By Peter Welby

This paper will argue that in order for secularism to be compatible with freedom, it must be a secularism that draws on the religious traditions and history of its political context. It will examine the competing political narratives of the Arab Spring and compare them with debates on the role of religion in society in Europe, arguing that just as religiously exclusive polities must restrict freedoms to survive, so must secularist polities that deny the role of religion in shaping their culture, and the place of religion in public life. Instead, a secular‐pluralism can acknowledge its history and current religious context, welcoming religiously based political reasoning without excluding the political reasoning of those of different religions or none.

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