Proud to speak out 1

March 24, 2006

I refuse to apologise to Tariq Modood or Sara Wajid ("Secular, liberal and doggedly fundamentalist", March 17) for Western universities being cathedrals of secular liberalism. If this offends Muslim sensibilities, then so be it.

Secularism, manifested in the theory of evolution, continues to offend many fundamentalist Christians, but generations of biologists have striven to defeat religious dogma and rightly so. Secular liberalism has done more to benefit humankind during the past two centuries than the world's religions have done for millennia.

Yes, I am a "fundamentalist" because we are engaged in a battle of fundamental ideas - one that many of us intend secular liberalism to win.

P. A. J. Waddington Professor of political sociology Reading University

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