We the delegates to the First World Conference on Untouchability, meeting in Conway Hall, London on 9 and 10 June 2009 under the aegis of the International Humanist and Ethical Union, hereby declare as follows
Discrimination based on work or descent is widespread throughout much of Asia and in several countries in Africa. Extreme forms of this discrimination – untouchability – involve restrictions on the employment open to certain groups, prohibition of intermarriage and restrictions on the use of water supplies, places of worship and even public roads. These restrictions are often enforced by violence and even murder.
by Boutheina Cheriet, Professor in Comparative Education and Research Methodology, University of Algiers;Former Deputy Minister in Charge of the Family & Women’s Aﬀairs, Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria.
What is the best way to examine the problem of citizenship and gender in the emergence of civil society and its dialectical relationship with a monolithic state in Algeria? One way is to analyze the Algerian debates over personal status in order to capture the nature of the relationship that links the triad of state, civil society and citizenship. This allows us to investigate the ambivalence that characterizes the nature of the state and women’s access to citizenship.
by Kada Akacem, Professor of Economics at the University of Algiers; President of the Scientiﬁc Council of the Faculty of Economic Sciences.
What are the prospects for an Islamic state in Algeria nowadays? Before we can answer that question, we must ﬁrst understand the political, economic, and social developments that have recently taken place in Algeria. These events will shed some light on the decline of the Islamist movements.
by Barry A. Kosmin, Research Professor in Public Policy and Law and founding Director of the Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture at Trinity College & Ariela Keysar, Associate Research Professor in Public Policy and Law and the Associate Director of the Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture at Trinity College
This volume grew out of a salon or conversazione on the theme of “The Prospects for the Secular State in the Mediterranean World in the 21st Century” hosted by ISSSC—the Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture. The event took place during June 2007 at Trinity College’s campus located on the historic and beautiful Aventine Hill in Rome, Italy. The purpose of this gathering was to assemble a diverse group of people from diﬀerent Mediterranean nations, academic disciplines and professions for a relaxed, multi-cultural exchange of information and opinion on one of the key political and intellectual questions of the moment, one which is on the agenda today in one way or another in every country in the Mediterranean region. How should the state and government respond to diversity of beliefs and worldviews in today’s society?
by Manar Shorbagy, Arab Center for Development and Future Studies & Political Science Department, The American University in Cairo
The relationship between religion and politics is at the top of the political agenda in Egypt, and, as I shall argue, it has important implications for the political rights of Egyptian women and minorities. However, the issue is not a simple secular/religious divide. It is, rather, the problem of how to deﬁne the nature and characteristics of a civil, democratic state that is neither a theocracy nor an Islamically “naked” public space. The Islamist/secularist dichotomy is a false one; it has little or no relevance to actual political processes and possibilities in Egypt, where a middle ground is both theoretically and practically conceivable. Such a middle ground, however, must be deliberately sought and found by Egyptians, so that a national consensus on the relationship between religion and politics can emerge.