Global Issues Colloquiums
Take a tour of some of the world’s hottest issues! For over a decade, Truman State University’s Global Issues Colloquium has been helping the Truman community understand many of the most challenging questions, conflicted responses and hopeful developments facing various governments and societies.
Thursday, January 26, 2017, 7:00 pm, MG 2001
Speaker: Taner Edis, Professor of Physics, Truman State University
Title: Can Secular Liberalism Accommodate Islam?
Abstract: Public debates about Islam in democratic Western countries center on accommodating Muslim beliefs and behaviors within a secular liberal political framework. We might celebrate diversity and institute multiculturalism, but we also expect believers to moderate their religiosity in public. We ask everyone to defer to science and secular expertise in education and in policy; for example, we frown on creationism. We take human rights to be universal, and if traditional Islamic law does not comply, so much the worse for it. We say that women and men should be free to choose, though they may choose to be devout and dress according to religious standards. Government should not favor any particular religion. Different cultural communities should live together in mutual respect. Many conservative Muslims, however, do not accept a secular liberal framework—they do not think it is religiously neutral or fair. They aspire to an alternative, pious form of modernity, in which politically active forms of religion define and shape the public sphere. Examining conservative Muslim critiques of secular liberalism provides us with insight into some current developments in the Muslim world, and also exposes serious weaknesses in secular liberal political ideas.