Sunday, August 30, 2015

Egyptian Writer Calls for Enlightenment in the World of Islam

Yasmin Al-Khatib
Memri Special Dispatch No. 6144

Memri, in Special Dispatch No. 6144 (August 28, 2015), quotes the Egyptian writer and artist Yasmin Al-Khatib, who states that "Muslim History Is Rife With ISIS-Style Executions," and she argues that "Adopting Enlightenment Is The Only Weapon Against Such Brutality":
I do not understand why, after every perverted [act of] execution carried out by ISIS, most Muslims insist that these actions have nothing to do with Islam. After all, Muslim history is rife with terrifying forms of execution, similar or even identical to those used by ISIS . . . . I am talking of execution [methods] used in the early Islamic period, [a period] which most of our clerics regard as the essential [source] for Islamic legislation . . . . Some may think that the purpose of this article is to blacken the image of Islam. So, in order to elaborate and clarify, let me note that, in the past, Christianity also practiced [horrific] execution[s] . . . . But eventually the enlightenment triumphed and the Church became moderate and tolerant, as it is today. Enlightenment is our only weapon to defeat ISIS, because our real war is not against [this organization] but against extremist thinking, and if we do not confront it and beat it, a thousand [other] ISIS [organizations] will emerge.
Al-Khatib is correct that Christianity has also used violence, but I think that Islam will have more difficulty with its own Enlightenment since Islam lacks any scriptural teaching for a separation between religion and state. Islamic law is the law for society, and that law is to be enforced by the state, according to Islamic teaching.

Nevertheless, we can hope that more people in the Muslim world will come to think like Al-Khatib . . .

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