Oslo, Global Forum on Freedom of Expression
EFD senior fellow Irshad Manji spoke publicly about the future of free expression in a fragile and fractured world. She challenged Europeans to move beyond the comfort of communal identity, which always favors conservative voices both in the Muslim and non-Muslim constituencies. Instead, she proposed, those with the privilege of living in open societies can discover their individual integrity. Pluralism resides in the individual, who is always a multi-dimensional creature. Thus, individual integrity — or wholeness — allows for more complex expression and more honest public discourse. In the end, cultures do not have rights; individuals do. That is why cultural customs that stifle individuality cannot, and should not, be accommodated. Manji outlined these ideas in two major conference events: a panel about silenced women’s voices and a vigorous debate with Tariq Ramadan.