Invoking the Secular: Gendered Delineations of Muslim Belonging in Switzerland


Keywords: secularism, gender, religion and media, national belonging, Islam, Discourse Theory, Switzerland


In contemporary public discourses across Europe, concepts of religion and secularity are drawn on in delineations of national ‘selfs’ and acceptable Muslim positionalities. Based on six Swiss-German media outputs discussing Islam in Switzerland in 2016, I argue that concepts of the ‘secular’ as progressive and the ‘religious’ as potentially dangerous, disruptive and as currently arriving from the outside, shape images of national identity and belonging in Switzerland. Analyzing the entanglements of these images with gendered issues, such as gender equality as tied to ‘secular’, male (sexual) violence and the oppression of women as inherently ‘religious’ and particularly Muslim, I illustrate the specific positionalities that mark the fault line between acceptable and unacceptable Muslimness. In this context, the joint declaration of the group Secular Muslims is introduced as an example of how gender-specific views associated with current normative notions of the ‘secular’ are invoked to declare belonging to German-speaking Europe.


How to Cite
Aeschbach, M. (2020). Invoking the Secular: Gendered Delineations of Muslim Belonging in Switzerland. Entangled Religions, 11(1).