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Category Archives: Religion & Secularism

A New Review of An-Na‛im’s “Islam and the Secular State”

Perry Dane, Professor of Law at the Rutgers School of Law, has posted a new review of Abduallah Ahmad An-Na’imi’s important book, Islam and the Secular State: Negotiation the Future of Sharia (2009) . An excerpt: Abduallahi Ahmed An-Na‛im’s ‘Islam and the Secular State’ is a complex, even unruly, book whose many strands I can only begin to tease out ...

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Olivier Roy on Ben Laden’s Death

He writes at New Statesman: Osama Bin Laden was already dead before the Americans attacked his compound in Abbottabad – politically, at least. The political death of al-Qaeda occurred on 17 December 2010 at Sidi Bouzid in Tunisia when the street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi set himself alight. Bouazizi’s suicide, whatever its personal motivation, was a political event, but this suicide ...

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al-Tahtawi and the Arab Wave

In a long piece at National Interest, Eugene Rogan explains how the search for democratic government in the Middle East is actually older than what is widely assumed. He points to the history of al-Tahtavi: The person who initiated the discussion of constitutionalism in the Arab world was a young Muslim cleric named Rifa’a Rafi’ al-Tahtawi. Al-Tahtawi left Egypt in ...

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“Who Defines Islam?”

Shirin Ebadi speaks with Deniz Kandiyoti on the women’s interpretation of religious text: It is quite natural that the discourse of the ulama is a paternalistic discourse, but we have to be equipped with the same weapons to be able to prove that Islam can be something different. They may have political power and reject women’s interpretations, but bear that ...

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Seyla Benhabib on Arab Spring

Seyla Benhabib on Arab Spring

Seyla Benhabib, Professor of Philosophy and political sciences at Yale University joins the debate on the ongoing democratic uprising in the Arab world and the possible democratic co-existence between religion and state in the muslim societies with a long piece at Public Sphere Forum. She argues against pessimism:   We know that the spring of revolutions is followed by the ...

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Religion and Support for Democracy

Eduard Bomhoff and Mary Gu have sent a research paper at SSRN, comparing the support for democracy between Muslim and Catholic countries. The abstract: This paper presents a cross-country empirical analysis of the relationship between religion and political attitudes among the Catholic and Muslim publics, using the most recent data from the World Values Survey (WVS). We find that public ...

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José Casanova on “The Secular, Secularizations, and Secularisms”

José Casanova on “The Secular, Secularizations, and Secularisms”

Jose Casanova, Professor of Sociology at Georgetown University, speaks on “The Secular, Secularizations, and Secularisms,” on September 15, 2010. Professor Adam Seligman of Boston University’s Institute for Culture, Religion & World Affairs (CURA) responds. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=usANWTEPQWY#] [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UsNo9q-Zk5E] [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7oxp9sHNuDc]

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Mirsepassi on Secularism

Ali Mirsepassi joins the debate following Aramesh Dustdar’s open letter to Jürgen Habermas in a nice, highly recommended, piece at Jadaliyya. Here is an excerpt: European secularism concerned the creation of institutions for moderating and controlling social conflict in non-violent modes, given an understanding of religious difference at the core of uncontrolled political violence. Within each national context, for example France, ...

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Charles Taylor on “Solidarity in a Pluralist Age”

The canadian philosopher, Charles Taylor writes a piece at Project-Syndicate on the question of solidarity in the contemporary pluralistic societies: Historically, the political ethic of confessional societies has been grounded in a single, basic foundation. In Europe, various kinds of laïque societies have tried to invent themselves out of the ruins of the Christian foundation, but they have made the ...

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Conference: “Future of Secularism and Public Role of Religion in Iran”

Saturday, March 27, 2010 Panel One: The Concept of Secularism and its Western Permutations 1. Mehrzad Boroujerdi (Syracuse University) Secularism and International Relations: The State of Play 2. Nader Hashemi (University of Denver) Rethinking Secularism Across the Islam-West Divide: The Case of Iran in Comparative Perspective 3. Ali Mirsepassi (New York University) Ways of Being in the World: Religion and ...

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