Panjwani, Farid (2007)
Because my religion says so: democratic theory and internal diversity in religions
In: Muslim-Jewish dialogue in a 21st Century world. Centre for Minority Studies, History Department, Royal Holloway University of London, Egham.
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Religious communities are increasingly seeking participation in public space on the basis of the recognition of their religious convictions and beliefs. This has led to a growing debate about the status of arguments based on religious beliefs in democratic deliberations. The paper outlines this development and explores tensions it often generates between obligations towards religion and demands of the state. Within this context, the main concern of the paper is the often neglected issue of the relationship between demands for recognition by religious communities and their internal diversity. Through the case study of Islam, the paper argues that unless religious communities devise ways of engaging with their internal diversity they will be inconsistent in their stance: seeking representation externally and suppressing it internally.
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Farid Panjwani is at the Aga Khan University - Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilizations, London. This paper was given at a workshop on the comparative study of Jews and Muslims held at Royal Holloway, University of London, on 22-23 April 2006, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.