Islam and pluralism

June 21, 2002

C. W. Watson ("Open up to a very creative culture", THES , June 14) tries to use anti-essentialism to defend Islam but misunderstands both.

The former does not imply that discourses have any or no meaning. They encourage some human behaviours and discourage others. In this context, inasmuch as Islamic monotheism is intolerant of other truth, Islamic theocracy is incompatible with citizenship in a pluralist society.

It is a serious problem, and it should not be left for a tiny number of lesbians/gays and humanists to say so. Leftwing intellectuals deriding it as racism are blind. Have they not noticed that intellectual dissent has been brutally suppressed in Muslim societies, precisely in proportion to the extent that the latter approach full Islamic propriety?

The fact is, as Machiavelli said of Christianity, you can be a Muslim and a good citizen, but you cannot be a good Muslim and a good citizen.

Patrick Curry
London W14

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