Multiculturalism and the Position of Islam

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 39
  • Published : May 27, 2013
Open Document
Text Preview
Multiculturalism, and the position of the Islam specifically, has been subject to numerous debates in Europe. In the Netherlands, aversion to Islamic communities has been observed, where politicians like Geert Wilders received substantial support for their campaigning for measures against these communities. The impact of greater cultural diversity on gay rights is significantly present in this discussion. Moreover, a shift in the position of the gay community and gay rights in politics is taking place, where multiculturalism is claimed to be undermining their acceptance in society (Keuzenkamp, 2010). Pim Fortuyn, being the first arguing for anti-multiculturalism to safeguard the gay community, openly dismissed religious principles and cultural traditions of the Islamic community in the Netherlands. Geert Wilders’ political party, “Party for the Freedom”, seems to move in a similar direction, where nationalist policies are promoted, multiculturalism is criticized (especially the presence of a Islamic community), and the rights of the “original” Dutch citizens, including the gay community, are centrally positioned. This “exclusion of racial and class others” rooted in the inclusion of homosexuals in “body politics” has been conceptualized by Puar as ‘homonationalism’ (Aydemir, 2012, p. 188). In this paper, the position of gay rights in the discussion surrounding (anti-) multiculturalism in Dutch politics is examined. It will be argued that ‘Homonationalism is increasingly used in Dutch politics to support anti-multiculturalist views’. Firstly, two crucial developments, i.e. the ‘normalization process’ of homosexuality on the one side and the emergence of a multicultural society on the other side, are separately presented. Next, the current clash of these two developments, and its political ramifications are examined. For this examination, the concept ‘homonationalism’ is presented. Afterwards, and lastly, the relation between ‘homonationalism’ and anti-multiculturalist movements in Dutch politics is analysed.

Normalization of Homosexuality in the Netherlands
During the last decades, a trend of homo-emancipation has been witnessed in Western European countries (Aydemir, 2012). The Netherlands has been a frontrunner in this process of promoting acceptance and tolerance of gay communities, which in a relatively short time has led to a high level of ‘normalization’ of homosexuality. Multiple milestones of homo-emancipation in the Netherlands can be identified during this process, which eventually evolved to a high level of ‘normalization’ (Mepschen et al., 2009). The first milestone, taking place around 1971, covers the abolishment of legal discrimination and criminalization of homosexuality. On a global level, homosexuality was removed as a psychiatric disorder from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders of the American Psychiatric Association (Mepschen et al., 2010). At the same time, the age of consent was equalized for homosexuals and heterosexuals in the Netherlands, lowering the age for homosexuals from 21 to 16 years. The second milestone concerned the further establishment of equal rights for homosexuals. This wave culminated in April 2001, when homosexuals were legally given civil marriage rights. The third milestone pertains to the social acceptance of homosexuality by society at large and commenced last decade. A high level of ‘normalization’ has been established already, with some politicians and societal groups actively safeguarding the level reached (Van der Veer, 2006).. The rapid and extended acceptance and tolerance towards homosexuality in the Netherlands can be attributed to two main factors. Firstly, the widespread secularization, taking place from 1960s throughout the Netherlands, gave way to de-pillarization (Mepschen, 2010). The fading of pillars – hierarchically structured subcultures based on religion, which originally formed the basis of the social organization of...
tracking img