Toleration of Religious Diversity in a Small Island State
by Mary Darmanin (University of Malta)
This article explores individual and institutional discursive regimes of toleration in Malta, a small new ‘host’ EU member state with a Roman Catholic ethnic religion. With new immigrant populations, Maltese schools have become reluctant sites of multiculture. The state is currently under pressure to move from toleration to accommodation and formal equality. However, Maltese Catholic nationals respond to religious ‘Others’ with different classes of tolerance, sometimes even with intolerance. This lack of acceptance by Catholic nationals raises specific political dilemmas for institutional actors, which will be discussed in relation to the provision of religious education in schools. Given this context, the article asks, what processes could lead to participative equality in reluctant sites of multiculture? Taking a pragmatic approach, sensitive to context and temporality with regard to discourses of toleration, this article argues that tolerance, especially democratic institutional pluralism that supports respectful engagement with and participation of religious ‘Others’ in public institutions, creates spaces for social relationships and social bonds to flourish between majority and minority citizens. These bonds are required to achieve ‘deep equality’.
Keywords: toleration, religious recognition, democratic institutional pluralism, ethnicity, Malta
Suggested bibliographic reference for this article:
Darmanin, M. (2015). Toleration of Religious Diversity in a Small Island State. New Diversities, 17(1), 27-46. Retrieved June 23, 2017, from http://newdiversities.mmg.mpg.de/?page_id=1656
New Diversities • Volume 17, No. 1, 2015