The need for secularism in Islamic countries more important now than ever 

The Maldivian people must unite together to to fight religious extremists from increasing in the country. We must also never let these people get close to positions of power in the government.

If we do, we will end up like Bangladesh or worse like the Middle East. Our people can’t afford to loose our moderate way of life to religious extremism. It will tear our society apart and do irrecoverable damage.

We must be vigilant. We must say no to religious extremism.

We must become a secular country so that Muslim’s can be the Muslim of our own choosing and conscience rather than have it imposed on us with those who choose violence and power or civility and democracy.

Our freedom depends on it. This is only the beginning. Worse is yet to come if we do not start this public discussion now. This is a public conversation that can no longer be ignored.

This isn’t about being against Islam. The Wahhabi’s and Salafi’s have been twisting the words of everyone whoever spoke out against them as atheists or laadheenee (irreligious). That is how they seek to operate and control the narrative. Secularism is the only way to make sure religious extremist do not come to positions of power in government.

When that fails, they choose violence. Today they hide among us. Tomorrow they seek to rule us.

Related videos;

What is Secularism?

 

An Islamic argument for Secularism by Professor Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na’im:

In his seminal work “Islam and the Secular State” that has set the debate on the nature of Political Islam around the world, Professor Abdullahi Ahmed an-Naim challenges the dangerous illusion of an Islamic state that claims the right to enforce Sharia principles through coercion. At the same time, on the opposite end of the debate, he dismisses “the dangerous illusion that Islam can, or should be kept out of the public life of the community of believers”, an argument often cited by proponents of strong secularism.

For An-Na’im, the separation of Islam from the state together with the regulation of the political role of Islam through constitutionalism, and the protection of human rights are the necessary safeguards to ensure freedom and security for all to properly and sincerely practice their religions. Yet despite this separation, An-Na’im argues that Muslims are still entitled to propose a policy or legislation stemming from their religion, provided they support such proposals with what he calls civic reason – reasons that can be publicly debated and contested by any citizen, individually or collectively, in accordance with norms of civility and mutual respect.

This lecture will revisit and extend the arguments outlined in the book, and will examine how these theories could be practiced in Muslim countries.

 

Lecture by Professor Abdullahi An-Naim on Human Rights, Religion, and Secularism in Islam

In honor of his induction as Charles Howard Candler Professor of Law, Dr. Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na’im gives a short lecture on Human Rights, Religion, and Secularism in Islam.

 

A conversation with history: – Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na’im

Conversations host Harry Kreisler welcomes legal philosopher Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na’im, Candler Professor of Law at Emory University, for a discussion of the challenges facing Muslims as they seek to reconcile tradition and modernity. Professor An-Na’im reflects on his intellectual journey: the influence of his parents and of his teacher Mahmoud Mohamed Taba. He also enumerates lessons of his own career as a scholar, advocate and activist. Professor An-Na’im discusses the importance of Islamic reform which successfully negotiates universal notions of human rights, constitutionalism, and citizenship while respecting tradition and culture. His analysis focuses on the distinction between state and society: the need for separation of Islam from the state while recognizing the ways in which Islam can inform society and politics. He also points to the problematic aspects of Islamic beliefs that emerged in particular historical contexts and must adapt to modernity and the universal values that recognize the dignity of all women and men.

 

Tariq Ramadan and Abdullahi An-Na’im – Shari’a and Democracy in Arab Constitutions

Two of the most influential reformers from “within” Islam, Tariq Ramadan and Abdullahi An-Na’im are discussing what shari’a is and should be: a set of principles and morals for believers, never a body of law to be enforced by the State? Both wish democracy, equality amongst citizens, human rights. But they also disagree: Tariq Ramadan believes shari’a should be named in the Arab constitutions as Muslims draw principles of justice for change from within their own tradition and religion. For An- Na’im, on the contrary, the religious needs to be kept far from the political: only a secular state can guarantee the realization of the Islamic objective of justice in Muslim societies.

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One thought on “The need for secularism in Islamic countries more important now than ever 

  1. Maldivians think ‘secular’ means ‘anti-religion’, because there are extremists like Sheikh Shameem and Iyaz who define it that way.

    But secular really means ‘outside religion’. It’s like when Dr. Shaheem enjoys a drink of bonaqua with a ‘hiley’ woman at some undisclosed location – that’s a secular activity. It’s got nothing to do with his religious beliefs.

    Even Islam says work and take care of your family first. Because everything is not about praying and religion.

    ‘Secularism’ is when you finally grow up and admit that to yourself.

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