Thursday, July 26, 2007
The failed export of democracy in Iraq has also forced people to seriously think about Islamic law. Perhaps, its implementation not suppression is the solution. Secularism as it is envisioned in the West does not necessarily have to be the goal for countries with Muslim populations. Of course, some people will argue that when the state proclaims certain religion, it necessarily excludes other religions and thence comes discrimination of other religions. But the formulation can be a bit different. Rather than advertise Islam as a religion, Muslim states may simply harmonize Islamic religious principles with the contemporary demands. After all, many have argued that Islam is not simply a religion any more. It is a culture, a lifestyle. A state is a mirror of the people it represents. How can a Muslim state not embrace an Islamic cultural heritage? It is absurd. Just as France cannot help embracing secularism (laicite), a Muslim state cannot help embracing Islam. Therefore, let us think hard before we even raise the concept of 'secularism' in the context of Muslim countries. Secularism and Islam are not mutually exclusive, believe it or not. Moreover, Islam as a religion is separate from fundamentalism. Therefore, implementation of Islamic law will not lead to more fundamentalism, or extremism. It will only help Muslims create viable institutions that would contain violence and provide for sustainable peace.