If we set aside all the nonsensical academic and political noise, the question with regard to Muslims living in Western countries becomes: do we, in the West, want to continue to build a diverse and pluralistic society? If the answer is no, there are consequences to building such a society, and I contend this direction is counter to the fundamental values and principles of democracy. However, if the answer is yes – which seems to be the general consensus – then there cannot be a set of political, social, and legal requirements for one minority group and not others.
If secularism is going to be a core and unchanging value in our societies, then the link between religion and state needs to be eliminated for all religions, and not just the ones that make us uncomfortable. If we are going to defend any form of secularism then the religions that are constitutionally ingrained in the countries of the West need to be divorced from the public space and purse. If defending women‘s rights is deemed important, then we should be removing all the societal barriers that limit women in the West from contributing equally to business, politics and the general social order.
It is time for a more profound international conversation – one that, when dealing with the question of Islam, promotes genuine commonalities instead of always stressing our differences.