This month, Penguin Random House released “United States of Jihad: Investigating America’s Homegrown Terrorists,” by Peter Bergen. The publisher’s description follows:
In December, I. B. Tauris Publishers will release “Constructing Political Islam as the New Other: America and Its Post-War on Terror Politics” by Corinna Mullin (Richmond American International University in London). The publisher’s description follows:
Why did political Islam so readily occupy the position of enemy ‘other’ for the United States in the context of what the American political leadership of the time labelled the ‘War on Terror’? In a wide-ranging analysis of the historical and ideological roots of U.S. discourse on political Islam, Corinna Mullin examines the ways in which this new ‘other’ came to perform both an identity-constructing role for Americans and a politically expedient, rhetorical justification for mainstream U.S. political thought and action concerning the Muslim world. After a new U.S. administration under President Barack Obama was inaugurated in 2009, Mullin explores the prospects for a truly ‘post-war on terror’ politics.
Matthew P. Mooney (Student at Duke U. School of Law) has posted Between a Stone and a Hard Place: How the Hajj Can Restore the Spirit of Reasonable Accommodation to Title VII. The abstract follows.
Although section 701(j) of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 requires that employers reasonably accommodate their employees’ religious practices and beliefs, many commentators acknowledge that the spirit of reasonable accommodation has not been realized because courts have drastically limited the scope of employers’ duty. This may be especially true for Muslims, who, according to a 2012 study, are roughly half as likely to prevail in free-exercise and religious-accommodation lawsuits as are non-Muslim claimants. One of the central tenets of Islam, the hajj, poses significant challenges for Muslim employees seeking accommodation under Title VII. Because accommodating the hajj will almost always impose more than a de minimis cost on employers, a court is unlikely to find that Title VII requires employers to accommodate a Muslim employee’s decision to complete the pilgrimage.
This Note attempts to articulate a new method for expanding Title VII’s protection of employees’ religious beliefs and practices. Specifically, this Note argues that increased involvement by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Justice in hajj-accommodation cases offers a promising approach to developing a more balanced accommodation doctrine, or at least to realigning the scales so that they are not tilted so heavily in favor of employers. Despite clear precedent limiting an employer’s duty to accommodate, increased intervention by the federal government in Title VII hajj-accommodation cases has the potential to shift the conception of reasonable accommodation. Though the government must pick and choose the cases in which to intervene, hajj-accommodation cases present an opportunity to further the dual purposes of the government’s Title VII enforcement authority to implement the public interest as well as to bring about more effective enforcement of private rights. Intervention can restore the spirit of accommodation to section 701(j) and give employers more of an incentive to accommodate their employees’ religious obligations.
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.