The Formation of an International Bureau for Laicite*, December 9, 2009
A wide number of non governmental organizations and individuals from across Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas have signed a common public statement affirming the nefarious role of fundamentalist politics and the need to counter it internationally.
This charter highlights:
– The flawed ideological bogey of clash of civilizations, the role of public policies leading to greater inequality, and the impact of religious fundamentalisms and right wing identity politics in dividing people locally, nationally and internationally.
– Fundamentalist movements benefit from – A retreat of the state from the social domain that leaves the terrain open to the religious-political outfits to flourish. – Public support from certain groups on the left, that consider fundamentalists as allies in the name of fighting imperialism.
In this overall backdrop the signatories propose the formation of an international initiative called International Bureau for Laicite to act as a facilitating body to network, support and amplify the struggles for secularism.
The charter of International Bureau for Laicite has been released in English, French and Spanish on a day that marks the 104th anniversary of the legislation separating state and religion in France.
The full text of the charter is available for public consultation and is open for signatures at the newly created website of International Bureau for Laicite.
(* Note: The French term Laicite in the name of our platform was chosen because the word ‘secularism’ in English conveys the notion of equal tolerance of the state vis a vis all religions, rather than the notion of separation between ‘Churches’/religions and the state as well as the total disinvestment of the state regarding religions, which is embeded into the French concept of laicite.)