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Lolle Nauta Forum: Ian Buruma & Tariq Ramadan on the Politics of Us and Them

29 March 2010

We can no longer divide the world into Us versus Them or the Own versus the Other, since we’re living in a globalized world where we are all linked to each other. However, globalization also leads to differences and variety. How can these two trends be unified? How do they influence politics and democracy?

In the Lolle Nauta Forum 2010 on Wednesday 14 April, the well-known thinkers and writers Ian Buruma and Tariq Ramadan will speak and engage in debate. The event will be held in the Academy Building, Broerstraat 5, Groningen and will begin at 3.30 p.m. (in English). For more information and ticket sales:

Ian Buruma on Politics as Religion

The Israeli philosopher Avishai Margalit makes a distinction between politics as religion and politics as economy. Politics as religion has to do with the absolute truth, while politics as economy has more to do with trade, weighing costs and benefits, and reaching compromises between various interests. Although the two lines of thought are difficult to reconcile, can they find common ground in a liberal democracy?

Ian Buruma is a British-Dutch writer, journalist, Sinologist and Japanologist who has worked at a number of universities. He has written numerous books and writes regularly for the New York Review of Books.

Tariq Ramadan: Who is the stranger?

Who are the strangers? And who belongs to the trusted circle? The presence of Muslims in the West has put the old definitions of ‘our’ identity as well as our feeling of ‘belonging’ up for discussion. It’s easier to establish who ‘we’ are not. However, this negative definition of our identity opens the door to new conflict, to rejection, and even racism. Could it be that our Muslim neighbours belong to the trusted circle without our knowing it?

Tariq Ramadan is a Swiss philosopher and Islamicist, as well as a prominent voice in the debate on Islam and the West. He is professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies at the University of Oxford.

The Lolle Nauta Forum is an initiative of the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Groningen, in collaboration with Studium Generale Groningen and the Volkskrant, intended to promote public debate. The Forum is named after Lolle Nauta, a public intellectual and professor of Social Philosophy and the Philosophy of Science at the University of Groningen from 1971 to 1994.

For more information, contact: Hans Harbers, Faculteit Wijsbegeerte, tel.: (050) 363 6161, e-mail:

Last modified:04 January 2018 3.34 p.m.

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