Tag: Secularism

A democratic secular state makes no distinctions among its citizens based on their beliefs. Secularism dominates all basic principles of the constitution, including democracy, and forms the bedrock of Turkey’s legal order. (More…)

On April 30, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere published an extremely controversial article in Bild in which he outlined ten features of a German Leitkultur (“leading culture”), including “enlightened patriotism,” shaking people’s hands, reading Goethe, supporting Israel, and “no Burka.” (More…)

The perfect Christian state is not the so-called Christian state – which acknowledges Christianity as its basis, as the state religion, and, therefore, adopts an exclusive attitude towards other religions. On the contrary, the perfect Christian state is the atheistic state, the democratic state, the state which relegates religion to a place among the other elements of civil society. (More…)

The pale, yellow light of the waning day streamed through the dusty window panes of the little cigar shop, and across the bench where old Hans Fritzsche worked and hummed the melody of Der Freiheit the while. (More…)

The horrifying quality of the attacks at the headquarters of Charlie Hebdo and at the Hyper Cacher market in Porte de Vincennes continues to roil Europe. The immediate aftermath saw outpourings of support for the periodical, in particular, and for “free speech” in general, although the definition of the latter was (and continues to be) a matter of some debate. (More…)

When I was a teen, a boy I loved left me. I was heartbroken. Yes, it was something every girl experiences, but still, it hurts every time it happens. Nothing could fix this feeling, or make things better. My friend Mandy told me about a wonderful fortune teller in our neighborhood, who was reading tarot cards, coffee cups and giving advice to anybody who would pay her. (More…)

What will Islam look like in five billion years? It is our responsibility as Muslims to find an answer. Readers may scoff at the inquiry as childish, but if humanity really does survive that long (and what’s the point if we assume that it won’t?) then we have to grapple with the question of how our faith will look in the distant future.   (More…)

Few items of clothing are as controversial as the Islamic headscarf. Making sense of it is exceedingly difficult, particularly in France, where the hijab is seen as a sign of sexism, and a violation of the country’s secular social code. (More…)

Christians could be a minority by 2018, census analysis reveals. So read The Guardian headline, two weeks before Christmas. By no means the first such prominently-featured title of its kind, I took a second look, wondering if I was seeing things. Fortunately, I wasn’t. Not that I have anything against Christians. But, the idea that there could be a Western country in which Christianity is on the decline, is  a novel one. (More…)

Tehran’s modernization continued into the Second Pahlavi period. The redesigned city, with its new pattern of streets, prepared the urban setting for the first comprehensive master plan of the capitol. In 1966, the Iranian government asked the American firm Gruen Associates to draw up a comprehensive plan for the city, together with celebrated Iranian architect Abdolaziz Farmanfarmaian. (More…)

The British workplace must become more accommodating to Muslim women. So went the title of a Reyhana Patel op-ed piece, in Independent Voices. Pretty common sense, no? Nothing to disagree with there. Well, not to everyone. The article was in fact attracting considerable attention from the most dubious of quarters. The commentary was quite awful. (More…)

After Barack Obama secured his second term Tuesday, there were a lot of questions about what it will look like. For those of us focused on the US government’s Mideast policy, the main question was whether Obama was going to exact revenge on Benjamin Netanyahu for his support of Mitt Romney. Bibi’s interference in American politics was unprecedented for any foreign leader. No amount of denial will change that. (More…)