minister of Equal Opportunity, Christian Dupont of the SP, was, however, implemented following one of the report’s recommendations: the creation of legal support services for foreign women in the three regions of the country. The establishment by the government of local democratic platforms at the end of December 2005 was also mentioned as having been inspired by the final report of the commission. With regard to the RTI, the media articles reported on a number of operational problems. The report was censured for the minimal involvement of the communities and regions in its work, and the press expressed the fear of communitarian leanings.61 The resignation of certain commissioners punctuated the proceedings of the commission,62 with one in particular raising some minor controversy.63

Caught between media and political interests    159 From its release in November 2010, the report was characterized as the ‘Bible for communitarianism’, most notably by the RM,64 due to its partial authorization of religious symbols. As well, this label referred to its proposals to impose job quotas that would favour candidates of foreign origin and members of minority religious groups, and its recommendation to study the possibility of expanding reasonable accommodations (sometimes classified as a failure in Quebec) previously reserved for the disabled, in order to include the claims of religious minorities in employment matters. Some also described the recommendations as ‘vague’.65 Others went even further, such as RAPPEL, the Réseau d’action pour la promotion d’un État laïque (Action Network for the Promotion of a Secular State),66 which launched an online petition opposing the conclusions of the RTI, particularly because of their ‘cultural differentialism’.67

Conclusion: experts caught between media simplifications and political interests Interrelations between journalistic coverage and religious issues have become more complex than ever in the light of intense media proliferation. The attention given to the public exercise of commissions addressing questions of religious diversity and management has allowed a targeted, comprehensive and revealing analysis. It has especially facilitated an understanding of media production within particular networks of social influence. The four commissions that were successively held in Britain, France and Belgium therefore suffered the same fate, with only a handful of the main ideas included in their reports receiving attention and only in rare cases being implemented. In the English context, the media shock occurred around criticism of the combined ideas of Britishness and the racial issue. In the French example, there was limited reception almost exclusively focused on the wearing of the headscarf in public schools, its presence understood as a sort of threat against the Republic, as well as a brief, but intense controversy surrounding religious national holidays. On the Belgian front, the issue of the hijab also predominated and increased in fervour with the publication of the RTI report, alongside the contestation of recommendations, including the national calendar of public holidays, reasonable accommodations and the extension of the notion of genocide beyond Nazism. A detailed analysis reveals much on the nature of the issues related to identity, even though they appear to be superficially positioned around the religious symbol of ‘other’ Muslim women being reduced to a subservient status. Despite the differing ideologies of the newspapers, this limited reception of the commissions’ work characterizes all the relevant print media from our corpus. We introduced this chapter with a literature review portraying the critical reception of the media with regard to minorities and religion. The press seemed to consistently fall into a fixed repertoire on this subject. Perhaps the experts also underestimated the symbolic attachment to the idea of an ethnic nation.68 As an example, Chapter 10 in this volume illustrates the decline of the idea of multiculturalism in Britain over the last fifteen years. In addition, we should also note that the

160   Lefebvre et al journalists in question were likely similar to the general population in that they had no specific expertise on these issues, but their reports were based on more colloquial forms of knowledge. The political world, being limited by electoral interests and partisan logic, did little to nuance these often heated debates. Yet, these decision makers appointed as heads of the public commissions experts known for being open to the development of diversity.69 Perhaps they simply looked to such experts in order to gauge just how far their citizens were willing to go on these issues, or they hoped to move public opinion forward while they themselves maintained a non-committal stance. The material studied also draws attention to the political game in which these commissions were caught. Tension and rivalry between commission members and elected officials were evident across the three national cases we have addressed (and it was the case as well in Quebec, see Chapter 6). In Britain, officials who first stood in favour of the commission quickly distanced themselves when faced with the negative reception of the report. In France, whereas the political class demonstrated a strong consensus, Chirac pre-empted the publication of the report by proposing a law in favour of banning the hijab. In these examples, we can clearly see how politicians often position themselves in one manner and then later yield to the demands of civil society. In the politically fragmented landscape of Belgium, some parties even initiated debates in parallel with the RTI. In Quebec, the government in place largely forestalled the submission of the report in order to amend the Charter of Rights on the question of gender equality (to satisfy public opinion). In Quebec and Belgium, elected officials rapidly disassociated themselves at least publicly, from the controversial recommendations (an extension of the understanding of genocide in Belgium and the withdrawal of the crucifix in Quebec). Based on our analysis, we should conclude with one pertinent question: did the Stasi Commission encounter less resistance than the others? It did, in fact, help steer opinion towards a relative consensus on the application of its flagship proposal to ban ostentatious religious symbols (mainly the wearing of hijabs in schools). It should be noted that, along with the Belgian CID report of 2005 (much less controversial than the others), the Stasi Commission was the most politically oriented. This stems from the fact that its chairperson, Bernard Stasi, was a politician who endorsed a project for the French political class that was almost unanimously accepted (only one expert out of the twenty who were part of the commission distanced himself). The 2005 Belgian commission was chaired by two government ministers, Roger Lallemand and Annemie Neyts, even though the report was mainly named after the editors, Delruelle and Torfs. With regard to major issues (historical agreements, established religions, laïcité), these were not put up for debate. Contrary to the other commissions, the Stasi Report barely questioned the issue of national identity – no doubt the reason for its relative success. In the commissions of the other two cases broached in this chapter, Britain and Belgium (RTI, 2005), academics were placed in charge. In Britain, Parekh proposed grand social frescoes and projects that gave rise to several angles of

Caught between media and political interests    161 controversy. In Belgium, an openly inclusive project was deployed with greater precision, but not on as great a scale, and it met with similar resistance. Both the British and Belgian 2010 cases could indicate a disconnect between experts and public authorities,70 but also – and most significantly – the overarching complexity of the political and media power plays within which questions of collective identity are embroiled.

Notes   1  Sabrina Pastorelli, ‘Religious Dress Codes: The Italian Case’, in Religion in Public Spaces: A European Perspective, ed. Silvio Ferrari and Sabrina Pastorelli (Surrey/ Burlington: Ashgate, 2012), p. 237; Jean-Paul Willaime, ‘Les médias comme analyseur des mutations religieuses contemporaines’, in Médias et religions en miroir, ed. Pierre Bréchon and Jean-Paul Willaime (Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 2000).   2  Jessika Ter Wal, Racism and Cultural Diversity in the Mass Media, report conducted by the European Research Centre on Migration and Ethnic Relations (ERCOMER) on behalf of the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC), 2002 (data from 1995 to 2000), p. 35.   3  Ter Wal, Racism and Cultural Diversity in the Mass Media, p. 290. Includes references, among others, to Edward Hermand and Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (New York: Pantheon Books, 1988); James T. Richardson and Barend Van Driel, ‘Journalists’ Attitudes Toward New Religious Movements’, Review of Religious Research, 39 (1997): pp. 16–36.   4  Jim Richardson, ‘Journalist Bias Toward New Religious Movements in Australia’, Journal of Contemporary Religion, 11 (1996): p. 289.   5  Diane H. Winston, ‘Back to the Future: Religion, Politics, and the Media’, American Quarterly, 59 (2007): p. 984. See also Sean McCloud, Making the American Religious Fringe: Exotics, Subversives, and Journalists, 1955–1993 (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2004).   6  Pew Research Center, Religion in the News: Islam and Politics Dominate Religion Coverage in 2011 (The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, 2012), accessed 18 June 2015,   7  Owen Gower and Joylon Mitchell, ‘Introduction’, in Religion and the News, ed. O. Gower and J. Mitchell (Farnham: Ashgate, 2012), pp. 1–3; Teemu Taira, Elizabeth Poole and Kim Knott, ‘Religion in the British Media Today’, in ibid., pp. 30–43.   8  Christopher Landau, ‘What the Media Thinks About Religion: A Broadcast Perspective’, in Religion and the News, in ibid., pp. 79–87; Paul Wooley, ‘A Relationship Worth Getting Right’, in ibid., pp. 61–75.   9  Daniel A. Stout and Judith M. Buddenbaum, ‘Media, Religion, and “Framing”’, Journal of Media and Religion, 2 (2009): pp. 1–3. 10  Winston, ‘Back to the Future’, p. 973; see also Peter L. Berger, The Desecularization of the World: Resurgent Religion and World Politics (Washington, DC: Eerdmans, 1999); David Martin, The Future of Christianity: Reflections on Violence and Democracy, Religion and Secularization (Farnham/Burlington: Ashgate, 2011), p. 39. 11  Peter L. M. Vasterman, ‘Media-Hype: Self-Reinforcing News Waves, Journalistic Standards and the Construction of Social Problems’, European Journal of Communication, 20 (2005): p. 515. 12  Thierry Giasson, Colette Brin and Marie-Michèle Sauvageau, ‘La couverture médiatique des accommodements raisonnables dans la presse écrite québécoise: Vérification de l’hypothèse du tsunami médiatique’, Canadian Journal of Communication,

162   Lefebvre et al 35 (2010): pp. 431–453. From the same authors, see also ‘Le Bon, la Brute et le Raciste: Analyse de la couverture médiatique de l’opinion publique pendant la “crise” des accommodements raisonnables au Québec’, Revue canadienne de sciences politiques, 43 (2010): pp. 379–406. 13  Charlotte Wein and Christian Elmelund-Praestekaer, ‘An Anatomy of Media Hypes: Developing a Model for the Dynamics and Structure of Intense Media Coverage of Single Issues’, European Journal of Communication, p. 24 (2009). 14  Please note that the databases do not always provide the page numbers or authors. For the cases in France, Britain and Belgium, we built our collection of articles in part through the database Factiva. This database provides online articles and press reports that have been made available by the newspapers, but not the letters to the editor or opinion letters. 15  The variables used by the team to analyse each article are as follows: 1) The period and date, one year before, during and one year after the publication of the commission’s report; 2) the tone of the article (author), which may be positive, negative or neutral with respect to the object; 3) the style of the article (descriptive, present a quotation or opinion, relay information or fulfil a combination of these elements); 4) the topics of the articles; 5) the reported remarks that are mainly useful in the case of an article quoting an individual, either directly or indirectly. The words are purportedly those of the actor cited and are identified as either positive, negative or neutral with respect to the object; 6) the cited actor or the person whose remarks are cited; 7) the role/ function of the cited actor when the article was published; 8) the format: article, dispatch, other. 16  Bhikhu Parekh and Runnymede Trust Commission on the Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain, The Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain: Report of the Commission on the Future of MultiEthnic Britain (London: Profile Books, 2000). Will be referred to as the Parekh Report. 17  For the case of Britain, the relevant material was gathered from two sources: a press review that had been put together by Robin Richardson (96 articles), who was the director of the Runnymede Trust (see Chapter 2). This corpus of selected articles covers the sixty days following the publication of the Parekh Report. Next, the Factiva database permitted access to four British newspapers: The Times, The Independent, The Observer and The Guardian. Thanks to the data provided by Richardson, we were also able to access opinion texts such as editorials and letters to the editor. These types of texts were inaccessible through Factiva. Also noteworthy in the case of Britain, the report was published before the Internet era, thus accounting for the smaller number of articles compared to the other European commissions under study. 18  The commission had consulted a great number of individuals and organizations. See the Parekh Report, pp. 353–365. 19  The Parekh Report, p. 353s. 20  Almost all the articles published before the report focus on a number of related facts, notably that the Runnymede Trust, in February 2000, had published the results of the research project entitled FTSE 100 on racism in 100 large British enterprises, concluding that ethnic minorities were underrepresented in senior management positions. See Sandra Sanglin-Grant and Robin Schneider, Moving on Up: Racial Equality and the Corporate Agenda, A Study of FTSE 100 Companies, A Report for Runnymede Trust (London: Schneider-Ross, 2002). The famous Stephen Lawrence case (a Black British man who had been murdered in a racist attack in 1993) is also mentioned. 21  See Eugene McLaughlin and Sarah Neal, ‘Who Can Speak to Race and Nation’, Cultural Studies 21.6 (2007): p. 920. These quotations have been taken from the following newspapers respectively: The Daily Telegraph, 10 October 2000; The Sun, 12 October 2000; Daily Mail, 10 October 2000. Please note that some of the media citations in this chapter are taken from previous works on the subject matter.

Caught between media and political interests    163 Unfortunately, some do not include the authors or page numbers since they would be too difficult to retrieve. 22  Robin Richardson, Testimony, Comparing Public Commissions on Cultural and Religious Diversity, International Conference, 29–31 May 2014, KAICIID, Vienna. 23  See McLaughlin and Neal, ‘Who Can Speak to Race and Nation’, p. 920. These quotations have been taken from the following newspapers respectively: The Sunday Telegraph, 15 October 2000; The Times, 11 October 2000; The Daily Telegraph, 13 October 2000. 24  Ross Slater, ‘One Black Person Worked on “Ethnic” Report’, Evening Standard, 16 October 2000. 25  See McLaughlin and Neal, ‘Who Can Speak to Race and Nation’, p. 919. This quotation has been taken from the Daily Mail, 10 October 2000. 26  Ibid. 27  Jack Straw, ‘Speech Made at Launch of the Future of Multi-ethnic Britain Report’, Runnymede Bulletin, 324 (2000), pp. 2–4. 28  See especially the Parekh Report, pp. 296–314. 29  Runnymede Trust, ‘Realizing the Vision: Progress and Further Challenges’. The report of the Commission on the Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain (2000). Revisited in 2004, Briefing Paper April 2004, p. 5. Available at: publications/30/32.html 30  Earl Russel, ‘British Invention’, The Independent, 18 October 2000. 31  Peter Hitchens, ‘Why it is not Racialist to be British’, The Express, 6 October 2000. 32  Bernard Stasi et al., Commission de réflexion sur l’application du principe de laïcité dans la République: Rapport au Président de la République (Paris: La Documentation française, 2003). For the analysis of media reception, the team selected a list of the country’s main agency press and newspapers; see Agence France Presse, Associated Press, Reuters Agencies, Les Échos, L’Express, Le Figaro, Le Progrès, Libération, Ouest France, Sud-Ouest, Le Monde, La Croix. 33  ‘Voile islamique: les jeux seraient déjà faits’, Le Progrès, 6 November 2003. Please note that all foreign language texts have been translated by the authors. 34  ‘Laïcité: Jacques Chirac n’a pas pris de décision, assure son entourage’, Associated Press, 5 November 2003. 35  ‘Laïcité: Chirac parlera au début 2004’, Ouest France, 6 November 2003. 36  Catherine Coroller, ‘L’opinion publique plutôt pour une législation’, Libération, 8 December 2003. 37  Bernard Gorce, ‘Un long débat pour une courte loi’, La Croix, 27 January 2004, accessed 6 November 2015, 38  Dominique Gerbaud, ‘Bernard Stasi, contre les racismes’, La Croix, 7 January 2005, accessed 5 November 2015, 39  ‘Laïcité: non à des jours fériés en plus’, Ouest France, 16 December 2003. 40  Nicolas Barotte and Guillaume Tabard, ‘Jours fériés – la classe politique embarrassée’, Le Figaro, 13 December 2003. 41  Anne Fulda, ‘Jacques Chirac en quête d’un équilibre républicain’, Le Figaro, 12 December 2003. 42  Bruno Dive, ‘Le dilemme de Chirac’, Sud-Ouest, 14 December 2003. 43  ‘Une loi sur la laïcité?’, Sud Ouest, 6 November 2003. 44  ‘L’UOIF invite les musulmans à ignorer la loi interdisant le port du voile à l’école’, Le Monde, 2 July 2004: ‘Bernard Stasi, former president of the commission on laïcité, regretted the “errors committed” in the preparation of the law. “The press and the authorities seem to have, in effect, retained only the interdiction of religious symbols at school in the report of the commission on laïcité, but there were also a number of

164   Lefebvre et al positive propositions. It’s an error that I don’t understand and that I regret,” he affirmed in an interview with AFP. “If all of the proposals had been taken into account, the climate would have been more serene last autumn,” he stated, citing examples from the teaching of religion, the training of imams and the increasing number of Muslim chaplains in prisons and hospitals. “Today, fundamentalists have good reason to state that the law on laïcité is a law against Islam, he concluded.”’ 45  Philippe Bernard and Sylvie Kauffmann, ‘Voile: les états d’âme de quatre “sages” de la commission Stasi’, Le Monde, 2 February 2004, accessed 15 November 2015, www. 46  Jean Baubérot, ‘Laïcité, le chêne et le roseau’, Libération, 12 December 2003, accessed 5 November 2015, See also Jean Baubérot, ‘Le dernier des Curiaces: Un sociologue dans la Commission Stasi’, in The New Religious Question: State Regulation or State Interference?, ed. Pauline Côté and T. Jeremy Gunn (Brussels: P.I.E.-Peter Lang, 2006), pp. 247–272. 47  Roger Lallemand, Annemie Neyts et al. Commission Du Dialogue Interculturel: Rapport Final Et Livre Des Auditions (Brussels: Ministère de l’Égalité des Chances, de l’Intégration sociale et de l’Interculturalité, 2005). Marie Claire Foblets and Christine Kulakowski, Les Assises de l’Interculturalité (Bruxelles: Ministère de l’Emploi et de l’Égalité des Chances, 2010). The latter report mentions this lack of follow-up on p. 119. 48  In the case of Belgium, the Factiva database was supplemented by the resource Mediatico (, in which we find thousands of newspapers, of which 31 are Belgian newspapers with public access – contrary to the British and French newspapers. Those publications that mention the commission are among the most widely read in French-speaking Belgium: La Libre Belgique, Le Soir, Le Vif, La Dernière Heure, L’Avenir. The research on Dutch newspapers was carried out by Léopold Vanbellingen, Ph.D. student in Law and Religion (Université Catholique de Louvain). The analysed media consists of four daily newspapers and one magazine publication, being the most widely read: De Standaard, De Morgen, Het Laatste Nieuws, Het Nieuwsblad, Knack. We would also point out that the Het Laatste Nieuws and Knack databases do not contain the articles corresponding to the period around the work of CID, thus making it impossible to offer a comparison in this regard. 49  This finding takes into account the inaccessibility of the archives in the Het Laatste Nieuws and Knack databases during the period surrounding the CID. Thus, for both Dutch newspapers referred to, De Standaard and De Morgen, the proportion of articles is more significant for the CID than the RTI. 50  Dirk Vanoverbeke and Patrice Leprince, ‘Alors que les Assises de l’interculturalité débutent ce lundi, à l’initiative de la ministre de l’Egalité’, Le Soir, 21, September 2009, accessed 15 November 2015, 51  ‘Signes distinctifs: au vu des difficultés à l’école, le PS lance une réflexion’, L’Avenir, 19 October 2009, accessed 7 November 2015, 52  ‘Le PS lance sa propre réflexion sur le voile à l’école’, Le Soir, 19 October 2009, accessed 8 November 2015, 53  See Chapter 7 in this volume, n. 23, which refers to a warning given to the commission to avoid the issue of the hijab, the altogether too exclusive object of attention with regard to the Stasi Commission in France. 54  Since 2009, in the Flemish-Catholic education system (two-thirds of students), each institution had been free to ban the veil or not; whereas, in the public Flemish

Caught between media and political interests    165 education system (one third of students), the wearing of religious symbols had already been generally prohibited for two years. 55  In terms of the global tendencies regarding the wearing of the headscarf, it is difficult to define clear guidelines for either the French or Dutch sectors. What is evident, however, is that the francophone vision in Belgium is more clearly aligned with the French model of laïcité, but with a centre/left political force that remains relatively open on the question. We can observe the same kind of paradox in the Flemish-speaking sector: the model that is followed is a more flexible version of that found in AngloSaxon countries, but despite this, the political force of the right remains in favour of the ban, as much in education as in administration. The paradox is also reflected in the administration: while the principle of neutrality for public officials is expected by law, there are no uniform practices that occur in administrations (both Flemish and Frenchspeaking) in terms of allowing or banning the headscarf. 56  The media often discusses the favourable reception of this recommendation, and it is clearly stated that after being examined, it was ‘approved’. Édouard Delruelle, however, co-rapporteur for RTI explains: ‘The state will never adopt this Charter of Citizenship. The various political parties and the various entities of the country (federal state, regional) will never be able to agree on the text itself.’ Édouard Delruelle, ‘Du “Commissariat royal aux Inmigrés” aux “Assises de l’interculturalité”: 20 ans de débats publics sur l’intégration’, in Les Assises de l’interculturalité: The Round Tables on Interculturalism, ed. Marie-Claire Foblets and Jean-Philippe Schreiber (Brussels: Larcier, 2013), p. 36. 57  See also Hugues Dumont and Xavier Delgrange, ‘Le principe de pluralisme face à la question du voile islamique en Belgique’, Droit et société 68 (2008): p. 75. Note also that during an interview, in response to being asked to cite a particularly pertinent recommendation of the CID, Maria Arena, former Minister of Equal Opportunity, stated: ‘They are all pertinent. Thirty recommendations, that’s already an exercise of incredible synthesis. It’s not a hierarchy of recommendations; it’s a puzzle. There are some easier pieces, some more difficult pieces, but we require all of the pieces in order to solve the puzzle.’ Alexandre Ansay and Gaëlle Lanotte, ‘Dialogue Interculturel … Les monologues du voisin? Entretien avec Maria Arena’, Agenda interculturel, 269–270 (2009), pp. 2–4. 58  Dominique Berns, ‘L’État n’appuie pas assez le dialogue entre communautés’, Le Soir, 10 March 2004. 59  Felice Dassetto, ‘Exorcisme interculturel’, La Libre Belgique, 6 June 2005, accessed 14 November 2015, 60  For the reactions of the political parties to the interim report, see Martine Vandemeulebroucke, ‘Le rapport discuté au Sénat: Des lectures très divergentes’, Le Soir, 10 December 2004, accessed 8 November 2015, 61  Ricardo Gutierrez, ‘Des Assises pour une société plus ouverte’, Le Soir, 19 September 2009, accessed 9 November 2015, 62  Very few articles explicitly cover this issue, but the findings are significant. Only 7 out of 189 articles mention these resignations, 3 of which were published over 2 consecutive dates (11 and 12 May 2010), while the remaining 4 were published on the same day (9 November 2010), the day after the publication of the report. The journalist Hugues Dorzee published ‘Les Assises de l’interculturalité multiplient les retards et les ratés’ in Le Soir (May 2010), in which he argued that the RTI was doomed to failure, and having obtained the confession of members who were critical of the commission, without naming them, he referred to the lack of independence as the commission was financed and used by the Minister of Equal Opportunity to ‘rally for the cause of its

166   Lefebvre et al immigrant electorate in Brussels and, if possible, to the detriment of SP and Écolo’; the lack of follow-up on the CID boded very badly for the work of the RTI, which would put them in ‘hot water’; the times of the meetings being chosen to accommodate religious obligations (Sunday afternoon). With regard to the four articles published on 9 November 2010, three among them mentioned the resignations only once in passing, and the fourth, entitled ‘Non aux recommandations du rapport qui font le lit des revendications d’ordre religieux’, is an interview with Guy Haarscher, a member of the commission who had resigned because of conditions that restricted the writing of the report, and his opposition to the wearing of religious symbols and reasonable accommodation. 63  Radouane Bouhlal, President of MRAX (Movement against Racism, Anti-Semitism, and Xenophobia) and a member of the commission, would arouse some controversy. He was suspected of a conflict of interest by the Vigilance Collective (April 2010), having also been the founder of the ASBL Halal Guarantee, ‘a control and certification organization for products intended for consumption by Muslims according to Islamic law’. In February 2011, MRAX changed one of its social objectives, eliminating its reference to the Holocaust (the word ‘Nazism’ substituted by ‘genocide’), which seems to have occurred following the controversial recommendation of the RTI. He was asked to resign in August 2012. 64  See ‘Assises interculturalité: le comité de pilotage s’insurge contre les critiques du MR’, L’Avenir, 8 November 2010, accessed 9 November 2015, b41053508101108 65  See article by RM government representatives Denis Ducarme and Daniel Bacquelaine, ‘Le rapport des Assises de l’Interculturalité: une bible pour le communautarisme’, Le Soir, 11 November 2010, accessed 9 November 2015, le-rapport-des-assises-de-l-8217-interculturalite-une-b_t-20101111-014JKM.html 66  Réseau d’action pour la promotion d’un État laïque. 67  See this petition: ‘Non au différentialisme culturel défendu par les Assises de l’interculturalité!’ Available at: 68  We could refer, for example, to Peter Beyer’s work on Post-Westphalian societies who currently find themselves caught in the middle between strongly nationalistic elements and elements that actually foster more flexible identities. Peter Beyer, ‘Socially Engaged Religion in a Post-Westphalian Global Context: Remodeling the Secular/ Religion Distinction’, Sociology of Religion, 73 (2012): pp. 109–129. 69  See Solange Lefebvre, ‘Faire de la diversité un atout: Un défi commun à plusieurs sociétés’, in The Round Tables on Interculturalism, ed. Foblets and Schreiber, p. 79. 70  See Han Entzinger and Peter Scholten, ‘The Interplay of Knowledge Production and Policymaking: A Comparative Analysis of Research and Policy-Making on Migrant Integration in Germany and the Netherlands’, Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis, Research and Practice, 17.1 (2015): pp. 60–74.

9 Control, instrumentalization and co-operation The relationship between law and religion in four national contexts Jean-François Gaudreault-DesBiens and Bertrand Lavoie The aim of this chapter is to analyse how the relationship between law and religion has been understood and conceptualized in the reports of four public commissions which have reflected on the regulation of religious diversity over the past fifteen years or so. Since the beginning of the 2000s, public debates on this particular theme have become increasingly salient in liberal democracies, especially in Western Europe and Canada. Issues pertaining to the wearing of religious symbols in public institutions or in the so-called public sphere, and controversies about reasonable accommodation practices, the place of Islam in secular societies, and the legal meaning of secularism, have consistently been understood as posing serious challenges for democratic contexts. Among others, four of them – Great Britain, France, Quebec and Belgium – have deemed these issues, as well as the social debates they provoke, important enough to establish commissions or working groups to examine them.1 This convergence of data constitutes a unique opportunity for research, since the reports that were released by these commissions reflect on similar questions in admittedly different, but comparable, contexts. Indeed, all the reports seek answers or, more modestly, propose intellectual paths, to better understand the basic conditions for reasonably harmonious social coexistence, and for more efficient and intersubjectively legitimate regulation of the reality of religious diversity in contemporary democracies.2 As stated in many previous chapters in this volume, the British report was published in 2000 by the Commission on the Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain, which was set up in January 1998 by the Runnymede Trust, an independent thinktank devoted to the cause of promoting racial justice in Britain. The commission, which was composed of twenty-two members and one adviser, was chaired by Bhikhu Parekh, professor at the University of Westminster. Its mission was to analyse the state of multi-ethnic Britain as it was in 2000, and to propose ways of counteracting racial discrimination and making the country a confident and vibrant multicultural society.3 In order to achieve that objective, the 434-page report proposes various strategies such as improving anti-discrimination and antiracism policies, promoting a pluralist human rights culture, reshaping national identity, rethinking national history and reducing material inequalities.4 The Parekh Report is also known for proposing a new, less totalizing and more

168   J.-F. Gaudreault-DesBiens and B. Lavoie inclusive representation of Britain’s national identity, defining the country as a ‘community of communities’ (see Chapters 2 and 3). As for the French report, this resulted from the work of the Commission de réflexion sur l’application du principe de laïcité dans la République (Commission of Reflection on the Implementation of the Principle of Laïcité in the Republic) established in July 2003 in response to long-standing debates about the wearing of religious symbols in public schools (see Chapter 5). Bernard Stasi, a former centrist politician, led this commission of eighteen members. Its 78-page report provided a history of the battle over the State’s religious neutrality in France from the French Revolution to the present, and addressed the question of Islam from various angles: economic inequalities, lack of integration, religious practices in the public sphere, and so on. The report makes many suggestions, such as fighting against racism and anti-Semitism, rethinking the national school curriculum to include proper education about colonization and decolonization, establishing an anti-discrimination board, making Yom Kippur and Eid-El-Kebir national holidays in all French schools, and banning religious symbols in public schools. As pointed out by many authors in this book, this last recommendation, which was somewhat predictably enacted as law in 2004, drew the world’s attention to the Stasi Report (see Chapters 4 and 5). The Quebec report was released in 2008 by the Consultative Commission on Accommodation Practices Related to Cultural Differences, which was instituted in February 2007 by the Quebec government in response to public discontent over the accommodation of religious practices.5 Sociologist Gérard Bouchard and philosopher Charles Taylor chaired the commission. Its mandate was, first of all, to take stock of religious accommodation practices in Quebec and to analyse the attendant issues, bearing in mind the experience of other societies. Second, the commission was to formulate recommendations for the government, to help ensure that accommodation practices conformed to Quebec’s values as a pluralistic, democratic and egalitarian society. The report made various recommendations, emphasizing the need to fight discrimination and defend ‘open secularism’ as well as interculturalism as a sociocultural model of integration.6 It also proposed guidelines for evaluating reasonable accommodation requests (see Chapter 1). Finally, the Belgian report was released in 2010, as a result of a consultative process launched in 2008 at the initiative of former Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Joëlle Milquet. The commission was chaired by Marie-Claire Foblets and Christine Kulakowski, and sought to address a series of specific questions raised by the need for peaceful coexistence within Belgian society. It proposed taking stronger measures against discrimination in employment contexts, considering the integration of the principle of reasonable accommodation in Belgian law, banning religious symbols for pupils enrolled in the first three years of secondary school, and revisiting the list of public holidays to reflect the pluralist character of Belgian society (see Chapter 7). There are several overlapping themes between the four reports, but an important one that stands out is the need for strong protection of freedom of religion,

Law and religion in four national contexts    169 albeit one shaped by national specificities. For instance, the Parekh Report emphasizes the ‘culture of human rights’ and the necessity of connecting the legal protection of freedom of religion to an anti-racism policy.7 The Stasi Report highlights the importance given to the protection of freedom of conscience in France’s 1905 law on the separation of Church and State.8 The Bouchard–Taylor Report also emphasizes the strong legal protection granted to freedom of religion in the Canadian and Quebec charters of rights and freedoms,9 while the Foblets– Kulakowski report anchors the protection of freedom of religion in both the Belgian and European legal orders.10 This chapter analyses the conceptualization of the relationship between law and religion in the four aforementioned reports, especially with regard to the role of State law in the regulation of religious diversity. Our analysis has revealed that the reports envisage the interplay between State law and religion in the light of three predominant patterns of interaction. These patterns are not entirely unexpected; rather, it is how the commissions justified their reliance on one or the other, or navigated between them, that proved more interesting in this study. Thus, the focus of our analysis consists of the predominant regulatory narratives that are constitutive elements of reasoning templates for legal justifications.11 The first pattern sheds light on what boils down to a relationship of control (I). This relationship emphasizes the hierarchical primacy of State law as a tool that can be used to control religion, with a view to ensuring some form of systemic security from the perspective of positive legal order. It posits that State law must prevail over religious norms if the State deems such prevalence necessary. It thus presupposes the legitimacy of using State law’s power to tame religion, so to speak. Such a pattern is predominant in the French report, while it is simply discussed in the Quebec and Belgian reports. It plays a much less significant role in the British report. The second pattern highlights the influence of an instrumental conception of the State law/religion interplay (II). This perspective does not care about the law in and of itself, but rather about how and when to use it. Law is thus instrumentalized for purposes other than the regulation of religion per se, such as nation-building and the promotion of a strong or militant version of secularism. As is the case with power relations, this pattern is predominant in the French report and is discussed in the Quebec and Belgian reports, while being of lesser significance in the British report. The third type of pattern understands the relationship between law and religion as a co-operative and pragmatic one. From this viewpoint, law is envisaged as a vehicle for co-operation with religion (III). The purpose here is to reconcile the regulation of religion with a strong commitment to the legal recognition and tolerance of religious groups. This type of relationship is predominant in the British report, is discussed in the Quebec and Belgian reports, but is much less important in the French report. Even though the regulatory patterns considered were somewhat predictable and indeed confirmed the expectations we had about the modes of regulation favoured in the countries examined, the regulatory strategies proposed may nevertheless take on a counter-cultural, subversive dimension. For example, in Belgium, some proposals appear to have been made with the specific awareness

170  J.-F. Gaudreault-DesBiens and B. Lavoie that they would provoke controversy.12 In the same way, Quebec’s report may, paradoxically, be characterized as countercultural or at least counterintuitive, as its defence of reasonable accommodation, while superficially being one of status quo, goes against public opinion overwhelmingly opposed to reasonable accommodation. Interestingly, this triangular modelisation (control–instrumentalisation–co-operation) partly echoes Mireille Delmas-Marty’s hypothesis that the three main configurations of the interplay between State and non-State legal orders are separation, subordination and coordination.13 While interesting, this classification could arguably be refined by integrating the reasons explaining the choice of one configuration over another. For instance, a State legal order’s blatant indifference toward a non-State legal order is different from the situation that arises when the former rejects the latter based on moral reasons, even if, at the end of the day, the two positions may result in a configuration characterized by separation or subordination of such legal orders.

Controlling religion: a relationship of power The first approach observed in the reports revolves around the control of religion through the promotion of a monistic, State-centred conception of the law, defended on the basis of an alleged need to protect public order from religious encroachments. Emphasis is placed, to varying degrees, on the necessity of adopting so-called clear or bright line rules in this respect. Most of the time, such proposals serve to implement various forms of restrictions on the freedom of religion. The law and the role of the State Legal universalism provides an initial justification for the establishment of a relationship of power between State law and religion. According to James Tully, the belief that law requires ‘uniformity’ was part of the development of Western liberal constitutional thought, especially during the nineteenth century.14 Such legal monism was predictably deaf to any demand for the recognition of group rights15 and, a fortiori, for the recognition of non-State legal orders.16 The reason for this attitude was that State law was perceived as hierarchically superior to any other form of law, including religious law. Non-State legal orders were simply not conceptualized as law and were, at best, judicially unenforceable moral obligations. Local State laws were also presented as expressing the particular genius of a national community, and were thus posited as ontologically distinct from foreign laws. Nineteenth-century legal nationalism mandated this process of differentiation, which implied a territorialisation of legal minds. For example, A. V. Dicey’s famous reconstruction of British public law takes place against the backdrop of continental European public law regimes, envisaged as antimodels.17 Such representations not only legitimized the rejection of foreign legal models, often deemed inferior to local ones, but also reinforced the superficial validity of arguments in favour of legal centralization within nation-states,18 as

Law and religion in four national contexts    171 centralization presupposes the presence of an ‘unformed constituent power’ – i.e. the people united under the laws of a particular nation-state.19 Inevitably, in such a context, the four reports under study also address the centralist claim of ‘one law for all’, which has tended to permeate debates regarding the regulation of religious diversity.20 This idea strongly influences the Stasi Report, which asserts that France’s ‘political philosophy was grounded on the idea of defending the unity of the body politic. This concern for uniformity prevailed over any expression of difference, which was perceived as a threat.’21 Since French legal ideology connects legal monism, in which André-Jean Arnaud sees one of the ‘illusions of modern law’,22 to legal universalism, which is a founding pillar of what Peter Fitzpatrick calls the ‘mythology of modern law’,23 it is no surprise that the very idea of a legal recognition of religious differences is a non sequitur in that country. This ideology is supplemented in France by the myth of the ‘rational legislator’, which seeks to legitimize, at a pre-political level, laws adopted in the name of the public good and deemed to accurately reflect the social context in which they will be applied.24 From such a perspective, the French report predictably criticizes some court rulings perceived as unduly infringing on legislative decisions regarding the regulation of religion,25 while somehow preparing the ground for further restrictive legislative interventions. What is elsewhere characterized as the ‘dialogue’ between courts and legislatures26 is viewed as illegitimate and is conceptualized negatively as evidence of a form of a ‘government of judges’.27 While present in the four reports, the concept of public order is particularly salient in two – the French and Belgian reports – and to a slightly lesser extent in the Quebec report. This feature can be attributed to the link of these countries to the civil law tradition. In that legal tradition, the notion of ‘public order’,28 as distinguished from ‘good mores’ (bonnes mœurs), historically relied on a material conception revolving around three specific axes: peace, health and public safety.29 This material conception required that alleged threats to public order had to be reasonably tangible rather than merely symbolic in nature. However, recent developments, particularly in countries partly or entirely sharing France’s legal heritage, have been putting forward a broader (and arguably shallower) immaterial conception of public order, organized around the following three components: morality, dignity and ‘living-together’.30 For instance, the first question that the Quebec report asks about the legal recognition of religious claims is whether or not those claims infringe public order.31 The French report states practically the same thing: ‘manifestations of freedom of conscience may be limited if they threaten public order’,32 but it goes a step further, as some religious manifestations are perceived as clearly and inherently threatening to public order.33 Actually, the French report generally tends to depict religious claims as putting society to the test. In a more or less similar way, the Belgian report portrays many religious claims as having given rise to ‘public controversies’, especially in scholastic contexts.34 Nuancing that representation, the Quebec report highlights the social construction of ‘crises’ over religious claims, and emphasizes the idea of ‘conciliation’ between religious dogma and civil laws.35

172  J.-F. Gaudreault-DesBiens and B. Lavoie Adopting strong guidelines When religion is deemed a problem, if not an outright threat, State intervention is warranted to draw a ‘clear and strong line for all of us’.36 So-called clear rules, i.e. rules with easily predictable applications, are among the solutions put forward by the reports,37 albeit being subject to variations. For example, the British report emphasizes the need to adopt clear rules only in situations where cultural or religious practices are deemed contrary to the values underlying basic human rights.38 At the other end of the spectrum, the French report does not restrict its call for clear rules to such a narrow compass. In some circumstances, the laws themselves were criticized for having allegedly provoked the controversies, particularly those arising in school settings,39 which prompted the establishment of the commissions. In fact, the uncertainties created by permissive legal approaches constitute the main target of the critiques levelled, especially case-bycase approaches perceived as being ineffective.40 Perhaps influenced by the province’s mixed legal tradition (civil and common law), the Quebec report does not outright reject casuistic approaches, but argues instead that pre-existing and reasonably clear guidelines should be adopted in order to better frame individualized decision-making processes.41 The Belgian report more or less adopts the same logic. The French report’s response represents a different, more radical approach. The casuistic approach, that had been upheld by the Conseil d’État in 1989 following debates raised by the presence of religious symbols in schools, has indeed been deemed unhelpful to local actors such as school principals, because it allegedly leads to uncertainty and may open the door to potentially arbitrary decisions. Somewhat predictably, given the country’s common law heritage, the British report does not depict casuistry as the source of all evil, but it does call for the adoption of guidelines for deciding religious claims by promoting a body of values based on human rights principles. This provides, for the report, a valuable framework for handling differences. Yet, it foremost emphasizes the need to foster a culture where the mutual respect of human rights flourishes.42 Under that view, a legislative intervention is legitimate if it promotes that culture. In contrast, the other reports seem to envisage legislative interventions as prima facie legitimate, provided they are adopted for the sake of promoting the public good. As such, the law is viewed as generating values in and of itself – i.e. authority and uniformity. The emphasis of some reports on the need to adopt clear rules is interesting in many respects. Indeed, such rules are understood as constraining, if not eliminating outright, the local actors’ margin of appreciation. In this way, problems arising in very specific contexts are somehow ‘nationalized’, under the guise of not leaving local actors alone with problems that are posited as being beyond their normative reach.43 Under that view, national – or if one prefers another moniker – universal answers are perceived as ‘concrete’, ‘strong’ and ‘clear’, while flexible and more localized uses of the law’s resources are on the contrary depicted as ‘vague’, ‘weak’ and ‘uncertain’.44 In other words, top-down solutions are to be preferred to bottom-up ones. Although the French report most heavily relies on that type of argument, the Belgian report also uses it to some extent.45

Law and religion in four national contexts    173 What bears noting here is that calls for clear rules almost inevitably lead to proposals for the stricter monitoring of religious behaviours by the State. Clear rules seem to be inherently slanted in favour of the State, deemed to represent the larger political community, against religion, most often in relation to minority religious groups. That type of bias remains largely non-problematized. State neutrality represents a potent illustration of such a bias. For example, the Belgian report argues that the protection of State neutrality may justify the ban on religious signs worn by young pupils in schools.46 As well, the French report assumes that public agents must refrain from wearing religious symbols if State neutrality is to be preserved.47 The Quebec report adopts the same presupposition, when it recommends that public agents who are in positions of authority (police officers, judges and the speaker of the legislative assembly) should not wear religious signs.48 Yet, this specifically remains a presupposition grounded on a petition of principle. Under such views, neutrality seems to be entirely determined by the appearance of the decision-maker, a rather simplistic take on this complex notion, with which philosophers and lawyers have been wrestling for decades. It is particularly interesting to observe here that although they invoke the need for clear rules, these reports rarely delve into hard questions when advocating for the enactment of such rules. For example, they fail to note that the determination of a rule’s clarity often presupposes imposing a particular interpretation over competing ones.49 Saying that a rule is clear thus becomes an act of authority – in and of itself, which raises questions about the identities of those who exercise that authority, the modes by which they exercise it, as well as the position of those upon whom it is exercised. In other words, such an approach largely obscures the asymmetrical creation of externalities to which it is likely to lead. What it relies upon is, in the end, rather simple: power, more specifically that of a State seeking to control how a particular type of competing legal order enforces its rules for its adherents, or how its adherents subjectively understand and actualize the demands of the latter.

The uses of law: an instrumental relationship The second pattern noticeable in the reports evinces an instrumental relationship towards the law, where the latter is used for promoting common values and a strong conception of secularism. In this pattern, the regulation of religious diversity represents a kind of afterthought, the law’s primary mission being to produce sociality through secularism, in addition to being a nation-building tool. Legal strategies seeking to foster integration are often considered as appropriate in view of promoting the desired form of national identity. Law and national identity In a recent article, Benjamin L. Berger argues that debates in Western democracies over the past few years have framed respect for State law, especially the principle of secularism, as a condition of civic integration.50 This study of the four

174  J.-F. Gaudreault-DesBiens and B. Lavoie reports confirms this premise. Indeed, all the reports propose using State law with a view to promoting particular forms of national identity. Expressing scepticism about constitutional patriotism as a nation-building tool, the Quebec report rejects the view that a purely civic-legal understanding of citizenship is enough for the construction of a national identity. According to its authors, the idea of a society based solely on an individual’s adherence to legal principles, such as equality, is ‘very abstract’ – all communities ‘need a few strong symbols that serve as a bonding agent and a rallying point, sustain solidarity beyond cold reason and underpin its integration’.51 The Belgian report makes similar recommendations regarding the need for a dialogue between individuals who share different religious and cultural backgrounds. Religious diversity is perceived as positive, but only if it expresses itself in the context of a ‘meaningful dialogue between individuals and communities’.52 However, the French report goes beyond that. Not only does it view the law as a tool for promoting common values (and thus national unity), it holds that mere proposals for fostering dialogue through other means are insufficient and that stronger – i.e. coercive, measures are sometimes necessary. And since law is a tool for maintaining national unity, so are the basic identity-related features of the nation’s legal order. From this perspective, the legal principle of laïcité is envisaged as ‘the foundation of national unity, [which] must be known and respected by all who live in our land’.53 This statement falls in line with the statute-centred approach traditionally associated with French legal culture. In addition to considering State law as the social cement necessary to prevent centrifugal dynamics, the French, Quebec and Belgian reports emphasize the role of secularism as a central dimension of national identity. Secularism’s main objective, which presupposes the religious neutrality of the State, can be broadly understood as the protection of freedom of conscience and the promotion of the principle of equality among religions and religious beliefs.54 However, this consensus about secularism means little, as both the definition and reach of secularism remain contentious, especially regarding the wearing of religious symbols in public institutions. On one hand, the Quebec report envisages secularism as pursuing two main goals – namely, moral equality and freedom of religion. In that sense, it proposes a conception of secularism that seeks to be ‘open’.55 In essence, this concept means that while institutions must be neutral, individuals are irreducible to such institutions and their freedom of religion should therefore be respected to the largest extent possible. Under that view, State law is certainly considered as a tool for fostering secularism, but it can be applied flexibly. One-size-fits-all legislative approaches are not valued as panaceas. At the other end of the spectrum, the French report proposes a stronger interpretation of secularism, which is presented as a value consubstantial to the ‘Republican Compact’, and, as such, mandatory for national cohesion.56 The scope of State law in fostering such a stronger conception of secularism then becomes broader, and exceptions to the general legal regime are to be resisted as expressions of communitarianism’s Trojan horse. In other words, the stronger the understanding of secularism, the more State law must be abstract and inflexible.

Law and religion in four national contexts    175 Adopting measures for improving integration All the reports present religious diversity as being important for democratic societies. Different models of sociocultural integration are discussed, from multiculturalism in the British report to interculturalism in the Quebec and Belgian reports, as well as the concept of integration in the French report. Multiculturalism, as a politics of diversity, is understood as challenging the model of assimilation, since it promotes a right to difference and the protection of minorities.57 On the other hand, interculturalism is understood as requiring the prior recognition of a ‘host society’,58 which is the sine qua non condition for the establishment of a dialogue between the majority and minority groups.59 Somewhat predictably, all the reports value social pluralism, as long as vectors of diversity partake in a common and shared identity. For instance, the Quebec report argues that religious diversity cannot trump the promotion of the French language and gender equality.60 The French report tends to associate religious diversity with ‘communitarianism’, a pejorative code word for the fragmentation of the Republic.61 The mission attributed to State law is thus to fight ideologies and behaviours that allegedly promote communitarian projects.62 The same fear is lurking, albeit less conspicuously, in the Belgian report, which places significant emphasis on school settings as loci of socialization, notably with a view to furthering gender equality.63 In this respect, three reports out of four – the British report being the exception – share the view that religious claims challenging gender equality in the demand for, and offer of, public services cannot be justified, as is particularly the case in educational services. The French report even argues that some religious claims not only disrupt the delivery of public services, but threaten their future, as understood from a Republican standpoint.64 Another underlying theme of the Quebec, French and Belgian reports is the cultural insecurity of the majority group in each society. This sentiment, which features prominently in those reports, is widespread in many Western democracies, where it increasingly drives political discourse.65 This feeling of cultural frailty inevitably induces governments to take action, both concretely and symbolically, so as to assuage the fears of majority groups, be they well founded or not. In that process, values primarily associated with majority groups are often deemed common to all and in need of being encouraged through State intervention. Secularism, being one such value, thus needs to be defended against religious threats, even if this means restricting individual freedoms. The sense of emergency is particularly salient in the French report, which posits that ‘secularism is in danger’, and talks about ‘a permanent guerrilla against secularism’.66 Several strategies are considered to tackle this problem, from the adoption of a charter of secularism to the giving of information about secularism in various settings, such as in naturalization processes. The Belgian and Quebec reports also stress the need to address majoritarian fears.

176   J.-F. Gaudreault-DesBiens and B. Lavoie

Seeking a balance: a co-operative and pragmatic relationship The third type of relationship between law and religion that is observable in the reports is one characterized by co-operation and pragmatism. The promotion of a flexible use of legal tools, and of an understanding of religious pluralism as an opportunity rather than a challenge, are important steps forward in view of uniting the sometimes competing demands of State law and religion. Law and the protection of religious diversity In this pragmatic and co-operative relationship between law and religion, the law is viewed as serving various purposes, from the regulation of religious diversity to its promotion and protection.67 The four reports also emphasize the role of law in the fight against discrimination, particularly in the areas of employment and professional integration. In stark contrast with critiques of legal flexibility levelled elsewhere in the reports, the flexible application of the law is herein commended, which heralds a shift from a formalist approach to law to one of ‘living law’.68 The Quebec and British reports are the ones that delve more extensively into these questions, with an explicit discussion of soft law-based strategies. Both reports indeed entertain the idea that norms can effectively regulate religion even when no formal sanction is attached to them.69 They suggest the need to look for flexibility and concerted adjustment, a hybrid notion that designates agreements that acknowledge the need for some form of accommodation, but that have no legal foundation and are thus nonbinding. Such adjustments are handled in the citizenship sphere as opposed to formal accommodations which are dealt with in the judicial sphere.70 That type of distinction is absent from the French report, which promotes a ‘clear and strong application’ of State law.71 This idea of a flexible use of the law seems to respond to the need to consider the fact that norms and rules often reflect the cultural values or choices of majorities,72 sometimes with discriminatory effects. The Quebec report directly addresses this question: ‘under certain circumstances, a statute or a norm can adversely affect an individual or a category of people who display a trait for which the statute or norm makes no provision. All societies tend to legislate for the majority, and it follows that legislation is never truly neutral.’73 Since local actors must bear in mind both the occurrence of such asymmetries and the idea of promoting religious diversity when making decisions, their responsibility becomes very significant in this respect.74 Adopting anti-discrimination measures A co-operative relationship between law and religion relies on the idea that subState communities can play a significant role in translating the reciprocal demands of one realm into the other. This idea is central in the British report, which acknowledges that ‘ethnic and religious communities play a great role in the civil society’75. In this respect, the Quebec report also ascertains the situation

Law and religion in four national contexts    177 to be under control. What is striking here is that religious pluralism is no longer perceived as a threat to the national community. Moreover, the word ‘communities’ is connoted positively in three of the four reports (with the exception of the French one), as a way to underline the role of various grassroots communities. For the British report, ‘faith communities engage the energies of substantial numbers of people, mainly on a voluntary basis and at local levels, and motivate them to work for the greater social good’.76 In a way, such communities serve as translators from their members to the State and vice versa. In all four reports, diversity is valued, and democratic societies are given the mission of protecting and promoting their inherent pluralism. It is no surprise, then, that the main recommendations evincing this co-operative relationship between law and religion concern the promotion of religious and cultural diversity, and the need to strengthen anti-discrimination and anti-racism measures. All four reports overlap in this respect; they consider various strategies to fight discrimination, from political to legal ones. Measures like public education, affirmative action or reasonable accommodation are thus envisaged, but not promoted in all the reports.77 Interestingly, semantic-normative confusions occasionally surface. For example, the French report, referring to Quebec law, uses the concept of ‘reasonable accommodation’ to designate the accommodation of majority preferences by minority religious groups.78 However, the concept of reasonable accommodation, as applied in Quebec, is the exact opposite of that description, as it seeks to accommodate, either on the basis of equality rights or freedom of religion, minority concerns in contexts where majoritarian norms otherwise prevail.

Conclusion: tension between a permissive and a restrictive approach to religion A study of the four reports from the perspective of the relationship between law and religion, to some extent, supports the old saying, ‘The devil is in the details.’ Indeed, while there is general agreement at the theoretical level – all reports value religious pluralism and provide a strong normative defence of freedom of religion – they clearly depart from each other with regard to the practical conclusions to be drawn from these initial assumptions. Should a permissive or restrictive philosophy inspire the regulation of religion? What types of reasons can justify limitations to religious freedoms? Actually, the liberalism that superficially characterizes the reports, except perhaps the French one, is strongly mitigated in practice, but less so in the British report. The reports are infused with tension between permissive and restrictive approaches to religion, as are public debates on the question in Western democracies. This tension reveals itself through a constant oscillation between control, instrumentalization and co-operation as regulatory strategies. The control option appears more prominently in the French, Belgian and, to a lesser extent, Quebec reports. It is hard to resist explaining this convergence according to their shared affiliation to the civil law tradition which, at least in states associated with the influence of French civil law, tends to prefer top-down,

178  J.-F. Gaudreault-DesBiens and B. Lavoie abstract, regulatory solutions over casuistic ones. In this respect, the Quebec report tends to reflect the province’s mixed legal heritage, by not rejecting casuistry as vigorously as its French and Belgian counterparts. As well, these three reports are less reticent than the British one to resort to the State’s normative arsenal to propose restrictions to religious freedom – i.e. to control religion, notably on the basis of symbolic concerns. Granted, the legal tradition variable cannot explain everything, but it is worth noting these family resemblances. For instance, as Robert Cover so aptly noted, a legal tradition: includes not only a corpus juris, but also a language and a mythos – narratives in which the corpus juris is located by those who will act upon it. These myths establish the paradigms for behaviour. They build relations between the normative and the material universe, between the constraints of reality and the demands of an ethic. These myths establish a repertoire of move – a lexicon of normative action – that may be combined into meaningful patterns culled from the meaningful patterns of the past.79 In this respect, and in relation to our study, control as a normative action seems to be more fashionable in reports drafted by commissions operating in jurisdictions entirely or partly influenced by the civil law tradition.

Notes   1  The four reports are the following: Bhikhu Parekh and Runnymede Trust Commission on the Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain. The Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain: The Parekh Report (London: Profile Books, 2000); Bernard Stasi et al., Commission de réflexion sur l’application du principe de laïcité dans la République: Rapport au Président de la République (Paris: La Documentation française, 2003); Gérard Bouchard and Charles Taylor. Commission de consultation sur les pratiques d’accommodement reliées aux différences culturelles, Building the Future: A Time for Reconciliation (Quebec City: Gouvernement du Québec, 2008); Marie-Claire Foblets, Christine Kulakowski et al., Les Assises de l’Interculturalité [The Round Tables on Interculturalism] (Brussels: Ministère de l’Emploi et de l’Égalité des Chances, 2010).   2  For an interdisciplinary collection of essays on such questions, see Le droit, la religion et le “raisonnable”. Le fait religieux entre monisme et pluralisme, ed. Jean-François Gaudreault-DesBiens (Montreal: Éditions Thémis, 2009).   3  Parekh, The Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain, p. ix.   4  The Parekh Report departs from the three others on various issues, such as the dynamic of majority–minority relationships and questions pertaining to national security. It bears noting, however, that this report was released in 2000 – i.e. before the events of 11 September 2001.   5  For a socio-legal analysis, see Jean-François Gaudreault-DesBiens, ‘Religious Challenges to the Secularized Identity of an Insecure Polity: A Tentative Sociology of Québec’s Reasonable Accommodation Debate’, in Legal Practice and Cultural Diversity, ed. Ralph Grillo et al. (London: Ashgate, 2009), p. 151.   6  Gérard Bouchard, Interculturalism: A View from Quebec (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2015).   7  Parekh, The Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain, pp. 92, 311.   8  Stasi et al., Commission de réflexion, p. 14.

Law and religion in four national contexts    179   9  Bouchard and Taylor, Building the Future, p. 105. 10  Foblets and Kulakowski, Les Assises de l’interculturalité, p. 78. 11  The notion of a reasoning template designates a foundational preconception that participates in structuring a legal tradition’s episteme – thus a relationship to its deep conventions – and that somewhat regulates the acceptability, within that tradition, of a justification. See Jean-François Gaudreault-DesBiens, ‘Underlying Principles and the Migration of Reasoning Templates: A Trans-Systemic Reading of the Quebec Secession Reference’, in The Migration of Constitutional Ideas, ed. Sujit Choudhry (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), p. 178. 12  We are indebted to Nadia Fadil for drawing our attention to this fact. 13  Mireille Delmas-Marty, Le pluralisme ordonné (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1996). 14  James Tully, Strange Multiplicity Constitutionalism in an Age of Diversity (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2005). 15  For a theory of group rights, see Will Kymlicka, ‘The Rights of Minority Cultures’, Political Theory 20.1 (1992): pp. 140–146. Legal and theoretical monism can be seen as a pitfall of totalitarian conceptualization that attempts to fit a pluralist reality into a unique concept. See Jean Leclair, ‘Les périls du totalisme conceptuel en droit et en sciences sociales’, Lex Electronica 14.1 (2009): pp. 1–18. 16  See Peter Fitzpatrick, The Mythology of Modern Law (London and New York: Routledge, 1992); Jacques Lenoble and François Ost, Droit, mythe et raison. Essai sur la dérive mytho-logique de la rationalité juridique (Brussels: Publications des Facultés Universitaires Saint-Louis, 1980). 17  See Fitzpatrick, The Mythology of Modern Law. 18  James Tully, ‘Modern Constitutional Democracy and Imperialism’, Osgoode Hall Law Journal 46 (2008): p. 446. 19  Ibid., p. 469. 20  Benjamin L. Berger, ‘Belonging to Law: Religious Difference, Secularism, and the Conditions of Civic Inclusion’, Social & Legal Studies 24.1 (2015): pp. 47–63. 21  Stasi et al., Commission de réflexion, p. 17. Please note that all foreign language texts have been translated by the authors. 22  André-Jean Arnaud, ‘Droit et société : du constat à la construction d’un champ commun’, Droit et Société 20.1 (1992): p. 37. 23  Fitzpatrick, The Mythology of Modern Law. 24  François Ost and Michel Van de Kerchove, Jalons pour une théorie critique du droit (Bruxelles: Publications des Facultés universitaires Saint-Louis, 1987), p. 102. 25  Stasi et al., Commission de réflexion, p. 29. The French report refers to the State Council’s 1989 opinion which states that the principle of secularism in French public law does not mandate any ban on the wearing of religious symbols in public schools: CE, October 27, 1989, no. 386893, Avis “Port du foulard islamique”. 26  Peter W. Hogg and Allison A. Bushell, ‘The Charter Dialogue between Courts and Legislature (Or Perhaps the Charter of Rights Isn’t Such a Bad Thing after All)’, Osgoode Hall Law Journal 35.1 (1997): pp. 76–124. 27  For a discussion about the legitimacy of this dialogue, see Luc B. Tremblay, ‘The Legitimacy of Judicial Review: The Limits of Dialogue between Courts and Legislatures’, International Journal of Constitutional Law 3.4 (2005): pp. 617–648. 28  The notion of public order tends to be stronger than its common law equivalent, public policy. See Jean-François Gaudreault-DesBiens and Noura Karazivan, ‘The “Public” and the “Private” in the Common Law and Civil Law Traditions and the Regulation of Religion’, in Religion in Public Spaces: A European Perspective, ed. Silvio Ferrari and Sabrina Pastorelli (Farnham, UK: Ashgate, 2012), p. 93. 29  Maurice Hauriou, Précis de droit administratif et de droit public (Paris: Recueil Sirey, 1927), p. 445.

180  J.-F. Gaudreault-DesBiens and B. Lavoie 30  Rim-Sarah Alouane, ‘Bas les masques! Unveiling Muslim Women on Behalf of the Protection of Public Order: Reflections on the Legal Controversies Around A Novel Definition of “Public Order” Used to Ban Full-Face Covering in France’, in The Experiences of Face Veil Wearers in Europe and the Law, ed. Eva Brems (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014), p. 199. 31  Bouchard and Taylor, Building the Future, p. 159. 32  Stasi et al., Commission de réflexion, p. 25. 33  Ibid., pp. 29, 59. 34  Foblets and Kulakowski, Les Assises de l’interculturalité, p. 44. 35  Bouchard and Taylor, Building the Future, p. 251. 36  Stasi et al., Commission de réflexion, p. 55. 37  Ibid., p. 66. The French report directly refers to ‘clear rules’. For its part, the Quebec Bouchard–Taylor Report discusses the need for guidelines. 38  Parekh, The Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain, p. 54. Examples of such practices are female genital mutilation, forced marriages, cruel punishments inflicted on children, or unequal treatments targeting women. 39  Foblets and Kulakowski, Les Assises de l'interculturalité, p. 45. 40  Stasi et al., Commission de réflexion, p. 3. 41  Bouchard and Taylor, Building the Future, p. 168. 42  Parekh, The Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain, p. 100. 43  Stasi et al., Commission de réflexion, p. 31. 44  Stasi et al., Commission de réflexion, p. 3; Bouchard and Taylor, Building the Future, p. 95; Foblets and Kulakowski, Les Assises de l'interculturalité, p. 45. 45  Foblets and Kulakowski, Les Assises de l'interculturalité, p. 23: ‘Up to now, the legislature has always chosen not to take any initiatives itself and to leave it up to the schools themselves to set their own policy. This legislative hesitation has not simplified matters.’ 46  Foblets and Kulakowski, Les Assises de l'interculturalité, p. 78. 47  Stasi et al., Commission de réflexion, p. 21. 48  Bouchard and Taylor, Building the Future, p. 150. 49  Michel Van de Kerchove, ‘Le sens clair d’un texte: argument de raison ou d’autorité?’ in Arguments d’autorité et arguments de raison en droit, ed. Guy Haarsher and Léon Ingber (Brussels: Éditions Némésis, 1988), p. 291. 50  Berger, ‘Belonging to Law’. 51  Bouchard and Taylor, Building the Future, p. 123. 52  Foblets and Kulakowski, Les Assises de l'interculturalité, p. 10. 53  Stasi et al., Commission de réflexion, p. 4. 54  Jocelyn Maclure and Charles Taylor, Secularism and Freedom of Conscience (Harvard: Harvard University Press, 2011). 55  Bouchard and Taylor, Building the Future, p. 148. 56  Stasi et al., Commission de réflexion, p. 69. 57  Will Kymlicka, Multicultural Odysseys: Navigating the International Politics of Diversity (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007). 58  Charles Taylor, ‘Interculturalism or Multiculturalism?’ Philosophy and Social Criticism 38.4/5 (2012): 413–423; Luc B. Tremblay, ‘The Bouchard-Taylor Report on Cultural and Religious Accommodation: Multiculturalism by Any Other Name?’ Review of Constitutional Studies/Revue d’études constitutionnelles 15.1 (2010): pp. 35–76. 59  Bouchard and Taylor, Building the Future. 60  Ibid., p. 165. 61  Stasi et al., Commission de réflexion, p. 7. 62  Ibid., p. 35. 63  Foblets and Kulakowski, Les Assises de l’interculturalité, p. 22. 64  Stasi et al., Commission de réflexion, p. 40; Bouchard and Taylor, Building the Future, p. 252; Foblets and Kulakowski, Les Assises de l'interculturalité, p. 39.

Law and religion in four national contexts    181 65  Gaudreault-DesBiens, ‘Religious Challenges to the Secularized Identity’. 66  Stasi et al., Commission de réflexion, pp. 37, 44. 67  Bouchard and Taylor, Building the Future, p. 128. 68  Parekh, The Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain, p. 95. 69  Bouchard and Taylor, Building the Future, p. 64. 70  Ibid., 64–65. 71  Stasi et al., Commission de réflexion, p. 44. 72  Bhiku Parekh, ‘Multicultural Society and Convergence of Identities’, in The Ties that Bind: Accommodating Diversity in Canada and the European Union, ed. John Erik Fossum, Johanne Poirier, and Paul Magnette (Brussels: P.I.E. Peter Lang, 2009), p. 37. 73  Bouchard and Taylor, Building the Future, p. 64. 74  Ibid., 252. 75  Parekh, The Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain, p. 235. 76  Ibid., 235. 77  Parekh, The Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain, 92; Stasi et al., Commission de réflexion, p. 49; Bouchard and Taylor, Building the Future, p. 235; Foblets and Kulakowski, Les Assises de l'interculturalité, p. 11. 78  Stasi et al., Commission de réflexion, p. 16. 79  Robert M. Cover, ‘Foreword: Nomos and Narrative’, Harvard Law Review 97 (1983): pp. 4, 9.

10 Globalizations of a common discourse The United Kingdom and Quebec compared in the context of four national commissions on diversity Peter Beyer and Marie-Ève Larivière The global social context of the countries and the reports The global social context since the end of the Second World War has been ­characterized by a significant and rapid intensification of worldwide communication. This has taken many forms, including the far greater development of communication technologies, of economic activity and relations, and of the sovereign political state system to cover almost the entire land mass on the planet. A particular manifestation of this intensification has been an increase in continuous global migration, both in relation to the number of people migrating on a more or less permanent basis from one region or country to another, and with respect to the multiple directions that this migration flow has taken.1 There has been a sharp and sustained increase in migration from many parts of the world to many others, resulting in unprecedented degrees and types of localized diversity, in particular cultural and religious diversity. The resulting increase in diversity has had a number of consequences. Important among these is the fact that, in many places – including but not limited to so-called Western states such as in Europe, North America and Australasia – the new diversity has had the effect of challenging locally received ways of understanding the characteristics and identities that are prevalent or ‘belong’ in different localities.2 It has helped challenge received national identities and even the idea that these are or should be singular: that a state has a national identity.3 The entire process is, however, not a straightforward one of cause and effect. It is not simply that migration and new diversity are causing this pressure to change. Instead, migration and the resulting diversity are themselves the consequence of changes in post-war global culture, brought about in part by the shock and horror of two extremely destructive world wars within a period of only thirty years. Instrumental in both wars were exclusivist nationalist and hierarchical understandings of how the different parts of the global social world fit together. Therefore, in the post-war period such exclusivism and hierarchical models became viewed with increasing suspicion, making it, for instance, more and more difficult to exclude potential migrants on the basis that they were (too) different and therefore could not belong.4 The shift in attitude has been accompanied by changes in immigration policies that increasingly allow the entry of others to join

The UK and Quebec compared on diversity    183 us, and these changes have been a prime condition for the increased migration to take place and to continue. Given that what we are describing here is a global phenomenon, it is arguable that the contours of response to the new diversity will be similar in important ways across many localities, regions and countries, especially as concerns semantic discourse – the words that we use to talk about and understand it – and structural transformations. Nonetheless, as with every other aspect of the globalized circumstance in which we live, the responses are also particular and local: they are glocal in that sense; and they are path-dependent on local histories, as well as on local cultural and sociostructural formations. Developments in recent decades that have affected most parts of the world can serve to illustrate this combination of glocal similarity and difference. As of the late 1980s, the Cold War global order that structured the socialist/ communist against the capitalist/free world blocks with a Third World in between, has effectively collapsed. This breakdown has paved the way for a fluid rebalancing of economic and political power, which – in the middle of this century’s second decade – shows few signs of stabilizing into anything that one might call a New World Order. Contesting boundaries includes not just the geopolitical and global economic domains, but also those in the broadly speaking cultural sphere in which the new diversities associated with global migration are located. One could point to any number of developments or events to illustrate this period of structural turbulence, but for many the attacks of 11 September 2001 in New York and Washington stand out as a prime global event, one that incontrovertibly signalled that things had changed to the point that we had perhaps entered a new phase of world history.5 Even if one considers 9/11 to be less significant than that, there seems to be no doubt that the event accelerated an on-going discursive shift and, arguably, significant political changes, such as the greatly enhanced securitization (including the so-called War on Terror) in many countries around the world. Such changes in public discourse and political policy include reorientations in the responses to global migration and the attendant new diversity.

Four reports on diversity in four countries In this chapter, we report results from a research project that looks at certain aspects of the different, yet comparable, responses to the new diversity in the heretofore described context. In order to gauge such responses, it takes as its starting point representative key public documents in the context of four Western countries. These documents date from the hinge period just adumbrated, from the years immediately before and the decade after 9/11. Specifically, they are public reports issued by local state or non-state public agencies that present analyses of the local situation with regard to cultural and religious diversity, followed by recommendations as to how the locality, including the governments of each, ought to respond in order to best manage this increasing diversity. The documents express public discourse and address political policy. They are semantic contributions, but ones that foresee structural responses and changes. One must

184  Peter Beyer and Marie-Ève Larivière emphasize, however, that these are local documents that, while taking the situation and response in other localities/countries into some consideration, do so only to the extent of acknowledging the similarity of the situation faced, not by engaging in an actual comparison of responses. The local documents in question nonetheless show similarities and consistency in how questions are posed, and how and which answers are offered. In other words, they exhibit glocalization. The four reports in question are (see previous chapters): The Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain, published in 2000 and commonly known as the Parekh Report; the report of the Commission de réflexion sur l’application du principe de laïcité dans la République, published in France in 2003 and commonly known as the Stasi Report; Fonder l’avenir: Le temps de la conciliation (Building the Future: A Time for Reconciliation), published in Quebec in 2008 and commonly known as the Bouchard–Taylor Report; and Les Assises de l’interculturalité (Round Tables on Interculturalism), published in Belgium in 2010. The four countries or localities chosen for examination are thus Great Britain, France, Quebec (not Canada as a whole) and Belgium.

The common or putatively global in four glocal responses A comparative analysis of the four national reports unsurprisingly reveals that they are in many respects quite different, addressing rather specific local contexts at very particular points in the history of the four states. Most of our analysis below focuses on aspects of these differences in two of the national contexts, on the local dimensions within the glocal in the British and Quebec cases. The reports manifest a shared global dimension, however, to a greater extent than they address comparable situations of new cultural and religious diversity as a consequence of post-war global migration. A more substantive commonality reveals itself in the similarity of the analysis of the problem in the four cases, as well as the broad strokes of the solution. The problem in all four cases is understood as relating to societal cohesion, societal unity, to the common ties that bind, and therefore to the ostensible stability, prosperity, health and justice of each of the national societies. The central question in each case is, therefore, how the new religious and cultural diversity potentially threatens the cohesion and thereby the goodness of the so-conceived society. In a general way, the problem in all four cases is understood in glocal terms as one of national identity. The solution is therefore to find ways of including the differences, of getting them to cohere, to integrate them into the national whole, and thereby to render the society cohesive and, as it were, whole. The requirement of cohesion and integration is assumed; the terms operate as something resembling a cipher for a healthy society. Thus, as the French report puts it: France is not alone in facing the difficult conjunction of two simultaneous phenomena: the failure of social integration and the transformation of the religious or spiritual landscape. Beyond the word laïcité, the problem is common to the whole of Europe: make room for new religions, manage a diverse society, fight against discrimination, [and] promote integration.6

The UK and Quebec compared on diversity    185 Or, as found in the Belgian report, the challenge is ‘to enhance the success of a society based on diversity, the respect of cultural specificities, non-­discrimination, the integration and sharing of common values’.7 Societal unity or cohesion, in this context, has to be regained or assured by positive cohesive or unifying characteristics, not just by the absence of conflict. These positive characteristics are expressed differently in the four cases, but they all stress shared values and identity that refer to equality of all persons, non-discrimination on the basis of differences, inclusion of differences and universal human rights. They also accentuate some form of commonality of orientation, whether translated as ‘common project’ (Belgium), ‘national unity’ (France), ‘nation-building’ (Great Britain) or ‘collective identity’ (Quebec). In the words of the French report, it is about ‘the community of affections, this body of images, values, dreams and desires that found the Republic’.8 It is for this reason and in this context that words like ­diversity and difference are simultaneously valorized in the reports, but also juxtaposed and subordinated with reference to words such as integration, cohesion, commonality, community and unity. These wholes, however, while distinct and therefore putatively different, are also fairly similar in their fundamental characteristics or values. They are universal and particular at the same time, which is to say global and local – that is, glocal.

The British and Quebec cases: glocal path-dependent responses Within this commonality for understanding the problem and the general criteria for the solution with respect to the new diversity, each of the four cases also exhibits a range of particularities – namely, what is distinctive in their understandings and their approaches. Appreciating the nature of these particularities, what they consist of, what their source is, and ultimately whether these differences really make a substantial difference in the concrete ways that these four countries have responded to the perceived new diversity, requires a much more detailed look at the particular contexts, both historical and national, in which the four reports have been written. The complexity of such an undertaking has led us to limit our analysis to two contexts – namely, the Quebec and United Kingdom cases. We have chosen these cases to some extent because we, the authors, are located in Canada, a country with historical colonial ties to Britain. Moreover, among the four, these two provide the greatest contrast in terms of the demographics of diversity in each, how the core issue has manifested itself, and even the sort of language used to structure the public discourse. We shall analyse these differences in the process of testing for continuities between the two, as previously outlined. We carry out this comparison with reference to three more specific and interrelated research questions: 1

How do the two target reports, the Parekh Report and the Bouchard–Taylor Report, fit into their respective national contexts, specifically in relation to the structural and demographic situations and the recent history of the public discussion about diversity in each case?

186   Peter Beyer and Marie-Ève Larivière 2


How do these documents reflect or not reflect the more recent character and transformation of the respective national discourses on diversity, on the basis of the most prevalent concepts used to talk about diversity in each case, concepts that have both common and yet also very particular meanings and connotations in the two national contexts? What can we say about the impact of these reports in their national settings, in terms of whether they reflect or run somewhat counter to the prevailing directions of the dominant national discourses in each case?

The answers that we offer to these questions are more suggestive than definitive, given the limitations of the evidence examined. Our interest lies less in stating something definitive about each of the national situations and responses to the new diversity, and more in gaining insight into how such national discourses may either represent different ways of asserting the same thing, or be reflective of significantly different understandings from one country to the next. We proceed by way of a comparative content analysis of the reports and a selection of other somewhat comparable, but also quite different, public and official reports from each state, taken from periods before or after the publication of each of the Parekh and Bouchard–Taylor Reports. On the basis of these analyses, we offer some provisional conclusions about the place and importance of these reports in the two national contexts, especially with respect to what they tell us about the generality and the particularity of responses to diversity in each case. The Bouchard–Taylor Report and diversity in Quebec The Bouchard–Taylor Report9 is the final report of the Commission de consultation sur les pratiques d’accommodement reliées aux différences culturelles (Consultation Commission on Accommodation Practices Related to Cultural Differences), which was created by the Government of Quebec in February 2007 and chaired by two well-known Quebec intellectuals, philosopher Charles Taylor and sociologist/historian Gérard Bouchard (see Chapter 1). The Commission and its report must be situated in the context of a broader debate in Quebec at the time, on the question of the integration of immigrants and what are called ethnocultural communities. Of central importance in this debate was the question of the place of religion in a society that sees itself, at least officially and in most public debates, as secular; to use the French expression, laïque. In Quebec, this period is often referred to as the time of the ‘crisis of accommodations’, which occurred in a context of heavy media attention to what many perceived as demands made by different ethno-religious groups that they and their distinctive practices be ‘accommodated’ in the Quebec public sphere. The mandate of the Commission was to examine the issue of accommodations made for cultural and/or religious reasons and, in that light, to ‘formulate recommendations aimed at assuring that accommodation practices conform to Quebec’s core values’.10 The report, however, goes well beyond the question of reasonable accommodations to deal with what the authors see as the ‘most fundamental

The UK and Quebec compared on diversity    187 sociocultural dimensions’ of Quebec society.11 The report avers that one of the ways these dimensions express themselves is in the threat to identify that a good portion of Quebecers of French-Canadian origin feel when faced with cultural diversity, notably concerning the place of religion in the public sphere. In this light, it is perhaps not surprising that religion represents the most important dimension of diversity in the report when compared to others, especially culture and ethnicity. Religion is a central concept that appears 783 times in the 307-page report, thus presenting a marked contrast to the British case, in which, as we argue below, race occupies this role. In Quebec, according to the report, it is the growing presence and visibility of the religions and religious practices of minority others, especially in the so-called public sphere, that many see as problematic; and it is in that context that other notions like laïcité (secularism), gender equality, common values, or social cohesion take on their importance. Like the other three reports in question, the Bouchard–Taylor Report tries to develop a model for managing diversity that it considers adapted to the specific local Quebec context. In particular, this means taking into account the fact that Quebecers are a francophone minority in Canada and, more broadly, in North America. Accordingly, in continuity with the policy approach adopted in Quebec since the 1990s, the co-authors take up interculturalism as the preferred model for newcomer integration and the management of diversity.12 This interculturalism foresees the integration of newcomers principally in that the minorities become involved and interact with the French-Canadian majority, that they participate in and establish links into the dominant Quebec society. Even though there is no official policy or definition of interculturalism in Quebec, a dominant opinion that is shared by the report’s authors considers that interculturalism represents a model of integration that responds specifically to the Quebec context, especially concerning the protection of the French language, which is seen as the incontrovertible cornerstone of Quebec identity.13 Moreover, this interculturalism is seen as being constructed in express opposition to Canadian multiculturalism, ­especially in that it prioritizes the received Quebec identity – national and majoritarian – as that which ought to be preserved and further developed, albeit with the participation of the new minorities. The recommended Quebec model for managing diversity was therefore developed in relation to what is understood in much of Quebec public discourse as a contrasting (Canadian) multicultural approach. It also developed in the light of more recent sociopolitical and demographic changes in the province, the latter characterized increasingly since the 1970s by immigration from non-European and non-Christian parts of the world. Since the 1970s especially, common understanding has divided the Quebec population into three categories: the francophone majority, the historic anglophone and the more recent allophone (neither English nor French) minorities.14 Correspondingly, after the adoption at the federal level of official bilingualism in the 1960s and official multiculturalism after 1971, combined with the failure of the 1980 Quebec referendum on sovereignty, Quebec policies with respect to immigration and integration became increasingly oriented towards this idea of establishing relations with and of

188  Peter Beyer and Marie-Ève Larivière integrating (chiefly new) minority groups. In 1981, we see the appearance of the expression cultural communities, referring to immigrants and to allophones simultaneously. Parallel to the idea of race, but especially culture, in Britain, the term marks a distinction between the ‘old stock’ (de souche) majority and immigrant minorities. It implies that the latter are not part of the first order individuals who might have multiple and varied attachments, but rather of communities attached to their particular, implicitly ethnic, cultures. It is with these cultures that the policy foresees the necessity to interact and establish dialogue.15 Accompanying the increase in cultural diversity, more recent decades have also introduced a greater diversity of non-Christian religious identities in Quebec. As noted, it was above all this diversity, with reference to Islam in particular, that was at the heart of the so-called crisis of accommodations. Since the 1990s, there has in fact been a significant increase in the Quebec Muslim population, notably those of Maghrebian origins. In 2006, almost 60 per cent of Quebec’s Muslims were from this North African region.16 Although discrimination against Muslims increased significantly both in Quebec and the rest of Canada in the wake of the events of 9/11,17 the issue of Islam did not become prominent in Quebec intellectual discourse until after 2006–2007. The affaire des foulards (headscarf affair) which occurred in Quebec schools in 1994 is one of the only exceptions that, aside from 9/11, found a certain echo in public discourse before the crisis. It should also be pointed out that, unlike other Western societies, including Britain and France, Quebec has not witnessed violent events such as riots and assassinations on its own soil, aside from the murder of a Canadian soldier by a perpetrator with extremist views in 2014. The relative absence or prevalence of these kinds of disturbing events have, needless to say, had a strong influence on public discourses about diversity. The events of 9/11 clearly transformed views on immigration, especially in the United States, bringing about, for instance, a greater emphasis on questions of securitization in the public debates.18 Nonetheless, it was not until the Multani affair in 2006 that the Quebec debate on religion and diversity underwent a significant change. It was this episode, in which the Supreme Court of Canada reversed a Quebec Superior Court decision to ban the wearing of the Sikh kirpan in Quebec schools that, in combination with other controversies involving non-Christian religious people, set off the ‘crisis of accommodations’ that led to the establishment of the Bouchard–Taylor Commission.19 This very public debate that occurred in 2006–2007 was reflected in the discourse among intellectuals who, not surprisingly, were divided on the question of managing diversity. In that context, Linda Pietrantonio has noted that the term diversity, notably in the Quebec institutional context, has tended to refer exclusively to minorities, whereas the majority, by contrast, is treated as neither itself diverse nor contributing to diversity.20 Accordingly, Pietrantonio states that minorities in their categorical diversity tend to be seen as the source of potential problems, whereas the majority does not. In this regard, the Bouchard–Taylor Report took a rather critical stance vis-à-vis majority claims. It recommended that the notion of cultural communities be abandoned, promoting instead intercultural

The UK and Quebec compared on diversity    189 relations, reciprocity and, as its title states, reconciliation. In this regard, Daniel Salée points to the cool reception that the report had among the Quebec majority, as being indicative of a refusal to question the power relations that exist between French-Canadian Quebecers and ethno-cultural minorities.21 The author critically notes that the report nonetheless gave precedence to the common values and the historical heritage of precisely this majority group. Other authors have also pointed to the problem of the asymmetrical relations between the majority and minorities that were reflected in the events of the crisis.22 Some authors, however, have expressed the need to reconcile Quebec specificity with going beyond the exclusive identity of the majority.23 Still others insist on the reaffirmation of the central role of the Franco-Quebecer majority within the society.24 The Commission report therefore has to be understood within the context of changing demographics, as well as changing orientations in intellectual discourse and in policies for managing diversity. To further understand the report’s position in this context, we have undertaken a comparison of another key contributor to the public debate – namely, official publications from the ministry responsible for the integration of immigrants and for intercultural relations.25 Included in our analysis are the annual reports from this ministry dating from 1998 to 2012, the documents before this time not being easily available. In addition, although there have been numerous developments under the Quebec governments since 2012, particularly in relation to the debate surrounding the Charter of Quebec Values, we have decided to exclude this period, mainly because it would be premature to arrive at conclusions about a period that is so recent and therefore too close to be able to appreciate what directions transformations in the public discourse may be taking. In the light of the important role that ministerial policies play in this context, and the explicitly intercultural approach adopted by the Bouchard– Taylor Report, we have chosen to compare the two in terms of the language used to discuss the question of religious diversity. In particular, we are looking for differences and similarities, and for any transformations in the ministerial discourse covering the period before and after the crisis and the Bouchard–Taylor Report. The period under scrutiny before the Bouchard–Taylor Report can be divided into two segments. During the first, from 1998 to 2003, the sovereignist Parti Québécois (PQ) government of the day reoriented the official discourse on immigrant integration. For instance, already in 1996, it had renamed the ministry concerned as the Ministère des Relations avec les Citoyens et de l’Immigration (Ministry of Relations with the Citizens and Immigration), thereby signalling the shift to a corresponding emphasis on the idea of Quebec citizenship as the key to integration. Immigrants were to pursue and demonstrate their integration through citizenship. This meant, on one hand, through democratic participation and, on the other, through francization,26 meaning not just learning to speak French, but adopting it as one’s principal public language. The Ministry stressed an idea of citizenship that would help foster a ‘feeling of belonging’ to Quebec society through the exercise of one’s rights and civic responsibilities.27 Adopting citizenship, or becoming a citizen, was to bring about the dissolution of particularistic

190  Peter Beyer and Marie-Ève Larivière ethnic identities in favour of a universal orientation.28 Correspondingly, during this time the concept of cultural communities, already present since the 1980s, as well as a close conceptual cousin, that of visible minorities, virtually disappeared from the official discourse, as reflected in the reports produced from the Ministry (see Figure 10.1). The recommendations of the Bouchard–Taylor Report, it seems, were officially adopted, as it were, avant la lettre. In the wake of the defeat of the second sovereignty referendum of 1995 at the beginning of the PQ’s period in power, the mission of the (new) ministry came to be that of bridging the gap between Quebec society, in particular its francophone majority and its minorities or cultural communities.29 Some voices in the public discourse of the time criticized this policy as being not so different from the sort of assimilationist orientations that many saw embodied in the republican model of France.30 However, the ministry reports of this period concerned themselves very little with defining, let alone promoting, diversity, concentrating rather on this idea of citizenship integration and the francization of the immigrant population. The election of a more federalist (i.e. not sovereigntist) Liberal Party government in 2003 saw the ministry take a different direction. In 2004, it published an action plan entitled Des valeurs partagées, des intérêts communs (Shared Values, Common Interests).31 This plan not only reiterated the place of French as the common public language and the expectation that new arrivals participate in Quebec public life, but also promoted the establishment of intercultural relations. As well, the document saw the return of the two categories of diversity, cultural communities and visible minorities, as well as more references to the question of religion (see Figure 10.1). The ministry thus broke with the policies of the 2011-2012 2010-2011 2009-2010 2008-2009 2008 -La diversité une valeur ajouté Bouchard-Taylor 2007-2008 2006-2007 2006 -Vers une politique gouvernementale 2005-2006 2004-2005 2004 -Des valeurs partagées 2003-2004 2002-2003 2001-2002 2000-2001 1999-2000 1998-1999 0%










Cultural Communities


Visible minorities

Quebec values

common values


social cohesion




Figure 10.1  Quebec: distribution and change in key terms from 1998 to 2001 (per cent of total key terms)

The UK and Quebec compared on diversity    191 previous government and took up again the earlier idea of interculturalism. Further illustrating this shift, the ministry was renamed by the Liberals in 2005 as the Ministère de l’Immigration et des Communautés Culturelles (Ministry of Immigration and Cultural Communities). Its mission was henceforth to centre not only on the socioeconomic and linguistic integration of immigrants, but also on openness to pluralism and the rapprochement of the various communities that constituted Quebec society.32 This reorientation did not occur without controversy. As in the 1980s, it elicited similar critiques, such as that of Micheline Labelle in a 2008 article, which asserts that the emphasis on intercommunity relations would have the effect of contributing ‘to the reproduction of a communitarian vision of Quebec in the public imagination’.33 This sort of critique has to be seen in its social context as well, since by this time the issue of religious diversity was already coming to the fore, especially in the Multani case that would reach its denouement in 2006 at the onset of the crisis. To further document the shift, in 2006, the ministry published a consultation document entitled Towards a Government Policy to Fight Against Racism and Discrimination,34 which addresses the questions of racial, ethnic and, to a lesser extent, religious inequality. This document distinguishes itself somewhat from the ministry’s annual reports for the same period, in that it puts relatively little emphasis on terms like integration or francization, and much more emphasis on categories of diversity like cultural communities, visible minorities, ethnicity, race and religion. Subsequent annual reports continue the emphasis on integration and francization, but the strong presence of the diversity categories continues. Overall, the Bouchard–Taylor Report, published two years later in 2008, presents a somewhat different approach to diversity when compared to ministry policies. Particularly, it deals with the identity issues facing the majority FrenchCanadian group – namely, in relation not just to the French language but also more explicitly to the received collective norms of this majority (secularism [laïcité], gender equality, constitutional state/rule of law, etc.). This presumed normative dimension, subsumed under the heading of the increasingly popular idea of common values, is more or less absent in the preceding ministry reports, although it occupied a preponderant place in the public debate of 2006–2007. The report favours an intercultural approach to diversity, as does the ministry, but it also emphasizes that integration is something in which the majority group should participate as much as do the minorities. Correspondingly, it suggests that the ministry be renamed the Ministère de l’immigration et des relations interculturelles (Ministry of Immigration and Intercultural Relations). The category of cultural communities, which runs ‘contrary to the spirit of the civic and cultural integration model that Quebec advocates’,35 should therefore be abandoned. Accordingly, the report advocates a rethinking of the relations between ethnocultural groups, but with special emphasis on the role of the majority group. Right after the Bouchard–Taylor Report appeared, the ministry published another action plan, La diversité, une valeur ajoutée (Diversity, An Added Value),36 in which it addressed some of the Commission’s conclusions and recommendations. In this document, the ministry uses very similar language to that

192  Peter Beyer and Marie-Ève Larivière found in 2006 document, Towards a Government Policy, particularly in the place given to the categories of diversity, cultural communities and visible minorities. As such, it expresses a certain distancing from the Bouchard–Taylor Report’s conclusions about abandoning such terms. As will become clear, however, the ministry’s use of these categories nonetheless gradually declines over the following years. Even though the ministry thus distanced itself publicly from certain positions taken by the Commission, it nonetheless changed its approach by adding a new type of intervention that ‘sought reciprocity between society and immigration’ in addition to francization and socioeconomic integration (see Chapter 1).37 This reciprocity expressed itself along two axes: the ‘sharing of common values’ and ‘intercultural relations’.38 After 2008, the annual reports of the ministry give far more place to the affirmation of these values. From a single occurrence in the 2007–2008 annual report, subsequent reports use the term an average of twenty times (see Figure 10.1). Under this heading were henceforth included concepts such as ‘the primacy of the law’, ‘freedom of expression and association’, ‘gender equality’ and the ‘secular nature of the state’.39 Other notions, like social cohesion, also make their appearance from this time forward in the ministerial documents. As concerns religion and secularism (laïcité), two expressions that were central in the Bouchard–Taylor Report, these are largely ignored in the ministerial discourse. Use of these terms occurs from zero to five times in each annual report, about the same as before the Commission. Moreover, no ministry document treats religion as a component of diversity, essentially classifying it as an aspect of cultural diversity. Thus, although the Bouchard–Taylor Report confirms the necessity of common values, collective norms (rights and freedoms), and the role of French, it also advocates rethinking intercultural relations. It does this by reminding the majority of the necessary role that immigration plays in Quebec society and the need to continue to combat inequality and discrimination. In reverse, the ministry documents are more concerned with reassuring the majority, by insisting on the need for the immigrants and the members of ethno-cultural minorities to adopt those common values. A further important point to underscore is that the majority of the report’s recommendations adopted by the Quebec government concern practices and principles that were already in place. François Rocher notes, moreover, that the majority of the recommendations implemented are not those having to do with identity issues or with the ‘concern for social cohesion’ as the Commission understood it.40 The broader public discourse after the release of the report, however, focuses on the concepts with sociocultural significance: language, Quebec values, gender equality, etc. The main orientations of the ministry, however, remained the same as before: economic and linguistic integration. One can conclude, therefore, that the Bouchard–Taylor Report had a significant effect on the broader public discourse, which it largely reflected; but the public policy discourse – at least until the rise of the issue of the Quebec Charter of Values in the period after 2012 – was not appreciably altered from its previously adopted course. Before the

The UK and Quebec compared on diversity    193 Bouchard–Taylor Commission and after, integration and francization remained the dominant goals and concerns. Since Bouchard–Taylor, however, the idea of cultural communities has lost its élan, with the notion of common values appearing to have taken its place in the conceptual landscape about diversity. Religious diversity, by contrast, has no real presence before or after Bouchard–Taylor. The Parekh Report and diversity in the United Kingdom The report entitled The Future of a Multi-Ethnic Britain, often called the Parekh Report for Bhikhu Parekh, the chair of the commission, was published in October 2000. It was the result of an effort by the Runnymede Trust, a British think tank and therefore not an agency of the British government. Its remit, as stated in its Preface, reveals something significant about the context in and for which it was produced: it was to ‘analyse the current state of multi-ethnic Britain and to propose ways of countering racial discrimination and disadvantage and making Britain a confident and vibrant multicultural society at ease with its rich diversity’.41 The desired goal is stated as making a multicultural society within what is understood as a multiethnic Britain, but the obstacles to be overcome in order for this goal to be reached have to do with race. This represents the front-line category of difference, parallel to the notion of cultural communities in the Quebec case. The report also attempts to move this framing of the discussion towards a different and more complex understanding of diversity, one centred on the multiethnic idea. However, the race category remains primary and is the single most common diversity category used to talk about differences in concrete terms. The terms ‘race’ or ‘racism’ appear almost 800 times in the 434-page report, as do the two dominant subcategories of race: black and Asian (see Figure 10.2), these two words very often appearing together as ‘black and Asian’ or ‘Asian and black’. With somewhat less frequency, but still in high numbers, one encounters words in connection with desirable goals – namely, community and multicultural, and the single most common unity word – the unit of which all the differences are a part – is British or Britishness. The diversity concepts of ethnicity, culture and religion/faith are also quite common, signalling the report’s desire to talk about this diversity in other ways in addition to race. By itself, such a superficial content analysis would not be very significant, but here it not only coincidentally reflects some very important characteristics of the prevailing public diversity semantics in Britain dating back to the 1950s, but also certain key tensions and transformations in that debate up until the publication of the report. With violent events such as the Notting Hill riots in 1958, the Brixton riots in 1981 and the Stephen Lawrence murder in 1993 punctuating the post-war decades, problematic diversity in the UK centred mostly, but not exclusively, around racial distinctions seen predominantly in black versus white, or largely binary, terms. Acknowledgement that the racially others were not all of Caribbean or African origin/descent reflected itself in the development of the black and Asian phrasing, a combination that remained very common until the end of the century; and, until at least the 1980s, was often enough simply subsumed under

194  Peter Beyer and Marie-Ève Larivière the idea of black, meaning ‘people of Afro-Caribbean and South Asian origins’.42 This language, in fact, quite accurately reflects the demographic composition of Britain’s post-war immigrant populations and their subsequent British generations, dominated as they were by people from these two origins. From about the 1980s into the next century, however, a kind of counter-discourse emerges that inserts the different concepts of culture and ethnicity in such a way that these words end up implicitly or explicitly referring more to the so-called Asians than the so-called blacks. In other words, the shift reverses the prioritization contained in race language. Moreover, although Asian refers mostly to people of South Asian origins (whether directly or by way of twice migration), within this group it refers more to Muslims among them – thus inserting the category of religion as an important difference category – and only secondarily to Hindus and Sikhs.43 This complexification of the way one talks about the most important differences that define the diversity in the UK is thus reflected in the Parekh Report, which was published just at the end of the century: both race language and culture/ethnicity/religion language have, if not an equal, then certainly a dominant semantic presence. Nonetheless, far from being simply reflective of the prevailing patterns of diversity discourse at the time, the Parekh Report also attempts to move more in the cultural/ethnic/religious direction. It advocates not just the idea of a multicultural Britain, but even more the ideal of Britain becoming or being a ‘community of communities’ (the exact phrase appears 35 times), and even, on occasion, a ‘post-national’ nation.44 The communities in question are specified in a wide variety of ways, but expressly not as British, racial, English or Scottish, and certainly not as white communities. The most frequently mentioned are black, Asian, faith/religious, and – perhaps not surprisingly given the particular context of the United Kingdom – Irish communities. In other words, the categories refer to what are clearly minority identities, and those that are presumably not yet included, ought to be. And therein lies the problem. This favouring of certain ways of naming the diversity units reflects a further aspect of the British debate – namely, that race and culture are not, in fact, synonyms; they also operate differently according to what one might call their boundedness, the way they understand the solidity of difference. Based on the expert literature on these matters, but also implicitly on official public documents and the mass media coverage, it becomes evident that the culture category – again, very much including religion – carries a more essentialist connotation in comparison to race. Employing Richard Alba’s classification, we can posit that cultural categories tend to have ‘bright’ boundaries attributed to them, rather than more ‘blurred’ boundaries as in the case of racial categories.45 Therefore, the issue with racial distinctions is that they should and often do blur, not in a physical sense – ‘every colour is a good colour’ – but in the sense that racial differences should not really matter; that their carriers can and do move toward hybridity of identity;46 that they can and should be included without regard to colour in society. Culture, by contrast, is more a matter of stable identity to be conserved or otherwise made or allowed to be clear and ‘bright’ (which, it should be emphasized, is not the same as ‘essential’).47 Another way of stating

The UK and Quebec compared on diversity    195 this idea is to suggest that race belongs to a category that should largely be overcome, aufgehoben, as it were, whereas culture represents one that should remain a thesis, even if largely on a voluntary basis on the part of those who carry cultural categories of identity. Accordingly, the report never uses the word ‘multiracial’, but it uses ‘multicultural’ and ‘multiethnic’ almost 300 times (but, interestingly enough, multifaith rarely). That being said, and in spite of its emphasis on culture alongside race, the Parekh Report was pilloried upon its publication, on the basis of its treatment of ‘race’ and perhaps only derivatively – or less overtly – for its ‘community of (cultural) communities’ language.48 This observation leads us to consider transformations in the British semantics of diversity that occurred during the first decade after the publication of the Parekh Report. It would not be going too far to claim that the Parekh Report did not have an outstanding effect on the public debate about diversity in the UK in the period immediately after its appearance, although in hindsight it is possible to argue that it may have had a significant effect over the longer term.49 Long-term influence is, of course, difficult to judge. At the time of its publication, the poor reception may have been because it sought to move that debate in particular directions to which too many actors were (and perhaps still are) not very receptive. At best, one might conclude that it was ahead of its time. More important, however, were events that occurred subsequent to its publication, which more immediately brought in their wake, or reflected, a general transformation in the debate. In the British case, as elsewhere, the 11 September 2001 attacks were probably quite influential among these, but the series of riots that took place in various Northern England mill-towns in the months immediately before this event arguably had a more immediate and consequential impact. These riots were in many ways strongly reminiscent of the series of earlier episodes dating from the 1950s to the 1990s mentioned above, and similar events that have occurred since. The milltown riots, however, had the distinction of featuring much more centrally the Asian population – here mostly ethnically South Asian and religiously Muslim – rather than the black population. They produced their own commission of enquiry and report with recommendations, known as the Cantle Report,50 only a year after the appearance of the Parekh Report. In the years following, perhaps the single most significant event that transformed the nature of the discourse was the London subway bombings of 7/7 in 2005. Beyond that, but perhaps not nearly as visible, one should add the arrival after 2004 of significant numbers of Eastern European migrants as the corresponding countries became members of the European Union. In the few years after the release of the Parekh Report, the broadly political, and to some extent demographic, context changed, somewhat taking over the shaping of the diversity discourse in the process. To document this transformation, we have performed an analysis, parallel to that undertaken for the Parekh Report, of a selection of government and ­government-related documents issued between 2001 and 2012. We begin with: (1) the 2001 Cantle Report named Community Cohesion: A Report of the Independent Review Team,50 including (2) Tony Blair’s well-known speech of 2006, entitled Our Nation’s Future: Multiculturalism and Integration;51 then two

196   Peter Beyer and Marie-Ève Larivière reports attached to the UK Department for Communities and Local Government, (3) the 2007 report of the Commission on Integration and Cohesion, called Our Shared Futures;52 (4) the 2008 report to the House of Commons, named Community Cohesion and Migration;53 and finally (5), the 2012 report entitled Analysis of the Impact of Migration, issued by the Migration Advisory Committee attached to the UK Home Office.54 The choice of these five documents is somewhat arbitrary; it was made on the basis of what was easily available and seemed to be both official and relevant to the question at hand. In the absence of anything like the Parekh Report and of a clear government department which is responsible for diversity matters and issues regular reports – as exists, as we have just seen, in the case of Quebec – the selection is arguably representative of major official public contributions to diversity discourse in the decade or so after the issuing of the Parekh Report. As with the latter, we make no claim as to the direct or indirect effect of these reports on the public discourse; they are simply a defensible selection, similar to what other analyses have incorporated.55 A more thorough analysis would expand on this sort of public document to include the contributions of the mass media, expert scientific contributions and other non-official civil society contributions. We have not undertaken such an analysis here; other chapters included here have done so (see Chapters 1, 2 and 3). Just as with the Parekh Report, the later documents analysed also reveal much just from their titles and their declared purpose. The 2001 Cantle Report was quite evidently about community cohesion, and by implication therefore not about multiculturalism or any of its variants. The latter idea barely has a presence in the report. It was about ‘parts’, usually identified in terms of culture, ethnicity and religion/faith; these appear far more often than race – black or Asian. This undoubtedly reflects the different perceived composition of the rioters (see Figure 10.2) Impacts of Migration 2012 Community Cohesion & Migration 2008 Cohesion & Integration: Shared Future 2007 Tony Blair 2006 Community Cohesion (Cantle) Parekh report (2000) 0%
























90% 100%


Figure 10.2  United Kingdom: distribution and change in key terms from 2000 to 2012 (per cent in total key terms)

The UK and Quebec compared on diversity    197 who had to come together into a communal whole, but without negating the differences that the parts carried. Thus, the report states its priorities quite clearly in its objectives: there is an urgent need to promote community cohesion, based upon a greater knowledge of, contact between, and respect for, the various cultures that now make Great Britain such a rich and diverse nation … It is also essential to establish a greater sense of citizenship, based on (a few) common principles which are shared and observed by all sections of the community. This concept of citizenship would also place a higher value on cultural differences.56 In Blair’s speech – which, as can be seen from Figure 10.2, semantically resembles the Parekh Report more than any of the others – we again see the valorization of the multicultural as a positive characteristic. However, it is now noticeably juxtaposed, both in the title and in the speech itself, with integration, a term that is barely visible in either the Parekh or Cantle Reports of half a decade earlier. This integration, however, is founded on common or British values, an idea that receives far more presence here than in any of the other reports. As Blair puts it, integration ‘is not about culture or lifestyle. It is about values. It is about integrating at the point of shared, common unifying British values’.57 Nonetheless, the prime minister also puts significant emphasis on religious/faith differences, speaking of Muslims much more frequently than of other religious identities. The key words of the other documents are integration, cohesion and community. Only the last of these is contiguous to Parekh’s emphases. Multiculturalism, multiethnic and similar terms are mostly absent and, when used, refer more often to negative views of these terms and certainly not as the desirable path for the ‘shared future’. As the report with this name expresses in its opening lines: ‘As a Commission our vision of society is one where people are committed to what we have in common rather than obsessing with those things that make us different.’58 This report also introduces some other possibly significant changes in semantics: although race, culture and community are still dominant words, the combination of black and Asian has disappeared, to be replaced only very partially by ‘black and ethnic minority’ and, on one occasion by ‘white and Asian’. Religious differences are still quite noticeable and the issue of language takes a much more prominent place, referring mostly to migrants who do not speak adequate English. The post-2004 context of an enlarged European Union has arrived. And, in that context, the three documents that centre on migration, while focusing on the newly arrived rather than mostly on the already settled, demonstrate the same semantic emphasis: not the multi, in whatever form, but the integration of differences, as well as their cohesion within British society. In contrast to the balance of the Parekh Report, and arguably even that of the Cantle and Blair documents, categories of difference within the discourse cede to categories of unity. Differences, however, are by no means negated; if not exactly celebrated, they are definitely seen as constitutive of British society and to be respected as such. If we were to venture a positive description, what is valorized here is best rendered in

198  Peter Beyer and Marie-Ève Larivière the word ‘integration’ on the basis of common values (British, but universal). It is a common and cohesive multiculture or, to use the currently favoured expressions in Quebec and Belgium, an interculture, but not ‘multiculture’.59 To use a rather common metaphor, it is about a salad with different ingredients, but with an emphasis on how those ingredients come together to make a salad, as well as on the dressing that must permeate those ingredients.

Conclusion The commonalities of the two national situations and their corresponding diversity debates are, we think, fairly evident. At the core of these commonalities are the fact and consequences of significant immigration in the more recent period. Beyond that, however, is the tension that has been evident in both cases between the recognition of the new differences as an on-going and positive feature of the society and the insistence that there must be integration of these differences. Specifically, this means that they must result in cohesion: newcomers must ascribe to common values, acquire the dominant language and participate fully in the society, including through intercultural exchange, overcoming of discrimination, economic integration, or civic and political involvement. In this regard, the lack of solid resonance in UK society of the Parekh Report’s suggestion of a ‘community of communities’ and the complete absence of this idea in the Quebec debate is probably significant. Going further, it is arguable on the basis of the evidence that the discourse on diversity in both countries is and has been in constant flux since diversity in each case was begun to be taken seriously, and that it was significantly transformed in the wake of 9/11 – but not just by 9/11. Finally, although we have not discussed this directly in our analysis, there is also the commonality that, in both countries, the common values, as Quebecers call them, to which everyone ought to subscribe are largely the same, that the supposedly distinct national characteristics are in effect common. In that context, running as a kind of unacknowledged current within both debates is the fact that today, if not historically in the British case, it is more religion and Muslims that are perceived to present a disproportionate number of the so-called problems.60 The differences in the two cases are also noteworthy. The most obvious of these is probably the semantic contrast, in the words used and in the meaning of the words used to talk about diversity and its challenges. Perhaps most striking among these differences is the near-total absence of the word ‘race’ in the Quebec debate, even though this category is far from irrelevant for the Quebec context and visible minority stands in for this concept in a kind of anodyne way, and somewhat temporarily. In addition, where Quebec has tended to favour the language of common values, in Britain the talk has been much more in terms of cohesion, which word or anything resembling it is almost completely absent in Quebec. Behind these semantic distinctions are, of course, relevant historical and demographic differences between the two places: Quebec’s immigrant population

The UK and Quebec compared on diversity    199 is not as dominated by particular subgroups (although blacks are also the single largest visible minority group). The situation of Quebecers in North America is dramatically different from that of British people in Europe; these are two different places exhibiting glocalization in distinctive ways. In terms of the two core reports, we could also note significant similarities and differences in the nature of the reports themselves, their place in the respective national contexts and the role that they have played in each society. Here, we focus only on the similarities. One similarity is that both reports appear to diverge in significant ways from the official public discourse in each country. They are in that sense outliers, or exceptional interventions intended to steer those discourses. Part of this characteristic is, of course, the very complexity of these documents, the range of issues that they try to tackle, the broad consultative effort that lies behind their production, and therefore, among other things, their sheer length (434 and 310 pages respectively) in comparison with the public policy interventions that we have examined. Another reason, however, is that both reports to a significant degree abstract from the more political, rhetorical and sometimes polemical debates in each country. They are neither political documents – concentrating on what is possible rather than what should be done – policy documents or opinion pieces. They do not so much try to reflect and reproduce public opinion as to direct it. As such, it is not surprising that their effect, in each case, has been muted, or at least it is difficult to really tell what changes are attributable to them as opposed to being caused by other developments. In this respect, of the four reports that form the broader frame of our analysis, it is notable that only the Stasi Report seems to have had something close to an immediate and direct effect. The other three – Belgium, Britain, Quebec – all had a comparatively negative reception or were largely ignored as concerning the outcome or recommendations. The Stasi Report is, however, the only one of the four reports that was an expressly political instrument, meant not so much to research an issue thoroughly and provide knowledge for addressing it, as to provide legitimacy for policy orientations already decided upon.61 As such, the similarity of outcomes for the Parekh and Bouchard–Taylor Reports is not surprising given their different purpose. They were intended more to air an issue than to provide concrete solutions – and this was the result, in spite of what even the framers of the reports may have thought was their remit. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, examining the four reports, and specifically and concretely two of them, in their local contexts demonstrates that addressing diversity, including religious diversity, in these national contexts is a complex and constantly shifting affair. It is not a matter of identifying a problem and finding solutions. As far as the reports are concerned, it is much more a matter of reflecting and seeking to intervene in an ongoing public debate, whose contours change even as the intervention is taking place. One would really only be able to discern an outcome once all these reports have receded into a rather more distant history.

200  Peter Beyer and Marie-Ève Larivière

Notes   1  Stephen Castles and Mark J. Miller, The Age of Migration: International Population Movements in the Modern World, third edition (New York: Guilford Press, 2003).   2  Worlds on the Move: Globalisation, Migration and Cultural Security, ed. Jonathan Friedman and Shalini Randeria (London: I. B. Tauris, 2004).   3  See Jeff Spinner-Halev, ‘Democracy, Solidarity and Post-Nationalism’, Political Studies 56 (2008): pp. 604–628.   4  Ninette Kelley and M. Trebilcock, The Making of the Mosaic: A History of Canadian Immigration Policy, 2nd edn (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2010).   5  Roland Robertson, ‘Global Millennialism: A Postmortem on Secularization’, in Religion, Globalization, and Culture, ed. Peter Beyer and Lori Beaman (Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2007), pp. 9–34.   6  Bernard Stasi et al., Commission de réflexion sur l’application du principe de laïcité dans la République: Rapport au Président de la République (Paris: La Documentation française, 2003). Please note that all foreign language citations have been translated by the authors.   7  Marie-Claire Foblets and Christine Kulakowski, Les Assises de l’interculturalité [Round Tables on Interculturalism] (Brussels: Ministry for Employment and Equal Opportunities, in charge of Migration and Asylum Policy, 2010), p. 10.   8  Stasi et al., Commission de réflexion, p. 18.   9  Gérard Bouchard and Charles Taylor. Commission de consultation sur les pratiques d’accommodement reliées aux différences culturelles, Building the Future: A Time for Reconciliation (Quebec: Government of Quebec, 2008). 10  Bouchard and Taylor, Building the Future, p. 34. 11  Ibid., p. 33. 12  Ibid., p. 34; Micheline Labelle, ‘Les intellectuels québécois face au multiculturalisme: Hétérogénéité des approches et des projets politiques’, Canadian Ethnic Studies/ Études ethniques au Canada 40.1/2 (2008): pp. 33–56. 13  See Denise Helly, Le Québec face à la pluralité culturelle 1977–1994: Un bilan documentaire des politiques Institut québécois de recherche sur la culture (Quebec: Sainte-Foy, 1996). 14  Ibid. 15  G. L. Symons, ‘The State and Ethnic Diversity: Structural and Discursive Change in Quebec’s Ministere d’Immigration’, Canadian Ethnic Studies/Études ethniques au Canada 34.3 (2002): pp. 28–46. 16  Marie McAndrew and Mahsa Bakhshaei, ‘The Difficult Integration of Muslims into Quebec since 9/11: International or Local Dynamics’, International Journal 67.4 (2012): pp. 931–949. 17  Denise Helly, ‘Le traitement de l’islam au Canada. Tendances actuelles’, Revue européenne des migrations internationales 20.1 (2004): pp. 47–71. 18  Micheline Labelle et al., Immigration, diversité et sécurité. Les associations arabomusulmanes face à l’État au Canada et au Québec (Québec: Presses de l’Université du Québec, 2009). 19  Dimitrios Karmis, ‘Un couteau reste un couteau? Réflexions sur les limites de l’hospitalité québécoise’, in Du tricoté serré au métissé serré?: la culture publique commune au Québec en débats, ed. Stéphane Gervais, Dimitrios Karmis and Diane Lamoureux (Québec: Presses de l’Université Laval, 2008), pp. 249–264. 20  Linda Pietrantonio, ‘Who is “we?” An Exploratory Study of the Notion of “the Majority” and Cultural Policy’, Canadian Ethnic Studies/Études ethniques au Canada 34.3 (2002): pp. 142–156. 21  Daniel Salée, ‘Penser l’aménagement de la diversité ethnoculturelle au Québec’, Politique et sociétés 29.1 (2010): pp. 151–180.

The UK and Quebec compared on diversity    201 22  Karmis, ‘Un couteau reste un couteau?’; Maryse Potvin, ‘Racisme et discours public commun au Québec’, in Du tricoté serré au métissé serré?: la culture publique commune au Québec en débats, ed. Stéphane Gervais, Dimitrios Karmis and Diane Lamoureux (Québec: Presses de l’Université Laval, 2008), pp. 227–248. 23  Micheline Labelle, ‘De la culture publique commune à la citoyenneté: Ancrages historiques et enjeux actuels’, in Du tricoté serré au métissé serré?: la culture publique commune au Québec en débats, ed. Stéphane Gervais, Dimitrios Karmis and Diane Lamoureux (Québec: Presses de l’Université Laval, 2008), pp. 19–43. 24  Jacques Beauchemin, ‘Accueillir sans renoncer à soi-même’, Le Devoir, 22 January 2010. 25  Since it is the Ministry of Justice in Quebec that has been given a special responsibility for matters concerning religion, we also considered including its official reports in our analysis. Since we found virtually no reference to religion or religious diversity in any of the corresponding ministerial reports, we limited our analysis to official documents coming from the Ministry of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusion (as it is now called). 26  Québec (MRCI), Rapport annuel 1998–1999 (Québec: Ministère des Relations avec les Citoyens et de l’Immigration, 2000), p. 76. 27  Labelle, ‘De la culture publique commune à la citoyenneté’, p. 34. 28  Danielle Juteau, ‘The Citizen Makes an Entrée: Redefining the National Community in Quebec’, Citizenship Studies 6.4 (2002), pp. 441–458. 29  Ibid., p. 448. 30  Labelle, ‘De la culture publique commune à la citoyenneté’, p. 34. 31  Québec (MRCI), Des valeurs partagées, des intérêts communs. Pour assurer la plein participation des Québécois des communautés culturelles au développement du Québec. Plan d’action 2004-2007 (Quebec City: Ministère des Relations avec les Citoyens et de l’Immigration, 2004). 32  Québec (MICC), Rapport annuel de gestion 2004–2005 (Quebec City: Ministère de l’Immigration et des Communautés Culturelles, 2005), p. 2. 33  Labelle, ‘De la culture publique commune à la citoyenneté’, p. 35. 34  Québec (MICC), Towards a government policy to fight against racism and discrimination. Consultation Document (Quebec City: Ministère de l’Immigration et des Communautés Culturelles, 2006). 35  Bouchard and Taylor, Building the Future, p. 256. 36  Québec (MICC), La diversité, une valeur ajoutée. Plan d’action gouvernemental pour favoriser la participation de tous à l’essor du Québec 2008-2013 (Quebec City: Ministère de l’Immigration et des Communautés Culturelles, 2008). 37  Québec (MICC), Rapport annuel de gestion 2007–2008 (Quebec City: Ministère de l’Immigration et des Communautés Culturelles, 2008), p. 5. 38  Ibid., p. 6. 39  Ibid., p. 11. 40  François Rocher, ‘La mise en œuvre des recommandations de la Commission Bouchard-Taylor. Essai de bilan’, in L’interculturel au Québec. Rencontres historiques et enjeux politiques, ed. Lomomba Emongo and Bob W. White (Montréal: Presses de l’Université de Montréal, 2014), p. 88. 41  Parekh, The Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain, p. 10. 42  Tariq Modood, ‘Political Blackness and British Asians’, Sociology 28.4 (1994): ­859– 876; Barry Troyna, ‘Beyond Multiculturalism: Towards the Enactment of Anti-Racist Education in Policy’, Oxford Review of Education 13.3 (1987): p. 318. 43  See Claire Alexander, ‘Beyond Black: Rethinking the Colour/Culture Divide’, Ethnic and Racial Studies 25.4 (2002): pp. 552–571. 44  Parekh, The Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain, pp. 36–39. 45  Richard Alba, ‘Bright vs Blurred Boundaries: Second-Generation Assimilation and Exclusion in France, Germany and the United States’, Ethnic and Racial Studies, 28.1 (2005): pp. 20–49.

202  Peter Beyer and Marie-Ève Larivière 46  Debra Thompson, ‘Making (Mixed-) Race: Census Politics and the Emergence of Multiracial Multiculturalism in the United States, Great Britain and Canada’, Ethnic and Racial Studies 35.8 (2012): pp. 1409–1426. 47  Tariq Modood, ‘Anti-Essentialism, Multiculturalism and the ‘Recognition’ of Religious Groups’, The Journal of Political Philosophy 6.4 (1998): pp. 378–399. 48  Eugene McLaughlin and Sarah Neal, ‘Misrepresenting the Multicultural Nation’, Policy Studies 25.3 (2006): pp. 155–174. 49  Alistair Hunter and Christina Boswell, ‘Comparing the Political Functions of Independent Commissions: the Case of UK Migrant Integration Policy’, Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis: Research and Practice 17.1 (2015): pp. 10–25. 50  Community Cohesion: A Report of the Independent Review Team, ed. Ted Cantle (London: Home Office, 2001). 51  Tony Blair, ‘Our Nation’s Future: Multiculturalism and Integration’, speech, 2006, accessed 15 January 2016, 52  Commission on Integration and Cohesion, Our Shared Future (London: Department of Communities and Local Government, 2007). 53  Communities and Local Government Committee, Community Cohesion and Migration: Tenth Report of Session 2007–2008 (London: House of Commons, Communities and Local Government Committee, 2008). 54  Migration Advisory Committee, Analysis of the Impacts of Migration (London: Home Office, 2012). 55  Hunter and Boswell, ‘Comparing the Political Functions of Independent Commissions’. 56  Cantle, Community Cohesion, p. 10. 57  Blair, ‘Our Nation’s Future’. 58  Commission on Integration and Cohesion, Our Shared Future, p. 3. 59  Nasar Meer and Tariq Modood, ‘The Multicultural State We’re In: Muslims, “Multiculture” and the “Civic Re-balancing” of British Multiculturalism’, Political Studies 47 (2009): pp. 473–497. 60  Tariq Modood, ‘Is There a Crisis of Secularism in Western Europe?’, Sociology of Religion 73.2 (2012): pp. 130–149. 61  Hunter and Boswell, ‘Comparing the Political Functions of Independent Commissions’.

11 The altar of victory and the crucifix A tale of two controversial symbols Lori G. Beaman1 and Marie-Claude L’Archer The story we tell to begin this chapter is one of a religious symbol and its accompanying rituals, which caused vigorous debate within a society that had nevertheless venerated it for many centuries. The religious sensitivities of the time had changed, making the presence of this object a reminder of a not so distant past which baffled many. Indeed, the object in question was still displayed prominently in the building where the leaders of the State ruled over its destinies. Objections regarding its presence, at first timid and tentative, quickly turned into persistent demands for its removal. This symbol had no place in such a location. Arguments – sometimes moderate and tempered, sometimes vehement and contemptuous – were exchanged between supporters of its retention and proponents of its withdrawal. At this point, the reader may be thinking that we are writing about the famous crucifix in the Salon Bleu of the National Assembly in Quebec. Think again. The events we evoke here happened more than 1,700 years ago. For, as we will see in a moment, debates around religious objects and symbols in public buildings are not a modern invention. During our research together on the reports on religious diversity from Canada, Belgium, the UK and France we have frequently encountered discussions of religious symbols and their place in the public sphere. Yet, as we began to analyse the data related to social context and discourse, we realized that this debate is not a new one. We invite you to travel back in time with us to visit a less contemporary example of controversy over a symbol and its place in the public domain. We believe this journey can dislodge the debate from the sometimes myopic focus of contemporary discussions and help us to see the contours of the controversies and their broader meaning with fresh eyes and renewed critical insight. From this farreaching perspective, we can better analyse the shifting meaning and favour of symbols and see them as integrally tied to their social contexts. So, imagine yourself in ancient Rome …

The debate around the altar of victory The year is 350 CE, and we are in the Roman Curia, the place where the Senate of the Eternal City holds its meetings. As the senators arrive, the room begins to get crowded and the temperature starts to rise. There are currently 600 senators,

204  Lori G. Beaman and Marie-Claude L’Archer and although not all of them are present at each meeting, today’s meeting has drawn an especially large group. The senators greet each other with warmth, especially those who have been apart for a while. One is returning from а governorship in Africa. Another is back from Gaul, where he had retired to his country estates to write a book, away from the frenzy of the city. Some senators are quite old, having held their positions for over forty years. One over there is very young, just beginning his senatorial career, but no one has any doubt that he will in time prove himself a worthy man like his father and grandfather before him. Senatorial status is inherited and some families have held it for a very long time. All senators display similar attire, wearing the traditional white toga with a purple band, which distinguishes them from the mob. Some of them begin to informally discuss items on the day’s agenda. A sudden silence falls on the assembly as the consul who will preside over the session enters the room. The meeting will now begin. But first, there is a ritual to be performed in honour of the goddess Victory. For that purpose, the hall of the Curia is adorned with an altar upon which stands a statue of Victory personified, collectively referred to as the Altar of Victory. The statue is of a woman standing on a globe, dressed in a flowing gown, decorated with garlands. She wears a crown of laurels on her head and has outspread wings. Before every public consultation, wine is offered and incense burned to honour the tutelary goddess, who allowed the Romans to conquer the Mediterranean world and prosper for more than a thousand years. Moreover, according to Roman custom, the senators had each taken an oath at this altar when they were first appointed. The goddess Victory thus represents a central part of their heritage and tradition, and a strong element of their culture. As long as the vast majority of the senators were pagans,2 the tradition continued uninterrupted and undisputed. However, following the conversion of the Emperor Constantine in 310 CE, an increasing number of senators turned to Christianity, and the offerings to Victory became a subject of protest and dissent. Christian senators manifested their displeasure by not attending Senate meetings. The statue was first removed in 357 CE by Emperor Constantius II, the son and successor of Constantine.3 It was restored to its former place by the pagan Emperor Julian, who reigned for a short three years before being killed in battle. It was removed anew by Gratian in 382 CE. In the ten subsequent years, four delegations were successively sent by the pagan faction of the Senate to solicit the reinstallation of the Altar of Victory. In 383 CE, Gratian refused to receive the deputation of senators who wished to remind him that as emperor, he was officially the chief of the State cults. His answer was the renunciation of the title of Great Pontiff, which no Christian emperor had, until that point, ever declined. Paganism was losing ground. After Gratian was murdered, his young brother Valentinian replaced him. The pagan faction sent an embassy again, hoping to convince the new emperor, who was only thirteen years old, to reinstate the Altar of Victory. In response, Pope Damasus organized a counter-delegation composed of the Christian senators.4 Thanks to Eugenius, a Christian emperor sympathetic to the pagan cause, the altar was restored for a short time until it was removed once again in 394 CE,

The altar of victory and the crucifix    205 when Eugenius was killed by Theodosius. One could assume that the removal of the altar by a Christian emperor was an obvious decision.5 Yet, Theodosius had been quite tolerant of traditional cults. Indeed, the Church had more serious enemies to deal with at the time: the heretics. Hence, Theodosius did not proceed with the systematic closing and dismantling of pagan temples as other emperors had. We know that he authorized the preservation of various statues of pagan divinities, nevertheless suggesting that they should be appreciated for their artistic value rather than for the gods they represented.6 Therefore, we cannot tell whether the removal of the altar came from this emperor’s Christian piety, or from the need to reaffirm his authority and the legitimacy of his power by reversing all decisions taken by his predecessor Eugenius, whom he had just defeated. Even though the debate around the presence of the Altar of Victory involved the Roman nobility as a whole, it is also remembered as the confrontation of two intellectual giants of the era: on one side was Symmachus, a highly respected senator from an influential and rich family, who was the spokesman of the pagan faction. On the other side was Ambrosius,7 Bishop of Milan, more commonly known as Saint Ambrose. He represented the voice of the Christians, who wished to eradicate all traces of pagan cults. Ambrose and Symmachus, both highly intelligent and cultivated men, set about convincing both their contemporaries and successive emperors on the matter. To this day, we have manuscript copies of their rhetorical masterpieces. Among the arguments deployed by Symmachus was the desire to preserve the customs of the ancestors.8 Indeed, why change traditions that had always ensured the success of the Roman State? We must remember that during Antiquity, anything ancient was generally seen as intrinsically good, while all that was new usually generated suspicion. This way of thinking is why some considered that nothing good could come from Christianity, this new religion imported from Palestine, which required that old gods be abandoned. As Symmachus observed, after the altar had been removed from the Senate house, a generalized famine had afflicted the empire,9 proving without a doubt that disruption of the traditional cults could only bring misfortune to Rome and its inhabitants. But Symmachus also wished to show that his argument was not based solely on religious considerations. So he asked that no one attack the ornaments of the Senate building, if only to make sure that the building was transferred to the following generations in the condition it was in when he and his colleagues had received it when they were young men themselves.10 The altar and the statue were thus redefined as a heritage to the future generations of Roman senators. The perspective of Symmachus was thus one of compromise. He wished for many religious traditions to coexist peacefully in the Roman State, just as it had been since time immemorial. One particular verse in his speech stands out: We ask, then, for peace for the gods of our fathers and of our country. It is just that all worship should be considered as one. We look on the same stars, the sky is common, the same world surrounds us. What difference does it

206   Lori G. Beaman and Marie-Claude L’Archer make by what pains each seeks the truth? We cannot attain to so great a secret by one way.11 The moderate and cautious tone which Symmachus used in his appeal to the emperor was in deep contrast to Ambrose’s inflamed and imperative voice. It was much more difficult to convince an emperor to reconsider his decision – and that of his predecessors – than to flatter him enthusiastically for having accomplished the will of the God who had put him at the head of the empire. Symmachus did not have the latitude to speak against Christianity, since it was the religion of the emperor. Ambrose, on the other hand, spoke of paganism with contempt, saying that it was mere superstition and sacrilege. The statues of the pagans were not gods, but demons.12 Ambrose never missed an opportunity to lampoon the beliefs or traditions of Symmachus. Ambrose even labelled his opponent’s request as extortion. Also, Ambrose certainly scored points when he reminded his peers that the loss of an altar and a statue for the pagans was not that much compared to the persecutions and martyrdom that had been imposed on Christians for the preceding three centuries. The respective weight of these arguments in the emperors’ decisions is unknown to us. Nor should it be assumed that all pagans sided with Symmachus and all Christians with Ambrose. Among Romans, as in our modern societies, summarizing the diversity of the opinions as belonging to either of two sides often results in oversimplifications. As a matter of fact, pagans existed who had no interest in making offerings to a statue, either because they believed that the gods did not pay attention to human affairs, as did the Epicureans, or because they considered it ridiculous to represent the gods as anthropomorphic beings and worship them in the shape of a statue made of stone. Anyone who had received philosophical training of some sort had learned from the philosophers that God was one and transcendent.13 Moreover, even though they did not believe in the old gods any longer, many Christians thought that tradition ought to be honoured by preserving the temples, statues and ancient altars, either out of respect for the Roman past, or for artistic and aesthetic reasons. There was no need to believe in the myths of pagan divinities in order to enjoy them as they had done since they were children, when their mothers’ stories of pagan myths had lulled them to sleep. They had learned to revere the past and appreciate their own culture in a way that no new religion could extinguish. It was part of who they were. Rich Christians who were otherwise known for their piety paid from their own pockets for the restoration of temples, colonnades and frescoes representing pagan mythology in order to avoid seeing them fall into ruin.14 In this vein, some Christians were not opposed to the Altar of Victory being present in the Senate building. It would be helpful to know how, in the end, the Romans chose to resolve this thorny and controversial issue. But it is actually a choice they did not make for themselves. In 410 CE, an army of Visigoths attacked Rome and ransacked it for three whole nights and days. They plundered many objects of value and broke several others. The Curia was partly burned, but not beyond repair, which is why

The altar of victory and the crucifix    207 this building can still be admired today. During the attack, both the altar and the statue of Victory were either stolen or destroyed. It could thus not be put back into place anymore, thereby bringing an untimely end to a controversy over a religious symbol that had lasted more than fifty years.

The battle over a crucifix Now we must tear ourselves away from Roman history and return to contemporary Canada, to a perhaps less grand, but equally charged, atmosphere. It is 22 May 2008, and the elected members (députés) of the National Assembly of Quebec have gathered in the Salon Bleu, their usual meeting place, to receive the report of the Bouchard–Taylor Commission. This commission had been launched to consider ‘accommodation practices related to cultural differences in response to public discontent concerning reasonable accommodation’ in Quebec (see Chapters 1 and 10). The commission had held extensive public consultations during 2007 throughout the province. Of particular interest today is the commission’s recommendation regarding the crucifix displayed in the Salon Bleu of the National Assembly. The commission has written: However, we must avoid maintaining practices that in point of fact identify the State with a religion, usually that of the majority, simply because they now seem to have only heritage value … This crucifix, which Maurice Duplessis installed in 1936, suggests that a very special closeness exists between legislative power and the religion of the majority. It seems preferable for the very place where elected representatives deliberate and legislate not to be identified with a specific religion. The National Assembly is the assembly of all Quebecers.15 And so they have recommended: In the name of both the separation of the State and the churches and State neutrality, we believe that the crucifix should be removed from the wall of the National Assembly, which is the very embodiment of the constitutional state. For the same reason, the saying of prayers at municipal council meetings should be abandoned in the many municipalities where this ritual is still practiced.16 However, the motion being proposed at the National Assembly has an entirely different tone and represents the polar opposite of the Bouchard–Taylor recommendation: That the National Assembly reiterate its desire to promote the language, history, culture, and values of the Québec nation, foster the integration of each person into our nation in a spirit of openness and reciprocity, and express its attachment to our religious and historic heritage represented

208  Lori G. Beaman and Marie-Claude L’Archer particularly by the crucifix in our Blue Room and our coat of arms adorning our institutions.17 Unanimously, across party lines, the members reject the recommendation and adopt the motion. The Quebec Premier, for instance, made a public statement: ‘This is our history. We cannot rewrite history … The Church has played an important role in Québec’s history and the crucifix is the symbol of that history.’18 Interestingly, though, the report of the commission also notes that the famous cross on the top of Mount Royal, which acts as a sort of sentinel over the city of Montreal, should remain where it is: However, certain practices or symbols may originate in the religion of the majority without necessarily genuinely restricting those who are not part of this majority. This is true of practices and symbols that have heritage value rather than playing a regulatory role. For example, the cross on Mount Royal does not signify that Montréal identifies with Catholicism and does not demand of non-Catholics that they act against their conscience. It is a symbol that reflects a chapter of our past. A religious symbol is thus compatible with secularism when it is a historic reminder rather than a sign of religious identification by a public institution. As the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse du Québec has emphasized, a symbol or ritual stemming from the religion of the majority ‘does not infringe basic freedoms if it is not accompanied by any restriction on individuals’ behaviour’.19 American sociologist of religion Meredith McGuire20 argues that we can use the past to, in effect, travel to another country, allowing us to see our own social context anew. In this chapter, we reflect on the contention surrounding the Altar of Victory in relation to the presence of the crucifix in the Salon Bleu at the National Assembly of Quebec. Both represent the symbolic presence of a particular order of things and both attracted attention because of changes in the surrounding sociopolitical climate. In the two examples, the contest is not necessarily straightforward and includes political alliances as well as shifts in the religious landscape that manifest in the State-governing bodies. As Beaman and Sullivan21 have argued, there is no such thing as disestablishment, only varieties of establishment. What is interesting in our two examples is the contrasting approach to Church–State relations: in the period of the debates over the Altar of Victory there was no pretence of a separation of Church and State, perhaps more accurately put as religion and State. In contemporary Quebec, there exists an adamant insistence that Church and State remain separate. This attitude, however, has not resulted in a constitutional or a legal separation per se, since Church and State have always been intertwined in Canada and perhaps in a more accentuated fashion in the province of Quebec. The idea of a separation is a fiction imported from the influences of normative strands in both American and French political discourses, but it is tenuous at best. Indeed, in both cases we can see that

The altar of victory and the crucifix    209 discourse of nation and nationhood (in the Roman case more accurately described as empire) is intertwined with a particular imaginary of who we are, religiously. This tension leaves us with the fascinating task as scholars of figuring out the contours of the establishment, to use American language, or, put another way, to trace the genealogy of the relationship between the State and majoritarian religion. In part, the controversy over the Altar of Victory was the result of a battle between two religious paradigms. Paganism and Christianity were competing both for political and social power. There was never, in Antiquity, a will to separate State and religion. Neither was religion a right of individuals. Rather, religious piety was a duty to one’s family, city and empire. One had the obligation to perform rituals, in order to preserve peace with the gods and secure their benevolence. A senator who did not conform to tradition and abandoned the dictates of ritual ran the risk of offending the gods and bringing their anger against his22 own family, city or even the empire. When we examine the wording of the motion at the National Assembly, we can detect a similar nationalist tone, a sense that this religious symbol is part of the fabric of the nation, even if its religious aspects have been toned down or denied. The veneration of the crucifix is an obligation similar to that of the Altar of Victory for the Roman senators. Both the Altar of Victory and the crucifix represent an intertwining of nation and religion, and a part of the construction of a shared imaginary of who we are. Thus, for some, to betray the symbol is to betray the nation. The increasing plurality of cultural and religious worldviews in the populations of Western societies, as well as a pervasive rhetoric of the separation of Church and State, has brought the presence of religious symbols that represent the majority religious commitment (at least nominally) into tension with a new sensibility of diversity and inclusiveness. It turns out that the question of whether traditional religious symbols should be preserved or removed has no simple answer. The answer differs according to the political and social contexts of the country or communities and individuals involved, and indeed varies across time and in accordance with current events. Yet, issues of power and definitions of citizenship remain constant.

From symbols to rituals The contests we describe above are further complicated with the addition of ritual. In the case of the Altar of Victory, the notion that some were being forced to witness a ritual enacted by pagans was repugnant. Almost 2,000 years ago, Ambrose, the character now familiar to us, complained of this imposition: They ask to have her altar erected in the Senate House of the city of Rome, that is where the majority who meet together are Christians! There are altars in all the temples, and an altar also in the temple of Victories. Since they take pleasure in numbers, they celebrate their sacrifices everywhere.

210  Lori G. Beaman and Marie-Claude L’Archer To claim a sacrifice on this one altar, what is it but to insult the Faith? Is it to be borne that a heathen should sacrifice and a Christian be present? Let them imbibe, he says, let them imbibe, even against their will, the smoke with their eyes, the music with their ears, the ashes with their throats, the incense with their nostrils, and let the dust stirred up from our hearths cover their faces though they detest it.23 The pagans were performing a ritual before the Senate’s meeting, leaving the Christians feeling excluded and forced to witness practices that were in opposition to their own religious convictions.24 Alan Cameron has hypothesized that the forbidding of pagan sacrifices and rituals that eventually occurred was not meant to prevent these from being performed, but rather to prevent Christians from being coerced or pressured into participation.25 This idea is supported by the fact that it was public ritual that was forbidden, while private ritual was allowed to continue. The irony has not been lost on us that in the older example, the Christians were those complaining that their religious sensitivity was not taken into consideration, while today, the Christians are the ones who wish to impose prayer on others who would rather not pray before a meeting of the town council, as we will see in a moment. As was the case in the Roman scenario, defining who exactly constitutes the majority remains somewhat muddy – while there is little overall participation in organized religion in Quebec, a large number of Quebecers still identify themselves as Roman Catholic. Their relationship to their ostensible religious identity is extremely complicated and beyond the scope of this chapter. However, the complexity of this relationship is revealed by a case which came before the Quebec Court of Appeal during the period 2012–2013 and was overturned by the Supreme Court of Canada in 2015.26 In that case – Saguenay v. Mouvement laïque québécois27 – the complainant, Alain Simoneau, an avowed and long-term atheist, objected to the recitation of a prayer at the beginning of the municipal council meetings in the city of Saguenay. He also objected to the presence of various religious artefacts in the council chamber. The prayer, which the Quebec Court of Appeal characterized, following expert testimony, as representing universal values and thus not related to one specific religion, is as follows: Almighty God, we thank You for the great blessings that You have given to Saguenay and its citizens, including freedom, opportunities for development and peace. Guide us in our deliberations as City Council members and help us to be aware of our duties and responsibilities. Grant us the wisdom, knowledge and understanding to allow us to preserve the benefits enjoyed by our City for all to enjoy and so that we may make wise decisions. Amen.28 Like the Christians in the Altar of Victory case, Alain Simoneau felt excluded from the ritual of the prayer, and, arguably so, as though his presence during its recitation was somehow a tacit betrayal of his beliefs. In its decision, the Quebec

The altar of victory and the crucifix    211 Court of Appeal constructs a narrative that intertwines history, culture, nation, and the religious symbolism and activities of the municipality. Despite convincing evidence of his commitment to atheism, the city and the Court of Appeal positioned Alain Simoneau as an ideologue who partnered with a radical organization (Mouvement laïque québecois/MLQ) to make trouble for the municipality through his unreasonable demands that threatened the cultural integrity of the city and, in fact, an important aspect of Quebec culture and heritage. Expert evidence described his objection to the religious practices and symbols as unconvincing, and as being motivated by the ‘defence of a militant ideological project rather than by a problem of individual discrimination’.29 The MLQ, which supported Alain Simoneau, is described by the Court of Appeal as ‘a militant organization dedicated to the promotion of a complete secularism that demands this system of values for all branches of government’.30 The actions advocated by Alain Simoneau are described as ‘draconian’: Indeed, things that were once closely linked to specific religious dogma have since become secularized. Given this new context, they cannot, in my view, be removed in the name of a draconian conception of State neutrality. What would be the point of such a result if these things, despite their original meaning, were merely passive witnesses to history? In short, the exercise would involve only drawbacks because it would add nothing more to the concept of neutrality.31 As was the case in the Altar of Victory, which sees the Christian position articulated by some as belittling or denigrating the pagans, so too does the Court of Appeal in its use of diminutive language to belittle Alain Simoneau’s position. He, not the recitation of prayer and religious symbols, is unreasonable, and his behaviour, like a delinquent Roman senator’s might have been, is characterized as unreasonable: The respondents in this case could not simply allege mere references to religious heritage and conclude de facto that the City’s duty of neutrality was not respected. A reasonable, well-informed person, aware of the implicit values that underlie this concept could not, in this case, accept the notion that the City’s political activities were, because of this prayer, under any particular religious influence.32 Thus, by challenging the city, Alain Simoneau challenges broader values and thus threatens the social fabric. We are, in some measure, beyond the days when God’s wrath might be mentioned as a risk of such thinking, but perhaps not as far past it as we might think.

Conclusion Our journey into the past to revisit the story of the Roman Altar of Victory and the contemporary contest over the presence of the crucifix and prayer in public

212  Lori G. Beaman and Marie-Claude L’Archer space in Quebec highlights, perhaps paradoxically, both the historical dependency and contextual embedding of such controversies, as well as their continued presence through history. The interventions of key political actors, social identity and sentiment, religious decline and ascendance, all work to transform symbols and practices from acceptable to unacceptable, or at the very least questionable. We have offered this exploration as a reminder that as we struggle to understand contemporary events involving religion and society, the controversies we observe and study are not necessarily new or novel, and that it is perhaps a worthwhile exercise to turn our gaze back in time. Such a turn may enable us to deepen our understanding of contemporary events.

Notes   1  In the preparation of this chapter, Lori G. Beaman would like to acknowledge the support of the Religion and Diversity Project, as well as the ongoing financial support of her research through her Canada Research Chair in Religious Diversity and Social Change. The authors are grateful to Marianne Abou-Hamad for her editorial assistance.   2  We are well aware that pagan is a problematic word. It was used by early Christians to designate non-Christians-neither-Jews, but never was an actual word these so-called pagans would have used to call themselves. What we now call paganism was a vast array of traditional cults. For lack of a better word, we use it here, as it is still used in contemporary literature and was used in many ancient sources.   3  Pierre Chuvin, Chroniques des derniers païens (Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 1990), p. 45.   4  Ambrose, Epistulae XVII, in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers X, ed. Philip Schaff and Henry Wallace (New York: Cosimo Classics, 2007).   5  Due to a gap in the sources on the state of the controversy during the reign of the Christian emperors Jovian (363–364) and Valentinian I (364–375), nothing is known about the embassies sent by Christians to those emperors; however, if there were any, their requests must have been rejected, since we know that the altar was not removed again before 382. The same gap applies to the early reign of Gratian. He was still a child when he began to co-reign with his father in 367. He became sole emperor at the latter’s death. Yet, we know nothing of his attitude regarding the altar before his final decision to remove it in 382. What needs to be noticed here is that the Altar of Victory was tolerated during many years by Christian emperors. See Alan Cameron, The Last Pagans of Rome (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010), p. 34.   6  Theodosian Code XVI, pp. 10, 8.   7  Their complete names were, respectively: Quintus Aurelius Symmachus and Aurelius Ambrosius. The fact that both have the name Aurelius does not necessarily mean they were related. Rather, Aurelius was the most widespread last name in the Late Roman Empire, just like Tremblay in Quebec or Patel in India.   8  Symmachus, Relatio III, in Prefect and Emperor, trans. R. H. Barrow (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1973).   9  Ibid., pp. 14–15. 10  Ibid., p. 5. 11  Ibid., p. 10. 12  Ambrose, Epistula XVII, pp. 1–2. 13  Symmachus, Relatio III, p. 5. 14  Chuvin, Chroniques, pp. 60–61. 15  Gérard Bouchard and Charles Taylor. Commission de consultation sur les pratiques d’accommodement reliées aux différences culturelles, Building the Future: A Time for Reconciliation (Quebec City: Gouvernement du Québec, 2008). 16  Ibid., p. 178.

The altar of victory and the crucifix    213 17  Official translation from original French: ‘Que l’Assemblée nationale réitère sa volonté de promouvoir la langue, l’histoire, la culture et les valeurs de la nation québécoise, favorise l’intégration de chacun à notre nation dans un esprit d’ouverture et de réciprocité et témoigne de son attachement à notre patrimoine religieux et historique représenté notamment par le crucifix de notre salon bleu et nos armoiries ornant nos institutions.’ Journal des débats (Hansard) of the National Assembly, 38th legislature, 1st sess., 22 May 2008. 18  Quoted in ‘Québec Garde le Crucifix’, RADIO-CANADA, 22 May 2008, Translated by Karine Henrie. Original French reads: ‘C’est notre histoire, on ne peut écrire l’histoire à l’envers … L’Église a joué un rôle important dans l’histoire du Québec et le crucifix est le symbole de cette histoire.’ 19  Bouchard and Taylor, p. 152. 20  See Meredith B. McGuire, Lived Religion: Faith and Practice in Everyday Life (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008). 21  Lori G. Beaman and Winnifred F. Sullivan, ‘Neighbo(u)rly Misreadings and Misconstruals: A Cross-Border Conversation’, in Varieties of Religious Establishment, ed. Winnifred F. Sullivan and Lori G. Beaman (Farnham: Ashgate, 2013), pp. 1–11. 22  In Rome, the senators were all men. 23  Ambrose, Epistula XVIII, p. 31. 24  Sources clearly indicate that for the Roman Christians, being present at a pagan ritual was not merely observing, but that presence implied approval and participation. As we know, Christian refusal to be present at pagan rituals sometimes resulted in their persecution, condemnation and execution by Roman magistrates for the crime of atheism (understood as the abandonment of traditional deities, regardless of the fact that Christians actually believe in a god). Of course, much of our information comes from Christian writers who present Christians and Christianity as they thought they ought to be, rather than as it actually was. Such a simplistic idea of identity ignores the complex, often contradictory ways in which people construct their identities (about the internal complexity of the individual, see Bernard Lahire, ‘From the Habitus to an Individual Heritage of Dispositions: Towards a Sociology at the Level of the Individual’, Poetics 31 (2003): pp. 329–355.) Also, according to Éric Rebillard, Christians and Their Many Identities in Late Antiquity, North Africa, 200–450 CE (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2012), p. 7: ‘Not only did Christians share a number of identities with nonChristians, but Christians and non-Christians alike did not necessarily or consistently regard their religious allegiance as more significant than other identities.’ This same issue – where observing ends and participation begin, arises again in the Saguenay case – clearly Alain Simoneau reached a point where his discomfort was so high that he perhaps felt that his presence was a sort of validation or participation of the prayer. If we think of Ambrose, he considered the statues of the gods as demons; so for him, the statues should not have existed nor the rituals be performed at all. Secularists would probably hold a similar position regarding the prayer or the crucifix. The prayer per se should not be recited at all in a government meeting, whether or not someone is uncomfortable observing it. 25  Cameron, The Last Pagans, p. 61. 26  See Mouvement laïque québécois v. Saguenay (City), 2015 SCC 16, [2015] 2 SCR 3. 27  Saguenay (Ville de) v. Mouvement laïque québécois, 2013 QCCA 936. 28  Ibid., para. 22. Original French reads: ‘Dieu tout puissant, nous Te remercions des nombreuses grâces que Tu as accordées à Saguenay et à ses citoyens, dont la liberté, les possibilités d’épanouissement et la paix. Guide-nous dans nos délibérations à titre de membre du conseil municipal et aide-nous à bien prendre conscience de nos devoirs et responsabilités. Accorde-nous la sagesse, les connaissances et la compréhension qui nous permettront de préserver les avantages dont jouit notre ville afin que tous puissent en profiter et que nous puissions prendre de sages décisions. Amen.’ 29  Simoneau v. Tremblay, 2011 QCTDP 1 at para. 154.

214  Lori G. Beaman and Marie-Claude L’Archer 30  Saguenay v. Mouvement laïque québécois, 2013, para. 19. Translation by Tess Campeau. Original French reads: ‘une association militante vouée à la promotion de la laïcité intégrale qui revendique ce système de valeur pour toutes les branches de l’État’. 31  Ibid., para. 70. Original French reads: ‘En effet, les manifestations qui autrefois étaient intimement liées à des dogmes religieux identifiés ont été depuis laïcisées. Vu ce nouveau contexte, elles ne peuvent, à mon avis, être supprimées au nom d’une conception draconienne de la neutralité de l’État. À quoi servirait un tel résultat si ces manifestations, en dépit de leur sens initial, ne sont que des témoins passifs de l’histoire? En somme, l’exercice ne comporterait que des inconvénients puisqu’il n’ajouterait rien de plus au concept de la neutralité.’ 32  Ibid., para. 107. Original French reads: ‘Ici, les intimes ne pouvaient simplement alléguer de simples références au patrimoine religieux pour ensuite conclure que de facto l’obligation de neutralité de la Ville n’était pas respectée. Une personne raisonnable, bien renseignée et consciente des valeurs implicites qui sous-tendent ce concept ne pourrait en l’espèce accepter l’idée que l’activité étatique de la Ville, du fait de cette prière, était sous une influence religieuse particulière.’

Part III

Other national public initiatives

12 A coherent public policy on religion in Norway? An analysis of the 2013 report ‘A Society Open to Religious and Worldview Diversity’ Ingunn Folkestad Breistein and Inger Furseth In June 2010, a ‘Commission on Faith and Worldviews’1 was appointed by the Norwegian government to examine public policies on religion and worldviews, with the goal of suggesting more coherent policy. Two premises were provided: first, that the State would secure and protect freedom of religion and faith; and second, that the State would continue its supportive policy of religion within the framework of three key principles: democracy, a constitutional State and human rights.2 The commission delivered its report on 7 January 2013, to the Minister of Culture, Hadia Tajik, two and a half years after the appointment. The report included 462 pages and was entitled ‘A Society Open to Religious and Worldview Diversity: Toward a Coherent Policy’. In this chapter, we will present and discuss the content and reception of this report. In order to effectively do so, we will first present a brief outline of the context – namely, the religious landscape of Norway, the changes in Church–State relations, and the historical background of the commission.

Changing relations between Church and State in an increasingly diverse Norway Norway is a small country located in the far north of Europe and in 2015 contained only 5.2 million people.3 The country has been relatively religiously homogeneous, a situation that has been slowly changing since the 1970s. The membership of the Church of Norway has declined from 94 per cent of the population in 1970 to 75 per cent in 2013. That year, Christian minority churches amounted to 6 per cent of the population (including Roman Catholics, Methodists, Baptists, etc.), and Islamic communities represented 2 per cent. The worldview communities are represented primarily by the Human-Etisk Forbund/HEF (Norwegian Humanist Association), which is the largest Humanist association in the Nordic countries. The changing religious landscape in Norway is primarily due to immigration, but there has also been an increase in the number of people leaving the dominant Evangelical Lutheran Church of Norway. Some join HEF,

218  Ingunn Folkestad Breistein and Inger Furseth Table 12.1  Members in faith and worldview communities in Norway (2013) Faith communities


% of the population

Church of Norway Christian minority churches Religious communities outside Christianity Worldview communities Unaffiliated Population in Norway

3,825,784 312,925 150,414 86,061 733,872 5,109,056

 75    6    3   2  14 100

Source: Statistics Norway 2014.

but there has also been a rise in the unaffiliated, which includes people outside any faith and worldview community, as well as people in faith communities that do not benefit from State support and whose members are not registered. Membership numbers do not tell the whole truth about religion. For example, many Muslims are not members of Islamic communities.4 In fact, Norway fits the Nordic pattern of relatively high membership rates in the majority churches, combined with low levels of church attendance. British sociologist Grace Davie has described this pattern as ‘belonging and not believing’.5 However, a more accurate description of Norway is ‘belonging and not practising’.6 Almost 70 per cent of the population believes in a god or higher power,7 whereas only 1.6 per cent of the members attend services in the Church of Norway on an average Sunday.8 Attendance tends to be much higher in smaller faith communities, like the Jewish congregations, the Roman Catholic Church and the Protestant minority churches.9 Historical background of the commission Why did the government want a commission on religions and worldviews? One important reason was that Norway had become increasingly religiously diverse, resulting in the growing visibility of religions in the public sphere. In this context, the public role of religion was constantly contested and debated. At least three other factors were important: the work of a previous commission (the so-called ‘Value Commission’), growth in the interreligious infrastructure, and changing Church–State relations. The Value Commission (1998–2001) was appointed by the government in order to discuss common values for a religiously diverse society. Some examples of the values discussed were participation, responsibility and democracy, along with questions concerning human dignity, religious dialogue, values in schools, the environment and the values of the press. A group within the Value Commission working on issues related to freedom of religion suggested that the need had arisen to appoint a new governmental commission to outline a more coherent public policy on religions and worldviews.10 During the same period, various bilateral and multilateral interreligious groups and organizations were established. The most important is Samarbeidsrådet for tros-og livssynssamfunn/STL (The Council for Faith and Life Stance Communities),

A coherent policy on religion in Norway?    219 established in 1996, where each faith and worldview community participate and have one member. The Church of Norway has been deeply involved in interreligious dialogue: both interreligious dialogue between different world religions and interconfessional dialogue between various Christian churches. The political authorities saw the benefit of interreligious dialogue, especially during the so-called cartoon crisis of 2005–2006 when the Mohammed cartoons, which appeared first in a Danish newspaper, were published in Norwegian newspapers as well. Several Muslim communities in Norway protested against and condemned the cartoons. The government negotiated with several imams and the Islamic Council Norway to find solutions and hopefully avoid the riots that had taken place in many other countries. This approach was favoured by some, but criticized by others, who thought the government was more concerned with listening to the Muslims than with protecting freedom of speech.11 Finally, the changing relationship between Church and State has created a need to look at public policies in this area in new ways. The Evangelical Lutheran religion, or the Church of Norway, was the State religion from 1537 to 2012, as specified in the constitution dating back to 1814. When the constitution was altered in 2012, it no longer mentioned any State religion, although paragraph 16 added: the ‘Church of Norway, an Evangelical–Lutheran church, remains the folk church of Norway and will be supported as such by the State’. This implies that the Church of Norway still has a special place in society as compared to other faith communities. The constitution also states that this church should be governed by a Church law made by the parliament (Kirkeloven). Paragraph 16 also asserts that ‘all faith communities should be supported in the same manner’. Before 2012, other faith communities were not mentioned in the constitution. Religious freedom was first included in the constitution in 1964 (in paragraph 2), at the 150th anniversary of the constitution. A law regarding faith communities (Lov om trossamfunn) was passed in 1969, and since then, all registered faith communities have been entitled to State funding.12 This arrangement was extended to worldview communities in 1981. A dichotomy in how the State relates to the majority and minorities Although the status of the Church of Norway has been altered from State church to Norwegian folk church, there still exists a dichotomy when it comes to how the State treats the majority church and the minorities. Since the Second World War, two governmental commissions have discussed the relationship between the Church of Norway and the State (1975 and 2006),13 and two other governmental commissions have debated State and religions outside the Church of Norway (1962 and 2013).14 Although the relationship between the State and the majority church has significance for the religious minority groups and vice versa, these issues have been debated separately. The Commission on Faith and Worldviews (2010–2013) was the first commission that addressed the entire field of religion and worldviews, including secular humanism and the Church of Norway.15 As mentioned above, there is also a dichotomy when it comes to the legal system,

220  Ingunn Folkestad Breistein and Inger Furseth since there are two different laws regarding faith communities, one for the Church of Norway and another for minority faith communities. The task of this commission was to provide suggestions that would enable the government to overcome this dichotomy and move toward a more ‘coherent’ policy.16 Changing relations between Church and State in Scandinavia In order to contextualize the case of Norway, we should briefly mention the situation in other Scandinavian countries that also have histories of close relations between Lutheran majority churches and the State. Sweden is now the country with the most definite separation of Church and State in Scandinavia, which was introduced in 2000. Today, the Church of Sweden is a faith community rather than a State institution, with the implication that the laws distinguish between the tasks of the State and the tasks of the Church.17 Denmark represents the country with the closest connection between church and state. The Danish folk church is seen as a guarantee for Danish culture and no ongoing process for the separation of Church and State exists. The Norwegian situation is closer to Sweden than to Denmark, since Norway is in the process of implementing further steps in the separation between Church and State.

Members of the commission and how the commission worked Before turning to the content of the report of the Faith and Worldviews Commission, this chapter will first present some details about its members and its framework. The commission was appointed by the Ministry of Knowledge and Culture in 2010. At this time, the government consisted of a red–green alliance (Labour, Agrarian and Socialist). The commission consisted of 15 people, 8 women and 7 men, including 8 members of the Church of Norway, one from the Catholic Church, one from a Protestant minority church, one from a Sikh community and one from a Muslim community. Two others were members in the Norwegian Humanist Association (HEF) and one was unaffiliated. Five came from academic institutions and three of these had expertise in religious diversity and dialogue. Several others came from NGOs that focused on immigration, racism, substance abuse and poverty, and two worked in the health sector. Thus, the commission consisted of people from both academia and NGOs.18 The commission had two full-time secretaries and its time frame was two and a half years. It arranged twenty-two full-day meetings, during which it met several representatives of various faith and worldview communities, Norwegian Christian Council (NKR), Council for Faith and Life Stance Communities (STL) in Oslo, and local religious dialogue groups in two cities, Kristiansand and Drammen. It also met academics within the fields of human rights and freedom of religion. Several times the meetings were held in buildings of different faith and worldview communities. The leader of the commission was Sturla Stålsett, a theologian in the Church of Norway and leader of Kirkens Bymisjon, an NGO

A coherent policy on religion in Norway?    221 that does social work with the homeless and people with substance abuse problems. The vice-chairperson was Bente Sandvig, senior adviser in the Norwegian Humanist Association and at that time, leader of STL. Both possessed a background in interreligious dialogue. The members were also affiliated with most of the political parties: Arbeiderpartiet (Labour Party), Sosialistisk Venstreparti (Socialist Party), Senterpartiet (Agrarian Party), Venstre (Liberal Party) and Kristelig Folkeparti (Christian Social Democratic Party). However, none had connections to the two major parties that won the parliamentary election in the autumn of 2013 and formed a new government, Høyre (Conservative Party) and Fremskrittspartiet (Progress Party, a right-wing populist party). As we will see, this fact would affect the future of the commission’s report. While the commission delivered its report to the Minister of Culture, Hadia Tajik from the Labour Party, the subsequent hearings were submitted to the succeeding Minister of Culture, Thorhild Widvey from the Conservative Party. The commission was not asked to write a report in full agreement on the various issues. Instead, the members reflected different views on religions and worldviews found in Norwegian society. The report is full of examples of disagreement between the members. Often it outlines different chains of argument that lead to various conclusions supported by the majority or by one or more minorities, rather than presenting simplistic recommendations. Although the members of the commission were affiliated with various faiths and worldviews, as well as with different political parties, they were not appointed as representatives for any of these.

Content of the report We now present the content of the report and its main recommendations. The first issue concerns five possible models for religion and State relations discussed in the report. The recommendations are to some degree affected by the members’ views on religion–State relations, although the members are not always consistent in their opinions. The second issue deals with economic aspects, since 25 per cent of the report discusses State funding. Towards the end, we will address some key questions and controversies: State support versus State rule, religious tradition versus religious freedom, and religion in public institutions. It is important to note that the political premises for the commission implied some limitations to the type of recommendations the commission could make. The explanation lies in an agreement made by all political parties in 2008 (Kirkeforliket). The politicians had agreed that the State should continue to be involved in the domain of religion and provide public funding for faith and worldview communities. As a result, the commission could not recommend the complete separation of Church and State. Since they also agreed that the State should continue to fund the Church of Norway and other faith and worldview communities in the same way it already did, the commission could not recommend that citizens should be exempted from paying the Church tax even if they left the Church of Norway or any other faith and worldview community.

222  Ingunn Folkestad Breistein and Inger Furseth Table 12.2  Five models of religion and State relations State funding/ governance Model 1: State dictates religion


State supports Political/ and governs pragmatic one religion

Religion in Exceptions in public institutions the law Only one religion No exception in admitted the laws

Model 2: Liberal/ State supports Individual neutral and governs freedom of no religion religion

Little or no religion Different views in public institutions

Model 3: State supports Liberal multiMulticultural all religions, culturalism but governs none

Equal treatment Exceptions of all religions regarding gender and sexual equality

Model 4: Welfare

State supports Instrumental and governs all religions

Religion in public Hardly any institutions, but pragmatic regarding actual arrangements

Model 5: Cultural heritage

State supports Religion as all religions, the glue of governs none society

Monopoly of one Different views religion

Source: Breistein, 2013. ‘En helhetlig forståelse’, 320; Kulturdepartementet, p. 93.

As mentioned above, the report provides an overview of five possible models for a coherent public policy on faiths and worldviews. These models also reflect different views found among the members of the commission and can be understood as the ideological background for the different recommendations. None of the members of the commission supported Model 1. Two members supported the Liberal/neutral model (2), and two members recommended the Cultural heritage model (5) and wanted the Church of Norway to have a privileged position in public institutions and during national commemorations and rituals. The majority of the commissioners favoured either the Multicultural model (3) or the Welfare model (4). However, no consistent majority or minority emerged when it came to specific recommendations, since members who supported any of the models could still agree with members who supported another model when it came to specific issues. Whereas Models 1, 4 and 5 tend to emphasize the societal role of religion, Models 2 and 3 tend to focus on the importance of religion for the individual or the faith community. These five models are vital in helping us to understand how the commission tried to resolve different challenges that Norwegian society faces when it comes to religious diversity and the relationship between religion and State.

Economic aspects Money is an important issue in Norwegian public policies on religion and worldviews. Since 1969, the Norwegian State has provided public funding to faith and

A coherent policy on religion in Norway?    223 worldview communities registered by the State (registration is open to faith communities with two or more members). The Church of Norway is not funded according to membership numbers, but receives a certain amount per year, partly as a whole throughout the country, partly locally from the municipality. A calculation is then done of the amount the Church of Norway receives according to its membership, and all other faith and worldview communities receive an equivalent amount per member. The municipalities also fund a matching amount per member annually. In 2012, the total annual amount per member was NOK800 (approximately US$140).19 Since the percentage of the Norwegian population in the Church of Norway is declining (and therefore the amount per member calculation is increasing), and the percentage in other faith and worldview communities is increasing, this system results in growing public costs. While State and municipalities funded around 400,000 members in faith and worldview communities outside the Church of Norway in 2007, they funded 500,000 five years later.20 Some local communities have been experiencing the pressure of a costly, growing religious sector and are trying to cut costs. One example is the city of Drammen, located east of Oslo, one of the most religiously diverse cities in Norway. In 2012, it tried to cut overall costs by reducing expenses related to the Church of Norway.21 However, the city was unable to do so, due to the law that gives the Church of Norway the right to public funding. The commission proposed that the system of funding should continue more or less in the same way as today. Some argued that public funding could be interpreted as support for religious liberties, in the sense that it provides the economic means for individuals to practise religion, while supporting the faith and worldview communities. Other members thought it would be more desirable if these communities carried more of their own expenses. An important issue that was discussed is the growing number of those who are religiously unaffiliated. Although they pay taxes, they do not receive a return on their taxes in the same way as do members of religious traditions. This issue was considered problematic by the commission members who supported Models 2 and 3, where religion was understood to be an individual issue. Members who supported Models 4 and 5 that emphasize the societal role of religion argued that people in a welfare society such as Norway help fund several services they may not use or even ideologically support. The different views on funding in the commission were largely related, then, to the type of model for religion and State relations that the members favoured.

Key questions and controversies The key questions and controversies in the commission were related to issues of State support versus State governance, and whether or not faith and worldview communities should continue to be granted exceptions under the law. Other issues that were introduced included the tensions between religious tradition and religious freedom, as well as the role of religion in public institutions.

224  Ingunn Folkestad Breistein and Inger Furseth State support versus State rule and exceptions under law One of the major debates during the commission was whether public funding gives the State the right to govern faith communities in their internal affairs – for example, with issues related to gender and sexual equality. The commission was divided on the issue of funding. While eight members favoured the right of the State to govern the faith communities, seven members supported the right of faith communities to receive public funding without State interference. The debate was partly related to another issue dealing with the right of faith communities to be exempted from the Work Environment Act, which promotes gender equality (Arbeidsmiljøloven).22 Today, the right to exemption is limited to religious leaders. The question was whether or not faith communities should be required to make religious leadership positions available to candidates of both genders in order to receive public funding. The recommendation, from the majority, was that all religious bodies should make room for women on their boards, since the boards at large are responsible for the ways in which the State funding is spent. The members who expressed this view tended to support Model 4, which proposes that the State should support and govern all religions. The minority of seven argued that such demands should not be placed on the faith communities – i.e. that public funding should not be dependent upon the State’s approval of the content of faith within a religious body. Instead, economic support should be interpreted as a result of equal treatment between faith communities and a fair distribution of the taxes that all taxpayers pay. The members who expressed this view tended to support Models 3 and 5, with little or no State governance of religion. As mentioned above, the majority and minority were formed by different members on different recommendations. On this issue, the majority mainly consisted of members who supported Model 4, along with some who supported Model 2. Religious tradition versus religious freedom The commission wrote an additional chapter on the future policy of religion and worldviews, where it presented several suggestions that would logically follow the principle of equal treatment.23 One issue was the language concerning religion in the constitution from 2012. After the Church compromise in 2008, paragraph 2 in the constitution had been altered from ‘All citizens have religious freedom. The State religion remains the Evangelical Lutheran religion’ to: ‘The fundamental values remain our Christian and Humanist heritage. This Constitution is to secure Democracy, Rule of Law and Human Rights.’ The majority of the commission argued that the sentence ‘The fundamental values remain our Christian and Humanist heritage’ should be deleted, as it mentioned only two traditions and omitted others. Two members claimed that Christianity and Humanism deserve to be mentioned, as they constitute the country’s cultural heritage. The majority insisted that if specific religious traditions are to be mentioned in the text, it would have to include both old and new religions and

A coherent policy on religion in Norway?    225 worldviews. Paragraph 16 in the constitution should be altered, so that the Church of Norway was not specifically mentioned, and that there would be one law regarding faith and worldview communities. The suggestions in the additional chapter evoked opposition from politicians and the Church of Norway. Several bishops in the Church of Norway claimed that their church should not be regarded as a faith community on an equal footing with others. For them, the Church of Norway represented the cultural heritage and it should have a special place in the constitution. It is also no surprise that most politicians in parliament did not appreciate the suggestions, as they were the ones who had altered the constitution in 2012 and the commission was, in fact, criticizing their work. Religion in public institutions One of the major issues that the report discusses is religious and spiritual care in public institutions, such as hospitals, nursing homes, prisons and the military. As of 2013, the Church of Norway still maintained a privileged position in these institutions. Most chaplains are from the Church of Norway, and the chaplaincy service is conducted according to its regulations. For many years, other Christian churches have argued that the chaplaincy service should be open to other pastors and priests. Demands have also been made that different religious traditions should be present in the chaplaincy service in hospitals, prisons and the military. In fact, the report concludes that Norway is far behind many other countries when it comes to the facilitation of different religious practices and the equal treatment of people of all religions and worldviews in public institutions.24 The suggestions from the commission should be seen in the light of Models 2, 3, 4 and 5. A majority of the members suggested that public institutions have the responsibility to provide religious and spiritual care for all people in the institutions. This criterion would imply that the institutions must hire people from different faith and worldview traditions to provide the required care. Some feared that this suggestion would imply a status quo. If new chaplains were not hired, the clergy of the Church of Norway would continue in their chaplain positions within the institutions, while leaders from other faith and worldview communities would be asked to serve their members as volunteers (Models 4 and 5). A minority in the commission suggested that equal treatment implied that religious and spiritual care in public institutions should be the responsibility of the faith communities and not the institutions. This requirement would secure equal treatment of all faith and worldview communities and result in a stronger separation between public authorities and religion (Models 2 and 3). The commission also discussed the right of faith and worldview communities to perform marriages on behalf of the State. The Church of Norway has always had the right to perform marriages on behalf of the State, as have the Christian minority churches since 1854, and other faith communities, as well as the Norwegian Humanistic Association (HEF) over the past decades. The commission was divided on this issue as well. Ten members concluded that the faith and

226   Ingunn Folkestad Breistein and Inger Furseth worldview communities should no longer have the right to perform marriages on behalf of the State.25 Civil marriage would ensure that all citizens know that it is civil law and not theological doctrine that regulates marriage, the responsibility of parents, divorce and inheritance. A minority of five members wanted to continue the current arrangement and saw no reason for change. The title of the report, ‘A Society Open to Religious and Worldview Diversity’, points to the fact that the commission perceived faith and worldview communities to be important aspects of contemporary Norway. The report challenged the privileged position of the Church of Norway, and made equal treatment of religions and worldviews the main principle for a coherent public policy. In addition to the issues mentioned here, the report dealt with numerous other issues. Two examples are religious clothing and symbols (hijab in the police force), and the interests and rights of children (circumcision of boys), which we will return to below. In the following section, we will explore how the report was received by the media, and some of the issues that were addressed in the public hearing.

The media strategies When the report was released in January 2013, the Ministry of Culture arranged a press conference, during which representatives of all the major newspapers and TV channels were present.26 In the following days, there was some debate in the newspapers, but it soon subsided. In May of the same year, the Ministry of Culture sent the report out for a comprehensive hearing. The public hearing meant that various relevant institutions, such as governmental ministries and agencies, faith and worldview communities, interreligious organizations, theological faculties and others had time to read the report and send in comments by the end of August 2013. In the following, we will examine the early debates before exploring what happened after the hearing deadline. In the debates that followed the release, two issues were of particular importance: the role of the Church of Norway in society and the question of religious headwear for police and judges. The role of the Church of Norway in society Since the aim of the commission was to outline a coherent public policy on religion with equal rights and opportunities for all faith and worldview communities, several recommendations carried implications for the privileged position of the Church of Norway. For example, the commission proposed that all weddings should be civil with an optional religious service afterwards, which implied that the Church of Norway and other faith communities were no longer responsible for weddings. The newspaper Dagbladet conducted a survey among key politicians on this and other issues the day after the release.27 The survey showed that the red–green alliance (Labour and Agrarian parties) opposed the proposal on civil weddings, while Socialists and Christian Democrats supported it, and

A coherent policy on religion in Norway?    227 representatives from the Liberal, Conservative and Progress (populist right-wing) parties were open to change. The commission also proposed that funerals should no longer be the responsibility of the Church of Norway, but should be transferred to municipal or communal administration. Here, the red–green alliance and Christian Democrats opposed the recommendation, while representatives from the Socialist, Conservative and Progress parties supported it. The political parties seemed to be divided into two: members of the Labour Party, Agrarians and Christian Democrats generally favoured the privileged position of the Church of Norway, whereas Socialists, Conservatives, Progress and Liberals – parties that tend to be more liberal on moral issues – supported more secular solutions. Indeed, the fear that the Church of Norway would lose its privileged position in society and culture became a hotly debated issue in the news. A well-known fiction author, Edvard Hoem, became an influential voice in favour of this view. Hoem, a leftist baby-boomer, claimed that the commission had overlooked the historic influence of Christianity in Norwegian society: ‘the one-thousand-year history of the Christianization of Norway must not be underestimated’.28 According to Hoem, by giving the Church of Norway the same status as other faith and worldview communities, the commission robbed the Church as a societal institution: ‘It is part of the evangelical task of the Church to administer the Christian faith tradition and take care of the Christian values that lots of people share.’29 In a speech later that year, he claimed that ‘Norway has become a multicultural and multireligious society, where the Church loses its privileges and becomes a religious community like any other.’30 Many of Hoem’s fellow Norwegians share his observation that Norway has become more multicultural and multireligious. He expresses his dislike for this development, in particular the weakening position of the Church of Norway. Atle Sommerfeldt, a bishop of the Church of Norway, also a leftist baby-boomer, supported Hoem and the privileged position of the Church of Norway: In a society where the large majority belongs to a specific religion, it is not necessarily a correct principle that all worldviews should have equal treatment by the public and in the public … equal treatment will lead to the marginalization of the majority.31 The opposing voices were largely not heard. As we will see below, the relations between religion and State, along with the role of the Church of Norway in society, also became a central topic during the public hearing. Hijabs in the police force? Another controversial recommendation concerned religious headwear for police and judges. This issue had been hotly debated in the media in 2009. Back then, the so-called hijab affair had been connected to Hadia Tajik, who had served from 2008 to 2009 as a political consultant to the Minister of Justice, Knut Storberget.

228  Ingunn Folkestad Breistein and Inger Furseth Before the report ‘A Society Open to Religious and Worldview Diversity’ was released in 2013, Tajik had become the Minister of Culture and she therefore received the report at the press conference. Tajik (1983–) is a young Pakistani– Norwegian jurist, journalist and politician from South West Norway. She is an uncovered Muslim woman who was appointed Minister of Culture in 2012 at the age of 29, making her the youngest member ever to serve in the Norwegian government. The hijab affair began in 2008 with a letter from a young woman who asked the Minister of Justice if she, as a Muslim, would be allowed to wear the hijab if she entered the police academy and became a police officer. The answer was yes, which led to a public uproar and heated debates in the media that lasted for weeks. The result was that the Ministry of Justice withdrew the proposal to permit religious headgear in these institutions. The allegations were that Tajik and Astri Aas-Hansen had agreed to do so without consulting Storberget, but this suspicion was never confirmed. When the ministry announced its decision, the media was left with the impression that the two women were to blame. Later, it was evident that both Storberget and Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg had agreed to allow the wearing of hijabs in the police force.32 During the press conference at the release of the report, ‘A Society Open to Religious and Worldview Diversity’, Tajik refuted the commission’s proposal that police officers and judges should have the right to wear religious headwear during service: ‘The government dealt with this issue in 2009 and came to a decision. There is no permission to use religious symbols in the police uniform … Hijab will not be part of the police uniform in the foreseeable future.’33 The results from Dagbladet’s survey of key politicians showed that representatives from the Agrarian, Christian Democratic, Progress and Conservative parties supported Tajik, while Liberals were undecided. Only Socialists disagreed with Tajik and supported the commission’s proposal to permit religious headwear in the police force.34 With such massive support from the other political parties, the public debate on the wearing of hijabs in the police force and in the courts became a dead issue.

Some results from the public hearing By the time of the hearing deadline on 30 August 2013, about 250–300 comments on the report had been submitted by governmental ministries and directorates, counties, cities and communes, parish councils, other councils in the Church of Norway, faith and worldview communities, theological faculties, and so forth. A majority came from religious institutions, especially the councils at different levels in the Church of Norway. In the following, we will examine some statements made by various bishops in the Church of Norway, the union for the clergy of the Church of Norway, and key umbrella organizations, such as the Council for Religious and Life Stance Communities (STL), the Norwegian Christian Council (NKR), and the Norwegian Humanist Association (HEF).

A coherent policy on religion in Norway?    229 The Church of Norway The various statements from the Church of Norway seem largely to express a Cultural Heritage Model, as advocated by Hoem and Sommerfeldt. The argument is that the Church of Norway is a majority church which has had, and should continue to have, a privileged position. All the bishops presented a unanimous statement: In a society where the majority church in a special way represents the shared values of the population and historical heritage, covers the entire country, and in addition has knowledge that is useful for the state, equal treatment cannot mean that all faith and worldview societies should be treated identically.35 The bishops’ argument against equal treatment is based on two premises. First, they claim that the entire Norwegian population has a set of shared values. Second, the bishops attribute to the Church of Norway a paternalistic role, as a representative of people of all faiths and worldviews. Based on these two premises, the bishops argue that the Church of Norway should enjoy preferential treatment: It is not necessarily a given that a neutral state provides the best frame for freedom of religion, democracy, and equal treatment in a society … The best conditions for freedom of religion are that the state makes visible the religion supported by the majority of the population, and simultaneously facilitates free religious practices and religious pluralization in society. In this way, minority rights for free religious practices will be better secured.36 It is possible to put forward the argument that the State can make the majority religion visible, and facilitate freedom of religion and religious diversity without giving the Church of Norway preferential treatment. Yet, the Norwegian bishops seem to argue that the ability of the State to make the Church of Norway visible functions as a presupposition for the freedom of religion. Thereby, they place the Church of Norway above all other faith and worldview communities. The preferential treatment of the Church of Norway is evident in other proposals made by the bishops as well. They wish to maintain the Christian chaplains’ main administrative role in public institutions, the formulation about Christianity in the constitution, and the role of the Church of Norway in weddings and funerals. The Presteforeningen (Union for the Church of Norway Clergy) argues along a similar line: ‘The Church of Norway should be able to take a representative function on behalf of the faith and worldview field – in understanding with other faith and worldview communities.’37 It opposes equal treatment and voices an even stronger paternalist view than the bishops do, in the sense that the Church of Norway should be representative not just of other faith communities, but of the entire ‘faith and worldview field’.38 The union also wants more space for

230   Ingunn Folkestad Breistein and Inger Furseth non-Lutheran chaplains, as long as their position is not threatened: ‘The clergy union welcomes chaplains of other faiths in public institutions, hospitals, prisons, the military, as long as their own role is not reduced.’39 To summarize, the bishops and the clergy union desire the status quo for the Church of Norway in addition to more space for other traditions. In many ways, the bishops and the clergy union engage in the politics of identity, where they promote the idea that the Church of Norway represents and protects Christian roots in the new multicultural and multireligious Norway. Similar strategies and ideas are also found in other European churches.40 Other faith and worldview communities In contrast, the other faith and worldview communities seem largely to support the commission’s proposal for equal treatment. Whereas some favour a Liberal model, others tend to support the Multicultural model. Samarbeidsrådet for trosog livssynssamfunn/STL (Council for Religious and Life Stance Communities) seems to support a more Multicultural model. As noted above, all faith and worldview communities are represented with one vote in STL, which gives the Church of Norway the same influence as the other members. STL favours equal treatment of all faith and worldview communities and the idea of non-discrimination, as expressed in the report. It also supports preferential treatment: STL points out that the principle of non-discrimination opens up for factual differential treatment. STL thinks, for example, that the state in some situations should go further in the facilitation of faith and worldview minorities than it strictly must from a human rights perspective.41 In contrast to the bishops in the Church of Norway, who believe that the majority Church should have preferential treatment, STL argues that minorities are in need of extra support from the State, so that the preferential treatment should favour them. STL also argues that the State should arrange common rituals during national crises, and not delegate them to single faith communities. Furthermore, it supports the commission’s recommendations concerning public, neutral, ceremonial buildings and equal religious and worldview care in public institutions. Norges kristne råd/NKR (Norwegian Christian Council) is situated between the Liberal and the Welfare Models. The votes in NKR are based on the membership of the various memberships of the Christian churches, which gives the Church of Norway more votes and representation here than in STL. NKR agrees with the bishops in the Church of Norway that Christianity has historically had, and continues to have, an important role in society. It wants to promote an ‘understanding for the presence of Christian faith, morality and culture in society and strengthen the Christian presence in public space’.42 Yet, it disagrees with the bishops that the Church of Norway somehow represents all faith and worldview communities, or represents Christianity as such. Instead, it presents a more

A coherent policy on religion in Norway?    231 inclusive view of Christianity by stating that ‘Catholic, Lutheran, Orthodox churches and Protestant free churches understand themselves as part of the thousand-year-long Christian tradition in Norwegian society’43. NKR tries to balance between its favourable view of the role of Christianity in society and its support of equal treatment. On the one hand, it wants to maintain the space inhabited by ‘the faith communities that represent the historic Christian heritage’44. On the other hand, it supports the idea that society should ‘provide all religions and worldviews with equal opportunities in public space and facilitate their provision of equal services to their members’45. This prerogative is evident in its view on religious and worldview care in public institutions, where it agrees with STL that there should be equal care, while it also supports the bishops’ idea that the Christian chaplaincy should not be reduced. This balancing act seems somewhat more ambivalent regarding the role of religion in national events and rituals. NKR supports the commission’s view that State or local authorities, and not individual faith communities, should have the responsibility to arrange rituals in situations of disaster. Simultaneously, it opposes the idea that all such rituals need to be multifaith, and states that it is ‘natural that the role of Christianity in the lives of the majority population affects different national events’.46 Although it favours equal opportunities – as, for example, in their support of public neutral ceremonial buildings – it also states that Christianity should have a more prominent role in society than other faith and worldview traditions. Human-Etisk Forbund/HEF (Norwegian Humanist Association) is an active member of STL, where it once held the leadership position. HEF is generally supportive of many of the commission’s proposals. It supports the Liberal and Multicultural models and emphasizes the importance of equal treatment: ‘The most important issue is to secure equal treatment … In order to obtain necessary equality, the notion of human rights must provide the basis for all new arrangements’.47 HEF opposes the Cultural Heritage argument, and is situated between the Liberal and the Multicultural Models. The idea that cultural hegemony, majority or tradition should receive privileges is not ‘factual preferential treatment’. Therefore, HEF supports STL’s view that factual preferential treatment is to facilitate those groups that have been discriminated against. HEF favours a neutral, secular State that is passive, but protective of minorities. This stance does not, however, mean that they favour a secular society: We do not want a secular society in the sense that it should be free of religious expressions or symbols. Foremost due to the consideration of individual freedom of religion, we think that the practice of religion must be expressed in the public sphere and not just in the private sphere.48 For example, HEF supports the presence of religion in the public sphere by arguing that the State should establish and build neutral ceremonial buildings. They also favour equal religious and worldview care in public institutions. Yet, they oppose other public religious symbols, such as the use of religious headwear in the police force and courtrooms.

232   Ingunn Folkestad Breistein and Inger Furseth Herein, there clearly exists support for the overall idea of equal treatment of all faith and worldview communities among representatives of the Church of Norway and the other key umbrella organizations. They all support public responsibility to provide more neutral ceremonial buildings and religious care for all in public institutions. However, these institutions support different models of religion–State relations, which demonstrates their disagreement, especially regarding the role of the Church of Norway in society. On one side of the spectrum are representatives from the Church of Norway, who support the Cultural Heritage Model (5) and favour a privileged position for this church. On the other side of the spectrum is HEF, which supports a secular State and preferential treatment of minorities (between Models 3 and 4). NKR is closer to the Church of Norway with its support of the privileged role of Christianity, although it also favours a more Liberal model with the equal treatment of all Christian churches (between Models 2 and 5). STL supports the Multicultural model (between 2 and 3) and favours preferential treatment of minorities. In many ways, their disagreement on particular issues is related, then, to their views on how relations between religion and State should be managed.

A prestigious report in the drawer and back on the table again “Has the prestigious report ended in a drawer?” This question was posed in the Christian daily, Vårt Land, on 2 May 2014.49 The background for this query had to do with the change of government during the autumn of 2013. As noted, the Labour government sent the report out to a hearing during the spring of 2013. The response to the hearing usually provides the basis for a parliamentary white paper (Stortingsmelding). However, the deadline for the hearing was only a few days before the parliamentary election on 5 September, where the Labour Party lost the majority vote. A new coalition government was formed by Conservatives and Progress (right-wing), with the support of Christian Democrats and Liberals. In May 2014, Svein Harberg, the Conservative leader of the Family and Cultural Committee in Storting (parliament), and the Conservative Party’s most prominent politician on Church and cultural issues, said at a meeting: The … commission’s report is dead. My impression is that the red–green government [did not follow through with the report] … There are elements in this material that provide interesting information, but the commission received its mandate from the red–green government, not from us. The work of the commission does not provide the basis for our policies … I see that the government that ordered the report did not implement it … They made sure it ended in a drawer. And we have not taken it out of the drawer.50

A coherent policy on religion in Norway?    233 Tajik refuted the interpretation that the previous government did not want to pursue the issues proposed in the report: We intended to follow through. We sent the report to a hearing … Shortly after the hearing deadline, the election took place. The reason that the conservative government killed the report must be interpreted as cowardice. They need the courage to address the difficult dilemmas presented by the commission.51 The newspaper asked the new Minister of Culture, Thorhild Widvey (Conservative), to comment. She was more positive than Harberg and wrote in an email: The report has many interesting debates and proposals. The Ministry of Culture is working to follow up on the many responses to the hearing, both within our areas of responsibilities and those of other ministries. Several topics and questions are addressed continually. Among others, the government has presented a proposal on the circumcision of boys, which is in accordance with the recommendations of the commission. However, Svein Harberg is also correct that many proposals in the report will not be implemented in the foreseeable future.52 Later, Widvey wrote in Vårt Land that she sees Norway as a multifaith country: ‘Muslims, Hindus, Baha’i, Humanists, Christians, Jews – this is “us”. Norwegian society is the sum of all of us.’53 In a situation of growing political fear of religious radicalism and extremism, she argues that interreligious dialogue is an important measure to prevent this development, and reveals that the government has provided extra funds for interfaith dialogue activities arranged by STL, NKR and Islamic Council Norway. Although Widvey does not publicly embrace the report as such, she and other members of the government seem to rely on it when relevant political issues appear that need to be resolved. In December 2015, three representatives for Venstre (Liberal Party) – among them Guri Melby who had been a member of the Faith and Worldviews commission – made a suggestion in the Norwegian parliament that the government should make a proposition on worldview politics. The newly appointed minister of culture, Linda Hofstad Helleland (Conservative Party), supported the decision, as did the Committee on Church, Education and Research in the Parliament. Several politicians, journalists and leaders of religious communities expressed a wish that the report be taken out of the drawer again. Others commented that this was now happening. The Labour representative Tone Merete Sønsterud said: ‘The Stålsett-commission made a thorough commission report on religion and world views. It is not desirable that reports like that end up with nothing more happening.’54

234   Ingunn Folkestad Breistein and Inger Furseth

Implementations of the commission’s recommendations Since the hearing, a few political issues have arisen where some of the commission’s recommendations have been quietly implemented. It is difficult to detect the actual effect of the report in these cases and we will not attempt to do so here. A good part of the change started before the commission’s final report came out in 2013. This phenomenon is particularly true when it comes to the military chaplaincy. One could argue that the changes in this institution would have taken place even if the report had not been made, and therefore that the report had no effect. However, one could also argue that the commission’s report is aiding processes already underway, so that the report has a more indirect effect in this institution as it does elsewhere. Changes in the military chaplaincy Facilitation for ethnic and religious minorities has been an issue in the military since the late 1980s. In 1987, the Ministry of Defence appointed a committee to find out how the military should adapt its organization to ethnic minorities. In 1992, new ‘directives’ were formulated, which described how the military should facilitate minorities when it came to uniforms, food and leave of absence during religious holidays.55 At this time, military chaplains from the Church of Norway and the Evangelical Lutheran Free Church functioned as advisers concerning ethnic and religious minority issues. Since then, the military chaplaincy service has worked to reform the chaplaincy service. In 2012, the chaplaincy proposed the hiring of military imams and humanist chaplains and, in 2014, a humanist philosopher and an imam were hired. The changes in the chaplaincy service are primarily based on two lines of argumentation, which also appear in the report. First, the chaplaincy must be more religiously diverse in order to reflect and accommodate an increasingly diverse military. Second, the changing relationship between Church and State, where the Church of Norway is no longer a State church, implies that the privileged position of the chaplains of the Church of Norway must change.56 The military has attempted to accommodate religious minorities in various ways for several years. One example is religious headwear. The Sikh turban has been permitted as part of the military uniform since 1988. Although the wearing of a hijab in the police force and the courts had been a controversial issue in 2009, the military announced in July 2012 that the hijab and the Jewish kippah would be permitted as part of the military uniform, in addition to bracelets with religious symbolism.57 This reform went more or less unnoticed, with shorter articles in the press and without a public debate.58 Circumcision of boys Circumcision of boys has also been a controversial political issue in Norway for several years. In 2012, a two-week-old baby boy of Muslim parents died as the

A coherent policy on religion in Norway?    235 result of complications due to circumcision at a private clinic in Oslo. After this incident, circumcision once again became an issue on the political agenda, especially due to the growing number of boys who were being circumcised without professional medical control.59 The majority of the commission on faith and worldviews recommended that this practice should take place under safer conditions.60 In April 2014, Minister of Health, Bernt Høie (Conservative), presented a legal proposal on circumcision, which included the practice in special public health services, so that circumcision would be conducted at public hospitals or private clinics with agreements with the public health authorities. The proposal was opposed at a hearing in May, but it passed by a unanimous vote in parliament in June 2014.61 The proposal was opposed by many medical professional organizations and HEF suggested that circumcision among male children should be illegal. However, the parliament argued, in accordance with the majority of the commission report, that circumcision was closely connected to the religious identities of Jews and Muslims, and a common practice throughout the world.62 A new law on faith communities In March 2015, the Ministry of Culture presented a proposal to change the Church law. The proposal was entitled ‘The State and the Church of Norway – a Clear Separation’, and it was debated at the General Synod of the Church of Norway in April of the same year.63 In the proposal, the government referenced its own political platform from the autumn of 2013, where it stated that: ‘Society, the Church and the State are all best served with a clear separation between Church and State.’64 In order to further develop the separation, the Ministry of Culture proposed a new law that would involve all faith and worldview communities, including the Church of Norway. Although the Church of Norway’s General Synod turned down the proposal, it seems that the Ministry intends to pursue the proposal of a new law on faith communities in order to further separate Church and State. If this is the case, the Ministry of Culture is clearly attempting to implement one of the main proposals from the commission’s report. Although the Conservative government has not produced a governmental white paper from the report ‘A Society Open to Religious and Worldview Diversity’, these examples show that some of the commission’s recommendations are being quietly implemented. These initiatives are not entirely due to the commission’s work, as the examples mentioned also have a longer history. Nevertheless, the argumentation used for these implementations seems to draw on some of the reasoning used in the report. In this way, the report seems to have been a useful tool for politicians in dealing with different issues concerning religious diversity.

Conclusion This chapter addresses the role that commissions on religion, and especially the commission report, ‘A Society Open to Religious and Worldview Diversity’ (2013),

236   Ingunn Folkestad Breistein and Inger Furseth have had in the way that the Norwegian State deals with religious diversity and how public policy-making is shaped in this area. In the report, the commission emphasized equal treatment of all faith and worldview communities as a fundamental principle that should affect public policy in this area. Even though some questioned the idea of formulating a coherent and systematic policy across the board, there generally exists a positive view on religious diversity, and on the facilitation and support of the State with regard to faith and worldview communities in Norway. However, so far public policies and public arrangements have usually given preferential treatment to the Church of Norway. This tendency is evident in public institutions, and during national crises in particular. The question is whether or not there is enough political will to follow up on the changes in the relations between Church and State, and implement changes in the management of religion in public institutions and in other areas. The fact that no commission member had ties to the political parties of the present government at first gave the government little ownership over the report. However, in April 2016, the report was taken out of the drawer again. The character of the report, consisting of debates between the different members and groups within the commission, makes it useful as a toolbox of different arguments on various issues. The report seems, then, to be used when politicians are faced with relevant issues, and some proposals have been quietly implemented. The commission report appears to have had some results in shaping policy-making on religious diversity in Norway, and the newly started work on a white paper on religion and worldviews will probably give the commission report more influence. However, it is still open to debate as to whether or not this will lead to a coherent policy of equal treatment in the near future.

Notes   1  Please note that the authors have translated all the Norwegian texts quoted in this chapter.   2  Kulturdepartementet, Det livssynsåpne samfunn. En helhetlig tros-og livssynspolitikk. NOU 2013 [A Society Open to Religious and Worldview Diversity: Toward a Coherent Policy NOU 2013] (Oslo: Kulturdepartementet, 2013), accessed 7 December 2016,   3  Statistics Norway, ‘Population, 1 January 2015’, accessed 12 June 2015, en/befolkning/statistikker/folkemengde/aar/2015-02-19   4  S. Sultan, ‘Medlemskap i norske moskeer [Membership in Norwegian mosques]’, in Religionsstatistikk og medlemsforståelse, ed. Ingunn Folkestad Breistein and Ida Marie Høeg (Trondheim: Akademika, 2012), pp. 165–180.   5  Grace Davie, ‘From Believing without Belonging to Vicarious Religion’, in The Role of Religion in Modern Societies, ed. Dietrich Pollack and Daniel V.A. Olson (New York: Ashgate, 2008), p. 171.   6  Inger Furseth, From Quest for Truth to Being Oneself: Religious Change in Life Stories (Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 2006), pp. 294–295.   7  Religion i dagens Norge [Religion in contemporary Norway], ed. Pål Ketil Botvar and Ulla Schmidt (Oslo: Universitetsforlaget, 2010), p. 15.   8  Ånund Brottveit and Sunniva Holberg, Tilstandsrapport for Den norske kyrkje 2014. KIFO Notat 2 [Situation report on Church of Norway 2014] (Oslo: KIFO Institutt for

A coherent policy on religion in Norway?    237 kirke-, religions- og livssynsforskning, 2014), 25; Anne Marte Blindheim, ‘Nå står striden om bryllup og begravelser. Hijab-debatten er avlyst—men en ny drakamp seiler’ [Now the struggle is about weddings and funerals. The hijab debate is over – but a new struggle is coming], Dagbladet, 8 January 2013, accessed 21 May 2014, www.   9  Bjørn Øyvind Fjeld, ‘Å telle de andre’ [To count the others], in Religionsstatistikk og medlemsforståelse, ed. Ingunn Folkestad Breistein and Ida Marie Høeg (Trondheim: Akademika, 2012), p. 117; Ingunn Folkestad Breistein, ‘Fremtidig religionsstatistikk i Norge [Future statistics on religion in Norway]’, in Religionsstatistikk og medlemsforståelse , ed. Ingunn Folkestad Breistein and Ida Marie Høeg (Trondheim: Akademika, 2012), p. 291. 10  Religionsfrihetsgruppa, Religion og livssynsfrihet i Norge [Religion and freedom of religion in Norway], unpublished report, Religious Freedom Group, appointed by the Value Commission, 2000, p. 12. 11  Anne Grung and Oddbjørn Leirvik, ‘Religionsdiaolog, identitetspolitikk og kompleksitet [Religious dialogue, identity politics and complexity]’, Norsk antropologisk tidsskrift 1 (2012): pp. 76–84. 12  Dissenterlovkomiteen. Innstilling om lov om trossamfunn [Report on the law on faith societies]. Oslo: Justis- og politidepartementet, 1962. See Ingunn Folkestad Breistein, Har staten bedre borgere? Dissenternes kamp for religionsfrihet i Norge 1891–1969 [Does the State have better citizens? The struggle of dissenters for freedom of religion in Norway 1891 – 1969] (Trondheim: Tapir, 2003). Funding is provided to all faith communities who apply and meet the requirements of the law on faith communities ( The funding is around US$125 per year, per member. The funding differs somewhat every year, depending on how much the Church of Norway is funded that particular year. 13  Kirke- og undervisningsdepartementet. Stat og kirke. NOU 1975:30 [State and church. NOU 1975: 30]. Oslo: Kirke- og undervisningsdepartementet, 1975; Kulturog kirkedepartementet. Staten og Den norske kirke. NOU 2006:2 [The State and the Church of Norway]. Oslo: Kultur- og kirkedepartementet, 2006. 14  Dissenterlovkomiteen. Innstilling om lov om trossamfunn [Setting the law on faith societies]. Oslo: Justis- og politidepartementet, Kulturdepartementet. Det livssynsåpne samfunn. NOU 2013, p. 1. 15  Ingunn Folkestad Breistein, ‘En helhetlig forståelse av tros-og livssynspolitikk i Norge – ønskelig og mulig?’ [A coherent understanding of faith and worldview policies in Norway – desirable and possible?] Teologisk Tidsskrift 4 (2013): p. 315. 16  Kulturdepartementet, Det livssynsåpne samfunn, p. 26. 17  Ingmar Brohed, Sveriges kyrkohistoria 8. Religionsfrihetens och ekumenikens tid [Swedish church history. Freedom of religion and ecumenical times] (Stockholm: Verbum, 2005), p. 264. 18  One of the authors of this article (Ingunn Folkestad Breistein) was a member of the commission. Her experience of the work was that the members worked well together, in spite of different views on most of the issues discussed. Since the commission worked together for two and a half years, they also learned mutual respect and trust. 19  Kulturdepartementet, Det livssynsåpne samfunn, p. 308. 20  Ibid. 21  Drammen kommune, Drøftingsgrunnlag om kommunen, innbyggerne, kirke, tros-og livssynssamfunnene [Discussion basis regarding the city, the citizens, church, faith, and worldview communities], 2012, accessed 19 July 2013, www. DROEFTINGSGRUNNLAG%20red.pdf 22  Kulturdepartementet, Det livssynsåpne samfunn, pp. 273–278. 23  Ibid., pp. 113–117.

238   Ingunn Folkestad Breistein and Inger Furseth 24  Ibid., p. 178. 25  Ibid., p. 205. 26  Kulturdepartementet. Tale ved overrekkelsen [A speech at the presentation]. 7 January 2013, accessed 7 June 2016, 27  Blindheim, ‘Nå står striden om bryllup og begravelser’. 28  Romerikes Blad, ‘Vår kristne arv må reddes [Our Christian heritage must be saved]’, 9 September 2013, accessed 20 November 2014, article6874383.ece 29  Vårt Land, ‘Hoem: Opprørande av Stålsett-utvalet [Hoem: Uppsetting Stålsett committee]’, 15 April 2013, accessed 20 November 2014, hoem-opprørande-av-stålsett-utvalet-1.61792 30  Romerikes Blad, ‘Vår kristne arv må reddes [Our Christian heritage must be saved]’. 31  NRK, Religion er ikke en privatsak [Religion is not a private matter], 1 January 2013, accessed 20 November 2014, 32  VG, ‘Regjeringen godtok hijab. Avsløres i hemmelige dokumenter [The government approved the hijab. Revealed in secret documents]’, 3 March 2009, accessed 21 May 2014, 33  Aftenposten, ‘Hijab blir ikke en del av politiuniformen i overskuelig fremtid’ [Hijab will not be part of the police uniform in the forseeable future], 1 January 2013, accessed 21 May 2014, 34  Blindheim, ‘Nå står striden om bryllup og begravelser’. 35  Den norske kirke. Høringsuttalelse til NOU 2013: 1 Det livssynsåpne samfunn [Hearing statement on NOU 2013: 1 A Society Open to Religious and Worldview Diversity], accessed 27 May 2016, krs-horingssvar-pa-nou-2013-1-det-livssynsapne-samfunn.pdf 36  Ibid. 37  Presteforeningen 2013. ‘Høringssvar – Det livssynsåpne samfunn – NOU 2013: 1’, accessed 27 May 2016, livssynsapne_samfunn_NOU_2013_1.pdf 38  Ibid. 39  Ibid. 40  See Enzo Pace, ‘Religion as Communication: The Changing Shape of Catholicism in Europe’, in Everyday Religion, ed. Nancy T. Ammerman (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), pp. 37–67. 41  Samarbeidsrådet for tros-og livssynssamfunn 2013. ‘Høring om NOU 2013: 1 Det livssynsåpne samfunn’, accessed 27 May 2016, 42  Norges Kristne Råd 2013. NOU 2013: ‘Det livssynsåpne samfunn’. Høringsuttalelse fra Norges Kristne Råd, accessed 27 May 2016, Religionspolitikk/Norges%20Kristne%20Rad%20-%20Horingssvar%20NOU%20 2013-1.pdf 43  Ibid. 44  Ibid. 45  Ibid. 46  Ibid. 47  Human-Etisk Forbund 2014. ‘Høringsuttalelse om Staten og Den norske kirke – et tydelig skille’, accessed 27 May 2016, 48  Ibid.

A coherent policy on religion in Norway?    239 49  Vårt Land. ‘Prestisje-rapport havner i skuffen [Prestigious report ends in the drawer]’. 2 May 2014. 50  Vårt Land, ‘Stålsett-rapport havner i skuffen’, 2 May 2014, accessed 12 June 2015, 51  Ibid. 52  Ibid. 53  Vårt Land, ‘Radikalisering, tilhørighet og dialog [Radicalization, belonging, and dialogue]’, 27 November 2014, accessed 12 June 2015, 54  Vårt Land, ‘Stortingsflertall heier frem ny livssynsmelding [Majority in parliament cheers a new white paper on worldviews]’, 6 April 2016, accessed 14 April 2016, 42756972&serviceId=2. 55  Inger Furseth, Muslims in Norwegian Prisons and the Defence: KIFO Rapport 15 (Trondheim: Tapir, 2001), pp. 30–31. 56  Vårt Land, ‘Forsvarspresten ansetter imam og humanist’ [Military chaplaincy hires imam and humanist]’, 26 March 2014, accessed 12 June 2015, forsvarspresten-ansetter-imam-og-humanist-1.15791. 57  Aftenbladet, ‘Hijab og turban tillates i Forsvaret’ [Hijab and turban permitted in the military], 29 August 2012, accessed 28 November 2014, innenriks/Hijab-ogturbantillates-i-forsvaret-3020870.html 58  Aftenposten, ‘Hijab og turban blir tillatt i Forsvaret’ [Hijab and turban will be permitted in the military].29 August 2012. accessed 21 May 2014, iriks/Hijab-og-turban-blir-tillatt-i-Forsvaret-6976997.html. 59  Aftenposten, ‘Gutt døde etter omskjæring i Oslo’ [Boy died after circumcision in Oslo], 12 May 2012, accessed 28 November 2014, 60  Kulturdepartementet, Det livssynsåpne samfunn, p. 253. 61  Vårt Land, ‘Unisont nei til omskjæring [Unanimous no to circumcision]’, 21 May 2014; Vårt Land, ‘Samlet ja til omskjæringslov [Unanimous yes to law on circumcision]’, 13 June 2014, accessed 28 November 2014, 62  Ibid. 63  Kulturdepartementet, Forslag til endringer i kirkeloven for behandling i Kirkemøtet. Staten og Den norske kyrkje – et tydelig skille [Proposal to changes in the church law for deliberations at the Church Synod. The State and the Church of Norway – a definite separation], 2015, accessed 25 April 2015, fe1d4902bd09f571abeacab8/staten_og_den_norske_kirke-kirkemotet-2015_3_mars.pdf 64  Ibid., 9.

13 A national enquiry into freedom of religion and belief in Australia Gary D. Bouma

Overview In 2008, the Commonwealth Government of Australia through the Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission (HREOC) called for an enquiry into freedom of religion and belief in Australia. The objective was to ascertain whether the needs of more recently arrived and established religious groups were being met, and if new issues had presented themselves that needed to be addressed. This chapter first outlines the Australian context, then describes the various aspects of the enquiry – its conduct, its findings and their reception. The critical components of the Australian context include both the particular profile presented by religious diversity as well as the legal and constitutional frameworks for managing this diversity.

Australian religious diversity In addition to specific policy and legal contexts, discussions of freedom of religion and belief occur in particular demographic contexts. Differences in religious diversity, histories of change and sources of diversity all shape the discussion. The landmass now called Australia has been religiously and culturally diverse for over 50,000 years. Australia’s religious profile has historically been shaped principally by migration, with the indigenous religious, cultural, linguistic and national diversities of 50,000 years being swamped first by British migrants through penal and colonial settlement, then by Asian and other migrants during the gold rushes of the mid to late nineteenth century. More recently, migration has brought Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and many others into the continent. Migration has also contributed greatly to the growth of Catholicism, which has become the largest group.1 In addition to these religious and demographic trends, there has also been a significant rise in the number of people declaring that they have no religion. The 2011 census marks a 17 per cent decline in the number of people declining to answer the religious identification question. This growing number of religiously minded people indicates a rise in the salience of religious identity – either having a specific one or declaring oneself as having no religion or being atheist. About half of those who shifted from the category of

Enquiry into freedom of religion in Australia    241 non-response to providing one declared that they had no religion, while the other half declared a religion. Somewhat ironically, this means that Australia became simultaneously both more and less religious. An analysis of the nation’s changing religious profile reveals that the religious climate of Australia has emerged as quite distinct over the course of each twenty-year period following the Second World War (see Table 13.1). In 2011, among the less numerous religious groups, there were more Buddhists (2.5 per cent) than Baptists (1.6 per cent), more Muslims (2.2 per cent) than Lutherans (1.2 per cent), and more Hindus (1.3 per cent) than Jews (0.4 per cent). Sikhs (0.3 per cent) were up from 0.1 per cent in 2006. There were four times as many Witches (8,000 or 0.04 per cent) as Quakers (2,000 or 0.01 per cent), while there were 17,000 Pagans (0.08 per cent) and 14,000 Baha’i (0.06 per cent). Atheists numbered 59,000 (0.27 per cent), making them a very small fraction of those declaring no religion, but they were up 88 per cent from 2006. Australia’s religious profile is both similar and distinct when compared to other democratic countries (Table 13.2). While each of the countries is dominated by Christians and those with no religion, Australia has three minority religious groups that are significant in size – two over 2 per cent (Buddhist and Muslim) and one over 1 per cent (Hindu). These religious groups are also more numerous than Jews and many of the Christian denominations – e.g. Baptists, Lutherans or Table 13.1  Generations of diversity experience (selected groups over 5 per cent)

Anglican Catholic MCPRU* Christian None Other religions

1911 %

1947 %

1966 %

1991 %

2011 %

38.4 22.4 26.5 96.9 0.2 0.8

39.0 20.7 22.1 88.0 0.3 0.5

33.5 26.2 19.4 88.2 0.8 0.7

23.9 27.4 12.9 74.1 12.9 2.6

17.1 25.3 7.7 61.1 22.3 7.2

* Methodist, Congregational, Presbyterian, Reformed and Uniting. Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics Census report.

Table 13.2  Australia’s religious diversity compared (2011)

Christian Buddhist Muslim Hindu Jew Sikh Baha’i Pagan None

Australia %

New Zealand %

UK %

Canada %


61.1 2.5 2.2 1.3 0.5 0.3 0.06 0.1 22.3

41.9 1.4 1.1 2.1

59.3 0.4 4.8 1.5 0.5 0.8 0.1 0.4 25.1

67.3 1.1 3.2 1.5 1.0 1.4

78.4 0.7 0.6 0.4 1.7



0.2 37.7

Sources: National Census Reports and, for the USA, a 2008 Pew report.

242  Gary D. Bouma Latter Day Saints. In Australia, they have also made a significant contribution to society and culture.2 In comparison, Canada, the United Kingdom and New Zealand each have only one significant minority religious group over 2 per cent and the USA has one at 1.7 per cent.

Consequences of religious diversity Religious diversity has a variety of consequences. Australia’s diverse religious communities are largely dispersed throughout the population.3 For example, Melbourne’s suburbs continually undergo changes in composition, with newer migrants moving into less expensive housing that over time usually becomes gentrified and more valuable, thus enabling them to move to more desirable suburbs. No suburb has over 25 per cent of any religious minority, except Caulfield which has become predominantly Jewish due to the presence of Jewish day schools, kosher food outlets and hospitals. Moreover, recently arrived religious minorities are being welcomed into country towns because their presence keeps schools, medical services, banks and pharmacies open.4 As a result of this dispersed diversity, there is a high level of interreligious interaction at all levels of society and in most places including both urban and rural communities, but particularly in school settings (see Table 13.3). There has also been some religious revitalization, as religious identity becomes more interesting and religious groups of a variety of stripes seek to provide input into policy discussions.5 For some groups – particularly British Protestant groups who had enjoyed a hegemonic position supported by colonial traditions – diversity has come to a decline which has led to responses of fear and anger at the loss of power, position and influence. Another significant contextual factor shaping the management and expression of religious diversity in Australia has been a substantial increase in government funding of programs being channelled through faith-based organizations (FBOs). While many FBOs have existed since the nineteenth century and others formed early in the twentieth, their part in the provision of services declined in the 1960s. However, it has now greatly increased as governments have begun to consider Table 13.3  Percentage of each age group in a religion

Anglican Catholic Uniting Buddhist Muslim Hindu Jew None

5–24 %

25–34 %

55–64 %

85+ %

13.3 26.8 3.8 2.4 3.0 1.2 0.4 26.2

11.3 22.5 3.0 3.3 3.3 3.2 0.4 28.2

22.3 24.3 6.8 2.4 1.0 0.6 0.6 16.8

29.3 22.5 10.2 0.8 0.2 0.1 1.0 7.6

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Census, 2011.

Enquiry into freedom of religion in Australia    243 them as efficient – i.e. low-cost – providers. For example, about 40 per cent of Australian schools are independent religious schools and nearly 40 per cent of Australian students attend these private schools. The largest private school system is organized by Roman Catholics, but there are many Anglican, Protestant, Muslim, Jewish and other faith-based schools which receive a substantial amount of their funding from government sources. Similarly, there are many Catholic hospitals, and most social services are delivered through FBOs like Anglicare, Uniting Care, Catholic Social Services and the Salvation Army. The visible presence of religion is now more associated with allied service, health and educational organizations, which have increased as formerly government-run services have been wound back and as secular counterparts are overtaken by religious providers in competitive bidding for government grants. Thus, Australia is religiously diverse and, as migration continues, this diversity shows every sign of increasing, particularly as Hindu and Sikh communities undergo rapid growth due to recent increases of migration from South Asia. The composition of Muslim communities, while very diverse with Muslims tracing their origins to more than sixty countries, will also begin to shift from being dominated by Lebanese and Turks to more South Asians. Migration over the past quarter-century has radically changed the profile of the Catholic Church, adding many Asians to the formerly predominantly Irish group. These statistics provide the context of this enquiry into freedom of religion and belief in Australia.

Australia’s legal, constitutional and social policy context The legal and policy context of this research is set by international conventions and the Australian Constitution. Australia is a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, of which Article 18 guarantees freedom of thought, conscience and religion; requires that there be no coercion to adopt or change religion; grants freedom to manifest religious beliefs limited only by public safety and health issues; and declares that parents have the right to ensure the religious education of their children. Section 112 of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia declares that parliament is not to make any law establishing any religion, imposing any religious observance, prohibiting free exercise of religion or establishing a religious test for public office. The Constitution does not constrain the several states of Australia. Section 112 has seldom been invoked in court cases, with the result that there is no jurisprudence and virtually no case law in this area.6 What is more, Australia is one of the very few liberal democracies not to have enshrined a Bill of Rights in law or in its constitution. The debate surrounding the most recent attempt to secure a Bill of Rights has been reported by Geoffrey Robertson. He points out that those from whom a Bill of Rights would protect citizens – the government itself, those in positions of power and other vested interests – argued that British Common Law, the basis for Australian Law, provided adequate protections and that a Bill of Rights would result in a ‘lawyers’ picnic’ of unhelpful litigation.7 In this case, those with power

244  Gary D. Bouma protected their vested interests. At both Commonwealth and state levels there exists some anti-vilification and anti-discrimination legislation, but it does not include religion at the Commonwealth level, neither is religion included in most states’ legislation. This national enquiry into freedom of religion and belief in Australia was called for in the last year of the Howard Liberal (Conservative) government in 2008. It was partly motivated by an awareness that Australia’s religious diversity had substantially increased since an earlier and similar, but more extensive, study was conducted in 1998 by HREOC. The major drivers were increasing concerns about security and violent extremism following the 2002 and 2005 terrorist bombings in Bali, Australia’s favourite holiday destination viewed by many as being their backyard, and the 2005 bombing in London. The fact that Prime Minister John Howard was in London at the time of the bombings added urgency to the response to a threat now perceived to be real and present in Australia. This enquiry was part of the National Action Plan8 introduced by the Howard Liberal government following the London and Bali bombings, to promote social cohesion, intergroup harmony and national security. While the primary focus was on increased security, there was also support for programs promoting social inclusion and diversity affirmation. HREOC, an independent statutory body, was commissioned to conduct the research, because its mandate is to monitor, promote and assess human rights in Australia.9 The basic question that drove this national enquiry was: ‘[H]ave new and additional concerns emerged among Australia’s diverse religious communities as a result of the war on terror, overseas events and recent waves of migration?’10 The study also built on Cahill et al.’s 1994 report on the ways Australia’s diverse religious communities were relating to each other, and the larger society which found that changes in Australia’s religious profile are changing the way that religion and State relate to each other. Basically, religion is an active part of local as well as international social policies and their implementation; diverse religious communities live together in a productive harmony which has increased since September 2001; and religious communities continue to be powerful producers of social capital. There was also a concern that religious extremism poses a challenge to healthy interreligious relations. It called for increased education about religion in schools, programmes to develop clergy who give positive civic leadership, and greater recognition of the reality of religious diversity and an appreciation of its benefits.

The conduct of the enquiry The specific aims declared by HREOC in calling for this research were to: follow up the HREOC ARTICLE 18 report, to record concerns of religious groups regarding their capacity to express and practice their religions, to comment on “religion and the State”, to report issues raised by recent increases in security and policing after September 11, to assess the impact of

Enquiry into freedom of religion in Australia    245 new technologies and to assess impact of the “War on Terror” on religious freedoms and identity.11 The research for the report was conducted over eight months, between July 2008 and February 2009. It was carried out under the auspices of the Australian Multicultural Foundation, a non-profit independent body well respected for its work promoting intergroup harmony and understanding. The team comprised Gary D. Bouma, UNESCO Chair in Interreligious and Intercultural Relations – Asia Pacific and Anglican priest; Des Cahill, Professor of Intercultural Studies; Hass B. Dellal, Executive Director of the Australian Multicultural Foundation; and Athalia Zwartz, researcher with the Australian Multicultural Foundation (AMF). When the team was announced, conservative Christians complained that it was not religious enough. Secular Australians complained that it was too religious – Bouma an Anglican priest, Cahill a well-known senior Catholic and former priest and Dellal a Muslim. However, the team had gained the respect of diverse religious communities through its involvement in earlier research projects and its oversight of the Parliament of the World’s Religions 2009. The community engagement essential to the research included calls for electronic or paper submissions, as well as small group community consultations and in-person interviews with government and non-government agencies in every Australian capital city and in several rural towns. Face-to-face consultations in small groups and one-to-one were conducted by at least two members of the team with faith and community leaders: there were 24 events involving 274 participants. Those consulted included government officials, such as those from the Department of Immigration and Aboriginal Affairs and Citizenship; NGOs, such as Ethnic Communities Councils in each state and territory; and human rights bodies and organizations devoted to promoting interreligious understanding and mutual respect, such as Religions for Peace. The response to the call for electronic submissions was overwhelming. We had been led to expect about 300, but instead 2,033 submissions were received. There were 149 from organizations such as Church bodies, religious communities and human rights groups, along with 1,884 from individuals. From their style, message and similar wording, many of the individual submissions appeared to have been motivated by a write-in campaign organized by Christian Evangelicals. This section of Australians had been infuriated by comments added to the speech notes prepared for the Human Rights Commissioner, Tom Calm, to launch the enquiry. After the team had approved the text, someone inserted the comment that ‘human rights and religion go together like oil and water’. In order to placate this section of the community, the team agreed to assure them that all voices would be welcome and to hold a series of separate meetings with Christian Evangelicals organized by the Australian Christian Lobby, an effective right-wing lobby group (ACL, 2015). Following this protest, HREOC’s objectives for the report were clarified, stating that the ‘task set for the research team was to capture accurately the views and comments from the consultations and submissions and to ensure that people can recognize their words or their views reflected in the report’.12 While the consultations involving

246   Gary D. Bouma a diversity of religious groups included robust and respectful interchanges as each became aware of the situations faced by others, and produced increased knowledge about Australia’s religious diversity among participants, the same cannot be said for the separate Christian consultations. In these meetings of the like-minded, participants tended to play off each other, saying deprecatory things about certain groups, particularly about Muslims and homosexuals, and also complaining about anti-vilification laws that they felt restrained their capacity to have vigorous debates about issues. The consultations with religious groups were conducted in religiously mixed groups, including those with no religion, of about twenty participants at a time, and each lasted several hours. These sessions were well attended; several had to be conducted in each of the capital cities to accommodate interest in participating. Most participants enjoyed interacting with people of other faiths and learning about their differences and similarities. Because there was a requirement of mutual respect while speaking, which most found was possible, people could ask questions or propose solutions to which answers could be given and heard. Two instances help illustrate this collegiality. In one session, a person from the Rationalist Association asked, ‘Why can’t you just keep your faith private?’ Calm, centred and focused responses made it clear that this attitude was not a viable solution, and that secularism was not a neutral or objective position. In another session, representatives of the Pagan Awareness Network13 took their place among other religious groups and expressed the sentiment that they had been heard and accepted. I had worked hard to assure them that this was a context of mutual respect. The goodwill generated was palpable as groups who had never encountered pagans discovered real people with whom they differed, but who were not as frightening as their stereotypes. For the purposes of this research, religions were framed as faith communities, or denominations – that is, as formally organized community structures with head offices of some sort through which they relate to the state and to each other.14 A denomination of a religion is one among several acceptable options available within that religion. While this definition represents a very American way of viewing religions, it is also appropriate for Australia’s context, since recently arrived religions generally adopt denominational structures and stances in order to fit in and relate.15 By way of contrast, indigenous peoples have not organized themselves and remain largely invisible, although there is a category of ‘aboriginal traditional religions’ in the Australian census. Even New Age groups and new religious movements adopt denominational organizational structures. Thus, the focus of the research was on socially organized forms of religion and issues related to their ability to operate in Australia.

The findings of the national enquiry The enquiry generated a wealth of detailed notes from the consultations, which were read and reread by the team to identify themes and issues. Copious quotations of what was actually said in the sessions and written submissions were used

Enquiry into freedom of religion in Australia    247 to ensure that those consulted would recognize their contribution and views in the report. The result was that all groups could see themselves in the report, and while the report contains some controversial statements, it nevertheless accurately reflects what some groups say about others. Many of those who were subject to negative commentary were satisfied to have the nature of their treatment made public. For details as to which groups said what, readers can refer to the publicly available report.16 The following summarizes the findings of the enquiry that were published in 2011’s Freedom of Religion and Belief in 21st Century Australia. First, the religious character of Australia is contested. Some Evangelical Protestants led by Presbyterians argued that Australia is, or was founded as, a Christian country. They stated that Christian symbols, values and beliefs should have, continue to have, or ought to be restored to, a place of special honour and be reinforced through law and education. Some argued for Christian dominionism. These voices represented a defensive reaction of declining formerly hegemonic British Protestant groups along with more recently emerging Pentecostal and Evangelical groups – echoing developments in the United States. Others argued that Australia was secular, but even as there was little agreement among those claiming that it is Christian, these secular voices were divided among those who wanted an ideological State-enforced secularism like France, and those who wanted State neutrality with respect to religion or State-supported multifaith harmony. There was no agreement on these particular matters. Second, much discussion transpired about whether human rights, and specifically freedoms related to religion, were individual and/or communal rights. The Enlightenment focus was on personal rights, but what about responsibilities? Do groups and persons who have rights also have responsibilities to respect others, to obey laws and to be respected? Some raised the issue of whether and how religious groups were responsible to their social contexts and how they might be held accountable. This observation was particularly poignant, as revelations of child abuse by religious professionals were becoming a torrent that later led to a Royal Commission into Child Abuse. Third, many submissions from Evangelical Protestant groups raised issues about the implications for freedom of speech, as pertaining to laws which penalize dehumanizing language and the vilification of religious groups. In 2004, the state of Victoria had enacted anti-vilification legislation, including religious vilification, under which a Pentecostal pastor was found guilty of vilifying Muslims in public seminars about Islam. The conviction was subsequently overturned on a technicality.17 Some argued that such laws restricted their ability to engage in robust debates that included criticism of other religions. Other groups were concerned that legislation would be passed that would limit displaying religious symbols or wearing distinctive clothing. Contention over the meaning, extent and priorities of freedom of religion and of speech were exacerbated by the Charlie Hebdo case, and the resulting calls for law and order/security responses by the current Commonwealth government. Fourth, most religious groups argued strongly for the retention of the exemptions from anti-discrimination legislation that they currently enjoy. Religious

248  Gary D. Bouma groups led by Catholic and Anglican bishops, along with the heads of other groups, regularly go to the government seat in Canberra to ensure that human rights legislation does not apply to religious groups. Religious groups complain about the necessity of asking for exemptions, arguing that their freedom of religion should suffice to remove the requirement to abide by anti-discrimination, anti-vilification, or other such legislation. These exemptions are not limited to the appointment of religious leaders and professionals, nor to any dimension of human rights. They are blanket exemptions. The issues raised most frequently deal with legislation promoting gender equality and respect for diverse sexualities. Particular concern was raised about recently enacted legislation in the state of Victoria that requires physicians who do not perform abortions to make this clear to people coming to them and to refer someone seeking an abortion to a physician who will provide the service. The argument for exemptions, repeated in the HREOC report, was based on the need of religious groups to maintain a distinctive ethos. Some groups argued strongly in submissions to this enquiry for the right to discriminate on the basis of their religious beliefs in the provision of services through faith-based organizations. For example, Catholic leaders argued that they needed to hire Catholics for their schools. They insisted that this included the gardener and cleaners, as well as teachers. They also insisted on the right to refuse to hire, or to fire current staff who were found to be gay, living together but unmarried, or otherwise out of line with a strict view of Catholic ethics. Other FBO social service providers insisted on their right under freedom of religion to deny services to those who do not meet their ethical standards – for example, denying housing to same-sex couples and single mothers. As Australia fails to enshrine human rights in legislation, there is virtually no legal paper trail on these issues as it is practically impossible to get them presented in court.18

Particular issues In addition to the general issues raised by religious groups, several issues were raised that were more particular to one or a few groups. It had been the original intent of the enquiry to watch for these types of issues, which were perhaps new since the previous HREOC enquiry of 1998. The following are some examples. Several groups, both secular and religious – Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, Buddhists – mentioned the omnipresence of Christian symbols and the ubiquitous influence of the Christian calendar. Specific examples included the presence of Bibles in motels and the opening of State and Commonwealth parliaments with a recitation of the Lord’s Prayer. These examples were seen as a failure to recognize the fact of Australian religious diversity. Issues were also raised concerning limitations on the ability to engage in religious practices as a result of laws and regulations. The most notable of these was the difficulty that communities encounter when seeking to build places of worship and schools. While most localities now facilitate Islamic (and other) burial practices, there was concern about what some groups perceived as the too frequent insistence on autopsies, which violate their beliefs and interfere with the grieving process. Several Eastern Orthodox groups

Enquiry into freedom of religion in Australia    249 complained that noise-reduction laws were being used to prevent them from holding late-night services, like Christmas Eve masses or ringing church bells. Buddhist nuns and monks who have taken a vow of poverty have difficulty being admitted to Australia as visitors as they cannot prove any income, or capacity to pay, while being guests of a Buddhist community. Sikhs reported that while there has been improvement, there are still many situations in which their religious practices are limited, by the way that laws and regulations are interpreted and enforced to limit wearing the kirpan and suitable head coverings. Pagan groups raised the issue of respect, recognition and inclusion. Many felt that they were excluded and on occasion demonized by larger groups, especially Catholics who continue to condemn witchcraft. The Humanist Association objected to being denied tax deductibility for contributions to their organization, and echoed Pagans in their concern for respect, recognition and inclusion.

Persistent issues In addition to the above, several persistent issues were raised that affected all groups. For example, there was near universal agreement on the importance of education about religions, particularly that it needed to start early in all forms of education including both religiously affiliated and State schools. There was agreement that freedom of religion and belief is a contested area, and that there is a lack of suitable venues for dispute resolution. The fact that Australia lacks a Bill of Rights exacerbates this situation, since issues are almost impossible to get before a court and there is no developed jurisprudence in this area. Political and legislative solutions to these issues are often not satisfying, since the powerful dominate and weaker minority groups feel vulnerable. Another persistent issue is the presence of strongly held negative attitudes towards Muslims and the LGBTIQ community. Holding strongly negative views about both of these groups has become virtual boundary markers for inclusion in some evangelical Christian religious communities.19 They argued that these core beliefs required protection from human rights legislation. A discussion began to emerge about such issues as: To whom are religious groups accountable? What are the limits to freedom of religion and belief? How is the freedom of religion and belief to be moderated in the context of other freedoms? In this context, the role of the State was contested. Some felt that the protection of a minority can infringe on the rights of the majority and that Christianity should prevail even if it needs help from the State to do so. There was wider agreement that the State should manage religious diversity by being a neutral referee, in order to promote harmony and social cohesion.

A reflection on the enquiry First, very few new issues were identified, but those raised were far from trivial for the groups involved. Pagans and those who declare that they have no religion all require recognition and respect. When I went out of my way to ensure that

250  Gary D. Bouma Pagans were represented in the invitations to participate, they were at first suspicious. However, when they found that they were accepted at the meeting – not only by me, but by others with more standard religious identifications – a healing occurred and they were deeply moved. Similarly, while those declaring that they have no religion now comprise nearly one quarter of the population, they are not all atheists – only 0.27 per cent identify themselves this way. There is no organization that represents them, although several, such as the Rationalists, claim to do so. But this internal diversity in a religious category is no different from Catholics or Anglicans who hold such a variety of views that official spokespersons for these groups have a thin basis for the claim that they speak for them. The enquiry has made it clear that wider frames of inclusion are required by the increased diversity of the Australian religious profile. The wisdom of holding the enquiry at all was called into question by the fact that it provided a platform for the expression of extreme views by minority groups. The researchers were inundated by a tsunami of right-wing Christian groups, who insisted that part of their religious freedom was the right to discriminate, particularly against Muslims and homosexuals. This unexpected outcome has been echoed in other nations as conservative Christian groups adopt a victim and beleaguered mentality. In the United States, court cases are being heard testing the degree to which freedom of religion can be used to legitimate not just the internal and personal aspects of religion, but also the impact of its particular ethics on those who do not share them. A consequence in Australia is a recent bid by the Attorney General to repeal Commonwealth racial anti-vilification legislation. This bid has, however, failed due to the enormous volume of community support for the legislation. The fact that Australia is the only liberal democracy not to have a Bill of Rights intrinsically shapes the way that these diversities can be managed. The enquiry cannot be said to have had any significant impact. HREOC published and launched the report at a well-attended meeting. There was a brief mention in the press and then nothing. The issues identified are raised in many forums and in various ways continue to be discussed. Since, in accordance with the mandate given to the researchers, no solutions were proposed – and none were asked of them – the way these matters are managed continues in an Australian way, ambiguous at best – that is, resilient communities make room for diversity to a point and resist the imposition of the ethics of one group on those who do not share them, in a context where diverse religious voices join the wider chorus of voices seeking to shape social policy.

Notes   1  James Jupp, ed., The Encyclopedia of Religion in Australia (Melbourne: Cambridge University Press, 2009).   2  Desmond Cahill et al., Religion, Cultural Diversity and Safeguarding Australia (Canberra: DIMIA, 2004).   3  Gary Bouma and Ian Dobson, ‘Patterns of Religious Residential Concentration in Victoria: Changes 1996–2001’, People and Place 13.4 (2005): pp. 1–11; Gary Bouma

Enquiry into freedom of religion in Australia    251 and Philip Hughes, ‘Using Census Data in the Management of Religious Diversity: An Australian Case Study’, Religion 44.3 (2014): pp. 434–452.   4  Shahram Akbarzadeh, Gary Bouma, and Rachel Woodlock, Social Integration of Muslim Settlers in Cobram (Melbourne: Monash University, 2006).   5  Marion Maddox, God Under Howard: The Rise of the Religious Right in Australia (Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 2005).   6  Carolyn Evans, Legal Aspects of the Protection of Religious Freedom in Australia (Melbourne: Melbourne University Law School, 2009); Geoffrey Robertson, The Statute of Liberty: How Australians Can Take Back Their Rights (North Sydney: Vintage, 2009).   7  Robertson, The Statute of Liberty, pp. 151ff.   8  Human Rights Commission (HRC), National Action Plan (Sydney: Human Rights Commission, 2012).   9  Ibid. 10  Gary Bouma et al., Freedom of Religion and Belief in 21st Century Australia (Sydney: Australian Human Rights Commission, 2011), p. 6. 11  Ibid. 12  Ibid., p. 2. 13 14  Bouma et al., Freedom of Religion and Belief, pp. 7–8. 15  Gary Bouma, ‘Religious Resurgence, Conflict and the Transformation of Boundaries’, in Religion, Globalization and Culture, ed. Peter Beyer and Lori Beaman (Leiden: Brill, 2007). 16  Bouma et al., Freedom of Religion and Belief. 17  Hanifa Deen, The Jihad Seminar (Perth: University of Western Australia Press, 2008); Victoria Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT), Islamic Council of Victoria v. Catch the Fire Ministries Inc (2003) VCAT 1753; Victoria Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT), Islamic Council of Victoria v. Catch the Fire Ministries Inc (2004) VCAT 2510; Victoria Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT), Catch the Fire Ministries Inc v. Islamic Council of Victoria Inc (2006) 15 VR 207. 18  Evans, Legal Aspects; Robertson, The Statute of Liberty. 19  Bouma, ‘Religious Resurgence’; Christian Smith and Michael Emerson, American Evangelicalism: Embattled and Thriving (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998).

14 Public–policy discourses on selected significant issues of cultural and religious diversity in Singapore Lai Ah-Eng Singapore’s multiculturalism is highly complex in terms of both cultural and religious diversity in traditions and relations, by virtue of its important geographical location in different eras of world history and in today’s context of globalization; the migration flow of people and ideas, historically and contemporarily, within Singapore as a whole and in its regional areas; and its national social configurations. Its present ethno-cultural diversity spans Chinese, Malay, Indian, Eurasian and a host of other subethnic and subcultural groups, some of which are also hybridized. Its major and minor religions include Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, folk beliefs and a variety of denominations within each of these, as well as the fusion and syncretism of various beliefs and practices. Race or ethnicity (often used interchangeably), cultures and religions are significant markers of identity, and these are sometimes intertwined. Singapore’s multicultural history and society have resulted in a richness of cultures that are constantly evolving. This has also consistently raised issues and problems of cultural and religious interactions requiring negotiation, management and resolution, be it at the personal, local or national level.1 There have been several official committees to investigate specific issues pertaining to cultural and religious diversity in Singapore since 1965, such as those on religious education and ethnic-based organizations, but there have been no national commissions of enquiry parallel to those studied in other chapters of this book.2 The reason is simple: since its separation from Malaysia in 1965, when Singapore became a sovereign state, its primary focus has been on economic development and on political legitimation, control and governance, with race and religion defined as being out of bounds (OB) to public and political debate and organization. Their OB status is attributed to their political and social sensitivity, both real and perceived, and the violation of OB markers is punishable under certain laws, even though these markers may be unclear or may shift. At the same time, the state has put in place a legal and institutional framework to deal with multiculturalism, aspects of which are useful to study and to compare with other countries facing the challenge of managing religious pluralism. Significant cultural and religious trends and issues have come to the fore in recent years in rapidly changing social contexts. Their public–policy discourses reflect changing views, expectations and modes of social–political engagement

Cultural and religious diversity in Singapore    253 by individuals, various stakeholder groups and the government, and present varied responses and challenges to the management of ever-growing cultural and religious diversity. This chapter describes and examines this complex picture and its dynamics through three selected incidents, highlighting the multivalent tensions and sensitivities involved along cultural and ethno-religious lines, which are sometimes intertwined with ethnic majority–minority and localforeign dimensions. The cases in question are: 1) the Curry Incident in 2012 (on cultural differences and contentious arbitration); 2) the Amy Cheong and the Malay Wedding Saga in 2012 (on class-cultural biases and social media mobilization); and 3) the Hijab (Headscarf) Issue in 2014 (on social media mobilization in favour of the wearing of headscarves by Muslim women workers in public service). This chapter focuses on the public and policy responses involved in these three incidents, showing both the powerful use of a new mode of engagement – cyberspace social media platforms – by individuals and public groups, to highlight causes or issues and to seek solutions and institutional responses. At the same time, it demonstrates that the Internet era calls for newer approaches and principles of conflict management and resolution beyond the reference to traditional legal means, and these need to be developed amid the seeming chaos. This chapter first sets out the background and principles of Singapore’s legal and institutional framework, which is rooted in multiculturalism and secularism in order to manage cultural and religious diversity. It then discusses the three cases as illustrations of how complex diversity issues can be, and how they are navigated and reconciled. In all three cases, public responses were mainly played out massively, openly and rapidly through social media and Internet platforms. Their wide reach, amplification and mobilization in turn affected and triggered further reactions and responses. The chapter concludes with a discussion about the latest approaches and important principles of conflict management and resolution. It raises points that complement recommendations that have emerged from other national contexts, which have been analysed and compared in the rest of this volume.

Legal and institutional arrangements pertaining to cultural and religious diversity Singapore’s legal and institutional framework is firmly rooted in multiculturalism and secularism based on equality, for the management of cultural and religious diversity. Historically, this framing took place in the 1960s at a time of decolonization and in the context of creating a new nation out of its multicultural and multireligious populations with varied indigenous, localized and immigrant backgrounds.3 Multiculturalism is entrenched throughout the Singapore Constitution, with several key provisions which not only serve to protect, but also to promote the multicultural idea.4 These provisions are mainly in Articles 12, 16 and 152. Broadly, Article 12 provides that all persons are equal before the law and are

254  Lai Ah-Eng entitled to equal protection under the law. Article 16 prohibits discrimination on the grounds of religion, race, descent or place of birth. It also deals with the provision of public education, ensuring that every religious group has the right to establish and maintain institutions for the education of children and to provide instruction in its own religion. Article 152 guarantees protection for racial and religious minorities in general, and obliges the government to safeguard and promote the interests of the indigenous Malays in Singapore, providing specifically as follows: (1) It shall be the responsibility of the Government constantly to care for the interests of the racial and religious minorities in Singapore; and (2) The Government shall exercise its functions in such manner as to recognize the special position of the Malays, who are the indigenous people of Singapore, and accordingly it shall be the responsibility of the Government to protect, safeguard, support, foster and promote their political, educational, religious, economic, social and cultural interest and the Malay language. Regarding minority rights, the Constitution further provides for a Presidential Council of Minority Rights (PCMR) to safeguard them. Set up in 1969, its functions are to examine any legislation that may discriminate against racial or religious communities, and to consider and report on such matters affecting persons of any racial or religious community as may be referred to the Council by Parliament or the government. However, the PCMR has been assessed by critics to be ‘a toothless tiger and a mere rubber stamp’, because its members mainly include politicians from the ruling party and it has never issued an adverse report.5 It has been suggested that the Council still has the potential to protect minority representation and interests, but its membership should be non-political and non-permanent.6 In addition to provisions for Malays under Article 152, the Constitution also grants some degree of community autonomy for them in areas of Muslim personal law such as marriage, divorce and inheritance. Article 153 provides for legislation (through the Administration of Muslim Law Act [AMLA]) in ‘regulating Muslim religious affairs and for constituting a Council (Council for Muslim Affairs or Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura [MUIS]) to advise on matters relating to the Muslim religion’. Besides being governed by syariah law in the Syariah Court in personal matters, State support for various aspects of Muslim religious life includes the mosque-building programme, the haj (pilgrimage to Mecca) and the appointment of a Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs in the Cabinet. Since 1999, following amendments to the Supreme Court of Judicature Act and AMLA, the (civil and secular) Family Court has concurrent jurisdiction with the Syariah Court in selected areas pertaining to marriage disputes and divorce, the custody of children and the division and distribution of matrimonial property.7 The State’s particular model of secularism in governing Singapore’s multireligious society is also reflected in the Constitution’s guarantee of religious freedom, right and interest, and in its provisions for religious autonomy. As noted,

Cultural and religious diversity in Singapore    255 Article 15 states that ‘every person has the right to profess and practise his religion and to propagate it’, while Article 16 provides that every religious group has the right to establish and maintain educational institutions for children and provide such instruction in its own religion. At the same time, it states that ‘no person shall be required to receive instruction in or to take part in any ceremony or act of worship of a religion other than his own’. This freedom and right is, however, not absolute and unqualified, but is subject to the belief-action distinction under which religious beliefs are protected. However, actions motivated by any such beliefs – and which run contrary to Singapore’s laws or public and community interests – are not protected. In essence, community interests take precedence over those of the individual in the exercise of fundamental liberties. Furthermore, in Singapore’s model of secularism, the separation of religion and State is not written into the Constitution. Neither does the model assume a rigid and strict separation between the two; state secularism is an accommodative and a putative one towards religion that acts to balance the interests of different religions.8 The state further works with various religious organizations or allows for their public roles, especially in the provision of social and charitable services. At the same time, being cognisant of the possible divisive effect of religions if they are not managed carefully, the State seeks to heavily regulate religion and religious matters, bringing them under its purview through legal and institutional means. Several key legislations provide a range of options for the state to deal with individuals and groups who pose a threat to public order (peace, welfare, good order) in the realm of religion. Under the Societies Act, a society that represents, promotes or discusses religious matters has to be registered by law. The Penal Code provides for criminal offences relating to religion, including injuring or defiling a place of worship, disturbing a religious assembly and uttering words or sounds to deliberately wound religious feelings. Under the Sedition Act, it is an offence to promote feelings of ill will and hostility between different races or classes of the population of Singapore. The government can also use the Internal Security Act (ISA) for preventive detention up to two years (which is renewable), on persons acting in any manner prejudicial to Singapore’s security and to the maintenance of public order or essential services.9 The Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act (MRHA) is the other key piece of legislation pertaining to religion. Passed in 1990, it was a response to overzealous Evangelical Christian proselytization leading to interreligious tensions in the 1980s. It seeks to legislate religious moderation and tolerance, by delineating conduct that would be harmful to religious harmony. Under this law, restraining orders may be issued against persons inciting, instigating or encouraging any religious groups or institutions to feelings of enmity, hatred, ill will or hostility towards other religious groups. However, the MRHA has never been used, even though there have been individuals and religious leaders whose behaviour has drawn public attention and rebuke, including via social media, for displaying religious intolerance, hostility and ill will.

256   Lai Ah-Eng There are other formal institutions involved in the maintenance of multicultural peace and harmony, such as the Interreligious Organisation of Singapore (IRO), various mediation centres, the police force and local grassroots organizations such as the Interracial and Religious Confidence Circles (IRCCs), the latter having been set up soon after the attacks on 11 September 2001 in the USA. The oldest, the IRO, was set up in 1949 against a backdrop of imminent decolonization and concern over interreligious tensions. It is not a State organization, but rather an amalgamation of various religious organizations that represent or claim to represent various religions, with the goal of promoting interfaith understanding and harmony. The State, however, endorses its public role of representation at symbolic events and in mediation at various times.10 The above legislative and institutional framework has been developed over time, since Singapore’s independence and in response to contextual issues in its ever-changing landscape of cultural and religious diversity. In the last two decades, globalization in particular has impacted this diversity in a multitude of ways, particularly in terms of the flow of people and ideas as well as developments in cyberspace technology. Indeed, one of the biggest and most complicated challenges to navigating and reconciling cultural and religious issues is now posed by cyberspace politics. Issues and problems that have surfaced and been addressed in cyberspace not only put the legislative and institutional framework to the test, but also present new avenues and challenges to the public and to policy negotiation, management and resolution. As noted above, there have been no Commissions of Inquiry on specific cultural or religious issues that have arisen, but some laws have been invoked to deal with individuals.11 The next section examines three cases as illustrations of how complex diversity issues can be, and how they are navigated and reconciled both on the ground and in cyberspace. These cases involve individuals, citizens and netizens, groups, institutions and the government in rapid, high intensity interaction with multiplier and amplifier effects.

Navigating and reconciling cultural and religious diversity: three cases As noted earlier, public responses in all three cases were mainly played out massively, openly and at high speed through social media and internet platforms. Their reach, amplification and mobilization in turn affected and triggered further reactions and responses. For each case, social and institutional responses are examined, followed by comments. Case 1: The Curry Incident (2011) The Curry Incident illustrates issues of cultural differences and their contentious arbitration and resolution.12 It involves the interaction between a Chinese immigrant and an Indian Singaporean family living as neighbours, and the reception of a national and ethnic dish.

Cultural and religious diversity in Singapore    257 The incident and issue This case arose from a report titled ‘Number of Neighbour Disputes Hit High’ that appeared in TODAY newspaper (8 August 2011).13 The report cited a mediation case handled by the Community Mediation Centre (CMC), Ministry of Law, under the subheading ‘When Neighbours Disagree’: A family, who had just moved here from China, had resorted to mediation because they could not stand the smell of curry that their Singaporean Indian neighbours would often cook. The Indian family, who were mindful of their neighbour’s aversion, had already taken to closing their doors and windows whenever they cooked the dish, but this was not enough. They said: ‘Can you please do something?’ ‘Can you don’t cook curry? Can you don’t eat curry?’ said Madam Marcellina Giam, a Community Mediation Centre mediator. But the Indian family stood firm. In the end, Mdm Giam got the Indian family to agree to cook curry only when the Chinese family was not home. In return, they wanted their Chinese neighbours to at least give their dish a try. Public response The report of the case and mediation outcome immediately caused a public outcry and triggered several other related issues, expressed through various media channels such as Facebook pages, websites, local and foreign presses, and civic action by netizens and citizens. Most responders expressed outrage at what was perceived as an unfair, unreasonable and ludicrous solution; the mediator’s poor skills; and an unjustifiable case that should not even have been mediated by the CMC. For example, one said: ‘Good, I am going to stop my neighbour from cooking rice.’14 Related to the sense of fairness and reasonableness was the assertion of the rights of citizens and of members of minorities, specifically of local ethnic Indians. Also in question was the right to established national cuisine culture and a heritage of cooking and eating curries in their various ethnic and cross-cultural versions: ‘Indian, Malay, Peranakan, Chinese … Cook all the curry we want. We are Singaporean and we love our curry and no one can tell us when we can or cannot cook our curry.’15 The issue also led to claims of ethnic discrimination and Chinese dominance. One netizen commented: ‘First about Thaipusam music,16 second about curry. This country is really Chinapore already.’ Some individuals also shared their email letters to the CMC in online posts expressing their unhappiness with the outcome and demanding an explanation, on grounds of both ethnic and civil rights. For example, Gangasudhan’s email to CMC stated: As an ethnic Indian, I find this outcome very insulting and feel extremely outraged. Not to mention, the restriction on when a person can cook what he wishes to – in his own home, no less – clearly infringes on his right to lead

258  Lai Ah-Eng the law-abiding lifestyle of his choice. I would therefore like to offer the CMC the opportunity to justify how this seemingly bully-tactic can be considered resolution.17 In another example, Sujata wrote to ‘fellow Singaporeans’, including her letter to the CMC: I am a local Indian who feels very disturbed and flabbergasted with the way in which this issue was handled by CMC. This clearly shows some form of favouritism (for the immigrant family) and discrimination (against the Indian neighbours). … I am keen to know the efforts that have been taken by CMC mediators to explain to the immigrant family about Singapore’s diverse cultures and customs. I would have expected the CMC mediators to encourage the immigrant family to exercise more tolerance, respect and most fundamentally, sensitivity to an everyday activity that has been undertaken by a minority race within the perimeters of the latter’s house …18 Another major argument among responders was the need for tolerance and appreciation in a multiracial and multireligious society, where people of different backgrounds have grown to respect and to have mutual understanding of each other’s cultures and traditions. There are established norms and practices of navigating cultural differences when living in close proximity with each other in Housing and Development Board (HDB) – i.e. public housing, settings. This position was sometimes laced with sentiments against those newcomers who are perceived as unable or unwilling to adapt and who should therefore leave Singapore, such as in this comment: Don’t really understand why curry poses such a serious problem with this Chinese family. The only possible final solution is for them to move out of the block or perhaps preferably out of the country if the odour of delicious curry offends their delicate sensibilities. [Commentator’s emphasis]19 Apart from hundreds of comments on popular websites, the furore simultaneously spawned a huge variety of responses such as slogans, names and groups, some reflecting local wit and humour such as Curryphobia, Curry United and The Association of Curries by the Every Day Party.20 Humour-laced videos were produced. Bloggers also expressed themselves on the issues, taking a stand on asserting cultural rights and identities, while at the same time clarifying their position regarding foreigners and anti-PRC (People’s Republic of China) immigrant sentiments. Perhaps the most effective and widely supported event which some netizens (led by one Florence Leow) took to organizing was the Cook and Share a Pot of Curry event on 21 August 2011 (location: everywhere in Singapore). Started two days after the news report, it quickly went viral, with thousands of pledges from people locally and abroad that they would be joining in the event. Leow wrote:

Cultural and religious diversity in Singapore    259 Curry has always been part of our culture since the 1800s. They (the new citizens – esp the PRCs come to our country and instead of assimilating and integrating into our social fabric and culture, they demand we speak their languages and conform to their likes and dislikes … They speak Mandarin to our Malays, Indians and Eurasian counterparts. Hallo! Not everyone speaks Mandarin. This is not China or a Chinese province. This is NOT “SingZhou” ok. This is Singapore … We Singaporeans are basically nice and tolerant people. We will accept the new citizens as citizens PROVIDED they integrate into our local culture and not the other way round … Our forefathers came here when there were widespread uncertainties and they fought and stayed and built this nation. The “new citizen” flew here by the planeloads … So please don’t use the “my forefathers were also here before blah blah” excuse. My ancestors and forefathers fought very very hard for this land and built it from scratch. Therein lies the “difference”. I hope that every Singapore citizen or true blooded native can COOK a pot of curry all over the island on this date 21 Aug 2011– Sunday and let the aroma-therapy of CURRIES permeate the whole nation! SHOW them we will not be coerced and DUN COME and bully our Indian, Malay, Eurasian or Peranakan friends! Roar! Every true blooded Singaporean should just cook a pot of curry and eat it (regardless of race/language/or religion). We are Singaporeans and we LOVE our curries – be it chicken curry/fish curry/lamb curry/beef rendang/lontong/mee siam/laksa/petai sambal belachan/ayam buah keluak etc. … – and I LOVE MY CURRIES!!!!!!!!!!21 Throughout the ten days after the date for this event was posted, it quickly received numerous comments, which mostly expressed outrage over the mediation outcome and in support of the event which appealed strongly to Singaporeans’ sense of culture and heritage, including cross-cultural heritage. These comments and those on other online sites told stories of how non-Indians learned to eat and to love curry, while many emphasized the benefits of eating curry and the importance of curry as cuisine, as well as the need to protect this culture: I love my curry. But more than that, I love my multi-racial, multi-cultural Singapore. Cook & Share a Pot of Curry today, folks … wherever you are … As I tweeted this morning – Singapore’s gonna smell awesome today!22 While there was an outpouring of pride and outrage against the mediation outcome, there was also some muted criticism of the event on grounds that it was anti-foreigner: a nationwide call to cook curry on 21st August. That’s great for showing our solidarity to our national identity of harmony, tolerance and mutual respect. I too am participating by cooking and attending a curry pot luck which I suggested to a group of friends. However, what disturbs me is some of the sentiments against Chinese Nationals and Foreigners in general. … Many

260   Lai Ah-Eng comments are negative and flame the Chinese National. Many of them call them to go back to their own country. Now, I know for a fact not all Chinese Nationals in Singapore are like the infamous neighbours. So as a Singaporean, while I condemn this particular incident in terms of attitude and eventual decision by the Community Mediation Centre, I cannot judge all foreigners in Singapore, Chinese or otherwise.23 Some commentators responded to criticism and reconciled the matter of foreigner-in-our-midst in this way: in the spirit of this Singaporean Indian family, I say let’s use Curry to Unite and not divide. Let’s use curry to educate. Let’s go ahead full force next Sunday 21st August to “Cook a pot of curry” but let’s do so in a spirit of unity, inviting our Singaporean and non-Singaporean friends and neighbours to embrace our curries – Indian, Chinese, Malay or Eurasian and let’s use curry for positive change. Food is one thing that unites us as Asians. Being invited to someone’s home is a big part of our Asian welcome.24 The event organizers themselves were also quick to warn against and to remove racist and xenophobic remarks against PRC people, reaffirming that the purpose of the event was to show solidarity among Singaporeans and also to convey the message of ‘love, tolerance and appreciation of our beautiful multiracial culture’ of curry-cooking and curry-eating. They also changed the event’s original name to ‘Cook and Share a Pot of Curry’ and asked that those cooking curry share it with friends, and especially with PRC immigrants. As of 20 August 2011, more than 60,000 people had liked the page and indicated they would cook curry as part of the campaign. On the day itself, the event page received 65,000 likes and dozens posted pictures of the pots of curry they had cooked.25 Institutional response There were two major institutional responses to the intense public reactions to the case. The Community Mediation Unit (CMU), Ministry of Law responded on 11 August 2011, three days after the news report: The article stated that community mediator, Mdm Marcellina Giam, “got the Indian family to agree to cook curry only when the Chinese family was not home”. We have checked with Mdm Giam and this is inaccurate. The solution to the dispute was proposed by one of the parties and accepted by the other party. Mdm Giam did not propose the solution for the parties, neither did she impose it on them … The community mediators, who are trained volunteers, act as a neutral third party to facilitate between the disputing parties. Their role is not to decide on the outcome of a case; they have no authority to do so. The final outcome … must be a mutually acceptable solution arrived at by both disputing parties after discussion … In cases where

Cultural and religious diversity in Singapore    261 parties are of different ethnicities, cultural background or nationalities, the community mediators take great care in trying to get parties to understand the varying perspectives, and foster greater understanding and communication. In this particular case, despite clearly different cultural backgrounds, both parties were able to come to a mutually agreed solution by themselves in the interests of neighbourliness.26 The Minister of Law, Kasiviswanathan Shanmugam, clarified that the case parallels an old one that took place years ago and further responded: we must affirm our Singaporean identity and must protect it. At the same time, let’s not turn this into a xenophobic attack on foreigners in general … This sort of difference exists between Singaporeans, among foreigners and between foreigners and Singaporeans and not just in Singapore but elsewhere as well.27 These responses, however, triggered even more online criticism which focused on the efficacy of the CMC itself: The cmc’s mission is to “provide an attractive, practical and convenient solution for social and community disputes in Singapore” and one of their service goals is “FAIRNESS AND IMPARTIALITY TO PARTIES”. I would like to ask the cmc giam, Is this so called solution “attractive, practical and convenient” to the Indian family? Is “Fairness and Impartiality” being accorded to the Indian family?? As a mediator, cmc’s giam should not have even allowed that solution to pass thru’ even though the Indian family has agreed to it (no one knows if the Indian family was made to accept it under any harassment or duress). Cmc has failed to uphold their mission and service goal in this case.28 Sujata, in her second online posting, besides reiterating how common sense and established social norms did not prevail in the solution, questioned the training of volunteers and pointed out that the solution did not meet the CMC’s mission statement to ‘provide an attractive, practical and convenient solution for social and community disputes in Singapore’. She also indicated that the CMC gives consideration to matching the characteristics of the disputing parties in terms of language ability, gender, and race. However, the mediator seemed to only match the characteristics of language and race of the immigrant family, and Sujata therefore asked if there were any efforts taken to get an Indian mediator involved as well.29 Viswa Sadasivan, then Non-Constituency Member of Parliament, also spoke against the mediation outcome and responded to the official views on the matter. In his letter to the Straits Times Forum, he wrote: Mediation … is a process predicated on the parties’ willingness to seek settlement and abide by the agreement. This does not mean, however, that the

262   Lai Ah-Eng mediator is without power or influence. The parties vest a measure of authority on the mediator. With this power to influence comes the responsibility to ensure that any settlement, whether initiated by the parties or not, does not end up being unfair to one party. The parties must be able to live with the settlement without feeling cheated … we should be even more concerned about the negative signal this incident could send out … It threatens to strike at the values upon which our society is built – tolerance and acceptance. All of us who grew up in Singapore would have had occasion to be confronted with a cultural or religious practice that was not palatable. Our evolved instinct would have been to respect the right of the other party as a cohabitant of our space, and so tolerate, if not accept it … Such a complaint is hardly heard from native Singaporeans who are used to living peacefully with one another for the last fifty years or so till the recent influx of immigrants from China and India. In other countries, foreigners are expected to conform to the social norms of their adopted country. It seems to be the other way round in Singapore. He also replied to the criticisms of Singaporeans’ xenophobia by the minister: So, yes, in the past few days, there have been emotional reactions against foreigners who are reluctant to accept and adopt our way of life, but I see it more as a unified stand against legitimization of intolerance. It is not directed at foreigners per se, but at anyone – even a Singaporean – who is misguided. So, let’s not miss the woods for the trees. This is not xenophobia.30 Comments As a heritage, ethnic and national identity marker, there is perhaps no better item than curry, which tells the story of migration and intercultural adjustments through food culture. It is thus not surprising that curry – a dish distinct to the Indian minority community as well as to other ethnic groups, with distinct and hybridized ethnic versions which are also interculturally consumed by individuals – became the real and symbolic icon of contention between locals and new immigrants, evoking an intensity of emotion never seen before. The subject ‘Local Indian neighbour cannot cook curry unless immigrant Chinese family is out’ both captures this contention and raises the need for fairness and reason. Locals’ responses have been criticized or labelled as ‘anti-immigration’31 or xenophobic; the case in fact highlights many important issues in diversity conflict and policy. It also emphasizes social management: the acceptability/legitimacy and seriousness of conflict issues to be handled officially; mediation principles, skills, conditions, processes and outcomes; culture and heritage rights of local ethnic minorities/groups and nationalities in the context of massive and rapid immigration; norms and practices in local-immigrant integration processes; and netizen and citizen organization through social media over the principle of fairness and over cultural/multicultural identity issues.

Cultural and religious diversity in Singapore    263 In mediation, the acceptability, legitimacy and seriousness of a case considered for official resolution is crucial, given the wide range of potential sources of conflict, while professionalism and the principles of fairness, tolerance, reasonableness and conventional wisdom must apply to the process and outcome. What mainly sparked the outrage was perceived poor mediation and judgement; the feeling that the outcome was unfair to the local Indian family, and that it went against common sense and established practice. For interaction between locals and immigrants in a multicultural setting, especially in proximity living, the art of good neighbouring involves the observance and practice of civility and established norms and practices, a point that the immigrant family seems to have missed. The sharing and gift of food is an established expression of the host’s welcome and of a neighbour’s hospitality. It behoves the guest to develop cultural intelligence, all the more when staying for an extended period. Case 2: Amy Cheong and the Malay Wedding Saga (2012) This case is about cultural and class interests as well as biases involving immigrants and locals, particularly against the Malay minority regarding an established local ethnic wedding practice. Its rapid-fire development took place within a span of less than twenty-four hours, and shows how online activity and reality quickly interacted with multiplier effects in the development and resolution of an issue.32 In this case, Amy Cheong, an Australian living in Singapore, made a complaint about a common Malay wedding practice. The incident and issue On a Sunday afternoon on 7 October 2012, Amy Cheong – an Assistant Director of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) – started posting offensive and expletive-laced comments both about Malay weddings traditionally held in void decks (an open public area on the ground floor of apartment blocks) and, more generally, about Malays, on her Facebook page: How many fcuking days do Malay weddings go on for? Fcuk!!!! Pay for a real wedding, you asshole, maybe then the divorce rate won’t be so high! How can society allow people to get married for 50 bucks? Kns! Void-deck weddings should be banned. If you can’t afford a proper wedding, then you shouldn’t get married. Full stop. Book in the next 5 minutes and get a FREE access to the water tap! Book in the next 2 minutes, we will give you a bonus water pipe!!! Convenient for washing the plates your guests will eat of. Don’t miss out!!!!! Not to mention as u happily start ur new journey there will be hundreds cursing you to death, me included … My people? What are you? A tribe? Different species? Aliens?33

264   Lai Ah-Eng Public and institutional responses Amy Cheong’s postings quickly went viral, spreading like wildfire throughout the night until she shut down her Facebook page early the next morning. By around 10 pm, netizens began posting complaints on NTUC Membership’s Facebook Page, which totalled about 800 at final count. Here is an example of such a reaction: Granted that [Amy Cheong] is entitled to her own opinions on her own personal networking profile, it is highly disturbing to know that a person with such deep hatred and racial prejudice is working for one of the largest organizations aimed at helping Singaporeans … If your employees cannot set aside their differences to see and tolerate each culture’s practices, how can we trust you to take care of the hundreds of thousands of members in your union fairly?34 At the same time, Facebook pages such as ‘Stop Racism in Singapore’ began to receive comments and ‘FIRE Amy Cheong’ was set up petitioning for her dismissal from NTUC. By the next morning, on 8 October, someone had lodged a police report against her, alleging that her remarks were ‘calculated to promote enmity between different groups on the grounds of race’.35 Amy Cheong’s employer, NTUC, responded quickly, stating early on the same morning on its Facebook page that it was ‘investigating an inappropriate comment’ by Amy Cheong. It added that: ‘This is a serious concern to all of us and will be addressed shortly. The Labour Movement centres on inclusivity and we will not accept words or action of any of our staff that is insensitive or offending to any community.’ By noon, the NTUC announced that Amy Cheong had been dismissed from her job, saying that it ‘takes a serious view on racial harmony in Singapore. We will not accept and have zero tolerance towards any words used or actions taken by our staff that are racially offensive.’36 At about the same time, Amy Cheong apologized via Facebook and Twitter, saying it was a ‘silly comment’ but not meant to be a ‘racist’ one and that it was ‘bad judgement’; she did not mean to distress the Malay community, but was just upset with the noise and was truly sorry.37 She left Singapore the same day and was let off with a police warning a year later. The call for Amy Cheong’s dismissal by her employer and its quick decision to do so received divided opinions online:38 i’m a strong believer in educating rather than to forcefully shut people up. amy might have posted an apology but deep inside she’s still a racist. if we educated her on the malay cultures and traditions, in the future she might genuinely be more understanding! Amy Cheong shouldn’t have been fired. Her comments weren’t seditious. Our society wasn’t at the risk of segregation. This speaks a lot about our society. Everyone went, “Daddy, daddy. She called me stupid.” Then Daddy

Cultural and religious diversity in Singapore    265 did something. You don’t combat a narrow mind with a narrow solution. Calling for her to be fired was myopic. A real solution would be like the one used in the curry incident. Give your neighbour some curry. Now if I had a wedding, I’d invite her.39 One witty, tongue-in-cheek response came from well-known Malay humourist Suhami Yusof, whose Facebook posting ‘10 Things Amy Cheong Never Knew About the Malays’ may be regarded as speaking up for or on behalf of Malays. Some of these things include: #01 – Malays don’t sleep. Even though the next day is Monday, the internet thing spread like wildfire across the internet … #02 – Malays are Influential. Amy Cheong was fired from her job within 12 hours… #03 – Malays like businesses. While some see void decks as only fit for funerals and dumping ground for old people, the Malays turned it into a bustling economic activity each weekend … #06 … Malays are Fun. A Malay came up with a suggestion … that Amy Cheong should serve volunteer work at a Malay wedding… #10 – Malays have doas (prayers). The Malays accept your apology but we also doa that your children or relatives will marry a Malay and have a blessed void-deck wedding … 40 A thoughtful reflection on the saga and the wider issues raised about racism and racialized perspectives was offered by an activist writing for a newspaper column: But not wanting to discuss racism does not make the problem disappear. In fact, it generates two consequent effects. First, it causes sentiments to simmer, only to emerge in an ugly form, given a trigger. Second, when it does emerge, we might not know how to deal with it in a rational and intelligent manner. Perhaps it is necessary to ask why our racial identity has hardened over the years and why some of us come to view our surroundings through a racial lens … 41 The activist also proposed undoing persistent racism and prejudicial viewpoints, educating and reforming, calling for a rethinking of the automatic punitive approach to dealing with the issue of spontaneous everyday racism such as Amy Cheong’s dismissal by her employer, as well as ensuring the judicious use of legal instruments. Comments The rapid development of this case and many of the responses such as those cited above are self-evident: how an offensive comment – along class and ethnic lines – by a foreigner (Amy Cheong is Australian) against a local established tradition can be turned into an issue and resolved via social media, at great speed

266   Lai Ah-Eng and with multiplier and amplifier effects. The combination of class and race prejudice shown by Amy Cheong is particularly potent and deserves immediate condemnation. Malays in particular felt outraged and justified in responding to her insults and prejudices online, in a process that went on unabated throughout the evening and night in cyberspace. Like the Curry Incident discussed in Case 1, this saga also highlights cultural integration issues in high-density shared living and public spaces. Be it noise or smell or any other practice, navigating and accommodating cultural differences in such contexts requires both practical and educational-awareness mind-set approaches, for sharing living spaces with civility and consideration. In its institutional response, the quick resolution of the issue by Amy Cheong’s employer through her immediate dismissal seemed necessary and convenient, in the light of the rapid-fire response that might cause criticism of Amy Cheong to spill over on to the organization. However, it was unduly harsh for Amy Cheong, who nonetheless deserved a deliberated response through the due process of investigation and hearing, instead of immediate punishment. Also, as pointed out by one commentator, it is institutionalized and everyday racism, which racializes perspectives, that remains the main problem and that will survive ‘long after people have forgotten who Amy Cheong is’ unless undone through reform of policies and mind-sets.42 The police report against her and the final police warning to her can only be, at best, a legalistic and limited response that does not address the underlying issue of everyday racism. Case 3: The Hijab (Headscarf) Issue (2014) This hijab case is yet another example of how demands arising from new diversities are being raised and negotiated in real and cyber spaces. This example engaged Muslims of varying persuasions, non-Muslims to some extent and the government, since it had to respond directly to the demand for change in its policy. The issue at stake was whether front-line hospital, police, customs and immigration female staff in the public service should be allowed to wear the hijab or tudung (Malay for headscarf).43 The issue A question asked at a forum on race in September 2013, as to why Muslim women who work on the public sector front lines are not allowed to wear the Muslim hijab when on duty, sparked a series of online debates and discussions on social media platforms and blogs. In these debates, a clearly pro-hijab camp emerged that asked Muslims to assert their right for Muslim women to be allowed to wear headscarves at work. An online ‘Singapore Hijab Movement’ quickly emerged on Facebook with the taglines ‘Love my Country, Love my Hijab’ and ‘Let’s champion the Hijab cause with the same level of modesty and dignity as the Hijab represents’, garnering 26,570 likes within a few weeks. The movement also organized a petition to allow Muslim women to wear the hijab, aimed at

Cultural and religious diversity in Singapore    267 getting 20,000 signatures.44 However, the online petition was mysteriously removed after 12,405 signatures were collected, and the Facebook page also was soon removed, as were some blog posts.45 A new Facebook page named ‘Hijab for Singapore (Hijab4SG)’ has since been set up, that calls for ‘the right of freedom to wear hijab in the uniformed workforce, at schools and in frontline jobs’ in public services. Consisting mostly of Malay-Muslims with some non-Muslim supporters, the pro-hijab camp’s main assertion was that the hijab is an important symbol of a Muslim woman’s identity and is agreed upon as being obligatory for all Muslim women to wear upon reaching puberty. They affirm that Muslim women should therefore be given the religious freedom to wear the hijab in all professional sectors in the public service, including nursing and uniformed services. To bolster its case, the pro-hijab camp argued that Sikh men working in the public sector are granted the freedom to wear turbans, so Muslim women should be able to wear the hijab. It further pointed out that other Western secular countries such as Canada, America and Britain have allowed the hijab in their nursing and uniformed services sectors and these women are still able to carry out their duties professionally.46 Responses of other Muslims and non-Muslims The Muslim community, however, was not homogeneous in its views about wearing the headscarf. A few Muslims commented online about the right to decide whether or not to wear the hijab. One social activist pointed out that the movement’s assertion for Muslim women to be allowed to wear the hijab in front-line positions was framed as a communal right, rather than as an individual choice to express one’s religious identity and practise one’s religion. He also noted the ‘divisive attitude’, ‘patriarchal’ and ‘bigoted’ nature underpinning many of the pro-hijab positions online, which he considered unacceptable; he pointed out that the voices of Muslim women who would be affected were missing. He further remarked that some of the comments by the pro-hijab camp tended to exaggerate the situation, in saying that Muslim women in front-line positions are being ‘oppressed’ and ‘persecuted’ since they are not allowed to exercise their right to wear the hijab in their respective professions.47 Among some non-Muslims, the main responses were that they were already used to Muslim women wearing headscarves at work (in both the public and private sectors) and in public places, and that what they chose to wear was a matter of personal choice. However, there should be practical and safety considerations specific to work conditions. One senior nurse was cited as saying that for reasons of infection control, especially during epidemics or surgery, it would be problematic for nurses and staff to wear headscarves.48 State responses The speed of the mobilization and petition efforts of the pro-hijab camp necessitated the government’s quick response and led the Minister-in-charge of

268   Lai Ah-Eng Muslim affairs to meet the Prime Minister together with Malay Members of Parliament (MPs) from the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) over the matter. Separately, a closed-door discussion was held between Malay PAP MPs and Muslim leaders, including those from PERGAS (Singapore Islamic Scholars and Religious Teachers Association) who had asked for a long-term solution to the issue. The Deputy Prime Minister weighed in on the matter, stating that ‘every community, when it presses for its own concerns, must bear in mind how that affects other communities and how others might see it. That is the reality of living in a multi-racial, multi-religious society that we all have to internalise.’49 He further reiterated that, while the government understands ‘community perspectives’, it also ‘has the responsibility to balance all these different community requirements and keep in mind what we need, to maintain overall social harmony’.50 Member of Parliament Zainal Sapari echoed the same view: ‘We cannot underestimate … that other religious groups might make similar demands if the Government were to give leeway to the requests of a particular community’, but assured that the hijab issue is ‘being looked into every year’.51 These comments were in turn followed up by the Fellowship of Muslim Students Association (FMSA), which called on the government to hold an open forum to discuss the matter. Comments The ardent call for permission to wear the hijab in front-line work is clearly a development from a larger Muslim assertion of religious piety and identity through attire, among other rituals and expressions that have been gathering pace in the past two decades. At the same time, it is also an assertion of a growing sense of right itself – the right, in this case, to religious choice and expression at work, indirectly a call for the State to loosen its regulation of religion in the public sphere. This activism thus also challenges the separation between religion in the public and private spheres, and between the secular and the religious. The pro-hijab proponents view their religion as all-encompassing, and see a need to express their identity in both private and public spheres within the larger Singaporean multicultural and national identities.52 The call is also a specific demand on the State to resolve inconsistencies in its policies which allow the wearing of religious items by others, such as Sikhs their turbans, Buddhists their amulets and Christians their crucifixes in front-line public sector jobs. The Muslim community is, however, not homogeneous in its views and practices of hijab wearing. Among Muslims, positions on the headscarf issue reveals differences on the distinctions between right, need and choice, mainly between those who insist on the need and right for Muslim women to wear the hijab and those who argue for the right of women to choose to wear it or not. While the pro-hijab camp is clearly vocal and organized online, the views of the very subjects of the matter – Muslim women themselves – are less known. Those who believe in choice, and those who do not want to or do not believe in wearing headscarves, have not joined much in the discussions. The focus of the debates

Cultural and religious diversity in Singapore    269 and discussions is instead on lifting the ban, and on the government’s policy and response. Overall, the State has responded to the call for allowing the wearing of hijab in front-line services by maintaining its position of a ban for the time being. Similar to the tudung controversy in 2002, when the government argued that allowing schoolgirls to wear tudung would erode common space and lead to other demands, its argument for maintaining the ban in front-line services is that social harmony might be affected as numerous demands from various communities could be triggered. Additionally, it argued that wearing the hijab in some workplaces is ‘problematic’, such as for infection control and hygiene reasons for nurses, as well as the maintenance of the uniformity of organizational identity in sectors such as the armed forces and the police.53 The state largely remains cautious, wary of a slippery slope situation where ceding to a demand from one religious group might lead to others making demands and expecting the State to accede to these as well. At the same time, the State’s ban does not appear entirely non-negotiable. In the light of the call for the wearing of hijab within the larger social climate of growing religiosity and articulateness of the Muslim population, as well as awareness of growing frustration over the issue,54 the Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs called for ‘continuous dialogue’ and asked the Muslim community to be patient as he and his colleagues were ‘discussing with the community’ on this issue.55 While it maintains the ban in its cautious approach, the State appears to be buying time and undertaking consultations on the plausibility of allowing the hijab in front-line positions in the public sector. This is suggested by MP Zainal Sapari in his statement that the Malay PAP MPs will continue advocating for a change in hijab policy.56 Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura (MUIS), the top religious authority in charge of Muslim religious affairs, has also not released any conclusive statement. The Mufti of MUIS merely raised and sought to correct the issue of the inappropriateness and lack of civility in the tone that was used in the pro-hijab positions and criticisms of the hijab ban.57 The assertion of religious rights in Singapore’s growing diversity has been facilitated by social media that provides a space for people to express their views more freely, widely and quickly. This phenomenon also makes it all the more difficult to enforce a separation between private and public in religious matters, between the secular and the religious, and for that matter between politics and religion. In the light of this, the State’s tightrope act of balancing various communities’ interests and demands with the larger interests of social cohesion has become more challenging. It has to be highly cognisant, responsive and prepared while navigating complex matters in newer ways within its model of flexible secularism. In this case, the State has chosen consultative dialogue without any conclusive stance. It remains to be seen if this is merely a tactic to bid for time in the hope that dissent will quieten down or even an attempt to sweep things under the rug, or if it is indeed a genuine attempt to find an acceptable solution to a complex issue now participated in by numerous citizens and netizens. For the hijab issue, it can be argued that a more open consultation and dialogue in a

270  Lai Ah-Eng rational and civil manner between government and advocates might not only increase the likelihood of the lifting of the hijab ban, but also increase trust in the government–citizen relationship in future negotiations.

Discussion and concluding remarks The legal and institutional framework that has been set up in the country’s founding and subsequent years provides for a range of diversities through the principles of equality for all, protection of minorities, cultural and religious rights, a soft secularism, and for contentious issues to be tackled through legal and institutional measures. New social ground and cyberspace realities and politics put these to the test, but also require fresh institutional and social approaches to navigate and resolve issues, as punitive legal measures alone or the quick filing of police reports by aggrieved individuals do not necessarily work, nor do they always represent the first and most desirable recourse. The inconsistent use of legal instruments is also noticeable. For example, in 2005, three bloggers were convicted under the Sedition Act for posting Web-blog comments that were deemed anti-Muslim, but Amy Cheong was let off with a warning (she fled the country the same day that she was dismissed from her job). The cases discussed above illustrate these tests and requirements in various ways. The three cases articulate complex and intertwining fault lines and tensions arising from differences in ethnicity, religion and culture/heritage within Singapore’s diverse settings.58 At the same time, responses to incidents do not always take ethno-religious or nationalistic directions, but are complex, sophisticated and cut across these lines. For instance, many non-Malays were enraged at Amy Cheong’s cultural and class prejudices. A Chinese Singaporean was among the first to raise the concern that an Indian neighbour’s right to cook curry was unfairly infringed upon by a mediation solution. While locals of all ethnic backgrounds were against insulting Singaporeans and some individuals turned xenophobic, others were against being anti-foreigner. Locals of all ethnic backgrounds were against unreasonable mediation. This fact alone shows a certain maturity among Singaporeans in their handling of cultural tension. Objectivity and reasonableness exist as much as do raw emotion or prejudice. The intense discussions that take place in social media when tensions and issues arise must be understood against their larger historical and contemporary contexts and issues of inequality, discrimination, racism and exclusion among citizens, including by ethnic minorities. The three cases also show the powerful use of social media by netizens, either as individuals or as organized groups, to select cases in which to highlight sentiments and grievances, and to seek solutions or make demands. These cases are quickly amplified because of the speed and multiplier effects of social media. In spreading and amplifying their concerns, they are able to either do harm or to harness solutions to settle disputes. The latter is often done by calling for the authorities to swiftly address issues, such as dismissing an employee, expelling a student or making a police report and calling for police action. Institutional

Cultural and religious diversity in Singapore    271 responses often lag behind active social media responses or even run up against them, causing more issues and social media scrutiny, criticism and responses. This can be clearly seen in the CMC mediation in the Curry Incident, where netizens took issue with the solution achieved through mediation, as well as with the firing of Amy Cheong by her employer, the latter being quick to distance itself from the incident. The cases also show institutional responses lagging behind social expectations, or the existence of a gap in understanding and resolving issues. They point to the need for the State in particular to re-examine and develop other ways in which it can deal with issues besides through legal means or strict control, and beyond politicians and institutions opening and maintaining Facebook and Twitter accounts. At the same time, in the use of social media, there have often been allegations of negativity, vitriol, hate speech, threat of violence, and other uncivil behaviour by commentators and netizens. In these cases, it behoves the public and individuals to use the new freedoms provided by social media responsibly and civilly. A new era of freedom, transparency, openness and accountability has arrived with social media platforms that shape the expectations of government– public engagement. In general, dealing with cultural diversity issues requires mediation, negotiation, and resolution skills and processes. The incidents discussed raise several important positive principles to observe in this regard, whether in social media or in real space. In raising issues, sensitivity, appropriateness, tolerance, respect, and willingness to give and take is necessary and basic, but this is easier said than done. Calling for groups to choose tolerance and respect is essential, especially since some differences can only be managed by accepting the rights of all groups to have reasonable allowances to practice and live their cultures. Showing and practising the values of fairness, reasonableness, justice and equality when coming up with an acceptable approach or solutions to a conflict is essential, rather than merely observing the neutrality and impartiality of the mediators involved. Finally, developing intercultural and interreligious intelligence, awareness and skills is crucial to navigate the potentially tense intercultural and interreligious issues that are likely to occur in an increasingly diverse population. Beyond conflict prevention, these also contribute to lasting and meaningful peace-building, and cultural and religious understanding and appreciation, in both real and cyber spaces.

Notes   1  See Meanings of Multiethnicity: A Case Study of Ethnicity and Ethnic Relations in Singapore, ed. Lai Ah Eng (Kuala Lumpur: Oxford University Press, 1995); Beyond Rituals and Riots: Ethnic Pluralism and Social Cohesion in Singapore, ed. Lai Ah Eng (Singapore: Institute of Policy Studies and Eastern Universities Press, 2004); Religious Diversity in Singapore, ed. Lai Ah Eng (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies Press, 2008).   2  The 8 December 2013 riots in Little India, in which twenty-five Indian nationals who were foreign workers on work permits were charged for unlawful assembly and rioting

272  Lai Ah-Eng under the Penal Code (maximum sentence of seven years and caning) and which led to a Commission of Inquiry, are not discussed here. In my opinion, this was mainly a workers’ riot with underlying causes related to poor working and living conditions, with other latent issues of racial and cultural biases against foreign Indian workers.   3  See Kevin Tan, ‘The Legal and Institutional Framework and Issues of Multiculturalism in Singapore’, in Beyond Rituals and Riots, ed. Lai Ah Eng, pp. 98–113; Eugene Tan, ‘Keeping God in Place: The Management of Religion in Singapore’, in Religious Diversity in Singapore, ed. Lai Ah Eng, pp. 55–82.   4  Constitution of the Republic of Singapore, 9 August 1965. See Singapore Statutes Online website, accessed 15 April 2016,   5  Tan, ‘The Legal and Institutional Framework’, pp. 106–107.   6  Ibid.   7  For a discussion on the implementation of Muslim law in Singapore and the conflicts in jurisdiction between the country’s Syariah Court and the civil courts, see Ahmad Nizam bin Abbas, ‘The Islamic Legal System in Singapore’, Pacific Rim Law & Policy Journal, 21.1 (2012): pp. 163–187.   8  Tan, ‘Keeping God in Place’, pp. 66–70, especially p. 63 for examples – e.g. Jehovah’s Witnesses conscripted into the Singapore Armed Forces who cite their religious beliefs as grounds for exemption.   9  In 2005, three bloggers were convicted under the Sedition Act for posting Web-blog comments that were deemed anti-Muslim, while the ISA has been applied to those deemed to be agitating racial and religious discord, such as suspected terrorists of the Jemaah Islamiyah (around 2004–2006) and individuals influenced by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria to commit violent acts (2015). 10  See Lai Ah Eng, ‘The Inter-religious Organisation of Singapore’, in Religious Diversity in Singapore, ed. Lai Ah Eng, pp. 605–641 for a detailed discussion on the history and politics of the IRO. 11  See n. 8 for examples. 12  This case is discussed in greater detail in Lai Ah Eng and Mathew Mathews, ‘Navigating Disconnects and Divides in Singapore’s Cultural Diversity’, in Managing Diversity in Singapore, ed. Mathew Mathews and Chiang Wai Fong (London: Imperial College Press, 2016). 13  Quek Sue Wen Carolyn, ‘Number of Neighbour Disputes Hit High’, TODAY, 8 August 2011. 14  All quotations by netizens, unless otherwise stated in this case, are from the following sources: ‘Curry of Neutrality without the Flavour of Fairness’, The Online Citizen, accessed 4 November 2012,; ‘Outcry Against CMC for Imposing Restrictions on Singapore Indian Family Eating Curry at Home’, AsiaOne Forum, accessed 4 November 2012,; VR-Zone Forums, http://forums. 15  Ibid. 16  Ibid. The traditional playing of musical instruments accompanying devotees in this long practised annual Hindu procession has always been controversial for some, the main complaints being about noise and public disorder. In 2016, after much objection by Thaipusam participants and also citizens via social media and consultations by the Hindu Endowments Board, special points for playing musical instruments were set up along the procession route. 17  Ibid. 18  Ibid. 19  Ibid. 20  ‘The Association of Curries Expresses its Outrage at Curry Mediation’, Every Day Party, last modified 10 August 2011,

Cultural and religious diversity in Singapore    273 21  ‘Cook and Share a Pot of Curry’, Facebook Page, accessed 20 August 2011, www. 22, accessed 21 August 2011. 23  ‘Curry United—Cook a Pot of Curry Day Singapore’, Danesh Daryanani, last modified 14 August 2011,, accessed 18 August 2011. 24  Ibid. 25  Cook and Share a Pot of Curry’, Facebook Page, accessed 21 August 2011, www. The organizers very quickly closed down the page soon after the event. Their follow-up page ‘Cook and Share a Pot of Curry 2012’, a year later, stated, ‘we have marked every 3rd Saturday of August as “National Curry Day”. A day for all curry lovers to get together share their great love for curries’. However, it received only 371 likes. See ForTheLoveOfCurry, accessed 18 August 2012. 26  In TODAY, 8 August 2011. 27  Karen W. Lim, ‘Families Settle Curry Dispute, Not Mediators’, AsiaOne, 16 August 2011, accessed 4 November 2012, Singapore/Story/A1Story20110816-294757.html 28  See n. 14. 29  Ibid. 30  Ibid. 31  Foreign media also portrayed locals’ responses in similar ways. See, for example, Harry Suhartono, ‘Singaporeans’ Culinary Anti-immigration Protest: Curry’, Reuters News, 21 August 2011. 32  See Lai and Mathews, ‘Navigating Disconnects and Divides’, for a more detailed discussion. 33  Source: Amy Cheong’s Facebook profile page, accessed 8 October 2012, www. 34, accessed 9 October 2012. 35; Police report filed against Amy Cheong over offensive Facebook post, 8 October 2012, https:// html, accessed 8 October 2012. Please note that ‘The FIRE Amy Cheong’ Facebook page has been removed. 36  For details of both NTUC and Amy Cheong’s responses, see Channel News Asia, ‘Amy Cheong Saga’, last modified 10 October 2012, amy-cheong; Amy Cheong’s Facebook profile page, accessed 8 October 2012, http://; and Twitter Amy Cheong@ Amy Cheong 22 on 7 October 2012; 37  Ibid. 38  Channel News Asia (CNA) Singapore’s Facebook page received 5592 likes and 1,054 comments after it reported that she was dismissed, and CNA posed the question ‘what do you think of NTUC’s decision to sack her?’ All comments cited are taken from Channel News Asia, ‘Amy Cheong Saga’, last modified 10 October 2012, http:// 39  Ibid. 40  Suhaimi Yusof, ‘10 Things Amy Cheong Never Knew About the Malays’, Facebook Post, accessed 7 January 2016, set=a.100383590025600.388.100001618770280&type=3&theater 41  Imran Mohamed Taib Mohamed, ‘The Problem of a Racialised Mind’, TODAYonline, 11 October 2012, accessed 1 January 2013, EDC121011-0000024/The-problem-of-a-racialised-mind

274  Lai Ah-Eng 42  Mohamed, ‘The Problem of a Racialised Mind’. 43  In an earlier tudung controversy in 2002, the issue at stake was whether the wearing of the tudung in national schools should be permitted, as two parents tried to send their tudung-clad children to such schools where they had been registered for Primary 1. The government was unrelenting, explaining that allowing exceptions to school uniforms would fragment the common space among Singaporeans and invite competing demands from different communities. Nonetheless, Muslim girls are allowed to dress in track pants for physical education; Muslim pupils and government employees are given time off to attend Friday midday prayers; there is no ban on the tudung at institutions of higher learning; and government employees, including teachers, are free to wear tudung. The exceptions are front-line hospital, police, customs and immigration officers. 44  Ahmad Zhaki Abdullah, ‘Hijab in the Workplace: Why the Controversy?’ MuslimBuzz. sg, 14 November 2013, accessed 4 July 2015, 45  Terence Lee, ‘Singapore “Hijab Movement” Facebook Page Mysteriously Disappears’, TechinAsia, 14 November 2013, accessed 4 July 2015, singapore-hijab-movement-facebook-page-mysteriously-disappears/ 46  Xin Hui Kok, ‘Hijab Issue: Govt must “Balance Community Requirements”’, TODAYonline, 6 November 2013, accessed 4 July 2015, singapore/hijab-issue-govt-must-balance-community-requirements?page=1 47  Imran Mohamed Taib Mohamed, ‘A Matter of Individual Choice, Not Communal Right’, TODAYonline, 6 November 2013, accessed 4 July 2015, www.todayonline. com/singapore/matter-individual-choice-not-communal-right?page=1 48  Information obtained through informal discussions with them by the author during and soon after the debates in 2013. 49  Kok, ‘Hijab Issue’. 50  Ibid. 51  Ibid. He gave the example of Jehovah’s Witnesses who do not believe in doing national service, which is contrary to the government’s position of compulsory conscription. 52  Hussin Mutalib, ‘Singapore Muslims: The Quest for Identity in a Modern City-State’, Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs 25:1 (2005): p. 56. 53  ‘Allowing Hijab Problematic for Some Jobs: Yaacob’, TODAYonline, 4 November 2015, accessed 4 July 2015, 54  Salimat Shah, ‘COMMENT: Should the “Hijab” be such a Complex Issue?’ Yahoo SG News, 19 November 2013, accessed 4 July 2015, singaporescene/hijab-complex-issue-091926365.html 55  Yaacob Ibrahim, Facebook Post, 5 November 2013, accessed 4 July 2015, www. 56  Robin Chan, ‘PM Lee meets MPs over headscarf issue’, 8 November 2013, accessed 19 April 2015, 57  Fatris Bakaram, ‘The Hijab Issue and Social Media: Defending Dignity by Stepping on It?’ Facebook Post, 30 October 2013, accessed 21 April 2015, notes/mohamed-nassir/the-hijab-issue-social-media-defending-dignity-by-steppingon-it-by-fatris-bakar/10151769447594930 58  For a more detailed discussion of these and other cases and the approaches to conflict management and resolution, see Lai and Mathews, ‘Navigating Disconnects and Divides’.

15 The religious diversity conundrum in Morocco The case of the National Commission for Dialogue on Civil Society and New Constitutional Prerogatives (2012) Mohamed Fadil Introduction: religious diversity as an unspoken national discussion Addressing the question of religious diversity in Morocco is like attempting to express that which is unspoken. Without going into great detail, the official discourse of this country asserts that Moroccans are, quite simply, Muslims. The constitution presents the country as an ‘Islamic state’ and confers on its Head of State a religious – i.e. Islamic – title: Commander of the Faithful. The objective of this chapter is to explore several aspects of what has until now been mostly unspoken with regard to religious diversity in Morocco, through the lens of an examination of the Commission Nationale du Dialogue sur la Société civile et les Nouvelles Prérogatives Constitutionnelles (2012 National Commission for Dialogue on Civil Society and New Constitutional Prerogatives). This chapter begins with a study of the commission as a striking example of the marginalization of issues related to religious diversity within the official discourse of Morocco. The commission in fact approached the subject of diversity from almost every possible angle, with the notable exclusion of the religious perspective. The chapter then proceeds to explore, with reference to particular reports produced both by foreign embassies based in Morocco and human rights organizations, the current state of these issues from two perspectives. The first consists of sketching a religious cartography that is free from generalizations and reduction. The second entails identifying the foundations and benchmarks that define the official religious policies of the country. Through this process, we can garner a sense of how the Moroccan political system views the issue of religious diversity, between recognition and rejection, as well as which methods and tools it has adopted in order to manage it.

The kingdom of Morocco: the limitations of an exception In a region characterized by both internal and external conflicts, some researchers have proposed a Moroccan ‘exception’ that ‘immunizes’ the country against any kind of sociopolitical fragility.1 According to this theory, such an exception has allowed this country in the Maghreb region to meet difficult challenges

276   Mohamed Fadil throughout its history with minimum disruption, through a maximum of compromise resulting in sociopolitical stability. The Arab Spring marks the most recent in this series of challenges. While the historical paths of certain countries in the region were irrevocably altered under the pressure of popular uprisings, Morocco emerged from this turmoil with its stability intact. This may be due to immediate actions on the part of the ruler, such as the introduction of a new Constitution – that is, generally considered more advanced than previous versions – as well as opening up the political space to new actors, in particular a group of moderate Islamists called the Parti de la Justice et du Développement/PJD (Justice and Development Party). The PJD represents the first Islamist government of Morocco, having won the first election organized under the banner of the new Constitution proposed by King Mohamed VI on 9 March 2011, which was adopted three months later.2 According to many policy specialists in Morocco, the country owes its sociopolitical stability to the precision of its political regime that made such quick reactions possible. According to the proponents of this theory, Morocco benefits from an enlightened monarchy that enjoys religious legitimacy, which helps to guarantee its stability.3 But what justifies the use of a religious paradigm in the context of Moroccan politics? This question can be answered by examining the specific religious principles in operation in the current Moroccan political regime, whose monarchy has existed for over 400 years and has an Islamic religious foundation. The first Moroccan Constitution dates back to 1962. In Article 19, it designates the king as Amir Al Mouminine (Commander of the Faithful). Although this chapter represents the main target of those activists in favour of the desacralization4 of the apparatus of power in Morocco, it has remained in force from 1962 to the present, despite the popular Arab Spring opposition that led to the constitutional reforms of 2011. Thus, despite the numerical shift whereby Article 19 became Articles 41–42, the new Constitution continues to designate the king of Morocco as the Commander of the Faithful.5 The table below shows the two relevant constitutional passages side by side, to allow readers to compare the versions.6 For observers of Moroccan political life, the use of the title ‘Commander of the Faithful’ in a political context gives rise to two functions that are at once contradictory and complementary, one inclusive and the other exclusive. As Moroccan political scientist Abdessamad Belhaj explained (2006), ‘The inclusive function is implemented in the paternalistic discourse of the sultan, who constantly serves as a reminder that he is the sole reference to the Moroccan nation’.7 By virtue of his title, Commander of the Faithful, the king is situated ‘beyond the conflicts, political challenges and ethnic differences that traverse the nation’.8 This status ‘permits him, in times of reconciliation, to exemplify a high degree of forgiveness. In times of crisis or mobilization, he presents himself as a Muslim leader guiding his subjects against their enemies, whether internal or external’.9 In terms of the exclusive function, according to Belhaj it manifests itself through ‘the monopoly of religious authority that prevents the access of Islamists, or any other opposing force, to political power, unless they recognize the authority of the sultan’.10 The

Religious diversity ‘conundrum’ in Morocco    277 Table 15.1  Comparison of the two Moroccan Constitutions, 1962 and 2011 Article 19, Constitution of 1962

Article 41, Constitution of 2011

The King, Amir Al Mouminine (Commander of The King, Amir Al Mouminine the Faithful), Insurer of respect for Islam. He is (Commander of the Faithful). the Guarantor of freedom of worship. He chairs Supreme Representative of the the Higher Council of Ulamas, charged with Nation, Symbol of its unity, studying the issues submitted to it. The Council Guarantor of the perpetuation is the only body empowered to impose officially and the continuity of the State, approved religious consultations (fatwas) on Insurer of respect for Islam pertinent questions, on the basis of principles, and the Constitution. He is precepts, and designs tolerant of Islam. the protector of the rights and The functions, composition, and functioning of freedoms of citizens, social the Council shall be laid down by decree. groups and communities. He guarantees the independence of the Nation and the territorial Article 42, Constitution of 2011 integrity of the Kingdom The King, Head of State, Supreme Representative, within its authentic borders. Symbol of the unity of the nation, Guarantor of the perpetuation and the continuity of the State and Supreme Arbiter between institutions, Insurer of respect for the Constitution, the right functioning of constitutional institutions, protection of democratic choice and the rights and freedoms of the citizens, and communities, and compliance with international commitments of the Kingdom. He is the guarantor of the independence of the Kingdom and territorial integrity within its authentic borders. The King shall exercise these tasks by decree pursuant to the powers vested in him expressly assigned to him by the present Constitution. The decrees, except those provided for in Articles 41, 44 (2nd paragraph), 47 (1st and 6th paragraphs), 51, 57, 59, 130 (1st paragraph) and 174 shall be countersigned by the Head of Government.

king thus uses this title ‘in situations of domestic dispute in order to avoid discord, synonymous with exclusion from the community, and even extreme repression’.11 The legitimacy of this status mainly occurs through the rite of bay’ah (allegiance) that takes place during the inauguration of a new monarch. This rite is then repeated each year as part of the celebration of the throne, which has been described as ‘an annually celebrated rite of submission and a solemn act, consenting to and recognizing the legitimacy of royal power or marking the ascension of a new monarchical authority’.12 In a general manner, and regardless of culture and context, the bay’ah rite retains an incontestable anthropological significance. The anthropological register suggests that the mysterious and supernatural aspects of monarchs within the core of societies reach a paroxysm during the succession of power and through the induction rituals for the new sovereign. In his 1993 work, Socio-anthropologie des religions (Socio-anthropology of

278  Mohamed Fadil Religions), Claude Rivière submits that ‘these rituals evoke the sacred origin of power and the renewal of power over the sacred while bringing it symbolically back to its origins and accentuating the distance between the sovereign and the people’.13 The impact of the adoption of this bay’ah rite in the constitutional life of the country has been very evident. Accordingly, as Belhaj has also stated, this rite has permitted the reduction of the place of positive law and the formation of a simple institutional shaping of historical legitimacy. Thus, with regard to bay’ah, the community representatives do not pledge allegiance to a Head of State, but to a caliph, a figure who is at once real and mythical.14 From this perspective, Mohamed Tozy proposes that the significant element of allegiance is that it ‘is made not to the central government as an organized structure and limited according to the Western constitutional model, but to a caliph personified in the current king’.15 This enigma has had three major consequences for Moroccan political life. First, it has engendered ‘the extensive application of the caliphate’s power: the caliph is not only the holder of executive power, but he also maintains control of legislative power; even more than that, it transcends all separation of powers’.16 Second, it has created ‘a failure of constitutional discourse built on the principle of the separation of powers, such as that of the arbitrator king, the cornerstone of reasoning’.17 Finally, this enigmatic role of the monarch has resulted in a minimizing of ‘contractual legitimacy’18 between the monarchy and the people. In short, the king of Morocco ensures – with his status and title, Commander of the Faithful – the well-being of his people and his country not only while on earth, but also in the hereafter. He also presides over the Higher Council of Ulamas that represents, according to Article 41 of the 2011 Constitution, ‘the only body empowered to impose officially approved religious consultations (fatwas) on pertinent questions, on the basis of principles, precepts and designs tolerant of Islam’. With such a religious representation of the king, no one can actually enter the political realm of Morocco without recognizing the religious power embedded in it. Moreover, in the official discourse of Morocco, the status of citizens and the status of Muslim believers are interdependent. In fact, the first is only obtained by the second. The king is a political leader with temporal executive authority over all citizens, but also bears the title of Commander of the Faithful, which gives him religious authority over believers. So, does this mean that non-believers are exempt from the authority of the Commander of the Faithful? Logically, that answer would have to be affirmative. This second element of the king’s power applies only to believers. And yet, the history of the power struggle in this country shows that religion is embedded in its political foundation. Therefore, politics are not independent of religion, because the political leader is none other than the religious leader. But, does this representation of an enlightened monarchy, that leads the people towards social and economic stability, portray reality? Is it an idealized

Religious diversity ‘conundrum’ in Morocco    279 representation? Does the sociopolitical stability enjoyed by Moroccans under the tutelage of a religiously oriented monarchy, if accepted as such, come at the expense of an interplay of power and human rights? And in terms specifically related to this chapter, what expectations can we have vis-à-vis the issue of religious diversity and the rights of minorities, in a country in which the political regime claims not only a single religion (Islam), but also a very particular interpretation of this religion based on the Maliki Sunni school (madhhab) of jurisprudence (fiqh) at the theological–legal level, as well as the theory of the Commander of the Faithful at the political level? At first glance, the reports and statements by observers and human rights activists in Morocco address seriously disturbing findings concerning the rights and freedoms of religious minorities in the country.19 Apart from the privileged status enjoyed by a small Jewish minority, whose existence dates back to the ancient history of Morocco,20 the Commander of the Faithful fails to show any recognition of non-Muslims and, for that matter, even non-Sunni Muslims living in the country (the Shiites, for example). There is therefore no recognition of the right of others to practise their faith. The question of religious diversity seems to be totally absent from public debates and political discourses. From this perspective, the most fascinating and recent government commission on the issue of civil society and participatory democracy in Morocco, one in which thousands of organizations and associations working in Morocco and abroad participated, did not – in any way – address religious diversity. Here we have a case of conspicuous marginalization of this issue, both in official public debates and in reports submitted by many civil society organizations, to which we shall now turn.

The case of the National Commission for Dialogue on Civil Society Although politically stable as compared to other countries in the region, during the Arab Spring, Morocco was not spared public protests. Young people would regularly occupy the streets, affiliated with two extreme left organizations, in particular An-Nahj Ad-Dimoqrati (Democratic Way), as well as an Islamist group opposing the religious legitimacy of the monarchy: Jama’at Al-’adl Wal-Ihsane (Justice and Spirituality Group). This context of conflict gave birth to the February 20th Movement, the Moroccan version of the Arab Spring.21 The investment of this Islamist group, Justice and Spirituality, in the nascent protest movement in Morocco does not accurately represent the general attitude present in the Moroccan Islamist landscape in relation to the Arab Spring. The PJD, a moderate Islamist party partially supported by the religious preaching group Mouvement de l’Unicité et de la Réforme/MUR (Movement of Oneness and Reform),22 which rose to power a few months later (November 2011), chose to focus on what its leaders call ‘sociopolitical stability and reforming legitimacy’.23 Since the main expression of legitimacy in the official political discourse of Morocco is specifically associated with the monarchy, the word ‘choice’ of the PJD and the MUR carried only one meaning. The actors of this bicephalous Islamist

280  Mohamed Fadil group (a religious group and a political party) followed a course of action that allowed their integration into the political landscape that had been orchestrated by the Commander of the Faithful,24 in particular, a commitment not to confront the monarchy on the street or cast doubt on its political and religious legitimacy.25 While the situation was deteriorating in late February and early March 2011, the monarchy reacted according to a strategy that demonstrates its historical experience in managing and overcoming periods of sociopolitical instability. On 9 March 2011, King Mohamed VI presented a constitutional reform that was intended to at least theoretically permit the redistribution of power between the monarchy and the government, as well as mitigate the impact of the strong grip of the latter on politics in Morocco. This well-calculated response of the Moroccan monarchy coincided with the alarming shift towards civil wars of the second generation of Arab revolutions outside the country,26 particularly in Libya and Syria, and, within the country, with the serious differences that emerged between the two groups instrumental in the protest movement (Radical Marxists and Yassine Islamists). These factors would lead the February 20th Movement to a pivotal moment. The streets gradually calmed and the PJD emerged, after the monarchy, as the key winner of the Arab Spring in Morocco. On 25 November 2011, the party won its first great victory in the initial election held under the new Constitution. The victory allowed the PJD to conduct its first government experience, within a coalition with three other parties. Only a few months after the PJD’s access to governmental power in Morocco, the Ministry of Civil Society, directed by one of the leaders of the aforementioned political party, Habib Choubani, launched an extensive consultation project: the National Commission for Dialogue on Civil Society and New Constitutional Prerogatives. The reference points of the commission The main purpose of this commission was to address and strengthen the concept of ‘civil society’ in Morocco, which was defined in Article 12 of the 2011 Constitution.27 This notion encompassed the non-profit associations created by the citizens in complete independence and liberty vis-à-vis the State, which operate in transparency, concern themselves with social responsibility, and hold steadfast to the spirit of citizenship. The commission also referred to the Constitution of the kingdom to demarcate the territory of civil society. And so, excluded from the notion of ‘civil society’ were bodies established by the government, political parties, trade unions, occupational guilds and the professional organizations outlined in Articles 728 and 829 of the Constitution.30 The mission of the commission The general mission of the commission consisted of generating a national dialogue aimed at providing collective responses to issues regarding civil society and its new constitutional prerogatives. The paths suggested by the commission

Religious diversity ‘conundrum’ in Morocco    281 have contributed, according to the documents consulted, to institutionalizing a partnership between civil society and the State. To do this, the commission wished to open itself to all actors in society, components of Moroccan civil ­society, non-governmental organizations in Morocco and abroad, support of civil society institutions, Moroccan expertise and international experiences Platform of Commission on Civil Society (PFC-SC). The approach to the work of the commission is based on the values of citizenship and equality, which are founded in the universality of human rights as it has been recognized by the Constitution. This approach respects the principles of the culture of social gender, equal opportunity and cultural diversity, as well as the linguistic and geographic pluralism of Morocco. But there are no references to religious diversity or minority rights, only to cultural and linguistic diversity. At the operational level, as per PFC-SC, the mission of the commission was to: •• • •

Manage the national dialogue on civil society and the new constitutional prerogatives; develop a comprehensive report on the progress of the dialogue; and adopt a final document gathering deliverables on the dialogue. The fulfilment of these operational mandates required the following actions:

•• •

Identify and clarify the concepts of civil society in the Constitution; develop proposals for required legal hires, specifying the new prerogatives of civil society; and • identify and take measures to ensure the strength of the proposal and the deliberation of civil society. The conclusions of the commission According to the final report of the commission that was made public in March 2014, the consultation included nearly 10,000 associations operating locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.31 In addition to 18 regional meetings that were organized with the participation of over 7,000 local and national associations, about 10 local meetings were organized on the initiative of local associations, but supervised by members of the National Commission for Dialogue. At the international level, the commission organized three meetings with Moroccan associations operating abroad (in Lyon, Paris and Brussels). A fourth meeting held in Casablanca was attended by more than 500 Moroccan associations working at the international level. In the context of the work of the commission, over 140 detailed memoranda were collected from associations and governmental bodies. These memoranda present the vision of these organizations for the development of laws that govern the activities of civil society organizations, and paths to the optimal operationalization of the constitutional provisions of participatory democracy. In order to take

282  Mohamed Fadil advantage of the various experiences and to advance international practices in matters of participatory democracy and the promotion of civil society, the committee organized several scientific meetings with international experts in collaboration with the World Bank. The adopted propositions and recommendations were grouped under these categories: 1) a legal platform based on motions, petitions and public consultation; 2) a legal platform of associations; and 3) a national charter of participatory democracy. This approach involves support that is intended to fill the legal vacuum surrounding the organization of civil society, which prevents a positive contribution to the design and management of public life. Furthermore, the commission has allowed the specific creation of a permanent ministerial committee on civil society. The reception of the commission The reception of the commission and its results varies in relation to the diversity of the actors involved. The official media praised the results of the commission. As stated by a cover story from the official press agency in Morocco, the Maghreb Arab Press, dialogue on civil society has provided Morocco with a ‘national experience’ coupled with ‘action on the ground’, allowing it to address issues that promote good governance of the public in the framework of being ‘broad, participatory, open and plural’.32 According to the same source, the national charter of civil democracy, which represents one of the results of this commission, exemplifies an innovation ‘applicable to a Moroccan model’ of participatory democracy, whose objectives are to be achieved on the basis of constructive co-operation for sustainable human development and a balance between cultural sources of solidarity, cohesion and social benevolence.33 As for the other camp, it includes, most specifically, opposing organizations (of either Islamist or leftist ideology) that either were not invited to participate in the dialogue or took the initiative of boycotting the work of the commission. As  affirmed by a member of the Justice and Spirituality group in an article published on their website, ‘through this initiative, the Moroccan political regime sought to contain components of Moroccan civil society in order to anticipate any possible role played by these components in anti-regime initiatives’.34 In this vein, a coalition of eighteen (mostly leftist) organizations working in the field of human rights strongly criticized the structure and functioning of the commission. A statement released on 21 March 2014, accused the commission of marginalizing an important segment of Moroccan civil society and limiting the participation of associated organizations. In this regard, as explained by the press release, the principle achievement of this commission was to ‘permit the regime to dominate and domesticate Moroccan civil society and use it for its own purposes’.35 It is important to deconstruct the ideological underpinnings of the arguments raised by this coalition. In their broad consensus against the commission, its formation and its methodology, we see a diversity of organizations that, despite their great differences, share a common opposition to the current regime as well

Religious diversity ‘conundrum’ in Morocco    283 as to the process of political integration initiated by the PJD. This coalition includes both Islamist parties and leftist organizations that have been in historical and ideological conflict with each other, but are both opposing the PJD and the current political regime. As well, it is important to emphasize the appearance of minority organizations36 that were part of the opposing camp in relation to the participants. It is also important to indicate that this quantitative minority aspect bears a significant qualitative influence. The organizations of civil society that have been historically linked to the Islamist and Marxist landscape are equipped with a very large capacity for mobilization and recruitment, even while operating in closed political contexts. As already noted, none of the aspects of the commission addressed the issue of religious diversity in the country, even though the theme of cultural and linguistic diversity in Morocco constituted a regular subject of debate. The commission displays an undeniable pattern of marginalizing, even silencing, the issue of religious diversity in Morocco in its public debates and in official Moroccan discourse. With regard to the opposing organizations that were absent from the work of the commission, the question of religious diversity and the rights of religious minorities varies according to their ideological perspectives. While the issue appears as central in the literature and discourses of leftist organizations, mainly the Moroccan Association of Human Rights, it is altogether absent from the literature and discourses of the Islamists – i.e. the Justice and Spirituality Group. This government commission therefore did not contribute to the understanding of religious diversity in Morocco, neither did it address myriad q­ uestions that surround its dynamics today. One needs to rely on other sources to describe them, as will be attempted in the following section. At the beginning of 2016, an interesting event took place in Morocco with regard to handling the issue of religious diversity. On 18 February, the Mohamedian League of Religious Scholars opened a new centre called Centre de recherches et de formation en relations interreligieuses (Centre for Research and Training in Interfaith Relations). The Centre is described as a laboratory with a unique mission. According to the Secretary General of the guild, Ahmed Abbadi, ‘the establishment of this centre at the guild’s headquarters is part of the effort to encourage dialogue between religions’.37 The centre ‘will further the debate relating to the knowledge of religious texts and will allow the coexistence of different religions and faiths’.38 The director of the centre, Moroccan-Belgian researcher Aicha Haddou, presents it as an innovative laboratory: ‘It would have been easier to design a Comparative Religions study centre using Muslim researchers, but conversely we wanted to create a collaborative space for specialists from all religions. In today’s society, we must work together, not to unite our visions, but to find common ground and to identify which elements of our various approaches may be impeding mutual understanding.’39 As emphasized in a statement from the guild, in order to do this the centre’s objective is to ‘develop a culture of mutual knowledge, combat stereotypes, create a laboratory of knowledge and study of religious texts, and contribute to the publication of material about Islam and other religions’.40 In this way, the centre will serve ‘as a platform for

284  Mohamed Fadil scientific study and research related to dialogue between religions, and as a place of co-operation with national and international organizations and research centres, and the worlds of art and of culture and civil society’.41 Will this prestigious centre represent an important breakthrough in dealing with the question of religious diversity in Morocco? The answer depends on what the centre will undertake and achieve in the future.

Religious diversity in Morocco The first difficulty that confronts any researcher in the question of religious diversity in Morocco is how to sketch a religious cartography of the country. Existing statistics are rare and contradictory. Those available consist of reports from human rights organizations and foreign embassies based in Morocco, in particular the US Embassy.42 While public policy focused on the topic is marginal, ­material regarding other religions – namely, Judaism and Christianity – is also sparse. The marginal nature of the literature and the absence of dialogue on religious diversity are seldom addressed. According to official discourse, Morocco is an Islamic country composed of Maliki Sunni Muslims.43 The generalization that presents the religious cartography of Morocco as homogeneously composed of Maliki Sunni Muslims is, relatively speaking, justifiable. An overall Islamic/Muslim appearance is quite legitimate. Indeed, at least with regard to reported affiliations, Morocco is characterized by a very low degree of religious diversity. A 2014 report published by the Pew Research Centre,44 a US think tank that provides information on topics related to attitudes and trends shaping the United States and the world, situates Morocco among the least religiously diverse countries in the world, ascribing it the 231st place. With an index of 0.0 per cent religious diversity, Morocco is the third country in the world to have been attributed such a result, alongside the Vatican and Tokelau, an archipelago of three Polynesian atolls in the Pacific Ocean under the sovereignty of New Zealand. This low rate of religious diversity is actually explained by the dominance of Islam as the official religion of the State. According to the report, nearly 99.9 per cent of the population of Morocco affirms Islam as their faith, and less than 0.1 per cent claims other religious affiliations. In the same vein, and referring to a somewhat different set of statistics, a report prepared by the Embassy of the United States of America in Morocco confirms the low degree of religious diversity in the country.45 This 2013 report goes on to explain that the population of Morocco (about 34.8 million) is divided into three monotheistic religious groups: 98.7 per cent Muslim, 1.1 per cent Christian and 0.2 per cent Jewish. The report estimates that the Jewish community in Morocco, according to its leaders, includes between 3,000 and 4,000 people. The majority of this small minority (about 2,500 people) live in Casablanca, while the rest are dispersed throughout the country. According to this US report, the Jewish Moroccan community used to be much larger, but due to considerable immigration in recent decades, the population is generally ageing with a decreasing number of youths.

Religious diversity ‘conundrum’ in Morocco    285 The report estimates that the Christian community, according to its leaders, is composed of about 25,000 people, mainly Catholic or Protestant foreign residents living in the larger cities: Casablanca, Rabat and Tangier. The report also states that leaders of the local Christian community affirm that it is also made up of about 8,000 people of Moroccan origin. The majority are converted Moroccans who are dispersed throughout the country. They mainly practise their liturgy in private residences, under fear of surveillance by the authorities and social persecution.46 In addition, there are non-Muslims outside Judaism and Christianity living within the country, but these numbers are negligible. In this regard, a very small Baha’i minority, no larger than 400 people, can be found in urban areas within the kingdom, but with no presence in public spaces. At the intra-Islamic level, the domination of Sunni Islam has not prevented the existence of a small Shiite minority of about 3,000 to 8,000 people. Similar to the Christian community, the Moroccan Shiites are mostly foreign residents, mainly from Lebanon or Iraq, with a few converted Moroccans. Fearing the surveillance of authorities and social persecution from the large majority of Sunnis, Moroccan Shiites do not publicly display their religious affiliation and instead practise their religion in closed meetings.47 There is one area of intra-Islamic diversity that has enjoyed public support: mystical (sufi) Islam.48 The country is home to the mausoleums of great Sufi masters, which attract pilgrims from around the world. The most prominent of these mausoleums is that of Sidi Ahmed Tijani, the great master of the tariqa Tijaniyya, the most widespread Sufi brotherhood in Africa. Many pilgrims, mostly Africans, regularly visit his mausoleum in Fez. Another important tariqa is that of the Qadiriyya Boutchichiyya, a recent offshoot of the great Qadiriyya tariqa in existence, under various forms, for over a thousand years, which was founded by Abdul Qadir Jilani (1077–1066 CE) in the first half of the twelfth century. One of its transnational contemporary offshoots is led by the Moroccan Sidi Hamza Boutchichi (1922–). One of the well-known followers of this tariqa is the Minister of Endowments and Islamic Affairs, Dr Ahmed Tawfiq, head of the development and implementation of religious policy of Morocco. Such a brief overview of religious diversity in Morocco, both from a multireligious and intra-Islamic viewpoint, is not to be found in any official governmental literature. Even more conspicuously absent is any official government literature on how to manage this religious diversity, however small it might be. How does such a silence affect the status of religious minorities in that country, especially in terms of their rights to differ from the Maliki Sunni Muslim majority? A contradictory religious policy The attitude of the Moroccan regime towards the religious diversity of the country varies from authorization and tolerance on the one hand, to restriction and prohibition on the other, within the tight framework of the new Constitution that establishes Islam as the official State religion and the king as the Commander of the Faithful and the Defender of the Faith for the whole nation. Moreover, the

286   Mohamed Fadil right to the free exercise of religion remains subject to the interpretation of vague and contradictory legal texts.49 Under current legislation, anyone who obstructs or prevents one or more persons from worshipping or attending a religious service may be punished by a prison sentence of six months to three years and a fine of 115 to 575 dirhams (US$14–71). Any citizen can be prosecuted or convicted for expressing opinions alleged to be injurious to Islam. A law introduced in 2002 restricts freedom of the press and decrees that any expressions adversely affecting Islam, the monarchy or territorial integrity are not permitted and are punishable by imprisonment.50 The law requires all schools to teach only Maliki Sunni Islam. These measures also apply to international schools, such as French and Spanish schools. However, establishments managed by foreign entities have the option of omitting religious education entirely from their programs.51 In addition, the authorities (Ministry of the Interior) oversee the activities of mosques and non-Muslim religious groups, and place certain restrictions on participants whose activities are considered to have exceeded the bounds of acceptable religious practice or policy. The law allows the majority of Maliki Sunni Muslims to proselytize, but reverse proselytization is forbidden.52 A prison sentence of six months applies to ‘whoever uses means to cause a Muslim to question his faith or to convert him to another religion’.53 Article 2 of the law on public gatherings requires that any association intending to cause harm to the Islamic religion is not allowed. The distribution of all non-Muslim religious materials is thus prohibited. The display and sale of Bibles are permitted in French, English and Spanish, but banned in Arabic. A small number of Bibles in Arabic sometimes appear at certain bookstores, but are often confiscated.54 The trend of surveillance and control that characterizes the attitude of power in relation to the religious life of Moroccans is not limited to the space of nonMuslims.55 In the name of protecting the ‘spiritual security of its citizens’,56 the State has adopted a religious policy targeted at determining whether a Muslim is Sunni or not. The authorities thus monitor the activities of mosques and place restrictions on participants whose activities are considered to have exceeded the  limits acceptable to the regime. They also monitor sermons delivered on Fridays in mosques and Koranic schools to intercept any content deemed unacceptable according to the country’s religious policy. To the same end, the authorities also control the sale of books of all types, as well as sound and audiovisual recordings. Only the State can authorize the construction of new mosques, even though they can be built using private funds. The authorities regularly proceed with the closure of unauthorized or informal mosques, especially ones whose leaders are suspected of having engaged in extremist religious activities or of not complying with the standards defined by the State. Moreover, the authorities require the closure of mosques to the public shortly after daily prayer times to prevent them from being used for unauthorized political activities.57 Furthermore, political parties based on religious, ethnic, linguistic or regional grounds are prohibited by law. However, the State has authorized several parties identified as displaying an ‘Islamic tendency’, some of whom have rallied significant support,

Religious diversity ‘conundrum’ in Morocco    287 such as the PJD currently in power. In contrast, the State does not recognize the Justice and Spirituality group, an organization that advocates an Islamic state ‘according to the prophetic way’,58 but rejects the religious power of the king. In conclusion, the Moroccan government has adopted a policy based on the model of an official Maliki Sunni Islam, centred on the status of the Commander of the Faithful personified by the king. The gatekeepers in the policy are ulamas and imams who have been trained in official religious institutions. Any person or organization that fails to stay within the limited and determined territory defined by this policy does not benefit from official recognition in Morocco. What, then, is the status of Muslim (i.e. non-Sunnis) and non-Muslim religious minorities in the context of this political and religious centralization? Status and rights of religious minorities As mentioned above, the religious policy adopted by the Moroccan authorities towards non-Muslim religious communities ranges from permission to restriction. The State tolerates several small religious minorities, with varying degrees of restriction. In this regard, the historical and societal recognition enjoyed by the Jewish community in Morocco ensures that its status in the religious policy of Morocco remains privileged, compared to other religious minorities. For example, separate legislation and courts govern personal status issues for Jews for marriage, inheritance and other family matters. The rabbinical authorities, who are also officers of the Court, administer Jewish family tribunals. At the cultural level, the 2011 Constitution recognizes the Judaic tradition as a key component of Moroccan culture.59 The teaching of Judaism is allowed in private Jewish educational institutions. The government funds the study of Jewish culture and its artistic, literary and scientific heritage in some universities. Hebrew is taught in the Department of Islamic Studies in several Moroccan universities; there are about thirteen professors who teach Hebrew in the country. Furthermore, annual Jewish celebrations take place across the country. Jews from around the world regularly visit the many Jewish religious sites that exist across the country.60 Moreover, Morocco is the only Arab country that houses a Jewishoriented museum: the Museum of Moroccan Judaism in Casablanca opened in 1997 and is run by the Foundation for Judeo-Moroccan Cultural Heritage. At the social level, the various religious freedoms mentioned earlier confirm that citizens of the Jewish faith have for centuries openly practised their faith and lived in safety. The idea of a Jewish minority that has enriched Moroccan culture throughout the centuries is increasingly expressed in national discourse. Jewish schools in Casablanca welcome, in addition to Jewish students, a majority of Muslim pupils. A hospital run by the Jewish community provides care to lowincome citizens regardless of their religion. The Muslim majority overwhelmingly accepts its Jewish co-citizens, and leaders of the Jewish community speak appreciatively of the respect and acceptance they feel in the country. Visits by thousands of Jewish pilgrims to significant Moroccan religious sites meet with no negative reaction on the part of Muslims. More than 25,000 Jewish tourists visit

288  Mohamed Fadil the country each year.61 In short, the privileged institutional status of Moroccan Jews has been strengthened by a very positive social reception. The few negative reactions to this community are rare, and generally occur during intense points of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict in the Middle East. At the institutional level, members of the country’s Jewish community maintain a presence at high levels of administration. A Moroccan Jew, André Azoulay, has occupied such a position as adviser to the king, under Hassan II and currently under Mohamed VI. We can also identify Jewish representation in the community within the various political institutions, which differs from one political office to another – for example, members of parliament, ambassadors and ministers. In keeping with an ancestral monarchic tradition, each year during the celebration of the feast of the throne, the king honours Moroccan personalities in recognition and thanks. People of Jewish heritage are regularly among the decorated figures. The Moroccan Christian community perfectly illustrates the ambivalence of Moroccan religious policy to accept religious minorities (with the exception of the Jewish minority), while practising a range of behaviours from full recognition to rejection/persecution. Churches of various religious denominations (Catholic, Russian Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, French Protestant, Anglican) have been legally registered in Morocco. Established in Morocco before the country gained independence, the Christian churches are part of a Church Council that is not connected to the government. The Catholic and Reformed Churches of France have buildings located in many cities of the country: Rabat, Tangier and Fez. A small community of foreign Christian residents operate churches, orphanages, hospitals and schools, with permission of the authorities. As with Muslims and Jews, Christians also have the right to take advantage of tax benefits, own land and buildings, and profit from construction subsidies, as well as tariff exemptions on the importation of articles necessary for their religious practice, as granted by the State to the followers of the three monotheistic religions.62 Yet the status of Christians cannot be considered as equivalent to that of Muslims, or even to that of the Jews. There are also no legal mechanisms in place that recognize the Christian community (or any non-Muslim community) of the country in the same way that the State recognizes the Jewish community.63 It is, in fact, civil law that applies to Christians in matters of inheritance. No law prohibits Christian citizens from worshipping in either Catholic, Orthodox or Protestant churches; the authorities have taken no active measures to prevent them from doing so. However, there have been many incidents in which Christian foreign residents were expelled or declared persona non grata for being suspected of proselytizing activities. The authorities often refer to Article 22 of the 2003 Immigration Act, which authorizes the government to expel, without due process, any foreign resident whose presence would constitute a ‘threat to public order’.64 In terms of practice, foreign residents are free to attend religious services in places of worship that belong to officially recognized religious institutions. This policy of openness is, however, limited to foreign residents. Members of the Christian community who are of Moroccan origin indicate that they almost never

Religious diversity ‘conundrum’ in Morocco    289 attend worship in officially recognized churches for fear of being accused of proselytizing in places of worship, as well as for fear of social persecution and being monitored by the State. Christians of Moroccan origin generally meet discreetly in each other’s homes. The aforementioned report also explains that Christian Moroccan citizens have divulged that the government, through the local police, asks them to confirm each year whether they remain Christian, often via a simple phone call or home visit, but they are sometimes summoned by local police for interrogation.65 With regard to the Baha’i faith, it is generally considered to be a heretical offshoot of Islam, which means that its followers are considered apostates and enjoy no social, institutional or legal recognition. Throughout the modern history of the kingdom, the followers of this small minority have been persecuted on the basis of their religious affiliation. One of the most memorable instances of persecution dates back to 1968, when a court in Rabat sentenced five Baha’i followers to death. However, the sentence was never carried out due to pressure from human rights organizations and foreign embassies working in the country. In the absence of institutional and social recognition, the few hundred members of the Baha’i community avoid disclosing their religious affiliation for fear of official and social persecution. As mentioned above, no other non-Muslim religious community, or even nonSunni Muslim, enjoys a status equivalent to that granted to the Jewish community. For this reason, no recognized Shiite mosque exists in Morocco. Reports from human rights organizations claim that the authorities regularly seize brochures and Shiite literature in libraries and bookstores across the country, as well as question Shia Muslims on their faith and political affiliation. In 2009, authorities claimed that these measures were a reaction to the politicized Iranian Shiism that violated the country’s laws prohibiting the use of religion for political purposes. In 2012, the Ministry of Education closed a private Iraqi school which had existed in the country for over thirty years, following allegations that the school taught the principles of Shiism. The status of Shiites of Moroccan origin is not altogether different from that of Moroccan Christians or Baha’i. They too avoid displaying their religious or denominational affiliation and practise their religion in private spaces out of fear of official and social persecution. Internationally, Morocco historically maintained very close relations with the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and protectors of Salafi Islam worldwide.66 As a consequence, this branch, which differs significantly from traditional Moroccan Islam, was able to take advantage of significant tolerance in the 1980s and 1990s.67 However, the religious policy of Morocco vis-à-vis this Islamic group was the subject of a radical change from the year 2003 onwards, following the terrorist attacks in Casablanca. The prisons of the kingdom house a number of key jihadist Salafi preachers and activists believed to be implicated in those events.68 According to the official media, the authorities managed to dismantle many jihadist cells (mainly of Salafi ideology) who were preparing terrorist attacks against the kingdom. In 2009, the State closed a chain of Koranic schools run by Salafi preachers.

290  Mohamed Fadil The fight against religious radicalism is one of the most significant outcomes of the religious policy of Morocco. In this regard, some have presented it as a model to be emulated. The security policy is not the only means adopted by the Moroccan State in the fight against radicalism. For years, the kingdom has been promoting a moderate Islam dubbed ‘the happy medium’. The monopoly over management of the religious field in Morocco allows the State to achieve significant results in this regard. Insights from the Moroccan experience of training imams have been in increasing demand. For years, Morocco has overseen the training of imams for many African countries. In 2014, King Mohammed VI inaugurated an institute in Rabat bearing his name for the training of imams; over 1,200 imams from Morocco and other African countries have attended. Even some Western countries, such as France and Canada, have expressed interest in this training. Does Morocco have something to teach the rest of the world with regard to the management of religious diversity, and more specifically concerning its program of training imams? The debate remains open.69

Conclusion: uttering the unspoken In conclusion, we would like to reiterate the key problem that makes it difficult to achieve the overall goal of this chapter: to explore the unspoken while questioning events and representations of a subject that is generally taboo in Morocco. The actors are careful and therefore very difficult to detect in the public arena, and references are scarce. Moreover, Moroccan scholars do not seem to be interested in the issue. References at Moroccan libraries are also extremely limited on this topic. Public discourse adopting the idealized image of a very homogeneous society at the religious level does not reflect the small, but nevertheless important, degree of religious diversity, both from a multireligious and intra-Islamic viewpoint. Only some pieces written by foreign embassies based in Morocco, mainly the US Embassy, as well as human rights organizations have touched this unspoken subject. This degree and form of religious diversity, however, embodies a characteristic rooted in the distant history of the country, far exceeding that recently centred on Maliki Sunni Islam and the political regime of the Commander of the Faithful. Many forms of pre-Islamic religion continue to play a role in popular expressions of Moroccan Islam. In the context of cultural globalization, the theory of religious deculturation70 also strongly applies in Morocco, in addition to the long-lasting presence of very small, but nevertheless significant, religious minorities such as Jews, Christians, Shiite Muslims and Baha’is. Needless to say, the official non-recognition of this diversity makes it difficult to provide equitable religious policy within the Moroccan political system. Official policy appears to be caught in a tension between two goals. The first of these is the desire to maintain favourable relationships with the international community, much of which seeks to foster human rights including freedom of religion and belief. The second is the priority of making great efforts to maintain a sense of Moroccan religious unity, one that is more virtual than real, especially by making it one of the fundamental affirmations of Moroccan national identity.

Religious diversity ‘conundrum’ in Morocco    291 The meeting of politics and religion in a formally religio–political, Islamic regime leaves little room for subjects and citizens who do not share the same dominant religious worldviews.

Notes   1  For more information, see Charles Saint Pot and Frédéric Rouvillois, L’exception Marocaine (Paris: Éditions Ellipses, 2013). Please note that all passages from foreign language texts in this chapter have been translated by the author.   2  Mohamed Fadil, ‘Un Groupe Religieux à l’épreuve d’un parti politique: Sécularisation de l’islamisme au Maroc (Mouvement de l’Unicité et de la Réforme et Parti de la Justice et du développement (1996−2011)’, doctoral thesis (Religious Sciences and Sociology, University of Montreal and l’École Pratique des Hautes Études ParisSorbonne, 2014), p. 354.   3  In May 2015, the French political scientist and academic Jean Claude Martinez released his work, Mohamed VI: le roi stabilisateur (Mohammed VI: The Stabilizer King) (Paris: Éditions J.-C. Godefroy, 2015). The work defends the theory of the Moroccan exception and the primary role of the monarchy in the realization of this exception. This theory has persisted since the reign of Hassan II, in 1986, when a group of French and Moroccan academics wrote a collective work under the direction of Driss Basri, Minister of the Interior at the time and loyal supporter of the Hassan II regime. The collective work adopts the same vision. See Édification d’un État moderne: Le Maroc de Hassan II, ed. Driss Basri (Paris: Albin Michel, 1986).   4  Here, I am referring to the trend of elitist activism embodied by civil society organizations and left-leaning political parties.   5  Omar Bendourou, Rkia El Mosaddeq and Mohammed Madani, La nouvelle constitution marocaine à l’épreuve de la pratique, Conference Acts (Casablanca: Éditions la croisée de chemins, 2014).   6  Constitution du Maroc, 1962 version, accessed 5 June 2015, http://aan.mmsh.univ-aix. fr/Pdf/AAN-1962-01_12.pdf; and 2011 version, accessed 11 June 2015, www.maroc. ma/fr/system/files/documents_page/BO_5964BIS_Fr.pdf   7  Abdessamad Belhaj, ‘Usage politique de la religion: l’universel au service de l’État. Le cas du Maro’, Recherches sociologiques et anthropologiques 37.2 (2006): pp. 121–139, 124.   8  Belhaj, ‘Usage politique de la religion’, p. 124.   9  Ibid. 10  Ibid. 11  Ibid. 12  Ahmed Bennani, ‘Légitimité du pouvoir au Maroc: consensus et contestation’ GenèveAfrique: Acta Africana 24 (1986): pp. 48–62. 13  Claude Rivière, Socio-anthropologie des religions (Paris: Armand Colin, 1997), p. 174. 14  Belhaj, ‘Usage politique de la religion’, p. 127. 15  Mohamed Tozy, ‘Monopolisation de la production symbolique et hiérarchisation du champ politico-religieux au Maro’, in Annuaire de l'Afrique du Nord v 18, Centre de recherches et d'études sur les sociétés méditerranéennes (CRESM) (Paris: Éditions du CNRS, 1980), pp. 219–234, 221. 16  Tozy, ‘Monopolisation de la production symbolique’, p. 221. 17  Ibid. 18  Ibid. 19  I have already raised the issue of this negative perception during the interviews conducted with leaders of human rights organizations in Morocco, in particular

292  Mohamed Fadil Khadija Riyyadi (President of the Moroccan Human Rights Association) and Mohamed Sektaoui (Director of Amnesty International, Morocco). These interviews were conducted as part of fieldwork in Morocco (January 2012 to April 2012) while preparing my doctoral thesis, which was successfully defended at the University of Montreal on 1 October 2014. 20  For more information on this Moroccan–Jewish group, see George Drague, Esquisse d’histoire religieuse du Maroc (Paris, Cahiers de l’Afrique et de l’Asie, 1951). 21  Fadil, ‘Un Groupe Religieux à l’épreuve d’un parti politique’, p. 355. 22  Counter to the Justice and Spirituality group that boycotts the political forum and rejects the legitimacy of the king (Commander of the Faithful), the PJD and MUR are fully integrated into the political system administered by the Commander of the Faithful. 23  Bilal Talidi, ‫[ اإلسالميون و الربيع العربي‬The Islamists and the Arab Spring] (Bayreuth: Markaz Namae, 2012), pp. 76–77. On 15 February 2011, the party issued a statement in which it stated that it was not concerned about the demonstrations planned for 20 February. The religious movement MUR submitted a similar statement on 21 February 2011. These statements confirmed that the activists and supporters of both organizations would not participate in the demonstrations of the February 20th Movement. 24  The compromise between this component of the Moroccan Islamist landscape and the Moroccan political regime had been occurring since the early 1980s, but reached its apogee in the middle of the 1990s, when these Islamists organized a political party (PJD) that would become one of the pillars of political life in the country, especially from November 2011 onwards, as it was granted access to political power by the king. 25  Fadil, ‘Un Groupe Religieux à l’épreuve d’un parti politique’, p. 355. 26  We can temporally divide the Arab Spring into two generations. The first was largely peaceful and fluid, primarily in Tunisia and Egypt. The second generation eventually deteriorated into civil wars in both Libya and Syria. 27  ‘The associations of civil society and non-governmental organizations should form and operate freely in compliance with the constitution and the law. They cannot be dissolved or suspended by the government by virtue of a court decision. The associations interested in public affairs, and non-governmental organizations, contribute within the framework of participatory democracy, development, implementation, and the evaluation of the decisions and projects of elected institutions and governments. These institutions and authorities must arrange their contribution in accordance with the terms and conditions set by the law. The organization and operation of non-governmental associations and organizations must conform to democratic principles.’ Article 12 of the 2011 Constitution, pp. 9–10. 28  ‘Political parties are working toward the political coaching and training of citizens in order to promote participation in national life and governance. They contribute to the expression of the will of voters and participate in the exercise of power on the basis of pluralism and alternation by democratic means, within the framework of constitutional institutions. Their constitution and the exercise of their activities are unrestricted, provided that they respect the constitution and the law. There can be no single party. Political parties cannot be founded on religious, linguistic, ethnic, or regional bases, or more generally, on any basis that is discriminatory or contrary to basic human rights. They cannot be designed to undermine Islam, the monarchy, the constitutional principles, the foundation of the Kingdom of Morocco, the democratic constitution or national unity and the territorial integrity of the kingdom. The organization and functioning of political parties must conform to democratic principles. An organic law determines, within the framework of the principles contained in this Article, the rules relating to the establishment and activities of political parties, the criteria for granting financial support of the State, as well as control of funding arrangements.’ Article 7 of the 2011 Constitution, pp. 6–7.

Religious diversity ‘conundrum’ in Morocco    293 29  ‘The trade union organizations of employees, occupational guilds, and professional organizations of employers contribute to the defence and promotion of the rights and socio-economic interests of the categories they represent. Their constitution and the exercise of their activities are unrestricted, as long as they are in compliance with the constitution and the law. The structure and operation of these organizations must conform to democratic principles. Public authorities work to promote collective negotiation and to encourage the conclusion of collective work agreements as provided by law. The law determines the rules relating in particular to the establishment of trade union organizations, activities, and the criteria for granting financial support from the State as well as the control of funding arrangements.’ Article 8 of the 2011 Constitution, p. 7. 30  See: Platform of the commission document on Civil Society, released on 13 March 2013. Available on the commission website: storedfileattach/1369157418.pdf, accessed 12 April 2015. We will refer to this document in the rest of the chapter with the acronym PFC-CS. 31  Ministère chargé des Relations avec le Parlement et la Société Civile [Final Report on National Dialog on Civic Society and its New Constitutional Prerogatives], March 2015, accessed 22 March 2015, fichier-sans-nom.pdf 32  ‘Dernière Rencontre du dialogue national sur la société civil’,, accessed 25 April 2015,­ sur-la-societe-civile-les-21-et-22-mars-prochains 33  ‘Dernière Rencontre du dialogue national sur la société civile’. 34, accessed 3 July 2015. 35  A press release from 21 March 2014. 36  This refers to Marxist organizations as a whole, which have a very elitist element. The most well known is the Association Marocaine des Droits de l’Homme (Moroccan Association for Human Rights). 37, accessed 27 April 2016. 38  Ibid. 39 ns-2016-02-26-1200742829, accessed 27 April 2016. 40, accessed 27 April 2016. 41  Ibid. 42  Every year, the US Embassy compiles data on freedom of religion and human rights in the country they work in. One section of these reports is devoted to religious minorities and their right to practice: 43  This official fixation on the Sunni, and in particular Maliki, aspects of Morocco omits another essential aspect of what can be termed ‘Moroccan Islam’. This hybrid form of Islam perfectly blends popular pre-Islamic religious practices with Islamic orthodoxy from the East. For more details on this topic, see Clifford Geertz, Islam Observed: Religious Development in Morocco and Indonesia (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1971) and Stéphanie Pouessel, Les identités amazighes au Maroc (Paris: Éditions Non-Lieu, 2010). 44, accessed 23 April 2015. 45  We will cite the report of the US Embassy in the following paragraphs under the acronym R-EUA-M. 46  Khadija Riyyadi, President of the Moroccan Association for Human Rights, Interview with researcher, Rabat, 14 March 2012. 47  R-EUA-M. 48  Historically, Sufism has been a crucial aspect of Moroccan Islam. For more information, see Najib Mouhtadi, Pouvoir et religion au Maroc: Essai d’histoire politique de la zaouïa (Casablanca: Eddif, 1993).

294  Mohamed Fadil 49  Article 3 of the 2011 Constitution posits the following: ‘Islam is the religion of the State, which guarantees everyone the free exercise of religion’, p. 5. 50  This law is widely contested by human rights organizations. A report on Morocco conducted by Amnesty International in November 2011 states as follows: ‘The press code that regulates Moroccan media provides prison sentences for “press offences” that are widely used against journalists. Such offences include dissemination of “bad faith” or “false information” likely to disturb public order, defamation involving members of the royal family or infringing on “Islam, the institution of the monarchy, or territorial integrity”’,, accessed 20 July 2015. 51  R-EUA-M. 52  Mohamed Sektaoui, Director of Amnesty International Morocco, interview with researcher, Rabat, 6 March 2012. 53  Article 220 of the Moroccan Penal Code. 54  R-EUA-M. 55  This trend is part of a general policy to fight against extremism and Islamic radicalism that has become well consolidated since the attacks in Casablanca (16 May 2003). 56  This term has been increasingly used in official discourse since 2003. It is mainly composed of Wahhabi Salafi Islam and Shia Islam. 57  R-EUA-M. The data found in the report prepared by the US Embassy were confirmed by human rights activists in Morocco, mainly the Moroccan Association for Human Rights and Amnesty International. 58  Abdeslam Yassine, ‫[ املنهاج النبوي‬The Prophetic Voice], no publisher, no date. 59  As part of the festivities marking the 1200th anniversary of the founding of the city of Fez (October 2008), government officials organized a conference in Casablanca to celebrate the Jewish contribution to the history of the nation. 60  The most renowned sites are Achbarou near Tinghir, Ait Attab near Azilal, Ait Ourir near Marrakech. See Abdellah Aziki, ‫[ مسألة اليهود املغاربة‬The Issue of Morrocan Jews] (Rabat: Éditions Ikhtilaf, 2004). 61  R-EUA-M. 62  R-EUA-M. 63  We are not referring to the privileged legal status of the Jewish religion in the Moroccan Constitution. In contrast, however, Jewish culture is mentioned as a key component of Moroccan culture. The 2011 Constitution presents the Hebrew component of Morocco as one of the secular tributaries of Moroccan National Identity. 64  This law has emerged in the context that followed the attacks in Casablanca (May 2003). It authorizes the executive branch to expel any foreigner without recourse to legal proceedings, even in reference to a vague reason – i.e. the person in question represents a ‘threat’ to public order. 65  Khadija Riyyadi, President of the Moroccan Association for Human Rights, interview with researcher, Rabat, 14 March 2012; Mohamed Sektaoui, Director of Amnesty International Morocco, interview with researcher, Rabat, 6 March 2012. 66  Salafi Islam marked a great turning point in the early 1990s. Much of this branch renounces the alliance with Saudi Arabia and engages in war against not only the West but also the countries of the Muslim world including the Wahhabi kingdom. This split within the Salafi gave birth to what is now called Jihadist Salafism. The icon of this group was Osama Bin Laden, founder and head of Al-Qaeda. 67  Mountassir Hammada, ‫[ الوهابية باملغرب‬Wahhabism in Morocco] (Rabat: Toubkal, 2012), pp. 18–24. 68  Abdelhakim Aboulouz, ‫[ احلركات السلفية في املغرب‬Salafist Movements in Morocco] (Bayreuth: Markaz Dirassate Al-Wahda Al-arabiyya, 2009). 69  During his September 2015 visit to Morocco, the President of France, François Hollande, signed with the King of Morocco a collaboration agreement between the two countries that allows France to benefit from the Moroccan experience in the field

Religious diversity ‘conundrum’ in Morocco    295 of training imams. The agreement was severely criticized by two French scholars of Islam, François Burgat and Vincent Geisser. As far as they are concerned, France has nothing to learn from Morocco in this regard; they feel that the initiative amounted to more of a public relations campaign. For more information, see http://leplus.nouvelobs. com/contribution/1426077-des-imams-formes-au-maroc-pour-contrer-daech-uneidee-aberrante-et-contre-productive.html, accessed 5 September 2015. 70  Olivier Roy, La sainte ignorance: le temps de la religion sans culture (Paris: Seuil, 2008).

16 Conclusion On ‘national diversity commissions’ Patrice Brodeur

The goal of this conclusion is to raise open-ended questions, some being theoretical, which build on the findings of each chapter. It ends with a look at the viability of national public commissions being used as a policy tool, by governments or private institutions that seek to address national issues of cultural and religious diversity. As mentioned in the Preface, Foreword and Introduction, this study of public and private commissions on the management of cultural and religious diversity represents a new comparative approach, showing how seven modern nation-states have addressed the need for improving public policies on the regulation of such growing diversity and practices. Each case study provides a unique window into how the particular national context influences the launching, setting up, managing, reporting and assessing of such commissions, as well as their impact on national ideological, legal, educational and social frameworks. This fact was clearly established in the fourteen chapters that studied, from various angles, one or more national public commissions that occurred over the last twenty years in seven countries (Australia and its national ‘enquiry’, Belgium, Canada, England, France, Morocco and Norway). The additional case study of Singapore in Chapter 14 by Lai Ah-Eng, anachronistic as it may seem because it is the only chapter not based on a commission per se, nevertheless plays the role of the ‘other’ in this book. It demonstrates that the management of cultural and religious diversity may be accomplished without using national public or private commissions. Indeed, it reflects a less costly and less intrusive governmental approach, where common citizens and existing organizations responsible for harmonious social relations take on problems that arise in a diverse society, with minimal government intervention. These actions illustrate the active principle of responsible citizenship and avoid the political instrumentalization that was described in several other chapters. This alternate path may in turn lead to less frustration on the part of leaders and less negative reception by the public, in the hope that more recommendations can emerge and be implemented over time, thus maximizing their potential impact. Chapter 2 by Robin Richardson is also unique because of its diagnostic approach and memoir style, reflecting the analytical thoughts of its author who was a prominent figure in England, having been the drafting editor for two national commission reports written fifteen years apart. This contribution points

Conclusion: on ‘national diversity commissions’    297 to the methodological importance of asking major participants to reflect upon their work and its impact in order to glean their particular insights. In fact, four other chapters (4, 6, 12 and 13) include insiders who played various roles during the commissions (Breistein, Lefebvre, Prélot and Bouma in the national ‘enquiry’), allowing them to point out specific relevant aspects of these widescale public exercises. From a research perspective, this reveals the need to form diverse research teams with both ‘insiders’ and ‘outsiders’ when studying such commissions. As for the remaining eight chapters, it is easier to reflect comparatively on them, as they represent a focused and sustained effort from various disciplines to analyse, in one form or another, specific pieces of the vast material these national public commissions have produced. As discussed in the Introduction, several terms are used to name the public discussions under study, yet one concept is at the heart of all of them: diversity. The various chapters address one or more types of diversity: identities, national ideologies, legal interpretations, educational outlooks, forms of nation-states, and provincial and municipal policies related to the management of cultural and religious expressions in the public sphere. It might thus be appropriate to group them into one conceptual framework, which I suggest calling ‘national diversity commissions’. After all, as Professor Charles Taylor points out in the Preface, an increasing number of countries are encountering a ‘crisis of diversity’. In the face of these growing concerns, the need to further study and implement such commissions and alternative means is becoming urgent. This book may help governments to avoid past mistakes and it also provides examples of how to improve national public or private commissions in the future. Through their respective critical lenses, several authors directly address, both ideologically and praxically, how to respond to increasingly diverse national societies, especially along cultural and religious lines, and how to handle public discussion. This holds true whether the dominant ideological nature of the nation-state is religious or secular: in all cases, the rapid increase in global migratory patterns has resulted in progressively diverse contexts. This book also augments transnational reflection on how to handle cultural and religious diversity from various political, sociological, legal, educational and mediatic perspectives. Its focus on comparing ‘national diversity commissions’ reveals the richness of this new political category, as well as the challenges that come to light when each case study is analysed. They present different historical and contemporary sociopolitical settings with particular national sets of political and social actors, a variety of writings and media coverage, as well as specific national contexts that require an understanding of social dynamics. Chapter 10 by Beyer and Larivière, along with several others, provides useful terminology related to the glocal forces surrounding the establishment of these commissions, as well as what they ultimately produce. Despite transnational commonalities in terms of broader themes (secular/religious tensions, for example) and means (such as national commissions), each context is unique. The complexity of the cases studied in this book prevents readers from making quick generalizations about ‘all national diversity commissions’. Each case

298  Patrice Brodeur synthesizes, in detail, diverse constitutive elements of national internal dynamics in our globalizing world. If any generalization is possible, it remains circumscribed. For example, it is possible to conclude that there is an analytical need to begin from the unique historical heritage of each country, in terms of its own sense of inherited tensions between internal diversity and cohesion for national unity that have formed over decades, as well as the perceived degree of its internal demographic change and capacity for assimilation of newcomers. Another element is the awareness of degrees of difference in new migrants, in comparison to the perceived sense of what constitutes the traditional ‘cultural’ and/or ‘religious’ worldview and practices considered acceptable because they have been passed down over centuries and are thus considered normative. Finally, many of the national case studies reveal ideological debates over what constitutes potential space for new forms of otherness. This concept applies as much to relatively new secular societies and forms of political ideology as it does to older religion-based nation-states facing increasingly critical voices under the influence of civic ideological discourses often used by minorities, especially religious minorities. The Marrakech Declaration of 28 January 2016 is one such case,1 with clear recommendations for majority Muslim nation-states to integrate the values of ‘citizenship’ discourse based on universal human rights into new interpretations of Shari’ah, leading to better legal practices in the treatment of all religious minorities, not just of Jews and Christians. This seems to illustrate the challenges that Fadil points out in Chapter 15 about Morocco: the inadequate recognition of religious diversity in many public discussions. Recently, the exponential growth in counter-violent extremism (CVE) programmes, also known as ‘deradicalization’, raises important and urgent questions about how to manage religious diversity in particular, before various forms of exclusion end up dividing diverse national communities into segmented groups along falsely perceived identity lines. Scientists and scholars of diverse disciplinary backgrounds have decried such narrow and exclusivist political ideologies and religious worldviews because they fall short of capturing how multiple identity and power dynamics function as the core social DNA of our communal and interdependent human existence. It is not known yet how the rapid rise of extreme right-wing ideologies, especially in Europe, will affect the rise in violent extremist behaviours. The vicious circle of a few acts of terrorism amplified by widespread media coverage only fuels fears and insecurity, to which ultra right-wing discourses enthusiastically respond to, appealing to policies that are supposed to bring ‘national protection’ from ‘foreign threats’. In such polarized societies, the use of a national diversity commission may unfortunately be perceived as ‘too little, too late’ by many policy-makers from a broad array of ideological perspectives, not just by those on the far right. Yet, as a whole, the fifteen chapters of this book raise numerous questions as to the purpose, nature, mechanism, reception, impact and usefulness of national

Conclusion: on ‘national diversity commissions’    299 public and private commissions on cultural and religious diversity. These commissions are clearly tools contributing to sociopolitical processes that address the growing challenges of managing, especially mediatically, legally, politically and educationally, those aspects of cultural and religious diversity that have emerged in recent years in many national public contexts. Some of these aspects in particular, notably the hijab, have become symbolic of the tensions often perceived as ‘problematic’ by members of the dominant national identity group(s), especially in so-called ‘secular’ countries. Tensions around these symbols, such as the crucifix, have a very long history, as Beaman and L’Archer remind us in Chapter 11. Throughout these case studies we see the emergence of the power dynamics of identity politics attempting to address such ‘problems’ in democratic societies, where different legacies of secular developments are struggling with how to make room for religious differences. They reflect the dominant collective political will (in both government and ‘private’ institutions) to address publicly what are perceived as challenges in the management of cultural and religious diversity. These commissions are therefore windows into recent forms of collective processes that include thinking, imagining, receiving, and at times instrumentalizing national perceptions, so as to influence decision-making, especially governmental but also institutional, mostly through recommendations and media coverage, even if it may be limited and at times distorted. By studying each of these national public commissions, analysing them individually and then comparing them, this book begins the intellectual task of deciphering what is unique to each and what comparable data and meaning can be gleaned for valuable theoretical and future policy-oriented learning. It demonstrates that, in several Western national contexts, there is now a body of concrete experiences of how to develop and implement processes of public consultation, reception, framing and sharing recommendations about handling cultural and religious diversity in increasingly plural societies. From the book’s comparative approach emerges a series of thick descriptions and analyses of what occurred during the establishment, leading, management, reporting and assessment of these commissions. Several of the authors also begin the process of assessing the reception of the commissions’ recommendations and why they did not seem to have been very successful, at least in the short term. The beauty and challenge of diversity, and especially what to do, think and imagine about it – basically, the concept of pluralism, whether cognitive, moral, ideological, etc. – ie at the heart of our current perceptions of humanity, whether defined as advanced, ultra, or post-modern, post-enlightened, or post-secular. The dominant polity is the nation-state as a product of the rise of modernity, based on the advanced concept of democracy incorporating the rule of law and of human rights. This view, however, remains limited, as the pressures of globalization in our ever more intertwined world push humanity towards a potentially important paradigm shift, towards modes of transnational governance that currently exist mainly in their imaginary forms, with various degrees of experimentation in their

300   Patrice Brodeur applications. Perhaps the examples of ‘national diversity commissions’ studied in this book represent only one step in an evolutionary social process, whose usefulness may have already reached its peak. Conversely, it is possible that they will become better known as a limited, yet viable, tool in better managing cultural and religious diversity in each particular nation-state around the world.

Note  1  For the official text in English and Arabic, see the official website: www., accessed 20 September 2016.


Aas-Hansen, Astri 228 Abbadi, Ahmed 283 aboriginal 111, 240, 245–6 abortion 126, 248 activism 100, 265, 267–8, 276, 279, 289 adjustment: concerted, reasonable or voluntary 26, 30, 176, 262; or adaptation 108; see also reasonable accommodation Ah-Eng, Lai 3 Aïd-El-Kebir 83 Alba, Richard 194 Alliot-Marie, Michèle 75 aménagement 26, 75, 156; see also adjustment, reasonable accommodations anti-Semitism 2, 28–9, 36, 122, 168 Arab Spring 276, 279–80 Arena, Maria 122, 128, 155 argumentation theory 62 Arnaud, André-Jean 171 atheism/atheist 83, 99, 210–11, 240–1; see also humanism, Humanist association, non-religious, Rationalist Association Australia 3, 5–6, 240–51; Australian Christian Lobby 245–6; Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission 3, 240–2, 248, 250; Australian Multicultural Foundation 245; Bill of Rights 9, 243, 249–50; Freedom of Religion and Belief in the 21st Century Enquiry 240–51; Royal Commissions in 5–6 Azoulay, André 288 Baby Loup Nursery case 90–1, 97n79; see also France, HALDE Baha’i community 289 Balfour Report 1910 4 Baroin, François 71

Baubérot, Jean 6, 70, 132, 153 Beaman, Lori G. 208 Beauchemin, Jacques 110 Beaugé, Julien 91 Belgium: Brussels Centre for Intercultural Action 23; Charter for Belgian Citizens, of Citizenship 126–8, 158; Commission for Intercultural Dialogue and Round Tables on Interculturalism 2, 6–12, 19–33, 153–8, 167–81; compromise à la belge 121, 132; Cultural Pact 1971 23–4; pillars and pluralism 121–2; Royal Commissariat for Immigrants 120; versus France 125; see also Conseil d’État, consociational democracy, hijab, language, ritual slaughter Belhaj, Abdessamad 276, 278 belief 27; folk belief 252; belief–action distinction 255; see also freedom of, New Age Berger, Benjamin L. 173–4 Bill 63 10 June 2008 115n17; see also Quebec bioethics 69 Blair, Tony 147, 195, 197 Bosset, Pierre 99–100, 106–7 Bouchard, Gérard xxiv, 22–3, 27, 100, 102, 104, 106, 108, 167–81, 186 Bouchard–Taylor Commission, Report see Quebec Bouma, Gary D. 245, 297 Breistein, Ingunn Folkestad 297 Britain 19–33, 34–46, 47–68, 167–81, 185–202; anti-Britishness 39–40, 59; British media 34; Britishness 20–1, 39–40, 56–7, 147–9, 159–60; Parekh Report 2, 5–11, 21–30, 35–41, 45, 47–68, 132, 143, 145–9, 160–1, 167–81, 185–6, 193–8

302   Index Buddhism 98–9, 194, 240–1, 248–9, 252, 268 Buisson, Ferdinand 69 Bulmer, Martin 4–6 burka 25, 30, 105, 109; see also hijab Butler-Schloss, Elizabeth 7–8, 34, 41, 44–5 Bymisjon, Kirkens 220–1 Cahill, Desmond 244–5 Calm, Tom 245 Cameron, Alan 210 Canada: Charter of rights 160; cohesion 104; compared with Great Britain 182–202; Ontario Human Rights Commission 99; see also Québec, R. c. Big M Drug Mart Ltd. [1985] Cantle Report 48, 195–7 catering in public services 87–8 Catholicism see Roman Catholicism CEDH, SAS c/ France, 1 July 2014 75 cemeteries (France) 73–6, 88 Chair of Commission see Commission chaplaincy: in Norway 225–35, military 234; Muslim chaplains in France 86–7, 164n44 Charest, Jean 100 Charlie Hebdo case see France Charter see Australia, Canada, France, Morocco, Quebec Charter of laïcité, secularism 75, 81, 83, 85–6, 89, 91, 109, 175 Cheong, Amy see Singapore child: Métis children 133; and religious symbol 274n43; Royal Commission into Child Abuse (Australia) 247; see also circumcision, education, family, hijab, religious symbol Chirac, Jacques 69, 71–2, 80, 83–4, 91, 149, 151–2, 160 Choubani, Habib 280 Christians, Louis-Léon 132 Church see Evangelical, Roman Catholicism Church of England 21–2, 41–4, 56, 149 Church of Norway 217–19, 226–7 Church/State relations; models of 222, 232; in Norway 217–32, 236; in Canada and Quebec, establishment and disestablishement 208; in Scandinavia 220; Separation Act 1905 (France) 71, 76 circumcision 234–5

citizenship 20–2, 47–9, 85, 121–3, 157–8, 174–6, 189–90, 196–7, 209, 280–1, 298; see also Belgium civil society; concept of 280, consensus in 170; demands of 160; participation of 135; role of communities in 17 Civil Society Commission in Morocco 279–84 co-operation 123; between law and religion 176–7 Cochrane, Allan 59 cohesion xxi, 1, 10, 12, 20–3, 36, 44, 48, 82, 120–2, 184–5, 190–8, 244, 271n1, 298; National Action Plan to Build Social Cohesion, Harmony and Security (Australia) 3, 244; see also nation Cold War 183 colonization 168, 240–2 Commission: chair of 8–9, 19, 30, 71–2, 100–7, 122–3, 147, 160, 220–1; definitions of 3–7 Commission for Intercultural Dialogue see Belgium Commission for Reflection on the Application of the Principle of Laïcité in the Republic of France (Stasi Report) see France, laïcité, Stasi Bernard Commission of Judicial Reflexion on Relations between Religions and Public Authorities (Machelon Report) see France Commission on Accommodation Practices Related to Cultural Differences (Bouchard-Taylor Report) see Quebec Commission on Faith and Worldviews see Norway Commission on Religion and Belief in British Public Life see Britain Commission on the Future of Multi-ethnic Britain (Parekh Report) see Britain communitarianism 29, 81, 87, 131–2, 158–9, 174–5, 191 community 28, 193–7; of affections 185; autonomy of 254–5; of communities or/ and of citizens, 21–2, 27, 36–9, 63, 148, 168, 194–5; engagement and research 245; faith and worldview 177, 218–20; national 28, 170, 177; right to belong and to leave 124; and social harmony 268; transcends 20–2 Conseil d’État (Council of State, France) 71, 79n33, 172; Council of State 83, 84, 87; Belgium 155

Index    303 consociational democracy 121, 124; see also Belgium Constitution: of Britain 41; of Canada 105, 108, 207–8; of France 69, 78n29, 89; of Singapore 253 corpus juris 178 Cover, Robert 178 Craft, Jonathan 5–6 crucifix 103–11, 160, 268; and altar of victory 203–14 culture 23–7, 25, 36, 39, 49, 108, 123–6, 187–97, 287; cuisine culture 257–63; and history xxi, 21, 56, 115n20, 133, 207–11; of human rights 167–9, 174; and media 194; and religion, 220–7; and religious symbols 206, 211; see also ethnicity, family, heritage, identity, racism, religion, religious symbols Cuypers, Daniël 129 Dagbladet 226, 228 Daily Express 38 Daily Mail 37, 40, 60, 63 Daily Telegraph 37–41, 44, 53, 55, 63, 65, 147 Dassetto, Felice 126–7 Davie, Grace 218 De Smet, François 134 de Villepin, Dominique 71 decolonization 168, 256 Delgrange, Xavier 126–7 deliberation 10, 45, 62, 281; and knowledge democracy 6 Dellal, Hass B. 245 Delmas-Marty, Mireille 170 Delruelle, Edouard 122–3, 126–8, 134, 160 Demos think-tank 49–50 Desmond, Margaret 58 Dicey, A. V. 170 discrimination 10, 21, 23–4, 76, 99–100, 110, 121, 125, 168, 177, 185, 191, 244–8, 254; anti-discrimination measures 168, 176–7, 244–8; see also equality, human rights, minorities diversity: categories of 191, in four countries 183–4; see also education, freedom of religion, hijab, immigration, interculturalism, interfaith, integration, interreligious dialog, minorities, multiculturalism, nation dogma 35, 171 Drake, Robert 48–9

Duke, Karen 58 Dumont, Hugues 126–7 Duplessis, Maurice 207 Dupont, Christian 122–3, 127, 158 Duquesne, Antoine 122 education/school: commission and public inquiry on education and diversity 48, 172, 252; ban of religious symbols in school 9, 22–8, 70–6, 80–1, 99, 122–8, 131–2, 149–51, 155, 164n54, 165n55, 267–9, 274n43; and diversity/ pluralism 23, 28, 35, 42, 111, 121, 125, 147–8, 158, 168, 175–7, 244, 249, 286; confessional religious education 105–7, 206, 242–3, 247, 254–5, 286–7; expert 72, 122; faith schools 27, 41–2; Islamic studies school 83; laïcité and 72, 77n3n9, 83, 89, 96n63, 104, 151–2; programs 23, 41–2, 83, 96n61, 121, 127, 130, 286; religious literacy 41–2, 44; right to ensure religious education 243, 254–5; see also catering in public services, language, loi Debré, Multani v. Commission scolaire MargueriteBourgeoys, Loyola High School v. Quebec, religious symbols, prayer, worship Eid-al-Adha 152, 168 elitism 57–64 emotion and elite (Parekh report) 13, 47–68 Emperors: Constantine 204; Constantius II; Eugenius 204–5 Enlightenment 42, 247 Equal Opportunities Commission 52 equality, xxi, 1, 20, 36, 48, 123–5, 174–7, 253, 270, 281; Commission for Racial Equality in Britain 50–2; Equality Act 36; of faith communities 225–7; High Authority for the Struggle against Discrimination and for Equality in France 75, 91; inequality 270; religious inequality 191–2; structural inequality 23–4; see also gender equality ethics 248 ethnicity xxi, 19–21, 43–4, 111, 187, 193–6, 270; see also culture, identity, racism European Convention on Human Rights 78n26, 126 European Court of Human Rights 75 euthanasia and assisted suicide 69

304   Index Evangelical: growth in Evangelical and Pentecostal churches 43; as Church of Norway 219, 224 (Lutheran); Evangelical Lutheran Free Church 234; Evangelical Protestant groups (Australia) 245, 247; and negative attitudes towards Muslims and the LGBTIQ community (Australia) 249; and Christian proselytization leading to interreligious tensions (Singapore) 255 experts 4–8, 11–12, 43, 50, 54, 70–2, 92, 100–1, 106, 111, 123, 129, 132, 134, 143, 147, 154; mistreatment of 7, 159–61; role of public intellectuals 64–5; see also Commission, chair of, journalist, media extremism 10, 28–30, 143, 188, 233, 244; see also radicalization Factiva 145–6 Fadil, Nadia 132 faith 41, 196, 218; see also belief, community, education, interfaith faith-based organizations 242–3, 248 family: abuse, pressures and 24, 180n38; childcare facilities 89 (see Baby Loup nursery case); and culture/ethnicity 25, 35, 83, 257–8, 260–5; religious law and 209, 254, 287; Royal Family 53, 294n50; see also children, culture, immigration, religious symbols fanaticism see extremism, radicalization Ferry, Luc 152 fiction see narrative Fischer, Frank 51 Fitzpatrick, Peter 171 Fleury, Bergman 106 Foblets, Marie-Claire xxv–xxvi, 27, 129, 133, 168–9 Forester, John 51 France: Charlie Hebdo case 247; Commission des Sages 122–3, 151; French Revolution 168; Front National 71; HALDE (High Authority for the Struggle against Discrimination and for Equality) 91; La droite de mai 71; Machelon Commission and Report 2, 5, 69–79; versus Quebec 104 ; Stasi Commission and Report 2, 6, 8–12, 19–33, 69–79, 80–97, 149–52; see also Baby Loup Nursery case; Charter of laïcité, Conseil d’État, education, equality, hijab, laïcité, Rossinot Report Fraser, Nancy 134

freedom of religion/belief 27, 30, 43, 74–5, 86–7, 97n79, 168–9, 177, 222, 224–6, 240–51; see also equality, gender equality, hijab, minorities, religious symbols, worship Furedi, Frank 49–50 Gavron, Kate 53 gender equality 24–5, 28, 30, 90, 102, 110–111, 133, 160, 175, 222–4, 248 genocide 156, 159 globalization 182–202, 256; glocalization 198–9 Goldman, Henri 128 Great Britain see Britain Greenslade, Roy 40 The Guardian 37, 39, 52–3, 56, 63 Habermas, Jürgen 49 Haddou, Aicha 283–4 Hajjat, Abdellali 91 HALDE 91 Hall, Stuart 50, 56 Hamza Boutchichi, Sidi 285 Harberg, Svein 232 headscarf see hijab health 24, 129, 171, 220; see also hospital heritage 103–5, 189, 204–11, 222, 225, 229–32, 259; see also culture, identity, religion High Council for Integration 84–5, 90–2 hijab (headscarf, veil) issue in Belgium 24, 122, 132, 164n53 et n54; in France 70, 73, 76, 77n9, 149–53; in Norway 227–8; in Singapore (2014) 266–70; ban on hijab 24–5, 27–8, 30, 70–1, 74–6, 78n30, 89–92, 123, 128–32, 149–51, 155–60; see also education, gender equality Hinduism 98–9, 194, 203, 240–1, 243, 248, 252, 272n16 Hobsbawm Macaulay Commission (HMC) 51–5 Hoem, Edvard 227, 229 Hofstad Lelleland, Linda 233 Høie, Bernt 234 holiday-s 157; and choice 125, 131; as important to individuals 125; and media 149, 152, 156, 159; and military chaplaincy 234; and official calendar 126; and public opinion 131; and religious exemptions at work 112; and reports 27; and Round Tables on Interculturalism 28, 168; and school

Index    305 152; in the Stasi report 168; see also religious symbols homosexuality 127, 246, 249–50 hospital 225, 235, 242–3, 266, 287–8; see also chaplaincy, laïcité Houda-Pépin, Fatima 103 Howard, John 244 Howe, Darcus 57 Howlett, Michael 5–6 Hudson, Ghislaine 153 human rights xix, 26, 36, 52–3, 75, 85, 102, 110, 123, 167–72, 185, 220–1, 224–5, 248–9, 283, 289; see also equality, European Convention on Human Rights, European Court of Human Rights, freedom of belief, gender equality Human-Etisk Forbund (HEF) 217–18, 220–1, 224–5, 228–9, 231, 234 humanism 218–21, 224–5, 233 Humanist Association 249 identity see culture, ethnicity, immigration, interculturalism, majority, minority, multiculturalism, nation, nationalism, racism imagination see narrative immigration xxiii, 8, 23, 83, 101–3, 110, 120, 133, 182–3, 188–91, 194, 198–9, 240–3 The Independent 56 integration 22–3, 91, 103–4, 110–12, 120–7, 130–1, 175, 178–88, 197 intercultural harmonization 25–6 intercultural relations see reasonable accommodation, Belgium, interfaith, interreligious interculturalism xxv, 22–3, 103–5, 110, 120–40, 167–75, 190–1 interfaith 11, 28–9, 125, 195, 233, 256; Centre for Research and Training in Interfaith Relations 283 interreligious dialogue/organisation 43, 218–19, 221, 226, 233, 242–5, 255–6 intolerance 262 Islam 122–3, 126, 151, 167–8, 188, 195, 217–20, 243–8, 252–4, 266–70, 275–95; French Council for the Muslim Religion 87, 89; imam training 290; Institute of 83, 125; Islamophobia 29–30, 153; Muslim chaplains 86–7; see also education, hidjab, holidays, religious symbols

Jacobinism 132 Jacoby, Russell 49 Jézéqel, Myriam 106 Jospin, Lionel 71 journalist 35–40, 50–2, 63, 73, 108, 144n15, 143–4, 147, 151, 153, 159–60, 161n4, 228, 233, 228; and deontology xxiv; expertise of 9, 39–40, 50, 63, 122, 129, 137n23; law against freedom of 294n50; and religion 143–4, 159; see also media, narrative Judaism 24, 40–1, 73, 86–8, 98–9, 112, 127, 149–52, 218, 233–5, 241–3, 279, 284–7 knowledge democracy 5–6 Kulakowski, Christine 23, 27, 129, 168–9 Labelle, Micheline 191 laïcité 10–12, 20–7, 29, 31n15, 69–79, 81–93, 103–10, 149–60, 167–81, 184–7, 192; actors of 91–2; Charter of 85–6; hallmark of Stasi Commission 81–3; in hospitals 81–5; laïcité ferme 81; laïcité ouverte xxv, 104; legal principle of 86–8; Observatoire de la Laïcité 84–5, 88, 90–2; as Republican value 89–91; see also France, Quebec Lallemand and Neyts Report 2, 160; see also Commission for Intercultural Dialogue Lallemand, Roger 122–3 language 19–20, 98, 121–2, 127–31, 135, 153; bilingualism 187–8, 281, 287; Education in Languages and Cultures of Origin 83; francization 110, 189–93; word-event 107 Lawrence, Stephen 21, 47, 56, 193 Le Devoir 108 Le Journal de Montréal 108 Le Pen, Jean-Marie 71 Lefebvre, Solange xii, xxiv–xxv, 12, 132, 297 left (wing) 5, 35, 39, 47–9, 55–7, 71, 81, 91, 100, 147, 152, 165n55, 227, 279, 282–3 legislation 4, 25, 36, 38, 43, 70, 104, 149, 151, 155, 170–6, 244–8, 254–6, 286–7; see also Charter, equality, family, freedom, human rights, equality, worship (places of) living together 110, and commissions 1, 19, 30–1; with differences 7–8 (Britain) 42; and diversity 120; and general principles 20; as justification for the

306   Index ban on covering one’s face in public spaces (France) 75; and laïcité 74; and multiculturalism 21; promotion of (Belgium) 123; and Stasi report 92 loi Debré 69 Loyola High School v. Quebec (Attorney General), [2015] 1 SCR 613, SCC 12 118 McAndrew–Marie 106 McDonaldization 50 McGuire, Meredith 208 Machelon, Jean-Pierre (and Machelon Report) see France Maclure, Jocelyn 105 Mahgreb Arab Press 282 majority 6; and accommodation of preferences 177; Australia 249; cultural 23; cultural insecurity of and values 175– 6; ethnic or religious 20, 23, 31, 38–9, 104, 253; and immigrant minorities 188; and legislation 176; and minorities 175, 178n4; Muslims 285–7, 298; Norway 218–20, 227, 229; and Quebec 23, 98, 105, 110, 118n68, 187–92, 207–10 Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura 254, 269 Maliki Sunni Islam 279, 284–7, 290 Marianne Day 89 Marier, Patrik 4–5 Marrakech Declaration 2016 298 marriage 147; civil and religious marriage 225–7; divorce and inheritance in Muslim law 254; in Jewish law 287; forced 24, 180n38; gay marriage 126 media 25, 43–4, 47–68, 73, 129, 135–6, 143–66, 186, 194, 282; construction of a problem 11–12; cyberspace politics 256, 266, 270–1; distortions in coverage 12, 36–40, 106–9, 298; and experts 47–51, 60, 114n15; Facebook 257, 263–7; media-hype 63, 117n46, 145, 161n10; and minorities 144–5; strategies 52, 226–8; and treatment of religion 28, 74, 99, 102–3, 131–2, 117n52, 143–4, 159–62; Twitter 264; see also journalist, narrative mediation/mediator 257–60, 263, 270–1; intercultural mediators 26, 130 Melby, Guri 233 Milot, Micheline 106 Milquet, Joëlle 128–30, 134, 155, 168 minorities 126–7, 130, 133, 140n73, 144, 149, 158–9, 175–7, 187–90, 198, 219–20, 241, 254, 287–90 Modood, Tariq 132

Moiran, Sophie 116n41 Moore, Charles 53 Morocco 275–95; Moroccan Association of Human Rights 283; national charter for civil democracy 282; rite of bay’ah (allegiance) 277; see also Civil Society Commission in Morocco Mouvement laïque Québécois v. Saguenay (City)