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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

Hardcover | 2014 | $35.00 / £24.95 | ISBN: 9780691161105
200 pp. | 6 x 9 | 14 line illus. 29 tables. | SHOPPING CART

eBook | ISBN: 9781400852673 |
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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.


"Taking its starting point from the infamous Danish cartoon crisis and the clash of democratic values and Muslim fundamentalism that followed, this engagingly written, methodologically sophisticated, and creative study of public opinion adds substantially to a growing body of research into this 'clash of civilizations'. The views of the Danish majority, far from scapegoating and vilifying the Muslim minority, distinguished carefully and intelligently between upholding the rights of this minority to live as Danish citizens while at the same time restricting freedoms for those associated with the threat of fundamentalist violence. This superb analysis of the nuances of public morality convincingly eschews simple answers to important and complex questions."--Geoffrey Evans, University of Oxford

"The paradox of liberal democracy is that, at the height of the Danish cartoon controversy, the Danes did not launch a broadside attack against the civil liberties of their Muslim minority. The pages of this book bring that paradox alive with compelling theoretical and methodological arguments. This is a splendid work of scholarship."--James L. Gibson, Washington University in St. Louis

"This tremendously interesting and highly relevant book has an encouraging message: Danish citizens stood behind the civil liberties of Muslims even at the height of the Danish cartoon crisis. It shows that what common sense expected to happen--a backlash--did not happen, and then explains why with a straightforwardness and immediacy that are rare for an academic text."--Hanspeter Kriesi, European University Institute

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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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      File created: 3/10/2015

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