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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.

Towards the real al-Qaida

The 9/11 attacks catapulted the al-Qaida to global attention. What is its condition today, and do Osama Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri still exercise control? Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou assesses a movement in flux.

The case for pre-emption: Alan M Dershowitz reviewed

Alan Dershowitz's advocacy of new rules to codify pre-emptive state attacks in the era of "war on terror" is partisan sophistry with chilling historical echoes, says Neal Ascherson.

(This article was first published on 18 May 2006)

Scotland’s nationalist-Muslim embrace

Scotland's establishment has responded to an abortive terrorist operation by reaffirming support for the country's Muslim minority. The silences as well as the words are politically significant, says Tom Gallagher.

Bologna's lesson for London

The northern Italian city of Bologna, hit by terrorists in August 1980, memorialised as well as mourned. London could take heart from its response, says Geoff Andrews.

(This article was first published on 2 August 2005)

The militant Islamist call and its echo

The seductions of militant Islamist rhetoric on the net need to be met by an appeal to reason founded in learned Islamic and democratic ideas, says Johnny Ryan.

A prescription for terror

A substantial number of perpetrators of terrorism are products of a scientific education. Debora MacKenzie asks whether there is a connection and how deep it might go.

Islamism and war: the demographics of rage

Why are so many Canadian and British soldiers dying in Afghanistan? The answer lies not in ideology but in demography, argues Gunnar Heinsohn.

Yemen: murder in Arabia Felix

Yemen tends to be propelled into the media spotlight only with such incidents as the bombing of the USS Cole in October 2000 or the killing of seven Spanish tourists in July 2007. But its modern political history deserves to be more widely known on its own account, says Fred Halliday.

"Terror doctors": anatomy of a void concept

How can saviours of life become takers? In the wake of the al-Qaida terror plot involving British-based health professionals, Michel Thieren explores the history and idea of the "evil doctor".

The car-bomb: terror’s globalisation

A tactic born of political weakness has the power to level the terms of "asymmetrical warfare", says Sajid Huq.

Terrorism: in search of the definite article

The absence of a shared international definition of one of the most toxic words in the political lexicon handicaps efforts to understand the reality behind the term, says Charles Townshend.

"The Islamist": a radical journey

Ed Husain’s political and intellectual trajectory reveals much about the seductions of dogma, says Tahir Abbas.

Multiculturalism and citizenship: responses to Tariq Modood

Tariq Modood’s new book and openDemocracy essay argues that a developed multiculturalism can incorporate the recent focus on Muslim experience and national identity to enrich democratic citizenship. openDemocracy writers engage with his approach.

Multiculturalism, citizenship and national identity

The idea of multiculturalism faces intense criticism from voices who blame it for accentuating social division, reinforcing Muslim separateness and undermining national identity. But a developed view of multiculturalism can complement democratic citizenship and nation-building, says Tariq Modood.

Islam, religion and ideology

The argument made by Meghnad Desai for the confinement of religion to the private sphere does not take account of the dynamics of modern Islamic belief, says Sami Zubaida.

The roots of terror: Islam or Islamism?

The focus of analysis and policy in relation to terrorism needs to shift from religion to politics, argues Meghnad Desai.

ETA's farewell to peace

A bomb attack on Madrid airport has detonated the Basque peace process and increased pressure on José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero's government, says Diego Muro.

What to do about torture? Manfred Nowak interviewed

The post-9/11 era has raised serious questions over western governments' complicity in secret detention and torture. Manfred Nowak, United Nations special rapporteur on torture, is one of the people best placed to answer them. Kanishk Tharoor of Madrid11.net talks to him.

Kanishk Tharoor: In what ways has the Bush administration directly or indirectly allowed for torture?

Telling Muslim tales

The British media loves stories about Muslims. But do they illuminate or mystify the reality of Muslims’ lives and predicaments? Mukul Devichand reports.

The dividends of asymmetry: al-Qaida's evolving strategy

A year without a major al-Qaida attack might suggest an organisation in retreat. Not so, says Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou.

Rendition and democracy: civil society's role

The system of transferring prisoners seized in the "war on terror" between secret locations around the world involves a new form of transnational injustice. Civil society must catch up, says Aziz Huq of the Brennan Center for Justice.

Anti-terrorism: new leadership, new strategy

A rights-based foreign policy is the best guarantee of national security, says Tom Porteous of Human Rights Watch.

The veil of political Islam

The wearing of the face-veil by a minority of Muslim women in Britain must be seen in the light of an Islamist political project, says Maruf Khwaja.

London and security architecture: the post-sustainable city

The intensive anti-terror security measures implemented in London – both before and after 7/7 – are altering the relationship between the citizen and public space, says Jan Willem Petersen.

Britain's anti-terrorism policy: an eternal cycle

Britain’s government has refused to learn the crucial lesson that the security and political aspects of fighting terrorism are single parts of an integrated whole, says Rhiannon Talbot.

Gleneagles, 7/7 and Africa

The effect of the London bombs was to aid the powerful and damage the weak. Campaigners for global justice must not be deflected, says Ann Pettifor.

The London bombs, one year on

A year after the suicide-attacks in which four young British Muslims killed fifty-two travellers on London's transport network, what has been learned and what has changed? openDemocracy writers look back, forward - and inside.

The US Supreme Court: law against power

The American judges' ruling against the Bush administration's military-tribunal plan for Guantánamo detainees is a historic moment, says Zachary Katznelson of Reprieve, which represents thirty-six clients in the camp.

On 29 June 2006, the United States Supreme Court struck a blow for the rule of law, deciding in every respect against the Bush administration in the case of Hamdan vs Rumsfeld . The court sent a clear message that President Bush's policies in Guantánamo are unacceptable.

Close Guantánamo, and its mindset

Guantánamo is both American prison and un-American mindset. The violations it embodies reflect how far the Bush administration has travelled from legality, says Rami G Khouri.

Between politics and war: Hizbollah in the spotlight

Hizbollah has attracted Iranian friendship and US hostility since its emergence during Lebanon's civil war. With regional tensions rising, the leading Islamist group is now at a crossroads, says Abigail Fielding-Smith.

The wrong way to combat terrorism

A militaristic approach and a law-based vision are competing to shape the world's anti-terrorism efforts, says Sadakat Kadri.

Back to the future: the cartoons, liberalism, and global Islam

Muslim protests over the Danish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed mark the arrival of a force challenging liberal democracy from the future: a global Islam that is inventing new forms of ethical and political practice for a global arena. Faisal Devji, author of "Landscapes of the Jihad", maps the trajectory of this ultra-modern phenomenon.

On 30 September 2005 the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published a number of caricatures on the subject of Islam, Muslims and the Prophet Mohammed.

Terror, law and human rights in the Arab Gulf states

The Arab Gulf states of the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, along with Iraq, have carved out new laws designed to counter terrorism on their soil. Mohamed Al Roken considers their precepts in the light of international human-rights conventions.

A Basque peace opportunity

ETA's truce brings an end to its armed campaign against the Spanish state, but creating a process that will deliver permanent peace to Euskadi will be arduous, says Diego Muro.

Spain's 11-M and the right's revenge

The Madrid massacre of 11 March 2004 was the prelude to the political defeat of Spain’s political right. Two years on, says Mariano Aguirre, it is deploying a conspiracy theory about 11-M as part of its comeback.
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