From a historical perspective, there has always existed a distinction between the state and religion in Islam, yet no separation. Moreover, there are many types of secularism and many interpretations in Islam. The elite in Tunisia adopts the French type of secularism whereby a most complete separation between the state and religion exists. The case advanced here is that a large part of the unfolding discussions and debates in the context of the ongoing struggle is based on an ambiguous understanding of secularism and Islam. Secularism is not an atheist philosophy, but a series of arrangements and measures designed to ensure freedom of thought and belief. The way of arriving at an equation that guarantees people's rights and freedoms is by delineating religion's constants and variables. Modern democratic mechanisms are the best manifestation of shura in Islam, whereby interpretation is no longer an individual act but a collective one performed by the people's representatives.

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