The Mission Statement of ISIS

Date: Fri 22 Nov 2002 - 06:19:42 GMT

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                                Our Mission We believe that Islamic society has been held back by an unwillingness to subject its beliefs, laws and practices to critical examination, by a lack of respect for the rights of the individual, and by an unwillingness to tolerate alternative viewpoints or to engage in constructive dialogue. The Institute for the Secularisation of Islamic Society (ISIS) has been formed to promote the ideas of rationalism, secularism, democracy and human rights within Islamic society. ISIS promotes freedom of expression, freedom of thought and belief, freedom of intellectual and scientific inquiry, freedom of conscience and religion “ including the freedom to change one™s religion or belief - and freedom from religion: the freedom not to believe in any deity.
                           Statement of Principles
       * We share the ideals of a democratic society, and a secular
        state that does not endorse any religion, religious
        institution, or any religious dogma. The basis for its
        authority is in man-made law, not in religious doctrine or
        in divine revelation. In a theocracy of the type that Islamic
        fundamentalists wish to establish, sovereignty belongs to
        god, but in a democracy sovereignty belongs to the people.
        We therefore favor the firm separation of religion and
        state: without such a separation there can be no freedom
        from tyranny, and such a separation is the sine qua non for
        a secular state.
         * We believe in the primacy of the rule of law: a common
        civil code under which all men and women have equal
        protection of their rights and freedoms.
          * We endorse the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
        and the International Covenants on Human Rights without
        qualification. We are particularly concerned to promote
        and protect the rights of women and those with minority
        beliefs: all should be equal before the law.
         * We are dedicated to combating fanaticism, intolerance,
        violent fundamentalism, and terrorism by showing the
        intellectual inadequacy of the fanatics™ programmes, the
        historical inaccuracy of their claims, the philosophical
        poverty of their arguments, and the totalitarian nature of
        their thought.
           * We defend the right of free inquiry, and the free
        expression of ideas. We therefore reserve the right to
        examine the historical foundations of Islam, and to explain
        the rise and fall of Islam by the normal mechanisms of
        human history.
                               Practical Goals
         * To create a network of secularists and freethinkers in
        Islamic countries.
        * To establish a women™s network to provide mutual support
        and to highlight the plight and the achievements of women
        in Islamic societies.
        * To report on recent research findings on the origins of
        Islam and the Koran.
          * To provide an alternative source of information and
        comment for the media on Islamic issues.
              * To publicise acts of terror and oppression.
          * To honor the memory and promote the work and thought
        of those martyred in the cause of freedom of expression.
      * To attract writers, academics, politicians and activists as
        members of the Institute and as contributors to the debate.
      * To establish a database of books, articles and news reports,
        an annotated bibliography of texts of interest, and a
        suggested reading list.
        * To seek funding for Institute activities, including the
        translation of important texts.
           * To publish a web-based newsletter: "Secular Islam."

    I'd really like to know what Lawrence objects to in this statement, and why he has such a problem with its author withholding his identity for reasons of personal safety.

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