George Orwell warned against the idea that one could “Only combat Communism, Fascism or what not if we develop an equal fanaticism. It appears to me that one defeats the fanatic precisely by not being a fanatic oneself.” So what might a “non-fanatic” response to Islamism consist of? It is unlikely that one simple approach will do the trick. But among the remedies needed is a strong civil society movement including both Muslims and non-Muslims aimed at countering the fundamentalist ideology of Islamism at both the intellectual and practical level. Precisely how such a civil society movement should be organized and what it should do is up for debate. But these 7 elements should be included in some form or shape:

  1. An unapologetic defense of secularism, tolerance and freedom of conscience
  2. Frank and open debate about religion
  3. Basic historical awareness
  4. Activism
  5. Humor
  6. Social engagement
  7. A sense of belonging

Read the elaboration of the 7 seven steps here.


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