Was the Multiculturalism Backlash Good for Women with a Muslim Background? Perspectives from Five Minority Women’s Organisations in the Netherlands
During the last decades, there has been growing debate about Islam in Europe, in which multiculturalism is presented as an obstacle to the integration of Muslim minorities and to the emancipation of Muslim women in particular. Margaretha A. van Es explores how women with a Muslim background have experienced this multiculturalism backlash, and how it has affected their efforts for women’s empowerment. Focusing on two secular and three Islamic women’s organisations in the Netherlands, she reveals how critics of Islam such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Geert Wilders have unintentionally contributed to the rise of Islamic feminism among Dutch Muslim women, while they have also made it more difficult for women in secular organisations to formulate constructive criticism against conservative religious attitudes.