Promoting the Everyday: Pro-Sharia Advocacy and Public Relations in Ontario, Canada’s “Sharia Debate”

Selby, Jennifer A. (2013) Promoting the Everyday: Pro-Sharia Advocacy and Public Relations in Ontario, Canada’s “Sharia Debate”. Religions, 4 (3). pp. 423-442. ISSN 2077-1444

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Why, in the midst of public debates related to religion, are unrepresentative orthodox perspectives often positioned as illustrative of a religious tradition? How can more representative voices be encouraged? Political theorist Anne Phillips (2007) suggests that facilitating multi-voiced individual engagements effectively dismantles the monopolies of the most conservative that tend to privilege maleness. In this paper, with reference to the 2003–2005 faith-based arbitration debate in Ontario, Canada, I show how, in practice, Phillips’ approach is unwieldy and does not work well in a sound-bite-necessitating culture. Instead, I argue that the “Sharia Debate” served as a catalyst for mainstream conservative Muslim groups in Ontario to develop public relations apparatuses that better facilitate the perspectives of everyday religious conservatives in the public sphere.

Item Type: Article
Item ID: 6323
Additional Information: Memorial University Open Access Author's Fund
Keywords: “Sharia Debate”, faith-based arbitration, representation, orthodoxy, advocacy, public relations, Muslims, Ontario, Canada
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Religious Studies
Date: 17 September 2013
Date Type: Publication
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