Thursday, March 08, 2007

Separation of Mosque & State

This week, St Petersburg, Florida, hosted the Secular Islam Summit, an "international forum for secularists of Islamic societies: Keynote speakers included atheists like Ibn Warraq (a former Muslim) and the religious but reform-minded like Irshad Manji.

According to the SIS website, "the next Islamic Enlightenment starts now". They say:

In the last decade we have increasingly heard calls for a "reformation," a new Enlightenment, or a secularization and liberalization of Islamic thought and practice. And yet there is to this day no organized international response. At the same time, a growing number of secular Muslims and secularists from majority Muslim countries have been undertaking these intellectual and strategic challenges independently (here “secularists” includes both those who embrace a thoroughly non-religious worldview, as well as those committed to separation of religion from overnment and robust freedom of conscience).

The purpose of the Secular Islam Summit is to bring together these thinkers and activists in an ongoing cross-cultural forum and clearinghouse to generate and share new practical strategies and disseminate these to the public and opinion-makers worldwide.

Professor Walid Phares provides a summary of the conference here and there are some video interviews with some of the participants here.

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