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Migrating concepts: Immigrant integration and the regulation of religious dress in France and Canada
Ethnicities [en ligne]
Religion in general, and Islam in particular, has become one of the main focal points of policy-making and constitutional politics in many Western liberal states. This article proposes to examine the legal and political dynamics behind new regulations targeting individual religious practices of Muslims. Although one could presuppose that church-state relations or the understanding of secularism is the main factor accounting for either accommodation or prohibition of Muslim religious practices, I make the case that the policy frame used to conceptualize the integration of immigrants in each national context is a more significant influence on how a liberal state approaches the legal regulation of individual practices such as veiling. However, this influence must be assessed carefully since it may have different effects on the different institutional actors in charge of regulating religion, such as the Courts and the legislature. To assess these hypotheses I compare two countries, France and Canada, which are solid examples of two contrasting national policy frames for the integration of immigrants.
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