Before I died – beaten black and blue by a lynch mob with a watchman’s stick, an iron rod, fists, kicks and head-butts – and before I committed blasphemy, I was a moderate believer. Now that I’m dead, I’m a nonbeliever. Not an atheist, but a nonbeliever.

Provocative to say the least, the forward thrust of Soroush’s ideas have acquired a robust quality of deconstruction of the Islamic tradition. However, pulling the figurative rug under the feet of his critics has also consisted of proposing an alternative space for faith, knowledge and politics.

The notion of ‘modernity’ has been used to cover a multitude of complex, often very different phenomena over the last two hundred years. It has been applied for such divergent purposes that it has probably become more misleading than helpful, and we should be careful not to regard it as a criterion for distinguishing between positive and negative developments.

Abu Rayhan Muhammad ibn Ahmad Al-Biruni liked school. No, he loved school. The challenge to read and recite, to count and to calculate was fun, but the real sport was to contest the ideas of others, to engage their motives and call into question their goals.