Date: Fri 22 Nov 2002 - 06:19:42 GMT
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
* 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
* To create a network of secularists and freethinkers in
* 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." http://www.secularislam.org/
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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