- Can religion be a positive rather than a destructive force? asks Mohd Eiadat, of Jordan University: “Yes, in Islam, every generation should revisit it’s faith.
- The French based Iranian sociologist Farhad Khosrokhavar draws a map of the different types of European Islamic extremists.
- 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.
- 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.
- Making revolutions and facing modernity was easier for Shia Muslims then for Sunnis, says Prof. Arjomand from N.Y. State University. The Shia attendance for the Madhi helped in mobilizing people and create the Iranian constitution. Instead Sunni Islam is more conservative and hostile against change, with religious reactions against state building, constitutionalism and modernity. And what about comparing the religious differences to those of the religious wars in medieval Europe?
- The Dalits, once the caste of the untouchables, are still denied the fundamental rights to education and medical reservation. This applies in particular to the more then 21 million Christian Dalits in India, says Rowena Robinson from the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay, stressing that the denial of these fundamental human rights could become an even worse problem in the future by recreating generations of uneducated young, poor Christian Indians.
- Does cultural and religious difference mean an inherent tendency to violence in diasporic societies? No, says Engseng Ho from Duke University, on the contrary in port cities where people from all cultures interact in diasporic societies a lack of systematic violence is the norm. Problems are others.