Interview – Tariq Modood

Interview – Tariq Modood

Professor Tariq Modood is the founding Director of the Bristol College Analysis Centre for the Examine of Ethnicity and Citizenship. He has held quite a few grants, consultancies, and written many publications on political philosophy, sociology and public coverage. He’s the co-founding editor of the worldwide journal Ethnicities and his work is often cited by policymakers and practitioners. Prof. Modood has served in varied capacities in public coverage, together with being an Adviser to the Muslim Council of Britain. He was elected as a Fellow of the British Academy in 2017 and is at present a Visiting Fellow at Cumberland Lodge, Windsor. During the last 25 years he has labored on: concept and politics of racism, racial equality, multiculturalism and secularism, with especial reference to British Asian Muslims; ethnic identities, nationwide identities and the ‘second era’; ethnic drawback and progress in employment and training; comparisons inside and between Western Europe and North America; the politics of being Muslim within the West. The matters he’s at present most targeted on are the political concept and sociology of multiculturalism, interculturalism, and secularism.

How has the way in which you perceive the world modified over time, and what (or who) prompted essentially the most vital shifts in your pondering?

There are two vital adjustments which have very a lot influenced my eager about multiculturalism in a rustic like Britain. Firstly, it’s the emergence of faith or non secular id as essential to some minority teams, particularly teams of South Asian origin (e.g. Sikhs, Hindus, and Muslims) like my circle of relatives. In case you take a look at theories of multiculturalism, as they emerged within the Eighties, they really didn’t have very a lot to say about faith. It was assumed that multiculturalism was extra about race, ethnicity, and associated tradition – the latter protecting faith kind of within the margins. I additionally assume that politically, only a few politicians needed faith to have the profile and centrality that it has come to have in what one may name majority-minority relations in Western Europe however maybe additionally in different elements of the world, like Canada which in some ways has began off the concept of state multiculturalism.

I began engaged on these problems with racial equality, ethnic minorities, and identities; I, too, wasn’t anticipating faith to come back to have the salience that it did. All the things shifted for me in relation to a selected controversy, specifically on the novel by Salman Rushdie referred to as The Satanic Verses which was revealed in late 1988. There was lots of anger from some Muslims, demonstrations, and lots of controversy each in Britain and internationally. It made me notice how essential Muslim id was to Muslims and that multiculturalism must take that on board.

The second shift for me is that previous to the significance of faith was the significance of id. This goes again to the brand new social actions of the Sixties and 70s which embrace feminism, homosexual pleasure, and – particularly coming from the US – the wrestle for Black dignity. I used to be very influenced by that and by political theorists like Bhikhu Parekh, Charles Taylor, and Iris Marion Younger in eager about these problems with id as points that weren’t reducible to the extra classical arguments about equality which tended to have an financial character. Identification gave the impression to be one thing that folks valued for itself, not due to its relation to financial equality, as an example. After I learn the guide Justice and the Politics of Difference by American political theorist Iris Marion Younger particularly, I spotted that these identities had been identities that folks ought to be capable to assert into the overall politics of their nation. They weren’t merely for what one may name one’s personal group, they had been identities that had been a part of arguments about equality. It’s as a result of if folks didn’t respect that id of yours that was essential to you and that id traditionally had been the idea for racism or inferiorization, they weren’t actually respecting you as an equal citizen. These are the 2 essential adjustments and shifts on the planet for me: the emphasis each from politics and from theorists on minorities with the ability to assert their id within the public area and secondly, what I noticed as a Muslim assertiveness which indicated to me that faith and spiritual id needed to be central to multiculturalism.

The place do you see essentially the most thrilling analysis/debates occurring in your subject?

One of many frontiers of multiculturalism has to do with the place of faith in public life. This connects us to the subject of political secularism. I don’t interpret secularism to imply a whole separation of church and state or of faith and politics. However, clearly, secularism assumes there are two modes of authority – faith and politics – and that political authority, reasoning, and functions, have some sort of autonomy and impartial character of their very own and will not be reducible to—or shouldn’t be ruled by—non secular authority. That sort of secularism is a quite common thought and political apply in so many elements of the world, so long as we don’t assume that it means an absolute separation of church and state as a result of that hardly exists anyplace. The connection between faith, particularly minority non secular identities, and political secularism is without doubt one of the thrilling areas for me.

One other thrilling space is that over some years, I’ve come to the view that multiculturalism shouldn’t be taken to be an absolute, one and solely mode of integration or mode of minority-majority relations. Maybe relying on the context and sphere of exercise (e.g. work place, faculties, hospitals, universities, the parliament), totally different modes of integration ought to be thought of and labored together with one another. That is associated to a undertaking I’m at present engaged on entitled PLURISPACE the place we’re 4 totally different -isms collectively: multiculturalism, interculturalism, transnationalism, and cosmopolitanism. We’re them collectively to see if we are able to give you ways in which they both already overlap or could possibly be made complementary, due to this fact presumably have a brand new normative perspective on problems with integration and minorities or ‘distinction’. We needed to each give you a normative concept or perspective and a foundation for 4 international locations (Britain, Spain, France, and Norway) to see to what extent a number of of those -isms is current in both authorities coverage or in civil society activism—the latter maybe within the aspirations of ethnic minority associations and activists.

The third space of thrilling analysis is somewhat bit tough for me, which is the truth that multiculturalism has standardly been targeted on the rights of minorities or the popularity of minority identities. However what precisely ought to multiculturalism take the place of the bulk to be? It’s tough to disentangle what we would name majority tradition or cultures from the nationwide id. However, I believe now we have to have some sort of view in regards to the place of the bulk in multiculturalism. It’s not one thing I’ve made lots of progress on as a result of it’s fairly a tough query. I don’t see different folks having made lots of progress on it both apart from these people who find themselves very anti-multiculturalist as a result of for them, the concept of defending the bulk tradition is definitely one thing that kinds the idea of rejecting multiculturalism. I believe they’re fully incorrect to do this and I wish to discover a multiculturalist view in regards to the majority.

The very last thing I’ll point out, which I additionally discover tough, is that the problems I’ve been speaking about are sometimes talked about as these of recognition. The extra customary problems with politics, particularly the place class is a central characteristic of a society and of political battle or negotiation, talks in regards to the redistribution of wealth by way of the state (e.g. amassing taxes, spending cash on welfare and the poor). So, lots of people like Nancy Fraser, as an example, have tried to have a concept of recognition and redistribution as one built-in political concept or undertaking. I’m not significantly happy with what she needed to say about recognition as a result of to me there’s not sufficient multiculturalism in her view. However I do really feel the problem of relating problems with id equality (e.g., anti-racism, feminism) with financial equality or what’s referred to as redistribution. These are the 4 thrilling however tough areas for analysis and pondering.

In your most up-to-date guide, Essays on Secularism and Multiculturalism, you mentioned the connection between secularism and multiculturalism. Are you able to inform us extra about this relationship and its nuances? Is secularism appropriate with a multicultural society?

As I started to contemplate that non secular id actually needed to be included along with ethno-racial and ethno-cultural identities in multiculturalism, I noticed that this posed a problem for these individuals who imagine that faith ought to be a personal matter—that it shouldn’t be to do with politics or public life, and that the state shouldn’t assist one faith or intervene in one other. That is, broadly talking, what we name secularism. I spotted there was a problem and I started with Britain, as I do in all my work. I assumed that we have already got faith within the public sphere to a a lot bigger extent than many secularists, intellectuals, and theorists, appear to assume we do or perhaps they want to have. That was a constructive piece of understanding for me as a result of if that’s the case, then these individuals who say that multiculturalism isn’t attainable as a result of it conflicts with secularism— that faith must be stored out of politics—are fairly incorrect; they could not need faith to be in politics, however they’ll’t say that the issue with Muslims is that they wish to convey faith into politics when a rustic like Britain, no matter Muslims, already has faith related to politics in all types of how. Now we have a longtime church, bishops of the Church of England sitting within the Home of Lords, and big state funding of spiritual faculties. All these items are literally not peculiar to Britain, they’re to be present in one type or one other in most international locations of the European Union. I assumed that this was a constructive discovering; it signifies that I can now attempt to create an area for multiculturalism within the truly current secularist preparations versus some summary best of secularism. I name these current preparations, no less than in Western Europe, average secularism.

Reasonable secularism and multiculturalism appeared typically appropriate with none basic difficulties. The query then was the best way to embrace the minority faiths like Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, and Buddhists right into a Christian-dominated secularist public sphere association dominated both by a Christian legacy or secular views. Subsequently, it is a vindication of the concept multiculturalism and secularism had been complementary. I might see that when you had been dedicated to onerous secularism—what I name radical secularism and which I believe is exemplified by points of laïcité in France—then multiculturalism could possibly be an issue for you. Sure, radical secularism and multiculturalism are in all probability incompatible; you must select or make some compromises between the 2. However multiculturalism and average secularism—the secularism of Western Europe and past—are appropriate.

Why do you assume secular establishments ought to accommodate non secular range?

Multiculturalism relies on the concept of equal citizenship, a citizenship which isn’t a culturally privatized citizenship or only a civic tradition. I believe that there are a lot thicker nationwide cultures that politics, together with our concepts of citizenship and nationwide id, join with, form, and are formed by (so that they mutually form one another). If so, then equal citizenship for minorities means permitting them to convey their cultural and spiritual identities into dialogue with and an artificial relationship with the present nationwide tradition/s. I believe that this undertaking of widening our public understanding of faith from a type of Christianity to a way more multi-faith state of affairs is crucial to our equal citizenship.

It’s not nearly recognition and nationwide id, it must be carried by way of into coverage, institutional change, and lodging. Muslims, Hindus, and Sikhs ought to be capable to really feel at dwelling in faculties, hospitals, workplaces, and in participation within the civic and political lifetime of the nation; they need to not really feel that simply because they’re Muslims, they’re in some way second-class residents and that solely Christianity has a presence in deciding how public life is shaped. For instance, how public ceremonies happen and which days of the calendar are public holidays like Christmas and Easter. What about Eid and Diwali? That’s why I believe multiculturalism signifies that non secular minorities should have their presence and wishes accommodated by the establishments of civil society and the state.

What are the widespread factors of friction within the debates about free speech and the respect for non secular and cultural sensibilities? How can governments intervene to cut back the chance of battle?

Now we have varied sorts of limits on free speech. I believe that most individuals worth free speech, I actually do; however on the similar time, most individuals, if not all people, acknowledge that there are and should be some precise limits to free speech. For example, now we have laws towards incitement to racial hatred, racist speech, cartoons and pictures and so forth. Most individuals now settle for that, however an space of controversy is the place one says that the identical ought to apply to spiritual minorities as a result of they shouldn’t should put up with incitement to hatred and aggressive speech which, too, can take a type of racism. You possibly can have racism towards Muslims parallel to racism towards Jewish folks or every other racialized group.

Some folks outline free speech as with the ability to say what you want about different folks’s faith. I started by speaking about The Satanic Verses, the Danish cartoons, after which final yr, a reminder of the Charlie Hebdo affair. We all know from so many controversies which have taken place over the past years that some teams of individuals, like Muslims particularly, can get very offended when some sorts of satire and aggressive speech is directed at them and particularly, the place the Prophet Mohammad is concerned. I believe we do want some laws right here simply as now we have for race, however I’m aware that many of those controversies can’t be managed simply by the regulation; perhaps the very excessive parts can, however most of it may possibly’t. That’s actually true for the case of The Satanic Verses.

I counsel that the place we predict the regulation is of restricted use or is doubtlessly restrictive of free speech, unintentionally it dangers limiting free speech. We should always train censure—not censorship—towards what we predict is demeaning of different folks’s non secular identities and religion simply as we do after we name out one thing for being racist or sexist. I believe that we do have to have some regulation, however we are able to take a extra “free speech method” to lawmaking if we mix it with censure particularly with these folks in management positions, with political authority, and who’re public personalities. Then, the regulation received’t be fairly so crucial as a result of the minorities will really feel that some persons are talking up and recognizing that they’re harm and that their dignity is being attacked. I believe that is actually what has occurred in relation to anti-black racism, types of sexism, and homophobia; most of it’s not managed by regulation, nevertheless it’s strongly managed by public censure—what we would name the norms of public speech. I believe that’s the method to deal with these controversies associated to faith on the whole and particularly, Muslims.

What’s the best position of political satire in a tolerant and democratic society? What are its limits?

Satire ought to be used to criticize or draw consideration to abuse of energy, extreme energy, or types of oppression. Most satire is directed at politicians, authorities, and highly effective folks; it makes excellent sense, and it’s an excellent characteristic of a democratic life the place that’s a part of the democratic tradition. However, when the identical instruments of satire are directed at minorities—a people who find themselves not highly effective—I believe that’s the incorrect sort of satire. This offensiveness towards minorities is extra like racism than it’s like political satire or political critique. I might make this basic distinction between satirising the highly effective and satirising the powerless. In any case, I might say that any satirist or editor publishing satire ought to have some social duty about what impact their satire would have. This goes again to my earlier level on the significance of censure and public norms directed to not attacking the dignity of minority teams or powerless teams on the whole.

In an article you wrote a decade in the past, you described a shift going down from a multiculturalism of hope to a multiculturalism of concern. The place can we stand at current?

I believe that there’s a lot of concern and associated to that, mistrust. One of many sources are points to do with safety which then ties up with points of worldwide relations. Lots of people say that this multiculturalism of concern or the demise of multiculturalism occurred due to 9/11. It was when folks mentioned, “Look, it’s not nearly respecting minority teams, some minority teams wish to blow us all up. They hate our lifestyle, they wish to take over” and so forth—that’s undoubtedly a multiculturalism of concern.

What are the sources of hope? Properly, lots of minorities—which means folks of current migration streams—in international locations like Britain, Canada, France, Germany, and the US truly wish to be part of these international locations. They wish to be German, Canadian, or British, and so forth. This was in the course of the Seventies or 80s which lots of British anti-racists assumed was inconceivable. They thought that ethnic minorities wouldn’t be accepted as British and so they wouldn’t wish to attempt to be British, that they might be positioned because the intruder throughout the nation and never of the nation. However I believe right here is an indication of optimism as a result of most white British folks truly do settle for ethnic minorities as British; they don’t assume that as a way to be British, you must be white or Christian or conceal your faith. It is a very constructive growth.

Associated to that’s the concept there are other ways of being British, American, French and so forth. The People launched the time period ‘hyphenated nationality or id’ (e.g. Black American, Irish American) to explain this and the concept has caught on in Britain as effectively. Lots of people say that they’re British Indians or Black British and a few say they’re Scottish and British, or Welsh and British. We’re capable of remake our sense of nationwide belonging by including another essential salient id and making that related to or a part of a shared nationality. I believe that’s one other constructive growth and we’ve been shifting in that route so these are some sources of hope.

I additionally assume that once you take a look at political activism, we do undergo durations of apathy. Nevertheless, on the entire and definitely in these previous few months with Black Lives Matter, the problems we’ve been discussing right here truly attracted lots of ardour, dedication, and want to be politically engaged. That in itself is an indication of hope, however what’s significantly hopeful is that it’s taking a multi-ethnic type. Black Lives Matter demonstrations within the US and within the UK took a multi-ethnic character and many white folks had been a part of these protests and organizations. These are a few of the components that go to make up a multiculturalism of hope.

What’s a very powerful recommendation you possibly can give to younger students?

One piece of recommendation is that folks ought to need their work to matter past academia. This generally takes time, it’s not one thing you can also make occur immediately. The aspiration to be related to public life, political controversies, and actions like multiculturalism and anti-racism has been essential to me personally and I attempt to encourage that in my PhD college students and my postdocs. Relatedly however in some way independently of that, I place a excessive premium on readability of expression—writing in a method as clearly as we are able to as a result of that makes our writing extra accessible to extra folks, particularly folks past our personal slim specializations. I might advise that if you wish to have any sort of affect in life past academia, then actually you’ve gotten to have the ability to write in a non-technical and non-jargonistic method.

My third piece of recommendation can be to not be afraid to make use of your personal expertise and insights to check out concepts in your scientific and theoretical work. Definitely, my very own expertise of a boy rising up in Britain of Pakistani-Muslim background and household has influenced my work loads; it’s fairly obvious to most individuals who understand it that that have informs my work. I’d supply that recommendation to others as effectively however with one essential qualification: don’t cut back your self or your work to a single id (like girl, black, Muslim). Take into consideration your self in a extra rounded method. Some folks would speak about intersectionality because the connection of various sorts of identities and positionalities and that may be related right here. Don’t merely push one id such that the others—which can truly be essential to you—are sort of theorized away in the way in which that you just do your work. Pay attention to that danger and attempt to keep away from it.

Lastly, I don’t know if everybody would need this recommendation however no less than its been true for me, an important characteristic of my work and its public engagement has been to be a bridge between totally different identities (e.g. Muslim and British, non secular folks and social scientists). I believe it’s essential the place teams don’t communicate the identical language, metaphorically and actually [using the same concepts and having the same sensibilities], to assist them relate to one another if you end up straddling each side of that bridge, these identities, and social places. One of many issues central to my work is how I’ve tried to herald and spotlight the issues and well-being of British Muslims and the issues and well-being of the remainder of British society into some sort of reference to each other in order that they’re not threatening one another however as an alternative, are in dialog with each other and hopefully discovering widespread floor.

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