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This week’s editor


Sunny Hundal is openDemocracy’s social media editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Could democracy be the ultimate antidote to terrorism? In the face of violence, how should democratic values be put into action? openDemocracy writers present their views - join the conversation in the forum to add yours.

This debate is an extension of arguments presented by openDemocracy in the run up to the International Summit on Democracy, Terrorism and Security, held in Madrid in March this year. To access the online forum discussion from this earlier period of debate, which is hosted on the Summit site, please click here.

Hizb-ut-Tahrir: the snarl behind the smile

The core fact about Hizb-ut-Tahrir is that it is a party of theocrats not democrats, says David T of Harry’s Place.

The Hizb-ut-Tahrir equation

The militant Islamist party Hizb-ut-Tahrir is to be made illegal in Britain. To avoid this fate it will have to make a cruel choice, says Ehsan Masood.

Torture: an idea for our time

The renewed attempt to normalise and justify torture is ethically wrong and practically dangerous, says the leading human rights lawyer Clive Stafford Smith. He draws on his experience with Guantánamo prisoners to advocate a better way.

Being Muslim in Britain: home truths for Abdul Wahid

The fallout of the London bomb attacks finds British-Iraqi-Muslim Huda Jawad facing a challenge on two fronts: the British government’s assault on civil liberties, but also the failure of radical Islamist groups like Hizb-ut-Tahrir to speak to her real experience and aspirations.

Tony Blair and Hizb-ut-Tahrir: 'Muslims under the bed'

Tony Blair’s plans to counter radical Islamism include a legal ban on the Hizb-ut-Tahrir party. Abdul Wahid, a member of its executive committee, responds.

Wanted: more honesty, less denial

A month after the London bomb attacks, openDemocracy’s chair Laura Sandys calls on Britain’s government to shift its policy and thinking in relation to the country’s Muslim citizens.

What happened? What changed? What now?

Two weeks after the London bombings, openDemocracy and Q-News convened a meeting at London’s Chatham House to debate the origins and consequences of the attacks and let Muslims and non-Muslims thrash out the issues.

The London bombs: Iraq or the 'rage of Islam'?

Many commentators regard the London terror attacks as Tony Blair’s payback for Britain’s role in Iraq. Sami Zubaida assesses the evidence.

The age of surveillance: a new 'dotcom boom'?

Will the era of digital networks and terrorism produce the worst of both worlds: a society of mass surveillance that increases insecurity? William Davies maps a new political-technological frontier.

Bali's message of dialogue

The tolerant, diverse Indonesian island of Bali, target of a terrorist assault in October 2002 that killed 202 people, has hosted an international, interfaith dialogue. Jan McGirk reports, and openDemocracy publishes the full text of the conference’s “Bali Declaration”.

Muslims in Britain: generations, experiences, futures

British Muslims are under a harsh spotlight following the July bomb attacks in London. Maruf Khwaja offers a sympathetic but clear-eyed view of how they are trying to make sense of a difficult predicament.

Democracy's early warning

An international democratic movement against terrorism emerged from the Madrid attacks of 2004 – it is time for world leaders to catch up, says Anthony Barnett.

Madrid, London, and beyond: don't reinvent the wheel

The lesson of the Madrid summit of March 2005 is that the tools for a democratic and effective response to terrorism are already available, says Peter R Neumann.

Terrorism, Islam, reform: thinking the unthinkable

The atrocity of 7 July in London is the latest manifestation of a rooted culture of ignorance and intolerance in the Muslim world. Only reform can save Islam from itself, says Maruf Khwaja.

The Tavistock Square Gandhi: 'war on terror' and non-violence

The London bus bomb exploded beside “peace park” where the pioneer of non-violence, Gandhi, is honoured. Vinay Lal sees in the event another violation of the “war on terror”.

Leeds footsoldiers and London bombs

“I don’t really know why those men from Beeston set off those bombs in London, but I think I know where to look for the answers”. Max Farrar draws on his fieldwork among northern England’s deprived young people to explore the deeper roots of 7/7.

How to beat terrorism: lessons of an Arab journey

Arab citizens are squeezed between authoritarian rulers, violent opposition groups and western counter-terrorism. But in their spaces of freedom, a quietly intense search for orderly change is occurring, says Rami G Khouri.

Terrorism: not who but why?

The roots of bombings in Madrid and London, Istanbul and Baghdad lie in a complex mixture of political, cultural and religious influences. Turi Munthe clears the path to a better understanding.

Tackling terror by winning hearts and minds

The decisive instrument in preventing attacks like those in London is the capacity of the human mind to imagine and implement solutions that lead to real change. Scilla Elworthy proposes a fresh way of addressing terrorism.

Civility and its discontents - or how not to think about pluralism

A globalised public sphere no longer affords the luxury of isolation, splendid or sordid, from the “other”, argues Amyn B. Sajoo, nor from the mirror it holds up to our shallow liberalism.

The gap between us: British Muslims and 7/7

Why did suicide bombers emerge from within the Muslim community of Yorkshire in northern England? Mohammed Sajid, who knows the area and the community well, investigates.

Counter-terrorism: a true popular war

Communal trust and public debate between citizens have proven to be the most formidable weapon against terrorists, writes Jim Lederman

As I write these words, a suicide terrorist's bomb has exploded barely 100 kilometres from my home. Three women are dead and more than ninety people have been wounded.

An attack on the world

The London bombings are the latest assault on a prominent global symbol, intended to emphasise the “empire’s” vulnerability. In response, the world needs a new way of thinking that combines technology and democracy, says Francesco Grillo.

After the G8 and 7/7: an age of 'democratic warming'

The conjunction of the G8 and the London bombings carries a message of democracy to the global community, says Tom Nairn.

London lives

The best response to London’s terror attacks is to stay calm and keep a steady focus on existing, vital political issues, says Mary Kaldor.

Letter from wounded London

The terror attacks in London are a moment to reaffirm democratic values, says openDemocracy editor Isabel Hilton.

(This article was first published on 7 July 2005)

Santiago is the next step

The Club de Madrid’s international summit has united pro-democracy and anti-terrorism agendas. The Community of Democracies’ meeting in Chile must sustain the momentum, says George Soros.

Terrorism and its consequences: a tale of three cities

The journey from New York via Belfast to the Madrid summit on terrorism and democracy teaches Fred Halliday, in Spain's capital, a lesson about progressive politics.

The end of the IRA

Five fearless, grieving sisters may break the back of Europe’s most successful terrorist movement, writes Robin Wilson in Northern Ireland

The Madrid Call

In the week of the Madrid summit on democracy and terrorism, two global citizens say that talking is not enough.

A humane Muslim future

Islam can move beyond its association with oppression and violence by being true to itself and its past, says Fareena Alam.

The thirty-year war on terror

In a provocative argument, Dyab Abou Jahjah, the leader of the Arab European League, turns the tables in the discussion on the war on terror.

The terrorist exception: a response to Roger Scruton

Roger Scruton’s view of terrorism as a manifestation of hatred and resentment can neither explain nor address its precise causes, says Karin von Hippel.

The right side of the mirror

Pere Vilanova’s personal journey includes family exile, underground activism in Franco’s Spain, and the murder of friends by terrorists. He reflects on its lessons for a just response to violence.

War on terror or war on justice?

Governments use the threat of terrorism to diminish the liberties of the citizen. Justice campaigners seek to defend them. From Magna Carta to Guantànamo, Geoffrey Bindman maps the centuries-long struggle for law and liberty.
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