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Photo: “Aldgate east” by Roberto Trombetta licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0. Hue modified from the original

Spektorowski, Alberto, and Daphna Elfersy. From Multiculturalism to Democratic Discrimination: The Challenge of Islam and the Re-Emergence of Europe’s Nationalism. University of Michigan Press, 2020.


The effect of Islam on Western Europe has been profound. Spektorowski and Elfersy argue that it has transformed European democratic values by inspiring an ultra-liberalism that now faces an ultra-conservative backlash. Questions of what to do about Muslim immigration, how to deal with burqas, how to deal with gender politics, have all been influenced by western democracies’ grappling with ideas of inclusion and most recently, exclusion. This book examines those forces and ultimately sees, not an unbridgeable gap, but a future in which Islam and European democracies are compatible, rich, and evolving.

Table of contents

  • Introduction: Civic Ideals and Muslim Integration Liberalism Discriminatory Enlightenment and Cultural Recognition
  • Neither Irreconcilable nor Recognizable: Old and New Fears The Roots of Mistrust
  • United Kingdom: The Quest for Britishness and State-Centered Multiculturalism
  • The Netherlands: From Religious Toleration to Fortified Secularity
  • France: The End of French Republicanism? Vive la République
  • Conclusion

The Illiberalism Studies Program studies the different faces of illiberal politics and thought in today’s world, taking into account the diversity of their cultural context, their intellectual genealogy, the sociology of their popular support, and their implications on the international scene.