Liberal Democracy and Religious Identities

Monday, 19 June, 2017 - 10:30
Bologna, Palazzo Isolani

The relationship between democracy and religion that nineteenth century philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville identified as “the great problem of our time” appears to be no less problematic today. Both in Europe and in the Muslim world, “religion”, “Islam”, “secularism” and “liberal democracy” are emotionally charged topics that are increasingly treated as markers of identity, non-negotiable values or even irreconcilable worldviews. Do “traditional” categories and paradigms describing this relationship provide any illumination on the moral and political questions facing both 21st century Muslims and European democracies witnessing a deep and unprecedented identity crisis? Or is the time ripe to rethink the relationship between religion, societies and democratic governance on both sides of the alleged “Islam-West” divide? And if so, then how?

These topics will be addressed during the round table on “Liberal Democracy and Religious Identities” organized at the Ex Nihilo Zero Conference of the European Academy of Religion (Bologna, June 18-22).


Armando BARUCCO, Head of UAP-DSD, Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation, Rome

Massimo CAMPANINI, Associate Professor of Islamic studies, Department of Humanities, University of Trento

Radwan MASMOUDI, Founder and President, Center for the Study of Islam & Democracy (CSID), Washington

Olivier ROY, Joint-chair, Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies and SPS department, EUI, Florence

Armando SANGUINI, Scientific Advisor, ISPI, Milan (Chair)


The round table, held in English, will take place at Palazzo Isolani - Room 1 (P.zza S. Stefano) on June 19, 2017, at 10.30 am. The whole program of the conference is available here.



This event is organized in the context of the third edition of MED – Rome Mediterranean Dialogues.

MED is the annual high-level initiative promoted by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and ISPI, aimed at drafting a “positive agenda” for the Mediterranean region by stimulating debate and new ideas, rethinking traditional approaches and addressing shared challenges at both the regional and the international level.

The next Edition will be held in Rome from 30 November to 2 December 2017 and will be preceded in the previous months by several “towards MED” meetings, on selected topics related to the four MED pillars: Shared Prosperity; Shared Security; Migration; Civil Society and Culture.