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MUSLIME IM SÄKULAREN RECHTSSTAAT.

Vom Recht der Muslime zur Mitgestaltung der Gesellschaft.

by Heiner BIELEFELDT

Der interkulturelle Dialog, Band 2.
Herausgeber: Die Ausländerbeauftragte des Landes Bremen. Bremen 1999, 24 pp.
Herdentorsteinweg 7, D-28195 Bremen, Telefon 0421 - 361 6835 Telefax 0421 - 361 2592.
Secularism is defined and defended by the author, not as an exclusive, Western ideology of progress, but as a juridical principle that is vital for any constitutional state (Rechtsstaat) claiming to uphold freedom of religion and conscience as a basic human right. It follows that full equal rights for Muslim believers in our societies, far from endangering the institutional separation between "state" and "church", are a requirement for securing the legitimacy of the constitutional state as such. Rightly rejecting Huntington's culturalistic dichtotomy, Dr. Bielefeldt argues that non-Christian minorities as well, and more especially Muslims, are perfectly able, and should be allowed to understand and valorise this kind of constitutional secularism on the basis of their own religious and cultural traditions. Europe's Muslims indeed should get full opportunity to participate actively in giving form and shape to what is their society as well. Problems of mutual distrust notwithstanding, the followers of radical islamist movements too can and should be involved in these interactive social and political processes. 
Dr. Heiner Bielefeldt (b. 1958) is since 1995 a scientific collaborator at the Institute for Interdisciplinary Research on Conflict and Violence (Institut für interdisziplinäre Konflikt- und Gewaltforschung), at the University of Bielefeld. He publishes regularly on philosophy of law, ethics and philosophy of human rights, and the positions of Christianity and Islam. His most important publication up till now is his book, "Philosophie der Menschenrechte. Grundlagen eines weltweiten Freiheitsethos". Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt 1998, 230 pp.

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