I wrote a shorter version of this piece for one of the largest American newspapers, one that gets a hefty dose of criticism almost every day. The editor rejected it because it wasn’t “groundbreaking enough.” I wish he would have…
For me this was an interesting article. I have recently been reading several books on the history of Islam. My fundamental question has been whether Islam was ever really religously tolerant and whether Muslims would accept any form of separation of church and state.
There have been many statements made about Islam being a tolerant religion but you cannot see it today. Their historical method of religous tolerance was an innovative solution for medival times but it appears to be severely flawed for functioning with today’s religous communities. At its core the Muslim approach to toleration is apartheid by a different name. The expectations of today’s communities are much higher than what apartheid can offer.
The problem with separation of church and state goes to the heart of the economic problems faced by Islamic countries. It is not hard to see that Islamic governments have a long history of being economic laggards. The attempts to assimilate the best of the western ideas into Islam without actually changing anything in Islam have failed. Plan B is to separate church and state for the sake of Islam. It does not have to be a complete separation but govenment needs more indepence from religous preference to do the right thing for all of the people. Living in perpetual war and poverty is not most Muslim’s hope for their children or for their religion.