SECULARISM IS NOT THE WAY TO PEACE
(Khilafah Magazine - vol:8 issue:8, May 1998)
It is held by many that ‘peace’ in troubled regions such as the Middle East and Northern Ireland can only be found within a secular, democratic framework. They cite that a ‘religious’ government will never be able to produce ‘peace’. They believe that a ‘religious’ state would cause tension within a region that has people of many beliefs. They argue that, if the state were Islamic, what of non-Muslims such as Hindus, Jews and Christians? Or in the case of Northern Ireland, if the state were Catholic what of other denominations such as Protestants? Also it is for this reason, they say that ‘religion is the cause of intolerance’.
This being the case, they argue that the only solution is a state that puts religious differences aside. Secularism does just that, for it believes that religion should be detached from life’s affairs. Secularism believes that religion is a personal matter that should not interfere with political life. That is the only way to ensure ‘religious tolerance’. However, secularism itself carries the seeds of instability. It works via the principles of pluralism whereby different interest groups are recognised and encouraged to distinguish themselves, their needs, their ‘way of life’, and problems that are particularly to them. These groupings can take the form of ethnic, religious or regional divisions, or they can take the form of cause-based divisions such as the pro-‘life’ and the pro-‘choice’ groups. These groups compete to influence the law of the land to favour them or their causes. Such activity in turn breeds sectarianism, leading to intolerance of the grossest kind.