Publication: Bridging the Gap – An Arab-European Dialogue on the Basics of Liberalism

The proceedings of the conference „Bridging the Gap – An Arab-European Dialogue on the Basics of Liberalism“ have been published. The conference was organized by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Liberty, the European Liberal Forum and the Forum for Greece from the 16th to the 18th May 2013 in Cairo, Egypt.

The volume presents the speakers‘ contributions from Algeria, Belgium, Egypt, Germany, Greece, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, the Netherlands, Palestine, Poland, Tunisia and Syria. The volume deals with crucial liberal topics such as the political and economic order and the role of religion in Arab and European societies.

Two articles focus on religion. Their authors are the chairman of the Open Religious Policy Forum Sven Speer and Mohamed Tamaldou, former president of the Arab Alliance for Freedom and Democracy. Speer’s article titles „The role of religion in society and politics in Europe, or: three myths of secularity in Europe“. He disproves the common misconceptions that European societies would be fully secular, European states would separated from religion and that such a separation would be normatively superior. He contrasts these three myths with the foundations of Open Religious Policy.

Tamaldous article deals with „The role of religion in Arab politics and society“. He reflects the history of the relationship of state and religion in the Arab countries and the treatment of religious minorities. Afterwards he describes the relationship of those ideas in Islam which today propose tolerance and those which demand a restrictive policy on religious freedom.

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Sven Speer at the Arab-European Dialogue Forum, Cairo
Sven Speer at the Arab-European Dialogue Forum in Cairo
Dr. Sven Speer
Dr. Sven Speer ist Vorsitzender des Forums Offene Religionspolitik (FOR) seit dessen Gründung 2011. Als Mitarbeiter und im Rahmen von Vorträgen und Gutachten berät er Regierungsorganisationen, Abgeordnete, Religionsgemeinschaften und Verbände zum Verhältnis von Staat und Religion – u.a. in Berlin, Jerusalem, Beirut, Kairo, Washington D.C., Houston und Salt Lake City. Speer hat Politikwissenschaft und Geschichte studiert und am Exzellenzcluster ‚Religion und Politik‘, am German Marshall Fund of the United States und am Institut für Migrationsforschung und Interkulturelle Studien zur politischen Regulierung von Religion geforscht.