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British Secularism and Religion: Islam, Society and the State

10 May, 2015 10:22
British Secularism and Religion: Islam, Society and the State
This interesting, topical and sometimes heated, conversation among theologians, social scientists and policy experts on British secularism helps to shed vital light on the challenges of accommodating religious minorities and majorities within modern societies. The contributors question a number of received assumptions about the public role of religion, and also challenge traditional Muslim suspicions of secularism, thus succeeding in moving the debate on Islam in Britain, and secular polities in general, to new and very promising ground. This is a vital contribution to ongoing topical debates on secularism, pluralism, inclusion and the direction modern societies should take. Dr. Abdelwahab El-Affendi, University of Westminster Religious voices in favour of secularism are often absent from the debate on religion and politics. But as a political attitude that will guarantee freedom of belief for all, secularism is relevant to all. This volume - though non-religious secularists may find much to challenge within it - is a welcome contribution to this most important of modern debates. Andrew Copson Chief Executive, British Humanist Association This volume on the role of Muslims in British society very helpfully addresses two concepts about which there is currently much confusion, namely secularism and secularity. The fact that it does this in conversation with some of the other interested parties, namely Jews and Christians, and that it seeks to combine specifically religious, or theological, and political, or social-scientific, approaches, means that it will be of interest to both theoreticians in the academy and practitioners in different areas of society, and it therefore deserves a wide readership. Professor Hugh Goddard, Director of the HRH Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Centre for the Study of Islam in the Contemporary World, University of Edinburgh The question of the relationship between politics and religion tends to generate more heat than light, especially when the focus is on Islam. This book, with its careful analysis and respect for facts, helps dispel the smoke. It is an invaluable contribution to the public debate, especially in the British context, and will assist people of good will - of all faiths and none - to clarify their own thoughts about 'the secular state'. Dr. Brian Klug Senior Research Fellow & Tutor in Philosophy, St. Benet's Hall, Oxford 
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