Features

  • 13 Sep 2011

    Classifying communities and their practices and values as ‘religious’ often has the effect of marginalising them from the mainstream of public debates on justice and the proper ends of the good life, says scholar Timothy Fitzgerald. Such classification has the effect of clothing secular reason with the misleading aura of neutral objectivity, he suggests.

  • 11 Sep 2011

    Over the past ten years we have witnessed the birth of the neologism '9/11' and the horrid and inaccurate phrase 'global war on terror'. Some of what happened in those ten intervening years is now history, says Harry Hagopian. But much of it continues to resonate across the globe, calling us to a change of outlook and action. Revolutions and popular revolts across the Middle East and North Africa region vindicate the standpoint that real changes should come from within and do not necessarily get imposed militarily upon a whole people anymore.

  • 11 Sep 2011

    What are the principal lessons of the ten years of war since the 11 September 2001 attacks? Paul Rogers, professor in the department of peace studies at Bradford University, gives some crisp answers. He has played a prominent role in the Oxford Research Group, has written extensively on related global and regional issues, and his first openDemocracy column was published a few days after 9/11.

  • 2 Sep 2011

    Events in Syria, though making headlines across the globe, and impacting the lives of everyone inside the country have left the Church in Lebanon tongue-tied it appears. Aline Sara, news editor of NOW Lebanon reflects on the political, religious, social and cultural issues which have led many Lebanese and Syrian Christians to refrain from criticising the regime for its crackdown on pro-democracy protesters.

  • 2 Sep 2011

    The recent disturbances in England show that fundamental issues concerning the legitimation of government, social justice, and societal stability need to be addressed ever more urgently, says Professor Richard Roberts. He argues that scholars of religion should not simply remain reluctant but paid tools of an industrialised system of defective socialisation that initiates students into informed passivity, but rather the source of a truly critical discourse that broadens the imagination and enhances personal agency.

  • 30 Aug 2011

    What started in Tunisia simply cannot stop now in Libya, says Harry Hagopian. It should not only grow but also improve incrementally so that we all stop talking romantically about a one-season 'Arab Spring' and think more pragmatically in terms of an Arab Awakening from a long slumber - a stubborn challenge against those rulers and elites who would prefer their co-citizens to remain dormant.

  • 22 Aug 2011

    The visit to Britain of Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf, from the Cordoba Initiative in New York, resonates not just with our reflections on the impending tenth anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy, but with the continuing quest for interreligious understanding in a conflictual world, says Professor Hugh Goddard.

  • 16 Aug 2011

    If we can take anything positive from the days of destruction and division in England recently, says Chris Bain, perhaps it should be a dedication to tackle fear and exclusion wherever it exists around the world, and to stand by the women and children in the poorest countries who currently stand afraid on their own.

  • 11 Aug 2011

    Today Syria is a lesson about how motivated citizens can challenge governments that act violently and seem invincible, says Harry Hagopian. But we also need to be wary towards religious radicalism or fanaticism on the one hand, and military arrogance or political kleptocracy on the other, infiltrating movements for change and co-opting them in order to impose new forms of dictatorships, totalitarian control, subjugation and discrimination.

  • 14 Jul 2011

    When it comes to evil, says Alison Jasper, we have a tendency to mystify it - that is reproduce unchallenging representations of it, from the monster in the movie with unclean appetites for human flesh and blood, right through to the 'monstrous perverts' of the tabloid press. Much more careful analysis and understanding is required to discover what lies behind the routine (but often imprecise) label 'evil'.