Welcoming Islam: American Law, Citizenship, andMinority Religions Open Access

Tauscher, Heidi M. (2008)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/f4752h23w?locale=en


This dissertation examines Muslims as the latest in a long line of minority religious communities that have legally challenged existing U.S. social practices and thereby, broadened American citizenship understandings. This interdisciplinary study constitutes a creative investigation of interactions between religious minority challenges, cultural negotiations, legislative reactions, U.S. Supreme Court decisions, and communal interpretations which have allowed the diverse Abrahamic faiths access to U.S. citizenship. In the process, it explores the unfolding elements and central aims of U.S. citizenship emphasizing the implications for Islam in the United States. From theoretical analysis of the historic record, a new model of citizenship is developed and a public policy of welcome is advocated.

Current Muslim American legal challenges to national security policy are placed within the context of key U.S. Supreme Court cases addressing Protestant Evangelical, Roman Catholic, and Orthodox Jewish adaptations to the United States. Attention is paid to the Supreme Court's role in our pluralistic, secular society as both mediator of legal conflicts and arbiter of social values. Then, the normative weight of public reaction is examined. These events reveal the complex interactions and intersecting meanings of the distinct citizenship ideals currently advocated by John Rawls, Michael Walzer, Alasdair MacIntyre, Iris Marion Young, William Kymlicka, and Seyla Benhabib. It is the contention of the author that American ideals of citizenship can integrate and balance all of these meanings. Through theoretical review of historic legal events, a unique model of unfolding American citizenship is developed. It relates the elements of rights, duty, membership, and participation to U.S. policies both of conforming assimilation and empowering integration. In conclusion, the author advocates a public policy of welcoming Muslim Americans which embraces their diversity and undergirds local interfaith efforts. Such policy is proposed to motivate Muslim American allegiance, encourage civic friendship, and further the common good.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Introduction

I. Interdisciplinary Underpinnings

A. Interactions between Religious Ethics & Political Norms

B. Interaction between American Law, Citizenship & Liberty of Conscience

C. Sociology of Minority Religious Adaptations & American Reception

II. Selection of Subject Material

A. Choice of Minority Religious Cases

B. Selection of Political Philosophers

C. Working Definitions & Understandings

III. Dissertation Framework

A. Descriptive Historic Narrative

B. Normative Analysis

IV. Methodology & Models

V. Contribution to Citizenship & Religious Studies

VI. Dissertation Postulate

Chapter 2: A Methodology of Citizenship

A. New Model of Citizenship

(1) The Citizenship Square: A Two Dimensional Model with Four Intersecting Axes

(a) First Axis: Individual Rights (The Founders, Liberal Jurists & John Rawls)

(b) Second Axis: Communal Duties (Michael Walzer & Alasdair MacIntyre)

(c) Third Axis: Membership (Iris Marion Young & William Kymlicka)

(d) Fourth Axis: Active Participation (Seyla Benhabib)

(e) Two-Dimensional Interaction Among the Four Axes of Citizenship

(2) Three Dimensional Citizenship: Six Intersecting Elemental Planes

(3) The Fourth Dimension: The Time Continuum

B. Concluding Thoughts Concerning the Fourth Dimensional Citizenship Model

About this Dissertation

Rights statement
  • Permission granted by the author to include this thesis or dissertation in this repository. All rights reserved by the author. Please contact the author for information regarding the reproduction and use of this thesis or dissertation.
Subfield / Discipline
  • English
Research Field
Committee Chair / Thesis Advisor
Committee Members
Last modified

Primary PDF

Supplemental Files