1 readers online now  |  69 million page views

The State and ideology: A toxic combo

Reader comment on item: How Muslims Can Catch Up

Submitted by Dave (United States), Jul 19, 2022 at 12:15

I think this analysis by Kuru is correct and it can be verified by comparing the Islamic experience with other situations where the state has wrapped itself with a secular or religious dogma. A couple of examples stand out.
The most obvious is the Spanish Inquisition. After the Reconquista, Spain was traumatized, and not surprisingly, Catholicism was looked to as a liberating ideology. The result was a close fusing of the state with religion, sadly accompanied by dogmatic thinking and extreme intellectual intolerance. Spain entered a dark period of fanaticism and imperialism leading to violent conflict throughout Europe. The rise of Protestantism and the Enlightenment were partial reactions to these repressive developments. Ultimately, the separation of church and state emerged as an important concept for those valuing freedom of thought, a foundational principle of the United States. The awesome rise of modern scientific and intellectual achievements can be attributed to freedom of thought and expression.
More subtly is the marriage of a secular ideology with the state, as in the case of Communism. The Soviet Union, in its ideological rigidity, suppressed creativity, only tolerating artistic or historical work which accorded with Marxist ideology. Marxism and the state formed a sort of secular version of the Inquisition, and its effects are still evident today as Vladimir Putin has assumed the role of a sort of KGB Grand Inquisitor, ruthlessly eliminating dissent. The states of the former Soviet Union in eastern Europe could be considered the analogues of those states which had once opposed the Spanish Empire, as they heroically fight for their independence.
Today, we see the closest relationship in the Islamic countries between religion and the state in the ideology of Islamism, the foremost example being Iran, although many other Islamic states retain that fusion to varying degrees. The Abraham Accords, and the widespread opposition to violent Islamist groups such as ISIS, Hamas and Hezbollah, even by some traditional Islamic countries, show that cracks are appearing in the unity of religion and state in the Islamic world. Despite some regression, as in the case of Turkey, there is cause for optimism.

Submitting....

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Comment on this item

Mark my comment as a response to The State and ideology: A toxic combo by Dave

Email me if someone replies to my comment

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

See recent outstanding comments.

Follow Daniel Pipes

Facebook   Twitter   RSS   Join Mailing List

All materials by Daniel Pipes on this site: © 1968-2022 Daniel Pipes. daniel.pipes@gmail.com and @DanielPipes

Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum.Daniel J. Pipes

(The MEF is a publicly supported, nonprofit organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Tax-ID 23-774-9796, approved Apr. 27, 1998.

For more information, view our IRS letter of determination.)