Saturday, January 19, 2008

Are Islam and democracy compatible?

Keep an eye out for the forthcoming interview I am having with Irene Khan, secretary general of Amnesty International, the world's biggest human rights organisation.

See, or rather read, how the Muslim lady from Bangladesh wipes the floor with Muslims and non-Muslims who subscribe to the point of view that Islam and democracy cannot see eye to eye.

Mrs Khan will be in the Netherlands on Thursday 24 January to deliver the 'Nooit meer Auschwitz-lecture' ('Auschwitz never again'). Place of venue: Beurs van Berlage, Amsterdam, 14.00-15.30 hrs.

To me, amnesty is not about tolerance, but about mercy, about grace, about justice. I am having great difficulty with the word 'tolerance' as there is this negative ring to it: I don't like you, but I tolerate you. I don't accept you, but I tolerate you.