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Secularism and Democracy: The only discussion we should be having

Reader comment on item: Secularism - Will It Survive?

Submitted by Victor Purinton (United States), Oct 13, 2005 at 17:09

Dr. Pipes

I am now more than ever convinced that any program for peace in the world will have to include very specific global discussions of both democracy and secularism. And they're going to have to include Arab Muslims. If they don't participate, then it's a waste of time.

It's time to start publicly querying individuals on how they feel about both issues - especially secular versus religious law and the prospect of Islam having a permanent place in the permanently secular societies of the west. And, yes, I believe that the phrase "permanently secular" should be heard from Bush, Blair, and all the other leaders of western nations. It plants a stake in the ground that will be impossible to miss.

You can always find Muslims debating the "should"s and "shouldn't"s of Islam. But they universally shy away from bringing up the hardest and most important question: "Yes, I agree that [such-and-such] is proscribed in Islam. But do you think this must be enforced by the state?" This question makes a lot of Muslims extraordinarily uncomfortable, especially when one Muslim asks another. Just asking is seen by some as an act of treachery.

My goal is not to make Muslims uncomfortable, but this is an issue that simply will not go away, and a discussion that has to happen in the Muslim world.

As they say, the sooner the better.


My placard for the day:

YES - to religious freedom
NO - to religious law

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