Backlash of Multiculturalist and Republicanist Policies of Integration in the age of Securitization
Ayhan Kaya, Istanbul Bilgi University 17 December 2013

The aim of this article is to elaborate the process of securitisation and stigmatization of migration and Islam in the West, and to claim that both republicanist and multiculturalist policies of integration proved to have failed in this process to politically mobilise migrants and their descendants. To put it differently, this work will argue that coupling migration with terrorism, violence, crime, insecurity, drug trafficking, and human smuggling is likely to result in the birth of an Islamophobic popular discourse and the social, political, economic and cultural segregation of migrants and their descendants in a way that invalidates both multiculturalist and republicanist policies of integration in the West.

Failure of Multicultural and Republican Models of Integration

During the 1960s, migration was a source of content in Western Europe. More recently, however, migration has been framed as a source of discontent, fear and instability for nation-states. What has happened since the 1960s? Why has there been this shift in the framing of migration? The answer of such questions obviously lies in the very heart of the changing global social-political context. Undoubtedly, several different reasons such as deindustrialization, unemployment, poverty, exclusion, violence, supremacy of culturalism and neo-liberal political economy turning the uneducated and unqualified masses into the new ‘wretched of the earth’ to use Frantz Fanon’s terminology, can be enumerated to answer such critical questions.[1] After the relative prominence of multiculturalism debates both in political and scholarly venues, we witness today a change in the direction of debates and policies about how to accommodate cultural diversity.

As Will Kymlicka rightfully asserts where states feel insecure in geo-political terms, fearful of neighboring enemies, they are unlikely to treat fairly their own minorities.[2] More specifically, states are unlikely to accord powers and resources to minorities that they view as potential collaborators with neighboring enemies. Today, this is not an issue throughout the established Western democracies with respect to authoctonous national minorities anymore, although it remains an issue with respect to certain immigrant origin groups, particularly Muslim origin groups after September 11. Ethno-cultural and religious relations become securitized under these conditions. Relations between states and minorities are seen, not as a matter of normal democratic debate and negotiation, but as a matter of state security, in which the state has to limit the democratic processes of political participation, negotiation and compromise to protect itself. The state of securitization of minorities is likely to lead to the rejection of minority political mobilization by the larger society and the state. Hence, the securitization of ethno-cultural relations erodes both the democratic space to voice minority demands, and the likelihood that those demands will be accepted.

The situation with respect to immigrant groups is more complex. In the European context, the same factors that push for multiculturalism in relation to historic minorities have also generated a willingness to contemplate multiculturalism for immigrant groups.[3] However, immigrant multiculturalism has run into difficulties where it is perceived as carrying high risks with regard to the national, societal and cultural security of the majority society. Where immigrants are coupled with violence, honor crimes, drug use, drug trafficking and human trafficking, and are seen as predominantly illegal, as potential carriers of illiberal practices or movements, and as net burdens on the welfare state, then multiculturalism also poses perceived risks to the shared moral principles of the nation, and this perception can reverse the forces that support multiculturalism. Accordingly, multiculturalism bashing is also inclined to become a popular sport often revisited in times of social, political and economic turmoils. In moments of societal crisis, the critique of multiculturalism turns out to be a form of governmentality employed mostly by Christian Democratic parties and public intellectuals to mobilize those segments of the society, who have an inclination towards the right wing extremism due to the growing feelings of anomy, insecurity and ambiguity.[4]

Europe and the other parts of the world including the USA have experienced increasing tensions between national majorities and ethno- religious minorities, more particularly with marginalised Muslim communities. Already in the 1990s, Arthur M. Schlessinger and Robert Hughes became very vocal in criticizing the policies of multiculturalism in the USA, and claimed that US multiculturalism will result in the dissolution of the United States as long as minorities such as the Hispanics and Afro-Americans are granted the right to celebrate their ethno-cultural distinctiveness.[5] On the other side of the Atlantic, the Dutch society was struggling with what Paul Scheffer, a social democratic figure in the Netherlands, called Multicultural Drama, which was allegedly leading to the dissolution of the Dutch society.[6]

This debate has been roaming around in Europe for a long time. For instance, back in the 1990s following the Huntingtonian paradigm of clash of civilizations[7], Wilhelm Heitmeyer et al. argued that it was the Turks who were not tempted to integrate and incorporate themselves into the German society.[8] Their main criterion in declaring the self-isolationist tendency of the Turkish-origin youths was their perceived contentment to live with Islam and Turkishness. This polemical debate around the work of Heitmeyer et al. is very parallel to the debate revolving around Thilo Sarrazin’s book, engaging the high level politicians including the Chancellor and the President of Germany.[9] A similar debate took place in England immediately after the 7/7 London bombings in 2005. ‘Multiculturalism is dead’ was a headline in Britain’s Daily Mail on 7 July 2006 – the first anniversary of the London bombings.[10]

Thilo Sarrazin, a politician from the Social Democratic Party who sat on the Bundesbank board and is former Finance Senator for Berlin, has argued in his bestselling book that Germany is becoming ‘naturally more stupid on average’ as a result of immigration from Muslim countries.[11] In his critic of Thilo Sarrazin’s highly polemical book Germany Does Away With Itself (Deutschland schafft sich ab, 2010), Jürgen Habermas states that German Leitkultur (leading culture) is recently being defined not by “German culture” but by religion: “With an arrogant appropriation of Judaism — and an incredible disregard for the fate the Jews suffered in Germany — the apologists of the Leitkultur now appeal to the “Judeo-Christian tradition,” which distinguishes “us” from foreigners”.[12]

It seems that the declaration of the ‘failure of multiculturalism’ has become a catchphrase of not only extreme-right wing political parties but also of centrist political parties all across the continent, although it is not clear that each attributes the same meaning to the term.[13] Angela Merkel for the first time publicly dismissed the policy of multiculturalism as having ‘failed, failed utterly’ in October 2010, and this was followed swiftly by David Cameron’s call for a ‘more active, more muscular liberalism’[14] and Nicolas Sarkozy’s statement that multiculturalism is a ‘failed concept’. Geert Wilders, leader of the Freedom Party in the Netherlands, has made no apologies for arguing that Christians ‘should be proud that our culture is better than Islamic culture’ for example.[15]

The debate is not only restricted to the critique of multiculturalism. Difference-blind republicanism, which is the other model of managing ethno-cultural and religious diversity, has also failed. The republican French experience is going through a tremendous failure in the last decade. Although France set out to create politically equal citizens with no regard to religion, language, race, ethnicity and gender, it no longer recognises the politics of recognition generated especially by migrants of Muslim background, ignores the cultural, religious and ethnic differences emphasised by minorities, and adopts an assimilation policy, all of which serve to show that the Republican project and its values are under threat.[16] These demands, voiced by migrants and minorities and left unsolved by the Republic, clearly show that the Republic at hand needs to be democratised. In other words, the reel republicanism needs to be reformed along the egalitarian claims of migrant origin people who are affiliated with a true republican rhetoric underlining equality, justice and rights in all spheres of life including politics, education, labour market and culture.[17]

Let alone providing migrants and their children with equal access opportunity to political space and labour market, France cannot also provide them with a venue where they can convert their cultural capital to economic capital upon graduation. As such, it can be said that France, much like many other western nations, discriminates against Muslim origin migrant families at business and economic levels. Moreover, Tribalat asserts that illiteracy is higher among Moroccans and Algerians. As Michéle Tribalat put it very eloquently what is the point in working hard for success at school if you are going to be discriminated against?[18] She reports that the presence of discrimination raises the problem of coherence between republican principles and the reality of French society. One should remember that unemployment rate among the university graduates of French ethnic origin is 5 percent, and 27 percent among the North African origin university graduates.[19] This ratio is much higher than it is in Germany (4 percent and 12 percent), Belgium (5 percent and 15 percent), and the Netherlands (3 percent and 12 percent).[20]

Securitisation and Stigmatization of Migration by the States: A Form of Governmentality

There have been several events in modern times, which have radically changed the ways in which migrants with Muslim background in the West have been perceived by the autochthonous societies: Arab-Israel war leading to the global oil crisis (1973), Iranian Revolution (1979), Palestinian intifada (1987-1990), Rushdie Affair (1989), affaire des foulard (headscarf affair) in France (1989), Gulf War (1991), Bosnian War (1992), the first World Trade Center bombing in the USA (1993), second Palestinian intifada (2000), Paul Scheffer’s polemical book Multicultural Drama in the Netherlands (2000), September 11 (2001), Afghanistan War (2001), the violence in northern England between native British and Asian Muslim youth (2001), rise and death of Pim Fortuyn in the Netherlands (2001-2002), the Gulf War II (2003), murder of Theo Van Gogh (2004), Madrid bombing (2004), 7/7 London terrorist bombing (2005), banlieue riots in Paris (2005), Cartoon Crisis in Denmark (2006), the provoking intervention of the Pope Benedict XVI [21] regarding the ‘brutal nature’ of the Prophet Mohammad (2006), British Cabinet Minister Jack Straw’s speech about his wish to see women not covering their face (2006), Swiss minaret debate (2009), nuclear debate with Iran (2010), Thilo Sarrazin’s polemical book (2010), an Imam’s beating up the students in class in Birmingham in the UK (2011), the burning of Quran by an American Pastor in Florida (2011), and official ban of burqa in France (2011).

All these events have, in one way or another, shaped both the ways in which Muslims have been perceived by the western public, and the ways in which Muslims have comprehended the West. In what follows, firstly, I will be scrutinizing the ways in which migration and Islam have been securitized and stigmatized in the west. Subsequently, I will discuss how Islamophobia has been generated by the neo-liberal political elite and public intellectuals as a form of ideology to control the masses at the expense of creating further hostilities between majorities and minorities with Muslim background.[22]

The present usage of the term ‘security’ goes beyond its conventional limits. During the Cold War period, the notion of ‘security’ used to be defined in political/military terms as the protection of a state’s boundaries, its integrity and its values against the dangers of a hostile international arena.[23] Nowadays, however, security concerns are not only reduced to protecting states against ideological and military threats: they are also related to issues such as migration, ethnic revival, religious revival (Islam, Christianity, and etc.), and identity claims. Lately, migration has been presented in the Western public space as a security threat that must be dealt with. One could argue that modern states tend to extend the fear of ‘migrants’ and ‘others’ by categorising, stigmatising and coupling migration together with major problems such as unemployment, violence, crime, insecurity, drug trafficking and human smuggling (Huysmans, 2006). This tendency is reinforced by the use of racist and xenophobic terminology that dehumanises migrants. One can see this racist tone in the terms such as ‘influx’, ‘invasion’, ‘flood’ and ‘intrusion’, which are used to mean large numbers of migrants.

Issues have recently become security issues through a process of social construction, namely “securitisation”. As the main rationale of the security discourse seems to have shifted from protecting the state to protecting society, culture, and sometimes ‘race’, so protection of societal, cultural, ethnic and religious order against any kind of ‘evil’ has become the pillar of the security discourse in a way that has popularised the term security in all spheres of life. Securitisation of migration, or in other words stigmatization of migrants, became a vital issue after September 11 attacks in the United States and related ones in other places, notably Madrid (11 March 2004) and London (7 July 2005). Much of the response to these attacks has focused on immigration issues; even though the perpetrators of the bombings were mostly product of the ‘society’ they attacked.[24] The categorization of those responsible as migrants seems to be a systematic attempt to externalize the structural failures produced by the social-political order.

The security discourse conceals the fact that ethnic/religious/identity claims of migrants and their reluctance to integrate actually result from existing structural problems of poverty, unemployment, discrimination, xenophobia, heterophobia, nationalism and racism. To put it differently, the public perception of migration as the principal source of present disorder masks the actual causes of the globalized social-political discontent. It is likely that modern states tend to employ the discourse of securitisation as a political technique that can integrate a society politically by staging a credible existential threat in the form of an internal, or even an external, enemy, an enemy that is created by security agencies like the police and the army.[25]

Immigration resulting from poverty and anti-democratic regimes in the countries of origin has become one of the principal worries of western countries. The constructed fear of migration and Islam brings about what Campbell calls ‘discourses of danger’ producing a ‘we’ versus the ‘others’.[26] The key principle of societal and cultural security is identity, and societal and cultural insecurity is defined as the identification by communities of threats to the survival of their community. Such discourses of danger seem to distance migrant communities from incorporating themselves into the political, social, economic and cultural spheres of life of majority society in a way that prompts them to invest in their ethno-cultural and religious identities.[27] Ethnic and/or religious resurgence, which appears among some migrant groups as a reaction to poverty, unemployment, insecurity and institutional discrimination, seem to be decoded by the neo-liberal states as a challenge to societal, political, cultural, economic and religious security, a challenge that must immediately be restrained.

There are evidential data indicating that negative attitudes of the western public partly spring from the ways in which the so-called illegal migrants are perceived and framed by the western states. Recent research on the securitisation of migration draws our attention to the fact that, at official level, modern state institutions address only an insignificant correlation between undocumented migration and the problems of global poverty, debt, health, environment and unemployment fostered by the neo-liberal economic model.[28] The issue of the so-called ‘illegal migrants’ has lately been picked up by Western political elite and state administrations as the very source of some endemic problems such as unemployment, violence, terror and some other social and cultural problems.

The way illegal migration has been perceived also shapes the public perception of regular migrants. William Walters eloquently reveals that nowhere in the official programmes of anti-illegal immigration appears the complex histories of Fortress Europe’s economic, geopolitical, colonial and postcolonial entanglement in the regions and borderlands, which it now designates as ‘countries of transit’ and ‘countries of origin’.[29] Instead, we are presented with an external force of ‘illegal immigration’, rooted in regional disorder, for which the EU is then positioned as a benign framework of protection and prevention. In this regard, securitization of migration and anti-illegal immigration activities, techniques and programmes serve as a form of governmentality in the interest of the political authority. Governmentality refers to the practices which characterise the form of supervision a state exercises over its subjects, their wealth, misfortunes, customs, bodies, souls and habits.[30] Didier Bigo eloquently explains the ways in which the act of governmentality operates in relation to the foreigners:

“Proliferation of border controls, the repression of foreigners and so on, has less to do with protection than with a political attempt to reassure certain segments of the electorate longing for evidence of concrete measures taken to ensure safety.”[31]

Roxanne Doty rightfully argues that the immigrant, the stranger, the excluded, the one who does not belong to the prescribed national unity is ideologically portrayed by the conventional and culturalist elite as the “enemies within”.[32] This is a kind of neo-racism, “which functions as a supplement to the kind of nationalism that arises from the blurring of boundaries and the problematizing of national identity that the deterritorialization of human bodies gives rise to”.[33]

Exclusion of culturally and religiously different migrants and their descendants from within the prescribed nation is also visible in the ways in which the EU is recently managing migration. The architects of the EU policies regarding justice and home affairs described first in the Maastricht Treaty of 1992 and then in the Amsterdam Treaty of 1997 have indeed contributed to a “discourse of othering”. As known the European Union has created an area of “Freedom, Security and Justice” in order to protect the member states from the increasing ‘intrusion’ of the so-called illegal immigration.[34] Referring to Jacques Rancière and Slavoj Zizek, Walters states that the leaders of the European Union countries engage in a kind of ‘ultra-politics’, which frames anti-illegal immigration activities as a battle between “us and them”, with sometimes a struggle to death.[35] Framing the issue as such puts it outside the space of dialogue and forecloses the possibility of politics and citizenship.[36]

Islamophobia as a form of Ideology

Securitization and stigmatization of migration and Islam in the west occurred in parallel with the rise of heterophobic discourses such as the ‘clash of civilisations’, ‘culture wars’, ‘religious wars’ and ‘Islamophobia’, as well as with the reinforcement of restrictive migration policies and territorial border security vis-à-vis the nationals of countries outside the west. Richard W. Bulliet eloquently criticizes what ‘the clash of civilisations’ thesis has implicitly advocated:

“Since Jews, Christians, and Western secularists have named themselves as charter members of the civilisation club, the ideological or behavioural shortcomings, from the majority’s point of view, or this or that Jewish or Christian group do not impugn or threaten the civilisational inclusion of those religious traditions as a whole. Christianity and Judaism pass by definition the civilizational litmus tests proposed for Islam even though some of their practitioners dictate women’s dress codes, prohibit alcoholic beverages, demand prayer in public schools, and persecute gays and lesbians, and damn members of other faiths to hell. Muslims of every stripe, on the other hand, stand accused of being party, by reason of religious belief, to the worst behaviours manifested by some groups of their coreligionaries…”[37]

Muslims are increasingly represented by the advocates of the same thesis as members of a “precarious transnational society”, in which people only want to ‘stone women’, ‘cut throats’, ‘be suicide bombers’, ‘beat their wives’ and ‘commit honour crimes’. These prejudiced perceptions about Islam have been reinforced by the impact of the previously stated events ranging from the Iranian Revolution to the official ban on burqa in France in 2011. Recently, it has become inevitable for quite some people in the west to have the urge to defend the Western civilisation against this ‘enemy within’ that is culturally and religiously dissimilar with the ‘civilized’ western subject.[38] Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian Prime Minister, is one of those to have this urge:

“We are proud bearers of the supremacy of western civilisation, which has brought us democratic institutions, respect for the human, civil, religious and political rights of our citizens, openness to diversity and tolerance of everything… Europe must revive on the basis of common Christian roots.”[39]

American President George Bush’s speech regarding the “axis of evil” (29 January 2002) was also perceived by the American public in particular as an attempt to demonize ‘Islamic fundamentalism’ and the ‘enemies of freedom’.[40] Although Bush as well as some European leaders like Tony Blair and Jacques Chirac, repeatedly stated that the war did not represent a fight against Islam, especially the US public was highly engaged in deepening the Islam-bashing displayed very explicitly in the following speech of George Bush:

“Our military has put the terror training camps of Afghanistan out of business, yet camps still exist in at least a dozen countries. A terrorist underworld – including groups like Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, Jaish-i-Mohammed – operates in remote jungles and deserts, and hides in the centres of large cities… First, we will shut down terrorist camps, disrupt terrorist plans, and bring terrorists to justice… Our second goal is to prevent regimes that sponsor terror from threatening America or our friends and allies with weapons of mass destruction. Some of these regimes have been pretty quiet since September the 11th. But we know their true nature… Iran aggressively pursues these weapons and exports terror, while an unelected few repress the Iranian people’s hope for freedom. Iraq continues to flaunt its hostility toward America and to support terror… States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world…”[41]

Similarly, Italian journalist and novelist Oriana Fallaci is another disputable figure, who generated a very contested discourse in the aftermath of September 11 vis-à-vis Muslims:

“… I say: Wake up, people, wake up!… You don’t understand, or don’t want to understand, that what is under way here is a reverse crusade. Do you want to understand or do you not want to understand that what is under way here is a religious war? A war that they call Jihad. A Holy War. A war that doesn’t want to conquest of our territories, perhaps, but certainly wants to conquer our souls… They will feel authorized to kill you and your children because you drink wine or beer, because you don’t wear a long beard or a chador, because you go to the theatre and cinemas, because you listen to music and sing songs…”[42]

This right-wing stream of reactions also made echo in other parts of the western world. Dutch media presenter and politician Pim Fortuyn published a book entitled Against Islamization of Our Culture, in which he simply claimed Islam was a threat to Western civilisation in a way that contributes to the othering of migrant origin individuals residing in the West.[43] Islam-bashing has become a popular sport by ministers, politicians, media specialists and even Prime Ministers in the European Union as well as in the other parts of the world. Today, hostile language, offensive language, racist statements, and anti-immigrant policy propositions or real measures take place every day in the news. Conversely, aggressive language and threats directed against politicians who are perceived to be at fault, for whatever reason, have spread as well. The language of hatred replaces the language of dialogue.

As Chris Allen very eloquently revealed, Islamophobia is not really a ‘phobia’, it is rather a form of governmentality, or an ideology, “similar in theory, function and purpose to racism and other similar phenomena, that sustains and perpetuates negatively evaluated meaning about Muslims and Islam in the contemporary setting in similar ways… that inform and construct thinking about Muslims and Islam as Other”.[44] The aim of Islamophobia as a form of governmentality is to make the majorities believe that Muslims and Islam pose an ‘enemy within’ in the European context, and an ‘outside enemy’ in the American context so that the unity of the nation can be protected against the national, societal, and cultural security challenges coming from inside, or outside.[45]


To reiterate, migration has recently been framed as a source of fear and instability for the nation-states in the West. Yet not so long ago it was rather a source of contentment and happiness. Several different reasons like de-industrialization, changing technology, unemployment, and poverty and neo-liberal political economy can be mentioned to explicate the reasons of such a discontent. Migrants have become a source of fear not only because of these structural problems leading to the supremacy of neo-liberal forms of governmentality, but also because of the ways in which migration has become stigmatized and securitized by ethno-culturalist and right-wing political elite and public intellectuals. The process of securitization of migration in the west went in tandem with the rise of discourses like the ‘clash of civilizations’, ‘culture wars’ and Islamophobia that presented societal heterogeneity in an unfavourable light.

The intensification of Islamophobia made easier by al Qaeda type violence and the radicalization of some segments of Muslim origin immigrant communities in several countries reinforced the societal unrest resulting from immigration. The result was the introduction of restrictive migration policies and increased territorial border security vis-à-vis the nationals of third countries who originated from outside the European continent. However, keeping in mind that demographic deficit and emigration in the European countries are now becoming the realities of everyday life, one could conclude that such a migrant-phobic and Islamophobic political climate is not sustainable, and that soon a common-sensical approach will have to become the mainstream.

Securitization and stigmatization of migration and Islam has mainly brought about a backlash of multiculturalism in the west since the mid 1990s. The rise, ubiquity, simultaneity and convergence of arguments condemning multiculturalism have been striking accross the western world including the European Union countries, specifically Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, Denmark, France and Italy. The anxieties associated with ‘parallel lives’ and Muslim ‘self-segregation’ have become very visible in these countries, blaming the Muslims and migrant communities of not integrating to the western way of life. These arguements have become so popular in the west that a spectre started to roam around in the 21st century: a backlash of multiculturalism. This backlash has immediately triggered the rise of right-wing extremism, promoting the homogeneity of the nation space free of the others who are ethno-culturally and religiously different. The spectre has not only targeted the Muslims, but also the proponents of multiculturalism coming from the prescribed nation. Obviously, the latest mass murder in Norway on 22 July 2011 targeting the multiculturalists has given significant messages to the mainstream populist political parties competing for the electorates who seem to be leaning towards right-wing extremism.

Discourse of security should be rephrased in a way that will free migrants and their descendants from the patronising gaze of receiving societies. In other words, migration issues should be desecuritised. Shaping the public opinion in an accurate way primarily depends on the existence of a strong political will, which may convince the public that ethnic/religious/cultural revival among migrants might also be translated as a quest for justice and fairness, but not as a security challenge. In this regard, symptoms and reasons should not be confused. States should not reduce integration into the cultural sphere. Integration rather means more than that, and it has political, economic and civic elements, too. Political integration of migrants should be prioritised in order to let them express their claims regarding their state of poverty, exclusion, and self-isolation through legitimate political channels such as the local and national parliaments and the mainstream media.

A version of this article was presented at the Reset-Dialogues Istanbul Seminars 2011 that took place at Istanbul Bilgi University from May 19-24, 2011.

The final/definitive version of Ayhan Kaya’s essay was published in Philosophy&Social Criticism, vol 38 number 4-5 May 2012, SAGE Publications Ltd, (LA, London, New Delhi, Singapore and Washington DC), all rights reserved, p. 399-412, Special Issue: “Overcoming the Trap of Resentment”, Reset-Dialogues on Civilizations Istanbul Seminars 2011, Edited by: Alessandro Ferrara, Volker Kaul and David Rasmussen. Link to the issue


[1]F. Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth (New York: Grove, 1965).

[2]W. Kymlicka, ‘The rise and fall of multiculturalism?: new debates on inclusion and accommodation in diverse societies,’ in S. Vertovec and S. Wessendorf (eds.), The Multiculturalism Backlash: European discourses, policies and practices (London: Routledge, 2010): 32-49.

[3]B. Parekh, Rethinking Multiculturalism: Cultural Diversity and Political Theory (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 2000); and Kymlicka, ‘The rise and fall of multiculturalism?’

[4]One should not underestimate the destructive effects of such nationalist anti-multiculturalist rhetoric on the western societies such as Norway and the UK. For instance, the myths that Muslim immigrants are taking over Europe and that multiculturalism is harmful caused the murder of seventy-nine individuals by a right-wing extremist, Anders Behring Breivik, in Norway on 22 July 2011 (see BBC website, 23 July 2011,, entry date 15 August 2011).

[5]A. M. Schlesinger, The Disuniting of America: Reflections on a Multicultural Society (Knoxville, TN: Whittle Direct Books: 1991) ; and R. Hughes, Culture of Complaint: The Fraying of America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993).

[6]P. Scheffer, ‘Het Multiculturele Drama’ [The Multicultural Drama], NRC Handelsblad (29 January 2000).

[7]S. Huntington, The Clash of Civilisations and the Remaking of the World Order (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1996).

[8]W. Heitmeyer, J. Müller and H. Schröder, Verlockender Fundamentalismus [Enticing Multiculturalism] (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag, 1997).

[9]T. Sarrazin, Deutschland schafft sich ab: Wie wir unser Land aufs Spiel setzen (Munich: DVA Verlag, 2010).

[10]Vertovec, S. and S. Wessendorf, ‘Introduction: Assessing the backlash against multiculturalism in Europe,’ in S. Vertovec and S. Wessendorf (eds.), The Multiculturalism Backlash: European discourses, policies and practices (London: Routledge, 2010): p.1.

[11]Sarrazin, Deutschland schafft sich ab.

[12]J. Habermas, ‘Leadership and Leitkultur,’ New York Times (28 October 2010),, entry date 25 July 2011.

[13]In this article, the author only discusses the critics of multiculturalism made by right-wing politicians and public intellectuals due to the lack of space. One should bear in mind that Multiculturalism was also criticized by several left-wing scholars with the claim that multiculturalism became a rather neo-liberal and neo-colonial form of governmentality, imprisoning ethno-cultural and religious minorities, migrants and their children in their own ghettoes. For a more detailed account of the critique of multiculturalism see R. Rosaldo, Culture and Truth: The Remaking of Social Analysis (London: Routledge, 1989); J. Rath, ‘The Ideological Representation of Migrant Workers in Europe: A Matter of Racialisation?,’ in J. Solomos and J. Wrench (eds.), Racism and Migration in Western Europe (Oxford: Berg Publishers, 1993): pp. 215-232; O. F. Radtke, ‘The formation of ethnic minorities and the transformation of social into ethnic conflicts in a so-called multi-cultural society: The case of Germany,’ in J. Rex and B. Drury (eds.), Ethnic Mobilisation in a Multi-Cultural Europe (Hampshire: Avebury, 1994), and O. F. Radtke, ‘Multiculturalism in Germany: Local Management of Immigrants’ Social Inclusion,’ International Journal on Multicultural Societies, 5, No.1 (2003): 55-76; J. Russon, ‘Heidegger, Hegel, and Ethnicity: The Ritual Basis of Self-Identity,’ The Southern Journal of Philosophy XXXIII (1995): 509-532; and A. Kaya, “Sicher in Kreuzberg”: Constructing Diasporas, Turkish Hip-Hop Youth in Berlin (Bielefeld, Transcript Verlag, 2001), and A. Kaya, Islam, Migration and Integration: The Age of Securitization (London: Palgrave, 2009). For a very comprehensive and current debate about the critics of multiculturalism see S. Vertovec and S. Wessendorf (eds.), The Multiculturalism Backlash: European discourses, policies and practices (London: Routledge, 2010).

[14]British PM David Cameron had criticized the multiculturalist rhetoric in February 2011, a few months earlier than the London riots in August 2011. In boroughs where more than half of youth centers are closing, youth unemployment is rising, and negative experience with police is repeated through the generations, many children and young adults feel that neither the state nor the community has anything to offer them. For further detail on the notorious speech of David Cameron on multiculturalism see, entry date 16 August 2011; and for more detail on the London Riots see, entry date 16 August 2011.

[15]Der Spiegel (11 September 2010)

[16]S. Body-Gendrot, ‘Living Apart or Together with our differences? French Cities at a crossroads,’ Ethnicities, Vol. 2, No.3 (2002): pp. 367-385; M. Tribalat, ‘The French ‘Melting Pot’: Outdated – or in need of reinvention?’ in S. Milner and N. Parsons (eds.), Reinventing France: State and Society in the Twenty-First Century (Hampshire: Palgrave, 2003): pp. 127 – 142; and P. Sadran, ‘The French State and the Challenges of the Twenty-First Century,’ in S. Milner and N. Parsons (eds.), Reinventing France: State and Society in the Twenty-First Century (Hampshire: Palgrave, 2003): pp. 49 – 62.

[17]Kaya, Islam, Migration and Integration.

[18]See Tribalat, ‘The French ‘Melting Pot’: Outdated’. The data collected by the work of Kaya and Kentel affirm Tribalat’s findings concerning the discrimination faced by immigrant populations and those of foreign origin. French-Turks, when asked, address mostly the problem of discrimination in France (17 percent). See A. Kaya and F. Kentel, Euro-Turks: A Bridge or a Breach between Turkey and the European Union (Brussels: CEPS, 2005).

[19]In order to cope with institutional racism in the labour market as well as in other spheres of life, migrant origin people tend to give traditional French first names to newborn children. Gérard Noiriel indicates that this practice is rather an old practice among migrants: in a Polish community in northern France, 44 percent in 1935, 73 percent in 1945, 82 percent in 1955, and 98 percent in 1960. See G. Noiriel, Le creuset français: Historie de l’immigration XIXe-XXe siècle (Paris: Seuil, 1988): p. 233.

[20]M. Crul and H. Vermeulen (eds.), ‘The Future of the Second Generation: The Integration of Migrant Youth in Six European Countries,’ Special issue of International Migration Review, Vol. 37, No. 4 (Winter 2003): pp. 965-986

[21]During a theological lecture at the University of Regensburg (12 September 2006), in Bavaria, Pope Benedict XVI criticized the idea of jihad, and said “Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul”. He quoted Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Palaiologos, who said, “Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached”. For the speech of Pope, see, entry date 10 April 2011.

[22]One should differentiate in the first place between the European and American contexts as regards to the ways in which Islamophobia has been ideologically used. The European context is different from the American context where Islam was predominantly portrayed by the Bush regime as a challenge coming from outside the ‘nation under siege’. European politics has rather used Islam as an ‘enemy within’ to be the pretext for a certain type of politics discriminating against those whose values are different from the Europeans’. See M. Semati, ‘Islamophobia, Culture and Race in the Age of Empire,’ Cultural Studies, 24, No. 2 (2010): pp. 256 — 275.

[23]R. L. Doty, ‘Immigration and the Politics of Security,’ Security Studies, No. 2-3 (2000): p.73.

[24]M. Collyer, ‘Migrants, Migration and the Security Paradigm: Constraints and Opportunities,’ Mediterranean Politics, Vol. 11, No. 2 (July 2006): p. 267.

[25]J. Huysmans, The Politics of Insecurity (London: Routledge, 2006).

[26]D. Campbell, Writing Security: United States Foreign Policy and the Politics of Identity (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1992): p. 195.

[27]See interalia J. Clifford, Routes: Travel and Translation in the Late Twentieth Century (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1997); and Z. Bauman, Community: seeking safety in an insecure world (Cambridge: Polity, 2001).

[28]Some of these works are as follows: B. Buzan, O. Wæver, and J. de Wilde, Security: a New Framework for Analysis (Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 1998); S. Sassen, ‘A Universal Harm: Making Criminals of Migrants,’ Open Democracy (20 August 2003), entry date 14 August 2011; F. Düvell, ‘Crossing the Fringes of Europe: Transit Migration in the EU’s Neighbourhood,’ Centre on Migration, Policy and Society Working Paper 33 (2006); Doty, ‘Immigration and the Politics of Security’; Huysmans, The Politics of Insecurity; and Kaya, Islam, Migration and Integration.

[29]W. Walters, ‘Security, Territory, Metagovernance: Critical Notes on Anti-illegal Immigration Programmes in the European Union,’ Paper presented at Istanbul Bilgi University (7 December 2006).

[30]Michel Foucault describes the concept of governmentality as a collection of methods used by political power to maintain its power, or as an art of acquiring power. See M. Foucault, ‘Governmentality,’ Ideology and Consciousness, Vol. 6 (1979): pp. 5-21.

[31]D. Bigo, ‘To Reassure and Protect after September 11th,’ Social Science Research Council, 2 (2002),, entry date 21 July 2011.

[32]R. L. Doty, ‘Racism, Desire, and the Politics of Immigration,’ Millennium: Journal of International Studies, Vol. 28, No.3 (1999): pp. 585-606.

[33]See Doty, Racism, Desire, and the Politics of Immigration’: p. 587. The notion of new racism was first used by Martin Barker to refer to the changing nature of racism, the object of which has become culture and religion rather than colour and biological differences. See M. Barker, The New Racism (London: Junction Books, 1981).

[34]For a detailed account of the ways in which the area of “Freedom, Security and Justice” has been created by the European Union see A. Buonfino, ‘Between Unity and Plurality: The Politicization and Securitization of the Discourse of Immigration in Europe,’ New Political Science, Volume 26, No. 1 (March 2004): 23-49.

[35]Walters, ‘Security, Territory, Metagovernance’.

[36]S. Zizek, ‘For a leftist appropriation of the European legacy,’ Journal of Political Ideologies, Vol. 3, No. 1 (February 1998): pp. 63-78

[37]R. W. Bulliet, The Case for Islamo-Christian Civilisation (New York: Columbia University Press, 2004): p.12.

[38]For a detailed account of the ways in which the ‘clash of civilisations’ paradigm was revitalized in the aftermath of the September 11, see Sussex, ‘Cultures in Conflict ? Re-evaluating the ‘Clash of Civilisations’ Thesis After 9/11,’ in P. Sherman and M. Sussex (eds.). European Security After 9/11 (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2004): pp. 28-50.

[39]The Guardian, London (27 September 2001): p. 15

[40]T. Asad, Formations of the Secular: Christianity, Islam, Modernity (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2003): p.7.

[41]“President Delivers State of the Union Address”, Press Release of the Office of the Press Secretary (29 January 2002), available at

[42]Cited in G. Marranci, ‘Multiculturalism, Islam and the Clash of Civilisations Theory: rethinking Islamophobia,’ Culture and Religion, Vol. 5, No.1 (2004): p. 108.

[43]P. Fortuyn, De islamisering van onze cultuur (Uitharn: Karakter Uitgeners, 2001).

[44]C. Allen, Islamophobia (London: Ashgate, 2010): p.215.

[45]See Doty, ‘Immigration and the Politics of Security’; Huysmans, The Politics of Insecurity; Kaya, Islam, Migration and Integration; and Allen, Islamophobia.



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