Pluralism In Society

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Despite how strongly the fabric of the social order appears at first glance, its true nature is fragile. Various statuses and categorizations of society constantly clash with one another and bring up competing interests. Religion has served as one of these conflicting statuses for a good portion of the common era and continues to be a major divisive force in politics and society more broadly. Various religions undertake various goals, and, often, such goals interfere with the goals of another religion. At face value, one might presume these differences to be as simple as “Jew versus Muslim” or “Christian versus Muslim;” the reality, though, is that such issues are deeply engrained within the sociopolitical sphere. As a result, religion has…show more content…
Namely, the state of Senegal seemingly provides an objection to this premise. Senegalese culture has been largely welcoming and tolerant of other groups, and political leader have embraced Islam as a form of moderation, using it to establish rule of law. The first president was a Westernized Catholic who spoke French and was married to a white Frenchwoman. Thurston writes that the “marabouts,” or the religious leaders in Senegal were less fundamental than those in Saudi Arabia. They also have had a more positive relationship with the state. Stefan, however, paints a different picture, as though it were an accident in Senegalese history. The Catholic president embraced his faith but also emphasized Muslim relationships, whose own leaders responded in a supportive way. Most of the Muslim leaders told their followers to vote for the Christian even when Sangor was challenged in an election by a Muslim. Despite this convincing evidence, it is important to note that Senegal is one outlier in what seems to be a trend of pluralism threatening the social order. Moreover, to conclude that pluralism has been a “resource” for Senegal is a stretch; the religious diversity does not seem to have strengthened the country in many ways aside from outrightly preventing religious warfare. Thurston maintains that the “concrete social, economic, and political factors have made co-existence of Islam and democracy possible in Senegal” (1). Again, though, Senegal is an outlier in the aforementioned trend, and many countries do not experience the same historical precedents that Senegal has (i.e., political leaders giving a voice to Islamic groups). This anecdote says that leadership matters, and the qualities of the Senegalese leaders to be accepting of religions different from their own is an
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