“The term “Reasonable Accommodation” has emerged in the last decade as a major innovation in the legal and political culture of liberal democratic nation states. Facing growing ethnic and cultural diversity, resulting from migrations that transformed their socio-demographic maps, liberal societies confront the imperative of accommodating minorities that are ambivalent about integration into the “national culture”… Support for modifying once sanctioned universal Enlightenment (and nationalist) principles in favor of multicultural accommodation has been gathering across the political spectrum.” —– from the project description for the year-long series “Reasonable Accommodations?”: Minorities in Globalized Nation States
by JULIE POUCHER HARBIN, EDITOR, ISLAMiCommentary on JANUARY 26, 2015:
What is the history of religious tolerance in the U.S. and Canada and what can be learned from their examples? This was the jumping-off point for a timely one-day colloquium at Duke University at the end of last semester on Reasonable Accommodations and Minority Religious Freedom in the US & Canada.
The colloquium was part of a larger project — “Reasonable Accommodations?”: Minorities in Globalized Nation States — aimed at exploring religious diversity and minority religious freedoms in different regions of the world and directed by the Council for European Studies in collaboration with the Council for North American Studies, the Duke Islamic Studies Center, the Kenan Institute for Ethics, and the Center for Jewish Studies at Duke University (all at Duke University).
“What do nation states and minorities, liberal majorities and religious communities, owe each other? How can universal enlightenment principles, such as those underlying human rights, be negotiated with multiculturalism and communal rights?” These are the kinds of political and legal questions being raised throughout Europe and North America today.
“Reasonable accommodations have been for us, from the beginning a global issue,” said project co-director and chair of the Council for European Studies Malachi Hacohen. “What we earlier attempted to do (in other sessions) was to learn from non-European and non-North American models for the future of European nation states, but we cannot ignore that throughout the late modern era both European countries and North American countries have been especially powerful, having advanced their own global agenda of reasonable accommodations.”