7 March 2005
My pal and openDemocracy colleague Caspar Melville was interviewed in a live chat on IslamOnline.net in Qatar this afternoon. The topic was religion and democracy. You can read the whole thing here. But here's a morsel: Q: "Religion is a threat to the world; democracy is the key for now...." A: "Well Tom that's certainly a forthrightly expressed point of view - and one no doubt shared by others. Perhaps we could call it militant secularism. The problem for me is that it seems to me to come from precisely the same kind of place, or impulse, as any other militant, fundamentalist perspective. It proceeds from the sense that you have already made up you mind about the world, everyone else (hundreds of millions) are wrong, or ignorant, or have 'false consciousness'. It seems so odd that you have posted the message on IslamOnline.net Its as if you came here precisely to say that, not, as i would hope, to find out more engage in dialogue and try and challenge some of your own assumptions- which are always the ones which need to be challenged first. "I think a bit of humility and listening, finding out and bothering to try and understand might make the difference here. Otherwise it's just your militant position against theirs, or whose got the biggest guns, which would be a shame."