Pasquale Annicchino and Nadia Marzouki (both at the European University Institute – Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies) have posted Mosques Controversies in the United States: Emotions, Politics and the Right to Religious Freedom. The abstract follows.
In the last decade the number of mosques in the United States has considerably grown from 1209 to 1925. As shown by sociologist Akbar Ahmed, there is an important diversity among American mosques, in terms of size, ethnic background, theological teaching, proselytizing strategy. While most mosques and Islamic centres are built without encountering any opposition from local community, a few controversies have recently attracted a lot of media and public opinion attention. Rather than an exhaustive survey of all the mosque debates, this article analyses the most important specific type of arguments that were made by participants in such controversies. In particular, it examines the extent to which the relevance and the legitimacy of the liberal language of rights seems challenged by a growing part of the American public, that puts forward notions of appropriateness, sensitivity, and nationalism.