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Islam, Islamism and the West: The Divide Between Ideological Islam and Liberal Democracy

Recorded on June 9, 2005

Location: The Heritage Foundation's Allison Auditorium

Since September 11, 2001, policymakers in Washington have confronted new and unsettling questions regarding the role of religion in political radicalism emanating from the Middle East and the intellectual principles underpinning militant Islam. In Islam, Islamism and the West, Baroness Caroline Cox and Dr. John Marks, internationally acclaimed British human rights activists and leading advocates of Muslim-Western understanding, tackle this challenge head-on, using a new metric: concepts of knowledge and truth, and the kinds of institutions that are needed to promote and preserve them. Their conclusions about the nature of Western and Islamic societies - and whether Islam, in its present form, is compatible with liberal democracy - have important implications for the foreign policy of the United States and its allies in the years ahead. Join us as Baroness Cox and Dr. Marks outline these fundamental issues and address the sobering policy challenges they present to democracies everywhere.

BARONESS CAROLINE COX has been a Life Peer and Deputy Speaker of the British House of Lords since 1985. Between 1991 and 2001, she was the Founder Chancellor of Bournemouth University. Currently, she serves as Vice President of the Royal College of Nursing. Baroness Cox is heavily involved in international humanitarian and human rights work, serving as Co-Director (with John Marks) of the Educational Research Trust, a Director of the Andrei Sakharov Foundation, a Trustee of MERLIN (Medical Emergency Relief International) and the Siberian Medical University, Honorary President of Christian Solidarity Worldwide-UK, and Chairman of the Executive Board of the International Islamic Christian Organization for Reconciliation and Reconstruction (IICOORR). Her work has taken her to conflict zones such as the Armenian enclave of Nagorno Karabakh, Sudan, the jungles of eastern Burma, and communities suffering from religious conflict in Indonesia.

JOHN MARKS is Director of the Civitas Education Unit and Co-Director, with Baroness Cox, of the Educational Research Trust. A former administrator of England's National Council for Educational Standards (NCES), he has over 40 years of teaching experience in universities, polytechnics and schools. His many publications include The Betrayed Generations: Standards in British Schools 1950-2000 (London: Centre for Policy Studies, 2001), Girls Know Better: Educational Attainment of Boys and Girls (London: Civitas, 2001), and Fried Snowballs: Communism in Theory and Practice (London: Claridge Press, 1990). He has been honored by the Queen with an OBE for services to education.