Sunday, October 19, 2008

Thank you, Secretary Powell

Finally, a man of the stature of former Secretary of State Colin Powell has said it:

Mr. Powell mentioned Mr. Khan’s death to underscore why he was deeply troubled by Republican personal attacks on Mr. Obama, especially false intimations that he was Muslim.

Mr. Obama is a lifelong Christian, not a Muslim, he said. But, he added, “The really right answer is, what if he is?”

“Is there something wrong with being Muslim in America? No, that’s not America,” he said.

The quest now is to integrate our thought not only as fully American but also as fully Muslim in the internal American thought processes about financial regulation, international relations, and other areas of political discourse, without being dismissed off-hand as being somewhat alien to our homeland of choice. This is not in any way a violation of the separation of Church and State. Our religious choices determine our preferences for society, and bring a wealth of human history and experience that should enrich the political process without tarnishing its areligious nature. 

It is unfortunate that majority Muslim countries of today have suggested that Islam does not allow separation of Church and State -- contrary to historical evidence dating back to the immediate days following the death of the Prophet (p) -- thus preventing their own wealth of history to inform their policy making positively. It is difficult to blame poorly informed westerners for irrational fear of everything "Muslim" when Muslim leaders in various parts of the world are actively nurturing this fear toward political and financial ends.


Blogger AussieDan said...

I always found the topic of seperation between Mosque & State within the Islamic world a curious one, considering that I'd read the Prophets statements warning the scholars to keep their distance from the gates of the rulers.

8:40 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

do you recommend a good book, english or arabic, explaining the separation of state & mosuqe in islam? or maybe a scholarly article?

while I'm convinced of what you say, I've been taught since I was a kid that in Islam we do not separate church & state. they say "islam is a whole religion, a way of life, that covers law & politics".

I personally think that Islamic is indeed a way of life, but I think it leaves BIG white spaces where it didn't specify what to do, e.g. how to choose a successor?, relations with neighboring - possibly islamic or not - countries?, what economic fiscal policy to use, etc.

A bad book that argues for separation of islam & politics was by late Dr. Faraj Foudah, who was unfortunately assassinated by extremists. The book uses historical controversial incidents to make arguments, which is weak.

Funny enough, the best explanation I saw proving that Islam did not specify a fixed "khilafah" system is the Jordanian Religion Curriculum for 11th & 12th grades. I think they had to use such an explanation to justify Kingship. Nonetheless, the explanation was actually presented in a classical jurisprudence way, listing verses of quran, prophet sayings, and earlier incidents. ANd it was logically sound.

but I'd love to get a book answering the bigger question of "mosque & state" issue.

6:40 PM  
Blogger nhusain said...

الأزهر فى ألف عام - محمد عبد المنعم خفاجى

This is a book in arabic that looks at the history of al azhar over 1000 years. It may give some insight on this topic of interaction between mosque and state.

11:04 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Thanks ya Heraish,
I'll look for this book.

12:03 PM  

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