Fair governance and Islamoexploria: the interaction of government administrators and the marginalized




Khorramipour, Masoumeh

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This study addresses the concept of fair governance based on an empirical study with marginalized groups, primarily Muslims, and their interaction with government agencies as its salient locus of investigation. Employing the research method of in-depth interviewing, I present a qualitative analysis of 35 semi-structured interviews with Muslims and government administrators. The methodological framework based on which these interviews are interpreted is rooted in the tradition of social constructivism as manifested in the grounded theory perspective of Charmaz. My examination of the hitherto unspoken political visions of the study participants and their shared perspectives offers pragmatic solutions to create greater equity and fairer inclusion of the marginalized in civic and political dialogues and in the administrative practice of government. Remarkably, the cultural changes towards justice and inclusion in the Government of British Columbia manifest that fair government is committed to creating a fundamental transformation in favour of marginalized groups. I find the most promising approach for such transformation occurs where bottom up and dynamic approaches of civil society are aligned with top down approaches of government to justice. The findings suggest that fair governance enhances its functionality and capacity through reflecting universal universalism in its policies and practices, heartening public spirituality and moving towards a more humane modernity rather than the extant western model of modernity. Thus, fair governance calls for diversity in expression of religious identity and challenges the mistaken images of Muslim women. Subsequently, fair government welcomes female religious actors, who act upon religious values, to its administration and respects their choice of clothing encompassing the scarf. Fair government, at all levels, ameliorates the ethical standards of its employees and employs authentic leaders, who act in a virtuous manner, care about employees’ deeply held values, and implement direct communication with staff. Such government supports legislative and constitutional reforms to consider a different outlook of the marginalized on political and social concerns, respects religious practices, honours Muslims’ identity and interpretation of life, and supports individuals who aim to improve humanity in Canada and its occupational settings. Rethinking Islamophobia in the context of the distinct need of government administrators for the institutional education about Islam, as a key finding of the study, depicts the emergence of “Islamoexploria”, as a new expression, which I coin. In my study, there is ample evidence to suggest that a sample of government administrators in British Columbia is in the age of post Islamophobia since they, as pioneers, have passed the stage of Islamophobia and entered a new era of “Islamoexploria”. Thus, they have produced the profound socio-cultural changes towards understanding Islam by shifting from fear of, ostensibly, the unknown to knowledge about the unknown and to approaches that are more sympathetic to Muslims. This finding suggests that fair government facilitates the journey from western Islamophobia, a demonstration of old racism, to “Islamoexploria”, a contemporary thirst for knowledge about Islam. Concurrently, Muslims remain responsible to contribute to fairness at large by role modeling their religious values, which greatly promote justice, compassionate attitudes, and humanitarian actions.



Fair governance- concept of fair governance, Islamophobia- demonstration of old racism versus Islamoexploria- a contemporary thirst for knowledge about Islam, Fair government, Marginalized Muslims- marginalized religious minorities, Political visions of Muslim civil society and government administrators, Interaction of government administrators and the marginalized, Equity, equality, inclusion and diversity, Human rights and religious freedom, Islam- worldview and ideology of Islam, Muslims’ religious identity, sense of belonging, signs, practices and life style, Images of Muslim women- Muslim females as religious actors with hejab-hijab including the scarf in fair government, Muslims’ responsibilities and attitudes towards justice, Important role of education about religion and human rights in fair government, Best practices of government, Leadership in government, Terminology of government, Methods of consultation and challenges of government, Government strategies for raising security and prosperity of the marginalized including Muslims, Mutual expectations and joint attempts of government administrators with the marginalized, Cultural changes towards justice and inclusion in the Government of British Columbia, Social justice, political justice, human rights, universal universalism in policies and practices, public spirituality and a more humane modernity in fair governance, Policy- oriented recommendations to all levels of government in Canada, Pragmatic solutions to enhance functionality and capacity of fair governance, Greater equity and fairer inclusion of the marginalized in civic and political dialogues and in the administrative practice of government