On the Muslim Question, by Anne Norton

The “Jewish question” was long a topic of concern in post-Enlightenment political thought. Jews were the unassimilated other that called into question the impartiality, universal rationality and secularism of modern political theory and practice. Anne Norton argues that the “Muslim question” has arisen as a locus of similar anxieties about national insecurity, threat from a foreign other, and the danger to democracy of fanatical religious irrationality. Like modernity’s Jew, today’s Muslim is more a projection than a reality, and the resulting distortions are unfair to actual Muslims both in our midst and beyond our borders. It is a sense of misrepresentation and injustice, along with a haunting awareness that European handling of the analogous Jewish question turned out so badly, that motivates Norton’s investigation of how the Muslim question is manifested.


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