Policy Discourses on Mosques in the Netherlands 1980–2002: Contested Constructions

Maussen, Marcel
April 2004
Ethical Theory & Moral Practice;Apr2004, Vol. 7 Issue 2, p147
Academic Journal
The establishment of mosques is an incentive for public discussions on Islam and the presence of Muslims in Western European societies. This article critically reconstructs Public Policy discourses on mosque establishment in the Dutch city of Rotterdam. It shows how urban-planning discourses, and their specific frames, which came to dominate mosque establishment as a policy issue in Rotterdam from the 1980s onwards, created their own set of meanings. The article analyses these discourses in terms of their enabling and constraining roles during a period in which local authorities became more involved in the improvement and placement of new mosques in the Rotterdam area. On the one hand, the urban renewal framework allowed for a substantial improvement in the housing of Islamic religious and cultural practice. On the other hand, urban planning policy discursive practices gave less attention to issues such as visibility and presence that are now at the heart of the heated debates about Muslim populations in Dutch society. More recent discussions on the aesthetics and location of mosques in Rotterdam illustrate how these dominant discourses are not only contestable but are also being contested from all quarters.


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