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Paradoxes of Liberal Democracy:
Islam, Western Europe, and the Danish Cartoon Crisis
Paul M. Sniderman, Michael Bang Petersen, Rune Slothuus & Rune Stubager

One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 2015

Paperback | 2016 | $24.95 | £19.95 | ISBN: 9780691173627
200 pp. | 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
Hardcover | 2014 | $35.00 | £27.95 | ISBN: 9780691161105
200 pp. | 6 x 9 | 14 line illus. 29 tables.
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In 2005, twelve cartoons mocking the prophet Mohammed appeared in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, igniting a political firestorm over demands by some Muslims that the claims of their religious faith take precedence over freedom of expression. Given the explosive reaction from Middle Eastern governments, Muslim clerics, and some Danish politicians, the stage was set for a backlash against Muslims in Denmark. But no such backlash occurred.

Paradoxes of Liberal Democracy shows how the majority of ordinary Danish citizens provided a solid wall of support for the rights of their country's growing Muslim minority, drawing a sharp distinction between Muslim immigrants and Islamic fundamentalists and supporting the civil rights of Muslim immigrants as fully as those of fellow Danes—for example, Christian fundamentalists. Building on randomized experiments conducted as part of large, nationally representative opinion surveys, Paradoxes of Liberal Democracy also demonstrates how the moral covenant underpinning the welfare state simultaneously promotes equal treatment for some Muslim immigrants and opens the door to discrimination against others.

Revealing the strength of Denmark’s commitment to democratic values, Paradoxes of Liberal Democracy underlines the challenges of inclusion but offers hope to those seeking to reconcile the secular values of liberal democracy and the religious faith of Muslim immigrants in Europe.

Paul M. Sniderman is the Fairleigh S. Dickinson Jr. Professor of Public Policy at Stanford University and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Michael Bang Petersen, Rune Slothuus, and Rune Stubager are professors of political science at Aarhus University in Denmark.


"This fascinating book addresses a fundamental problem of immense importance for current social and political life in a functioning Western democracy. Starting from the cartoon crisis that highlighted the clash of democratic values and Muslim fundamentalism, the authors employ a rich combination of qualitative and survey research methods to examine the responses of Danes that puzzled observers. . . . This study, rich in empirical evidence on the Danish example, provides insight into how other Western democracies could learn to better relations with immigrant minorities in their countries."--Choice

"The analysis presented in this book is structured well, clearly organized and argued, and deeply rooted in survey and experimental empirical data. The authors build a persuasive argument out of relatively basic but solid quantitative evidence, and thus the book should be an accessible read at either the undergraduate or graduate level."--Kelley Strawn, American Journal of Sociology

"The book's perspective is enticing, not to say timely. . . . The book's effort to overcome the clash of values between Islam and the West is quite laudable."--Jocelyne Cesari, Journal of Church and State


More Endorsements

Table of Contents:

List of Illustrations ix
Preface xiii
Chapter 1 Introduction 1
Chapter 2 A Clash of Rights 10
Chapter 3 The Covenant Paradox 52
Chapter 4 Flash Point: The Ideological Bases of Anti-immigration Politics 82
Chapter 5 The Concept of Inclusive Tolerance 117
Chapter 6 The Democratic Impulse 141
Appendix A Timeline of the Cartoon Crisis 155
Appendix B Description of the Main Data Set 157
Appendix C Comparison of Respondents from the Height and Aftermath of the Crisis 159
Appendix D Scaling and Measurement of Core Variables 163
References 167
Index 177

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