Author(s) Ana Filipa da Costa Pinto
Advisor(s) Patrícia Jerónimo
Year 2013

Synopsis The phenomenon of coexistence of cultures has been placing complex challenges in terms of the development of policies that increasingly must find new ways to accommodate the specific needs of various groups, such as cultural, religious and linguistic minorities. Among the ideological models, from which derives the various policies, multiculturalism is being the subject of political speeches for its decline. In this political context, laws have been approved in order to ban the use of the Islamic veil, which may imply the questioning of rights long recognized. The issue of the headscarf is part of a wider debate about multiculturalism in Europe where many politicians say that there must be a strong effort to assimilate the religious and ethnic minorities. The concern about the Muslim community is not new. But recent events have contributed to the fostering of the fear that the inability to integrate of this community will give rise to risky situations to public safety. This situation putts an inordinate pressure on Muslims who bear the brunt of the political discourse of integration, and legislative measures that accompany it, such as laws prohibiting the concealment of the face in public space. The protection of religious diversity is inscribed in the history of the general system of protection of human rights. However, the adoption of legislative measures banning the use of religious symbols such as the full veil, demonstrate how the recognition of minority rights is not as a privilege but as a necessity.

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