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Islamism is a highly militant mobilizing ideology selectively developed out of Islam’s scriptures, texts, legends, historical precedents, organizational experiences and present-day grievances, all as a defensive reaction against the long-term erosion of Islam’s primacy over the public...

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Secularisation and Post-Secularisation

“Secularisation” means the process that has above all characterised western countries during the contemporary era and led to the progressive abandonment of religious rules and sacral kinds of behaviour..

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The philosophical justification of the idea of freedom is one of those enigmas all great philosophers have addressed, often concluding their imposing attempts by acknowledging the impossibility to access a firm Archimedean point placing freedom on a incontrovertible theoretical pedestal..

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The Armenians

The Armenians descend from Indo-European populations who, between the 7th and 6th century B.

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In the Greek polis the meaning of the term “democracy” implied the government of a vast majority of the people, the “plebs”, as opposed to the aristocracy.

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A month of ideas.
Giancarlo Bosetti Editor-in-chief
Association for dialogue and intercultural understanding

Behind the Rohingya Diaspora: a Story that Began 200 Years Ago

Emanuele Giordana

The village of Yandabo is situated in central Myanmar on the shores of the Ayeyarwady River and is nowadays famous for its terracotta pots. On the 24th of February 1826, however, it was the setting for a treaty signed between the Burmese and the British, marking the end of the First Anglo-Burmese War. 


Tunisia: an Important Step Forward to Protect Women's Rights

Francesca Bellino

Summer in Tunisia this year has been characterised by a lively debate between political parties and civil society concerning women’s rights and this, once again, has revealed the desire for democracy and a capacity for compromise that has marked the country in recent years. 

Freedom and Democracy

The Pope in Colombia: A Trip Against the Crisis of Politics

Riccardo Cristiano

The journey that Jorge Mario Bergoglio is beginning today goes well beyond Colombia’s borders. It is not a coincidence that the conflict between the Colombian Army and FARC was settled in Cuba and it was precisely on this regard that the Pope supposedly told President Obama, “If you wish to solve the problem between your country and Latin America, you must resolve the Cuban issue.” 


The passing of Ebrahim Yazdi, an emblematic figure of Iranian politics

Marina Forti

The image of Ebrahim Yazdi, who passed away at 86 years of age on the 27th of August, fittingly portrays the paradoxes of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Those who were present on the political scene of Tehran in the last twenty years knew him as the opposition; the leader of a small (and scarcely tolerated) Freedom Movement for Iran: an ‘Islamic liberal’ and supporter of democratic reforms. 

Freedom and Democracy

Brazil: Public Security Policies and Human Rights Abuses in Rio de Janeiro

Luigi Spera

The term used by more than 70 jurists in their denounce manifesto signed in the last days in Rio de Janeiro is “social apartheid”. Maybe this term, which evocates racism and ghettoization, is the most representative to describe the situation in the city’s favela of Jacarezinho. A no-stop operation, started on August the 11th was conducted by Military Police and Armed Forces in the community for more than 2 weeks. Several scenes of police violence and abuses were reported, as well as no concrete results were obtained by the authorities. 


Tunisian president vows to usher in new era of gender equality

Jonathan Fenton-Harvey

Tunisian president Beji Caid Essebsi has vowed to increase gender equality in the country, on Sunday proposing to scrap imbalanced inheritance laws and to allow Muslim women to marry non-Muslim men. At a speech for national women’s day on Sunday, the president pledged to take legislative steps to remove the laws, which comes on the tail of a recent law prohibiting sexual, political and psychological violence against women.

Freedom and Democracy

Philippines: Duterte and the War Against Jihadism

Paolo Affatato

The liberation of Marawi, the city occupied by militants loyal to Islamic State, will take some time. In the meantime the president, Rodrigo Duterte, has extended martial law and relaunched the economic development of Mindanao. Although tested, his popularity remains solid for the moment.

Freedom and Democracy

Poland: Behind the Justice Reform
New Political Scenarios and Protests

Matteo Tacconi

Protests were organised and attended by large numbers of people in Warsaw and in many Polish cities all last week against the Law and Justice Party (PiS) the conservative and nationalist party that currently has an absolute majority in parliament and which, thanks to this, appears to be the only player in the government led by Beata Szydlo.

Freedom and Democracy

A reconstruction of the Rif’s uprising

Sara Borrillo

In recent months the Rif’s ‘people’s movement’ is playing a leading role in Moroccan current events and has been named the Hirāk shaʻabī. The central government has reacted to protests with arrests and repression.

ARTICLES for JULY 19 - AUGUST 31, 2017

Tunisia's Transition

Six years after the 2010-2011 uprising, the so-called Arab Spring, that started in Tunisia and spread across the Arab region, the country is actually going through a difficult phase of transition to democracy. In our dossier we focus on three aspects: the political one with an analysis of Al-Nahda’s political evolution (Longo), the economical recovery (EL Houssi) and the lasting social tensions (Mbarek). 

IT Debates

Politics of Islamic Praying in European Publics

Nilüfer Göle

Covering and praying, two Islamic prescriptions ,bring religion into public life and debate in Europe. Praying in Europe where Muslims are in minority becomes a public issue. From the perspective of the liberal discourse on religious freedom and the freedom to exercise one’s faith requires a place for worship. The author selects three different practices of praying that have provoked a public debate to illustrate the specificity of contesting religious practices in a European context. Confrontation with Islam carries also European citizens and countries that were considered to be in the periphery of Europe to the Center. Switzerland, a non-EU member, becomes European, enters into the center of European debates by the Islamic door.

History and Politics

Roman Herzog's death: the big loss of a man of dialogue


Roman Herzog, former President of the Federal Republic of Germany, died on January 10th, 2017. A member of the Christian-Democratic Union party (CDU), Herzog was the first president elected after German reunification in 1990. He was also a member and president of the Federal Constitutional Court as well as minister for Culture and Education. During his mandate at the Constitutional Court, he intensely devoted his work to immigration and integration policies for minorities.

IT Citizenship

Second generations and the paths to integration

A conversation with Renzo Guolo

“Italy has made no choices as far as the issue of cultural integration is concerned, addressing the subject of immigration only from the perspective of public order or the economy.” Renzo Guolo is a professor of Sociology of Islam at Turin University’s Faculty of Political Science and a professor of The Sociology of Cultural Processes at Padua University’s Faculty of Humanities and Philosophy. The subjects of his research include contemporary extremisms, relations between politics and religion, the sociology of Islam and cultural pluralism in contemporary societies. We met with him in Turin at the Conference entitled G2 Muslims: the rights and duties of citizenship of second generation young Muslims.

Interview by Sara Hejazi.


The Legacy of Tony Atkinson
Great Analyst of Inequality

Mattia Baglieri

Tony Atkinson died in Oxford, England where he taught political economy and served as chairman of the International Economic Association. An acclaimed economist, Atkinson had been previously shortlisted for the Nobel Prize for his pioneering work in the field of income inequality.

Religion and Politics

The Tragedy of the Devil. An analysis of Sadik al-Azm's rediscovered book

Massimo Campanini

The tragedy of the devil is a book published in 1969 by the great Syrian thinker Sadik al-Azm, at the time a young scholar, worried by the growing instrumental use of religion by political elites in the Arab world. The book, that had from the beginning a huge impact on the Arab intellectuals of the period, provoked the greatest uproar of the 20th century, leading to the arrest and trial of his author. This book, written over forty years ago, it has been now rediscovered and available for the first time in languages other than Arabic. 


Voluntary Repatriations of Afghans
Reality or Only an Euphemism?

Virginia Pietromarchi

Alireza was in Kabul when he received his father’s call urging him to leave the country. A letter signed by the Taliban requested the immediate closure of the English institute that Alireza was directing in Ghazni. After having received a second letter including death threats, Alireza understood he and his family had no chance but to flee the country. The father sold his bakery and the house and paid a smuggler 32.000 dollars to get Alireza, his wife and his two other children out of Afghanistan.

IT AR Migrants

«Coexistence is more difficult if we do not respect their religion»

Olivier Roy talks to Sara Hejazi

The main problems faced nowadays in Europe by young immigrants are traditional racism, based the colour of a person’s skin, and widespread anti-religious sentiments. This is the opinion expressed by Olivier Roy, professor at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Scieneces Sociales (EHESS) in Paris. His most recent book, “La Sainte Ignorance” (2009), speaks of religious revivalism as the consequence of globalisation and a crisis of cultures.

IT Iran

«We need targeted sanctions, not bombs»

A conversation with Karim Mezran

“In Iran we are seeing a back to front revolution with the upper-middle classes protesting against a governing power managed by the poorer and less-educated classes, the main recruitment group for the basiji and for President Ahmedinejad’s base of support.” According to Karim Mezran, director of the Centre for American Studies and a professor at Johns Hopkins School of International Advanced Studies in Bologna, this is however a “leaderless protest” organised by a generation that has only known the Islamic Republic and that sees Moussavi and Karroubi as reference points, “certainly not as leaders.”

Interview by Ernesto Pagano.

IT Iran

«We should address human rights, not only the nuclear issue»

Pietro Marcenaro talks to Ernesto Pagano

A country with an stoppable demand for change and one where not even “state terrorism” has managed to triumph over those opposing it. That is the Iran that PD Senator and President of the Senate’s Human Rights Committee Pietro Marcenaro saw. The Senator has just returned from a private visit to the Islamic Republic. With its mass protests, conflict affecting both the clergy and the ruling classes, as well as international pressure about its nuclear programme, this country seems to be at a crossroads. “It is our great responsibility,” says Marcenaro, “to listen to these people and not abandon those fighting for freedom.”

IT Religion

The salt of the earth

Fred Dallmayr

«As we read in Matthew 5:13, religious believers are told: "You are the salt of the earth." The phrase means that religious believers are expected to be neither identical with the "earth", nor to be removed from it. In this sense, they are meant to be neither worldly-secular nor radically anti-worldly or anti-secular (thus perhaps post-secular).»

Freedom and Democracy

Thomas Ruttig: “We must not turn our backs on Afghanistan”

An interview by Giuliano Battiston, on his return from Kabul

Last Sunday, three months after they were sworn in, Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani and almost “prime minister” Abdullah Abdullah announced their list of candidate-ministers. In order to discuss the prospects of the national unity government and the many challenges it will have to face over the coming years - ranging from Taliban guerrilla warfare to the fragile economy, from external interference to corruption and including the consequences of the partial withdrawal of foreign troops - we met in Kabul with Thomas Ruttig, co-director of the Afghanistan Analysts Network, the country’s most authoritative research centre.

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