Explores the notion that there is a perceived imbalance in governmental support for religious vs secularist worldviews in Australia. Discussion opens with an explanation of political secularism that focuses on policy options rather than the concept itself; a political secularist preoccupation with church-state separation is noted. In looking at separation in the realms of education & charities, various political secularist ideological assumptions are identified. Attention is given to the Special Religious Education debate; structural pluralism as the theoretical policy framework in play in Victoria; & a typology for the democratic governance of religious diversity. It is asserted that Australian political secularists are now seeing the value in lobbying for rather than simply articulating their agenda. D. Edelman
The paper reverse the famous question of Susan Möller Okin "Is multiculturalism bad for women" and asks the question of the supposed "natural alliance" between secularism and democracy. It takes as an illustration the relation between secularist movement and women's claims in the history of Belgium from the Belgian revolution until now. It presents a first, sketchy description of the alliance, trying to show that three periods can be distinguished : until the end of the schoolwar, the relations between the secularist movement and women's claim are rather weak and the secularists tend to distrust women, they consider as allied of the clerics; during the period of 1960-2000, the alliance is stonger over the claim of "self-disposal of one's body'" ; then, from 2000 until now, there is a strong division between both secularist and feminist movements, and so there are two alliances : radical secularism and mainstream feminist movement are allied against islam while, radical feminist and tolerant secularism are allied against neo-colonialist position.
In this age of confrontation, the secular Turkish model has been seen as a bridge between Islam and the West as well as the link between Europe and Asia. Now that model faces the most severe test in its history. How the current crisis is settled will frame future relations between Islam and the West no less than the events of 9 /11. Adapted from the source document.