This week's editor

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Adam Ramsay is co-editor of OurKingdom.

On 9/11 the West woke up to its ignorance of Islam and the state of Muslim public opinion - in the Middle East and the diaspora. This debate was our response. Initiated by London’s Goethe Institute, European cultural institutes, in conjunction with openDemocracy, have collaborated in a series of live debates featuring leading scholars of Islam from Europe and beyond on the relationship -historical, theological, social and political.

Racism: troubling truths

Fighting racism in Europe is not easy when Europe has two hands tied behind its back—debilitated by neo-liberal policies on the one hand and the securitisation of minorities on the other.

Our fallible prophet

Rational reflection and reasoning should not be a threat to religion. Drawing on religious texts, the author argues Muslims should embrace the fallibility of the prophet, and so free themselves of the shackles of history and paralyzing dogmas.

Turkey as a test case in the multipolar post-Cold War order

Turkey has frequently been cited as a model for other countries in the Middle East currently undergoing an "Arab Spring." While there are similarities among the countries of the Middle East, Turkey has had a distinct trajectory that does not make it an appropriate model.

Norway's trial, and a democratic lesson

The legal procedure in the case of Anders Behring Breivik, the perpetrator of the Norwegian massacre of July 2011, is a case-study of democratic values - in particular, that democracy is not a "what" but a "how", says Thomas Hylland Eriksen.

Norway's atrocity: a story of non-impact

The immediate reactions to the terrorist attack in Oslo in July 2011 were both politicised and inaccurate. The opening of the perpetrator's trial nine months later finds leading ideological positions still full of evasion, says Cas Mudde.

British Muslims and local democracy: after Bradford

A by-election earthquake in the post-industrial northern English city of Bradford saw a high-profile politician with a strong appeal among disaffected urban Muslims win an overwhelming victory. This "Bradford spring" reflects the changing attitudes and concerns of Muslim voters in a democracy that many feel does not properly represent them, says Parveen Akhtar.

Iran in the straits?

How are recent events in Iran to be interpreted? History has a lot to teach us, argues David Madden

Europe beyond Utøya: addressing a crisis

The slaughter of citizens in Norway in July 2011 was more than the act of an individual: it emerged from a political and intellectual atmosphere that now pervades European public life. This deeper reality must be understood and addressed if Europe is to save itself by living up to its own ideals, says Umut Özkirimli.

The net of hatred: after Utøya

The public debate in Norway following the massacre of 22 July 2011 is taking shape. A key focus is the obsessional and hate-filled language that pervades and dominates online discussion, says Thomas Hylland Eriksen.

Why let facts ruin the story? Norwegian comments on US coverage of the Norway terror

Instead of getting the facts, the US media seemed most concerned making reality fit their pre-fabricated narrative.

Norway's atrocity: the mental tunnel

The deadly attacks in Norway are fuelling debate about multiculturalism, immigration, security and radicalisation. But more attention must also be paid to the behaviours and attitudes that underlie extreme political violence, says Sara Silvestri.

Norway’s tragedy: contexts and consequences

The atrocities inflicted on Norwegian society by a far-right activist leave the country shocked and in mourning. They will have lasting effects even if their exact character is hard to foresee, says Thomas Hylland Eriksen.

The London bombs, five years on: a digest

The coordinated bomb-attacks on London’s transport network on 7 July 2005 (“7/7”) left dozens dead and hundreds wounded, and marked the lives of millions in the city and beyond. The political, intellectual and security issues raised by the event were extensively discussed on openDemocracy in the ensuing months. A retrospect of unforgettable days, by David Hayes.

(This article was first published on 7 July 2010)

Geert Wilders and Dutch democracy

A court in the Netherlands has found the influential politician Geert Wilders innocent of charges of fomenting hatred and discrimination against Muslims. The decision is a challenge both to the rule of law and to Dutch politicians, says Cas Mudde. 

Moderate secularism: a European conception

The question of religion’s place in modern secular societies is intellectually contested and politically divisive. Here, the scholar Tariq Modood argues that European experience and institutional development can favour an accommodative model that respects religion yet goes beyond both toleration and even civic recognition. This moderate secularism, he says, meets the test of core democratic values while avoiding the dangers that fear-induced exclusion of religion from the public sphere would entail.

France, Europe, and the Arab maelstrom

An Arab world in transformation has found France’s elite shamed by its links with the old order. A control-freak president with base political instincts offers little hope for a better policy, says Patrice de Beer.

Arab insurgencies, women in transition

The waves of change in the Arab world have women at the centre. But how will they fare as revolt turns towards a new political and social settlement? Rada Ivekovic considers the emerging balance.

Postmodern Islam and the Arab revolts

The emancipatory movements in the Arab world represent an inner shift in the self-understanding of Islam - one that promises to overcome an era of false polarities and dogmas, says Arshin Adib-Moghaddam.  

The “Islam” drumbeat: an Orwellian story

A reductive and tendentious portrayal of Islam and its followers is spreading across Europe and America. It is all too reminiscent of the chilling world imagined by George Orwell, says Arshin Adib-Moghaddam

The intolerance of the tolerant

The advance of populist anti-Islamic forces in the liberal bastions of northern Europe - Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden - appears to reflect a betrayal of these societies’ renowned social tolerance. But there is a more subtle logic at work, says Cas Mudde.  

Europe's Muslims: burqa laws, women's lives

Several European states - France, Italy, Belgium and Britain among them - are involved in legal, social or political disputes over the dress-codes of Muslim women. A detailed and alert survey of the variegated experiences and attitudes involved is the best way to understand a complex issue, says Sara Silvestri.

The Geert Wilders enigma

The high-profile Dutch politician Geert Wilders is closer to mainstream centre-right politics in the Netherlands than his hardline rhetoric about Islam might suggest, says Cas Mudde.

An east London election: politics and coercion

The dubious tactics used by some party campaigners in Britain’s general election need to be examined as part of a wider fraud inquiry, says Delwar Hussain.

France's other worlds: burqa and abyss

The degrading realities of France’s survivalist economy put the country’s latest debate about Islamic apparel into perspective, says Patrice de Beer.

France: identity in question

A "great debate" over French national identity is compromised by its politicised character and exclusionary discourse, says Patrice de Beer.
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