Muslim Minister: British to Embrace their Religion.

14./15.02.2012

Last week, religion has dominated an important discussion in the UK. Following a High Court rule banning prayers from formal council meetings, Conservative MP Baroness Warsi, Britain’s first female Muslim Cabinet minister, has urged the British people to embrace their (Christian) religion and to not let a “militant secularisation” take hold of British society. In an official meeting in the Vatican with six other British ministers, Baroness Warsi has called for religion to be given a greater role in public life to push back a wave of “intolerant secularisation”. Warsi has complained that religion is being sidelined, marginalised and downgraded in Europe. Overall, she would like to see Europe to be more confident in its Christian roots, rather than denying its religious heritage. Warsi considers religion and strong religious identities to be particularly important in order to encourage social harmony.

Secularisation & Secularism

Secularisation – the process of a dividing the realms of politics and religion – has been influencing national and worldly affairs for several hundred years. The idea of the desirability of such a division – secularism – is nowadays a given backdrop for public policy issues regarding education, family, gender, media, migration, personal integrity and freedom, reproduction and sexuality. But globalisation and multicultural trends, as well as claims from religious groups for increased political influence or autonomy and the uncertain and varying responses to these from society, have made us aware that the secularist ideal has been realized through the process of secularisation in radically different ways in different settings. As a result, an identity crisis is presently afflicting secular societies. It is no longer as clear what secularism is supposed to amount to, why secularisation is desirable and where its proper limits are. To investigate questions about this is the focus of a newly initiated multidisciplinary research theme at the University of Gothenburg.

Speakers

  • ABDULLAHI AN-NA’IM, Human Rights Law, Emory University
  • KENT GREENAWALT, Law, Columbia University
  • BRIAN PALMER, Anthropology & Religion, Uppsala University & University of Gothenburg
  • PAUL WEITHMAN, Philosophy, University of Notre Dame
  • LINDA WOODHEAD, Religious Studies, Lancaster University

Venue

Registration

The conference is open to the public and free of charge. Registration is required for attendance.

Contact & Information

Website

Email: secularism@filosofi.gu.se