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Intercultural
Lexicon

Ethnic Violence

Many of the conflicts or mass violence of recent decades have been characterised by the adjective “ethnic”. This means that the leading players were groups opposing one another on the basis of identitarian, religious, linguistic or more generally cultural assertions..

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Genocide

The word genocide is nowadays used in a number of different ways and one must to try and analyse them separately, to the extent that this is possible.

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Dialogue

In recent times, "dialogue" has emerged as an important and even central notion in both philosophy and politics.

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Modernity

The concept of modernity can be analysed from various points of view. A sociological perspective sees modernity as the historical era arising from feudal society’s profound transformation processes and that, starting with the Protestant Reformation, sees the emergence of the new bourgeoisie..

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Constitution

Constitution is a key category, one of the most important, of modern political and legal theory.

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Reset
A month of ideas.
Giancarlo Bosetti Editor-in-chief
Association for dialogue and intercultural understanding
Philosophy and Religion
IT Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Berman is wrong, we should welcome Ramadan

Charles Taylor

The Berman-type position is both incredibly imperceptive and extremely dangerous. It ignores the incredible diversity of Islamic modes of devotion and spirituality. What we need is an alliance of people of all faiths and civilizations who will resist together this slide into polarization. The last thing we want to do is spread the myth that al believing Muslims are committed to something whose logical working out involves this form of jihad. That’s what Bin Laden is saying, but it’s false. Tariq Ramadan should be welcomed as a prime member of this alliance, not denied a Us visa.


I consider the Berman-type position both incredibly imperceptive and extremely dangerous. It ignores a) the incredible diversity of Islamic modes of devotion and spirituality; b) that the present jihadism is only one form of these, and very dubious from the standpoint of Koran and Hadith (that you become a ghazi killing women and chilfdren, or a shaheed by killing yourself in order to kill women and children), c) that this jihadism is a modern amalgam in which the faith is mainly lived out in the register of modern identity politics of the polarized kind, complete with the identification of a radically opposed enemy, and in the language of honour, humiliation, annihilation of the enemy, etc, leaving no place for the God who is always addressed in the Koran as “the compassionate, the merciful” (al raham, al rahmin), d) that people can get recruited in and out of this amalgam depending on the prevailing climate of group conflict, e) that the "clash of civilizations" rhetoric serves to entrench the feeling of an all-englobing conflict, and hence tends to facilitate the recruitment of believing Muslims into the jihadist amalgam. In other words Huntington is helping Bin Laden’s recruitment drive, as is the whole gang of neocon numbskulls running the Us.

What we need is an alliance of people of all faiths and civilizations who will resist together this slide into polarization. The last thing we want to do is spread the myth that al believing Muslims are committed to something whose logical working out involves this form of jihad. That’s what Bin Laden is saying, but it’s false. Tariq Ramadan should be welcomed as a prime member of this alliance, not denied a Us visa.

Charles Tayor, Professor Emeritus at the McGill University of Montreal, has been teaching in recent years at the New School for Social Research in New York, and at the Northwestern University of Chicago. His works include Hegel and Modern Society (1979), Sources of the Self: the Making of Modern Identity (1989), The Malaise of Modernity (1992), A Catholic Modernity? (1999) and Modern Social Imaginaires (2004). His latest work is A Secular Age (Harvard University Press 2007).

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