Seminars & Events
Seminar: Mike Medeiros – Explaining Support for a Ban on Religious Symbols
Explaining Support for a Ban on Religious Symbols
The growing presence of non-Western religious symbols in Western societies has sparked debates on religious accommodations in many countries. This deliberation has been particularly heated in Quebec. With a strong increase in immigrants from non-Christian cultures – mostly Muslims – over the past two decades, the Canadian province has had issues of integration and reasonable accommodations become politically prominent. Politicians have been key figures in shaping these debates. Political elites from different political movements have regularly proposed to ban – in one form or another – the wearing of religious symbols. Seeing as such proposals are controversial, impact the lives of religious minorities and are contrary to the tradition of Canadian (and Quebec) liberalism, we seek to understand the factors that influence support or opposition to a ban on the wearing of religious symbols.
To do so, we administer a survey experiment to candidates in the 2017 province-wide Quebec municipal elections. Specifically, the study tests whether candidates are more or less supportive of restricting religious symbols when they are primed to think of either a compassionate argument or a popular support argument. The study therefore employs a framework to better understand the decision-making process among political elites regarding a socially sensitive issue.