ABSTRACT

This chapter draws on in-depth interviews with community leaders in the City of St Denis, Paris and the City of Whittlesea, Melbourne, both ethnically, diverse suburban areas that continue to attract new migrants from overseas. Conversations with Muslim community leaders in St Denis and City of Whittlesea show that grassroots initiatives are important in challenging prevailing societal attitudes that homogenise national identity and racialise Islam. The chapter builds on some understandings of active citizenship to empirically and theoretically further develop the concept of social inclusion, a buzz word in policy circles traditionally underpinned by communitarian ideals that reproduce normative assumptions of social behavior. Although social inclusion has become a buzz word in policy circles in both cities, the effects are limited if communitarian ideals, social pathological discourses, and cultural normalisation denies ethno-religious difference. The focus on diverse voices of community leaders has implications for national and local policy agendas that focus on inclusion and cultural integration in Australia and France.