Date of Award

Spring 5-4-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

International Affairs

Abstract

Secularism, although linked with ideals of democracy and equality, does not always result in the equal, treatment by the government and under the law, of all religious peoples. There are many types of secularism, but the three types examined in this paper are hard secularism, moderate secularism, and soft secularism. Hard secularism discourages religious visibility and attempts to keep religion in the private sphere. Soft secularism values religious visibility and encourages religious visibility, pushing religion to enter the public sphere. Moderate secularism takes a neutral stance, not encouraging religion to enter the public sphere, nor confining religion to the private sphere. Veiled Muslim women are treated are affected by hard, moderate, and soft secularism differently. However, their treatment is not only affected by the type of secularism employed in a state, but also the factors that lead to the state adopting their type of secularism. These factors include the religious history of the state, the number and presence of religious and ethnic groups in the state, and the historical exposure to Islam and veiled Muslim women. The case studies used in this paper will be France, India, and the United States.

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