National identity and liberal democracy are recurrent themes in debates about Muslim minorities in the West. Britain is no exception, with politicians responding to claims about Muslims' lack of integration by mandating the promotion of 'fundamental British values' including 'democracy' and 'individual liberty'. This book engages with both these themes, addressing the lack of understanding about the character of British Islam and its relationship to the liberal state. It charts a gradual but decisive shift in British institutions concerned with Islamic education, Islamic law and Muslim representation since Muslims settled in the UK in large numbers in the 1950s. Based on empirical research including interviews undertaken over a ten-year period with Muslims, and analysis of public events organized by Islamic institutions, Stephen Jones challenges claims about the isolation of British Islamic organizations and shows that they have decisively shaped themselves around British public and institutional norms. He argues that this amounts to the building of a distinctive 'British Islam'. Using this narrative, the book makes the case for a variety of liberalism that is open to the expression of religious arguments in public and to associations between religious groups and the state.It also offers a powerful challenge to claims about the insularity of British Islamic institutions by showing how the national orientation of Islam called for by British policymakers is, in fact, already happening. The book uses this evidence to argue that the incorporation of Muslim minorities enables democratic renewal, with national identification having a positive impact on cultural minorities and political dissent.
Reformulating a problem of both constitutionalism and liberalism discussed in the works of Ernst-Wolfgang Böckenförde, Hannah Arendt, and Alexis de Tocqueville, the book examines one generally overlooked manifestation of constitutionalism: the role of the courts in shaping democratic politics and the inter-relationship between citizens and state. Drawing on constitutional history, law, and political theory, David Miles argues that constitutionalism cannot be seen merely as an institutional mechanism to limit government, as it also has a crucial civic dimension upon which the liberal state depends. Utilising the works of Böckenförde, Arendt, and Tocqueville, constitutionalism is conceived in the book as part of a broader system of communal norms which sustains representative democracy and liberalism. Through an analysis of judicial interventions in the electoral processes of the United States and Germany, Miles explores the role of civil society actors in transforming constitutionalism through legal challenges to oligarchical or exclusionary practices. He assesses how, in adjudicating these cases, the US Supreme Court and the German Constitutional Court have mediated the tension between threats to stability and the imperative of democratic renewal. Democracy, the Courts, and the Liberal State will be of interest to scholars, students, and practitioners interested in comparative politics, political theory, and constitutional law and history.