Topics: Jewish - Muslim Relations, Interfaith Dialogue, Interfaith Relations, Inter-Communal Relations, Main Topic: Other
Abstract: This thesis examines representations of Jewish-Muslim relations in contemporary French newspaper discourse, literary writing, and interreligious dialogue initiatives. Specifically, it analyses the extent to which a dominant discourse of inherently tense binary Jewish-Muslim relations exists and how individual Jewish and Muslim writers and interreligious dialogue activists navigate this difficult socio-political terrain. While I conceptualize some aspects of literary writing and interreligious dialogue as counter-narratives, this thesis does not simply seek to counterbalance the dominant narrative of polarization found in the media, but to demonstrate, first, how this narrative constructs public Jewish and Muslim identities and shapes the terrain on which interactions between Jews and Muslims occur. My thesis reveals that Jewish and Muslim writers and interreligious activists are deeply invested in challenging the oppositional model of Jewish-Muslim relations. However, my research also suggests that their level of success depends in large part on their ability to navigate normative understandings of Jewishness and Muslimness that are often overdetermined by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. First, this thesis traces how Jewish-Muslim relations are defined and constructed in the media, focusing on the national dailies Le Monde and Le Figaro due to their considerable agenda-setting and framing power as elite and prestigious sites of journalistic expression. Subsequently, I consider how a set of contemporary novelists, Emilie FrÃ¨che, Thierry Cohen, and Nadia Hathroubi-Safsaf, formulate their visions of intergroup relations within this broader context. The novelists in this project have been included in the extent to which their works can be read asâand often are explicitly stated by these authors to beâa set of political interventions into the contemporary and highly politicized category of Jewish-Muslim relations. Finally, I examine how Jewish and Muslim activists promote interreligious dialogue and the challenges they face in doing so within a French republican framework that privileges the non-differentiation of ethnoreligious specificities. I conclude that the initiatives most likely to effectively challenge the dominant model of polarized Jewish-Muslim relations in contemporary France are those that de-emphasize Jewishness and Muslimness as separate and mutually exclusive categories, and instead emphasize hybrid identities and shared histories, while adopting an embodied, differentiated approach to solidarity.
Shalom alikoum! Challenging the conflictual model of Jewish-Muslim relations in France through stand-up comedy
Topics: Antisemitism, Attitudes to Jews, Islam, Islamophobia, Main Topic: Other, Newspapers, Magazines and Periodicals, Jewish - Muslim Relations
Abstract: Jews and Muslims in France never formed singular communities and never solely or primarily interacted with each other as a function of ethnoreligious identity categories. Rather, their on-the-ground interactions often took place as a function of a variety of other identifications, solidarities, and experiences. Yet, media discourse commonly constructs Jews and Muslims as homogeneous, disparate, and separate communities and their relations as oppositional and troubled. This article examines how Jews and Muslims are relationally defined and constructed in media discourse, focusing on the national dailies Le Monde and Le Figaro. My analysis reveals the discursive patterns that emerge in articles on Jews and Muslims and how these representations implicitly construct ‘Jews’ and ‘Muslims’ and their ‘relations’. In doing so, I make two main arguments about newspaper reporting on Jewish–Muslim relations in France: (1) With some exceptions, Jews and Muslims are constructed as two separate, homogeneous communities and their relations presented as tense and problematic; (2) Jews tend to be presented as fully integrated and their representation is in general positive, while Muslims are more often presented as not fully integrated – or even as at odds with French society and its values – and their representation is, at best, ambiguous and, at worst, negative.
Paradoxes and limitations in enacting Jewish-Muslim dialogue in contemporary France: case studies of interreligious and intercultural dialogue initiatives
Topics: Jewish - Muslim Relations, Interfaith Dialogue, LGBT, Main Topic: Other, Secularity, Nationalism, Citizenship
Abstract: This article examines the extent to which Jewish-Muslim inter-religious/cultural dialogue initiatives in France are negatively affected by the dominant paradigm of republican universalism and state secularism in France. It focuses on the relations between, on the one hand, the Institut du Monde Arabe (IMA) and the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire du Judaïsme (mahJ) and, on the other hand, Beit Haverim and Homosexuels musulmans de France (HM2F) to highlight the key challenges such initiatives face. In addition, this article suggests that the ineffectiveness of some contemporary interreligious initiatives in France results from both the inherent difficulty in navigating the republican universalist framework and the failure of such initiatives to acknowledge, mediate, and challenge the historical and contemporary role of the state in shaping the relations between Jews and Muslims.