Cultural Recognition and the Claims of Muslim Immigrant Communities

  • Katherine Smits


As we saw in chapter five, some identity groups have been quite successful in securing formal roles in policy making and discussion at the local government level. By far the majority of these cases deal with African Americans, however, with other local ethnic groups such as Hispanics and Native Americans also gaining some recognition in areas where they constitute substantial proportions of the population. Gays and lesbians have particularly requested formal representation on community review of policing bodies, because of the high incidence of complaints lodged by gay and lesbian groups of police mistreatment. They have, however, in most cases been unsuccessful. I have argued that this is because the recognition of identity groups in the political process has been limited to ethnic minorities, while groups like gays and lesbians continue to be defined as voluntary associations, whose members are grouped together by their “lifestyle choices.” The assumption that membership in them is chosen, has precluded these bodies from being recognized as essential to the construction and shape of individual identities and lives.


Terrorist Attack Muslim Woman Muslim Community Cultural Community Religious Symbol 
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© Katherine Smits 2005

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  • Katherine Smits

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