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Religions 2013, 4(3), 423-442; doi:10.3390/rel4030423
Article

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

Religious Studies Department, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, NL A1C 5S7, Canada
Received: 10 July 2013 / Revised: 10 September 2013 / Accepted: 12 September 2013 / Published: 17 September 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Islam, Immigration, and Identity)
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Abstract

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.
Keywords: “Sharia Debate”; faith-based arbitration; representation; orthodoxy; advocacy; public relations; Muslims; Ontario; Canada “Sharia Debate”; faith-based arbitration; representation; orthodoxy; advocacy; public relations; Muslims; Ontario; Canada
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).
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Selby, J.A. Promoting the Everyday: Pro-Sharia Advocacy and Public Relations in Ontario, Canada’s “Sharia Debate” . Religions 2013, 4, 423-442.

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