Opinion surveys conducted in the UK and Germany report a growing tendency among young Muslims to reject mainstream norms. Their affirmation of Muslim identity and its critique of decadent western culture is an act of dissidence, argues Jörg Lau. The reservations of the non-Muslim majority towards self-segregating practices can be understood as a sign that the Islamic critique of decadence has been understood and its moral presumption rejected. Nevertheless, some commentators maintain that if young Muslims reject society, they have been driven to do so. An act of self-exclusion is thus reinterpreted as the fault of the majority. This alliance between liberalism and religiosity is coming under increasing criticism, not least from Muslim women who know the value of freedom better than most.
23 November 2007