Comparing Britain and the Netherlands: The Burqa Ban as Consequence of a Shift from the Policy of Multiculturalism Towards a Policy of Assimilation
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This paper will focus on the concept of multiculturalism and its approach to Muslim minorities in several Western countries. Even though many more forms exist, a look will be given at two specific forms of multiculturalism, namely multiculturalism as adaptation and multiculturalism as assimilation. The purpose is to give insight into the connection between multiculturalism and terrorism and how this could have negative effects on minorities. In order to prove this, this paper will focus on a specific set of public debates, namely the debate whether to ban the burqa. Since both the Netherlands and Britain claim to be multicultural, and since the Netherlands eventually implemented this ban but Britain thus far did not, a look will be given why this is the case. Specifically, the main question throughout this paper will be: Why did the Netherlands choose to implement the burqa ban in 2018 while Britain so far did not even though both countries are multicultural? For both cases, the same four aspect were used in order to make a valid comparison. The theoretical debate will outline the word multiculturalism as used throughout this paper, the link between multiculturalism, assimilationism and terrorism and this will be complemented with the theory of Charles Taylor and his politics of recognition and Will Kymlicka and his minority rights. After this, the scholarly debate on the burqa ban will be outlined. Chapter two will be focusing on the Dutch case. As became apparent, 9/11 proved to be the turning point for the multicultural policy executed and the assassination of Pim Fortuyn and Theo van Gogh proved to be the start of the development of the debate. In the Netherlands, a shift occurred from a policy of multiculturalism as adaptation towards a policy of assimilation. In this context, the burqa ban was able to be implemented. Chapter three looked at the British case where something different could be seen. Here, 9/11 also proved to be a backlash in the idea of multiculturalism and the terrorist attack on 7 July 2005 proved to open up debates in Britain. However, these events were not critical in order to implement a ban. Even though the policy of multiculturalism did know some hard times, politicians never fully distanced themselves from this policy and never became assimilative. This difference with regard to the Netherlands is the reason why the burqa ban thus far is not implemented in Britain.