- After the 2016 terrorist attacks in France 30 mayors of coastal towns banned the “burkini” from public beaches calling it a provocation against the authority of French secularism as one of the constituent principles of the French state.
- After the Terrorist attacks in Paris in 2015 President F. Hollande proposed a constitutional amendment: revocation of French citizenship to native born French terrorists.
- For the last 1000 years the main joined activity of Europeans had been killing each other. Then came the European Union. The recent economic crisis and refugee crisis showed a lack of unity and solidarity once again. All people, not only the elite need to come together, says Spanish sociologist Manuel Castells and actively share practice and solidarity and not just an idea of a united Europe. Otherwise Europe will remain just an ideology.
- How should the western countries deal with the threat of internal religious radicalization and Islamic fundamentalism? The search for an interlocutor who should represent religious communities and the emphasis on theological questions are as wrong, says Nadia Marzouki, as the linking of radicalisation with religious practices. Religious practices, even if fervent, do not automatically create dangerous and disloyal citizens.
- Our classical liberal tradition in the United States is stronger than in Europe, says Macedo. The interesting ideas of contemporary republicans, deliberative democrats and the ideas of progressive liberals are highly convergent and mutually complementary and not in opposition to one another. This other tradition, we tend to call libertarian, is much more free market oriented, but progressive liberalism and European moderate, left ideas to overlap.
- Muslim in Europe and US are increasingly visible in the public sphere and ask for their rights. This has become source of controversies and fear for people in the west. But the language of emotions and fear tends to deny Muslim the possibility of talking about politics, or using the vocabulary of liberal rights to claim their needs, criticises Nadia Marzouki from EHESS in Paris. This hinders integration.
- How to deal with social controversies in the case of Charlie Hebdo in France? Ask Stephen Macedo from Princeton. In Europe, there are more laws that are protective of particular groups against hateful speech. In the US we tend not to have those laws, but we have self-restraint which results from living in society of immigrants. Not offending one another has become a normal way of behaving in society.
- The Nation State is challenged by declining institutions, says Manlio Graziano from Sorbonne, Paris and the void is often filled by religion. But political actors are not prepared. In France the law from 1905 – still in force – can’t regulate today’s challenges with Islam or other religions. The relationship between the State and religions and, among others, the relationship between State and religious institutions needs to be reconsidered today.
- Cultures need to learn from each other and so does democratic theory. We need new tools, democratic tools to tame violence, says Ramin Jahanbegloo from York University, Toronto and it is Gandhi who can inspire us once again. And we need democratic passion, civic education and cross cultural, non-violent ideas.