We published on Christian Concepts Daily e-journal an interview with Muslim, American patriot who argued that division of state and mosque is needed. He is convinced that period of secularization could begin lasting changes in the Middle East. Today we have article by Nonie Darwish, an Author and Human Rights Advocate, who talks in-depth about recent Arab revolutions. We all watched with hope and empathy the Mideast uprisings yearning for democracy and freedom.
In the West, this was conflict of tyranny vs. liberty where liberty will naturally win. But when it comes to the Mideast, things are not as clear-cut. Liberty often means freedom to fully practice Sharia, to many it meant ending the peace treaty with Israel, declare jihad against Israel and the West. And to others it meant the beginning of the road to the Islamic Caliphate.
I want to emphasize that I am not going to talk about people, groups, or to offend good and peace loving Muslims. I want to discuss an ideology and a legal system that is the official law in about 54 Muslim countries. I think we can all agree that in America, no ideology, secular or religious, is beyond questioning. The day America shies from freedom of speech is the day freedom ends for everyone.
Most people, including myself don’t want or care to criticize any religion, let alone the religion I was born in, in the sense that it is a personal relationship with God. But … if religion expands itself to become a one party totalitarian State with an elaborate legal system to control every aspect of the life, and that has a military institution called jihad, which violates other nations, then that religion is no longer a private matter or immune to criticism. By assuming the role of government, religion has turned itself into a political institution that can be criticized and even defeated by other political ideologies. The day Islam assumed the role of the State is the day it opened itself to criticism.
If you believe that all political ideologies, all religions and cultures are equal in their adherence to human rights and civil liberties and thus they are all beyond criticism, then there is no need for education to distinguish or be critical. And you will probably not like this article.
Judging from history, revolutions are a normal cycle of the political life of Muslim countries. They are not a new phenomenon and have never brought democracy or freedom. I was born during the 1952 Egyptian revolution, in which my father held a prominent role in the new revolutionary government of Gamal Abdel Nasser. The 52 revolution promised freedom, democracy, a new constitution, new flag and even a new name to the country of Egypt which became the United Arab Republic. The name of the largest square in Cairo was changed from Ismaelia Square to Tahrir square meaning freedom square.
But the era of Nasser turned out to be one of the most oppressive periods in Egyptian’s modern history, ushering in a long period of wars, socialism, confiscation of property, poverty and illiteracy. From 52 until the 2011 revolution, Egypt had only 3 presidents. I lived under oppressive dictatorships and police states. I witnessed oppression of women, female genital mutilation, polygamy and honor killing. My only outlet was to move to America in 1979. I remember walking the halls of my first job in America, and saw a sign that said: “This organization does not discriminate on the basis of gender, religion, national origin or race.” I was in awe of a sign that many Americans take for granted. I marveled at the statement, which to me was nothing short of a miracle. I had a sigh of relief; I am now in America where under the law I am equal to men. I never took my freedom for granted ever since.
I was glad I no longer live under the repetitive cycle of revolutions, counterrevolutions, assassinations, and coups d’etat. Many Muslim leaders have come to power after forceful takeovers, and, surprisingly, that is not illegal under Islamic law. Actually, it is perfectly legitimate, and the masses and media are often jubilant and never question the legitimacy of the new leader. Sharia, states, “A Calipha [Muslim head of state] is allowed to hold office through seizure of power, meaning through force” (o25.4, p. 644). That is perhaps one of the most dangerous Islamic laws that stands in the way of a stable democratic government.