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SOSC 2350 Final: Essay #5

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Social Science
SOSC 2350
Dena Demos

Essay 5: Using either the example of hate crimes (and the readings of Jenness and Jacobs Potter) or the example of the building of mosques (and the reading by Isin and Siemiatycki), discuss the struggle and recognition for a type of legal identity that is structured upon legal recognition, claimsmaking and inclusive citizenship. Legal identity is defined as having the legal standing in the eyes of the law. In the article by Isin and Siemiatycki, called Making Space for Mosques, the legal identity of the Muslim community is assumed to have the identity of immigrants. The way in which legal identity is exercised is through formal and informal strategies of citizenship. Informal citizenship is the practice of immigrants that claim public space as their own to foster the formation of new group identities. For example, street parades, and media presence. Whereas formal citizenship is defined being a membership of a nationstate, which includes activities, such as voting. In this paper, I will explore how legal identities and citizenship are defined through claims to the use of public space. Drawing upon the works of Isin and Siemiatycki, I will argue that struggles to legal recognition and citizenship revolve around racialized images and xenophobia. Specifically, I will focus on how these struggles are subverted and resisted through claims to inclusivity and active citizenship. In the article by Isin and Siemiatycki it questions whether Muslim communities and racialized minorities can exercise their right to, informal or formal, citizenship through the citys use of space, such as the construction of mosques. As well as recognizing whether the effects of these struggles pose a threat to the Muslim communitys legal identity. For example, Muslim groups make up a large percentage of the immigrants after the amalgamation in 1998. The Muslims in Toronto occupy a marginal and racialized position in societys social space. Thus, Mosque building serves as a primary factor for inclusive citizenship, which is defined as everyone is equally deserving of the rights attributed with citizenship. Another example of the way the Muslim community exercises and promotes their legal identity and recognition is through their culture and religion. In 1995, several hundred Muslim individuals stormed out of East York Council due to a racist vote. This was because the Toronto Municipal Council rejected a proposal to establish a mosque as it was 26 short of the required 130 spaces. Due to this rejection, it prevented Muslim communities from accessing their right religious freedom. The East York Council reversed an earlier planning committee decision, which approved the mosque in a five to four decision. However, three months later, the Mosque was obstructed by a six to three council vote on grounds that insufficient parking was made available. However, four other churches in East York succeeded in gaining exemptions from similar parking requirements. In 1996, the East York Council finally approved the mosque after the Islamic Society of Toronto agreed to reduce sites worship space and demolish factory for added parking. In addition, citizenship is not only used as a form of legal status but also as a form of participation, which has eluded many members of racialized groups, and immigrants that have become subjects of integration and assimilation. The presence of Muslim groups challenging established norms of citizenship through symbolic struggles, such as
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