Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The Islamic case for a secular state

from The Turkish Daily News

What is striking is that the Prophet of Islam founded not an Islamic polity but a pluralistic one. Under that charter, three faiths existed in the city-state of Medina, but Medina itself did not possess a faith. It was, to risk being a bit anachronistic, a secular state ... An interesting point to note here is the deviation of contemporary Islamist states from this traditional pluralism of Islam. When Saudi Arabia or the Taliban's Afghanistan impose what they see as Islamic law to virtually anybody within their borders, including non-Muslims, they are imposing the shariah on those who don't accept it in the first place. They are in fact taking a modern position, but that's a modernity of a totalitarian kind. And, moreover, their version of shariah is so harsh, bigoted and misogynist that most Muslims find it simply disgusting.

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