Skip to comments.Secularization as part of the Current World Order and Islam
Posted on 04/15/2002 6:06:27 PM PDT by swarthyguy
A consistent theme given prominence in the impending war of civilizations is the secularization of the Muslim world. With the United States gaining its world superiority, it is now being pushed with the utmost vigor and has become a sine qua non for its dealings with Muslim countries.
The problem is that secularism is a purely Western construct, developed in the particular European environment in response to Church excesses and the ensuing antagonism it produced, furthered by internecine Christian wars of the time, culminating in the separation of church and state. Thus, secularism, as it evolved, is based on the exclusion of faith having any significant role in human affairs and is devoid of the essentiality of transcendence with its vital role in human existence. This is the opposite of the Muslim experience with Islam. Rather than letting them lead their lives in accordance with their Islamic aspirations, the U.S. is intent on imposing a Western secular value system upon Muslims. In order to accomplish this objective, Islamic schools and mosques have now become the major targets.
Since every measure taken after September 11 is labeled as a war on terrorism, Islamic schools and mosques are not immune and are being projected as the breeding grounds of terrorism. Thomas Friedman of the New York Times writing in a column in the November 27, 2001, issue believes that the West is not fighting to eradicate terrorism. Terrorism is just a tool [it is] fighting to defeat an ideology: religious totalitarianism. But unlike Nazism, religious totalitarianism cant be fought by armies alone. It has to be fought in schools, mosques, churches and synagogues, and can be defeated only with the help of imams, rabbis and priests.
There are many secularist leaders within Muslim countries who are ready and willing to do the job: for example, General Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan. In a speech to his nation on January 12, 2002, he attempted to prove that every ill afflicting his country, and Muslims in general, is because of the misinterpretation of Islam, and if cured of it, Pakistan could become a progressive heaven on earth for other Muslims to emulate. As a result, he has since then instituted restrictions on the building of new mosques and ordered that all religious schools henceforth be registered and their curricula improved by including secular subject matters. The U.S. administration was pushing for these changes all along, and now has promised some help in reforming the education of Pakistani youngsters.
Thus Pakistan is progressing on the lines that Egypt already is, where religious education is in state hands and the construction of mosques is placed under strict restrictions: requiring a deposition of surety with a bank and the acquisition of a permit from the relevant government ministry. Such is the case with most other Muslim countries.
General Pervez Musharraf is pushing forward the secularization of Pakistan
This was great news for Western leaders, especially the media, since Pakistan is home to strong Islamic movements. They appreciated the leadership qualities of Musharraf and his vision of a new course for the Muslim world. As an example, the January 28 issue of Newsweek adorned him with a lengthy five-page article entitled Pakistans Striving Son. Admiring his unique courage, it said, his government launched a series of dramatic policies that, if successful, will mean a real about-face for Pakistan. Not only Musharraf wants to move Pakistan away from its long and troubled drift into theocracy, but he says he hopes to set an example that other Islamic countries with fundamentalist undercurrents will follow (Mind you, Islam does not advocate rule by clergy or any elitist group, but it is egalitarian, and stands for popular vicegerency of humans under the sovereignty of God).
Then comparing him with Anwar Sadat of Egypt, it says, Musharraf exhibits similar daring and vision, and also similar hubris. Many Pakistanis fear, and some of them wish, that he may yet meet Sadats bloody fate. The same magazine had earlier called him a weak military dictator with a dilemma. Even now, it stated, Musharraf is touchy when his democratic credentials are challenged. He pledges to hold parliamentary elections in October, but also plans to remain in place as president. I have to do it not just for my sake, but for the sake of the nation, he says (echoing a line dear to many a dictator) (Italics added).
The West, in all honesty, must admit that terrorism cannot be associated with any particular religion or people; and for that matter, it should also examine itself. Europe and the U.S. have by far the greater amount of terrorism, as apparent from the daily incidents of homicide reported in U.S. towns and metropolises. For example, in the U.S., 22,000 innocent civilians die every year as a result of heavy firearm shooting: because a growing number of fanatics (among them children) have in some cases suddenly started firing indiscriminately at persons in their vicinity - in schools, workplaces, and other places. And the government is unable to check this widespread terror among its citizens. Yet, it plays the role of policeman for the world, arrogating to itself the right to categorize whomever it wants to label as terrorist.
This blame is specifically directed at Islam and Muslims. Writing in the March 18, 2002, issue of the Washington Times, Anthony Sullivan and Louis Cantori, two well-known Middle East experts, write, There is the policy posture that suggests Washingtons agreement with the notion that Islam is inherently a fanatic religion. The demonization of Islam is troubling in two respects. First, it may be understood to justify establishment of an American world empire. Any such American imperium would assuredly not prove to be in the long-term interests of the United States. This policy orientation, of course, reflects views which are expressed regularly by American neoconservatives. Further, that the apparent association of Islam with fanaticism is related to an additional troubling phenomenon. This association suggests that both government officials and journalists have not understood how categorical and widespread the condemnation by prominent Muslim religious leaders of what occurred on September 11 has been (Italics added).
Let us also look at Islamic schools in Muslim countries, which have been following the same curricula for generations and hundred of years. Like other religious schools, their primary goal is to teach the Islamic faith, its scholarship, and its ethical and moral principles. Their curriculum encompasses reading of the Quran and its Tafsir (exegesis) provided by a reputed scholar, along with Hadith (sayings of the Prophet of Islam) and Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) literature at the advanced level. There is nothing in the courses taught that could be remotely associated with terrorist teachings, such as the mechanics and use of firearms. In fact, incidences of violence are very low among graduates from these schools. On the other hand, it is the secular schools, colleges and universities (those inherited from the colonial period, and added on to) where armed groups exist and where incidents of terror and death take place. To those critics who often give the example of the Taliban one could ask the question, where did they learn this art? It was during the war with the former Soviet Union from where they received their training, along with the active assistance of the U.S. If this is true, as is generally acknowledged, then why are those who trained them accusing others of its occurrence in places where it is not?
In order to fight terrorism, the West and the U.S. would have to address the causes that lead to it. Terrorism is an act of desperation by those deprived of their rights; all it needs in order for it to end are just and fair solutions. Muslim desperation with the U.S., extending from a few terrorists to their predominantly large peace loving populations (totaling 1.3 billion in more than 55 countries), is largely due to the following reasons:
It is unjustly aligned with Israel against the Palestinians, while Israel violates its agreed upon accords and continues the Occupation, raiding Palestinian homes and killing civilians and children with U.S. supplied tanks, gunships and F16s.
It has instituted mindless cruel sanctions on Iraq, which has caused the death of more than 500,000 children and another 500,000 adults, mostly the elderly. And in general, it not only backs, but also ensures that their ruthless rulers remain entrenched in the status quo.
The real root cause of problems of the West is its adoption of Godless secularism that, along with its associated atheism, has led to its crass materialism, hedonism and moral and environmental decay. It has produced grave problems in its society, causing its disintegration, which is also very evident in its basic institution of the family. It is because of the absence of ethical and moral education that Western society is suffering from decadence, with constant increase in daily occurrences of crime and drug use, juvenile delinquency, violence, sex exploitation and abuse, along with rampant racism. Admittedly, Muslim societies suffer from grave problems of economic and political leadership, but their family institutions are strong and they possess a long tradition of firmly established values emanating from their mosques and religious schools.
Indeed, the current phenomenon of satellites beaming their shows into most homes in the Muslim world provides a stark contrast: that with the importation of secular values, the problems peculiar to the West are now emerging in the Muslim societies as well. Is this what the West wants to propagate to others? Shouldnt it rather seek remedy for its grave moral and societal problems, rather than throw them onto the world stage?
The right course would be for the West and the U.S. to refrain from blind advocacy of secularism as the solution for Muslims and to conversely seek and adopt mutually beneficial ways of life in cooperation with them. Many Western intellectuals are conscious of the immorality of their social order and its implications for future social economy. Therefore, these leaders of conscience, rather than acquiescing in eroding the eternal transcendental nature of Islam and replacing it with spiritually blind, transient, relativistic and valueless secularism, should join forces with their counterparts from Muslim countries. They should thus work conscientiously to restore transcendence to their society - that is groping for it, in the prevailing darkness of minds - with their extant God-given goodness. Only when they are so engaged sincerely, they would, hopefully, through their unrelenting activism be able to convince government leaders and politicians not to become captives of arrogance and give in to wrongful ways, thereby arriving at a beneficial norm for the good of humankind.
Would those family values include sending out a daughter with a bomb belt on and profiting from her death no less?
Except that this sentence is factually incorrect. Crime is dropping. Things are getting better, as evidenced by uniform crime statistics. The left and the arabs have a reputation as liars.
However, there may be a middle course satisfactory to most. Islam is probably unique in being the only major religion which has numerous and repeated passages in the Quran and other holy texts which specifically enjoin Muslims to perpetrate acts of violence and discrimination against non-Muslims. If laws (in the US and elsewhere) were passed which defined any such passages (in whatever religion's books) as being not religious or divinely inspired teachings by nature of their inherent injustice to others, only versions of the Quran and other religious texts with those passages expunged could be allowed to be used for any religious or teaching purpose, and the use of texts which include the inciteful passages could result in criminal prosecution and closing of mosques and schools which refuse to comply with the law.
The really advantageous part of this is that it would leave judeo/christian teachings untouched for the most part. With this approach, we could keep the best of Islam and reject the worst of it. It would not amount to censorship, since unexpurgated Islamic texts could be accessed in libraries, for instance. It would just be illegal to use such texts for religious purposes which include passages which incite unlawful or discriminatory actions. And if Muslims don't like it, they can suck sand, IMO.
The same slavish devotion applies to the Sharia, or teachings, that accompany the Koran, and not least to the Mullahs who perpetuate this "surrender" of the mind to a totalitarian religion by teaching followers that they can make no moral or religious decision, however insignificant, on their own.
My point is that, without violating any commonly accepted religious tenets, we can strip Islam of its hate speech and incitements to violence. Many of us are quite comfortable with interfering more than that to Christianity, as I've pointed out. Therefore,I see no good reason not to excise this, as you point out, dangerous cancer from Islam in the US and other countries.
There's simply no viable candidates for this approach; therefore it's not any sort of real world solution to the problem.