BraveNewEgypt

The Essential Separation Between Church and State

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It is sad to see that within the United States, supposedly the country that promotes democracy more than any other, there is such racism and misunderstanding. Below is an excerpt from Far-right American “news” organisation FOX News. The video is from the infamous talk-show host Glenn Beck’s program, and features influential figures discussing the current situation in Egypt. You can see the Islamophobic propaganda running through the entire discussion. Unfortunately the major point of discussion revolved around a claim brought up by Robert Spencer, a notorious hate-monger. He claimed that if there was democratic change and free elections that the people of Egypt would unconditionally vote in the Muslim Brotherhood. This is not based on any fact or study, and is flat out wrong. Spencer clearly has no knowledge of Egyptian or Middle Eastern politics, instead choosing to focus on fundamentalism, rather than the benefits democracy would have, and the fact that the there is no guarantee that the MB would be able to run for office, considering the fact that they could be banned under a revised constitution.

The basic fact that I would like to highlight is that the MB is a religious party. It of course tries to meddle in politics, but under a new liberal constitution, Egypt should only have secular parties allowed to run for office. Not all of Egypt’s population are Muslim. While Muslims make up the clear majority, all citizens of Egypt should be respected and should not be subjected to live under the laws of another religion. Furthermore, there is no evidence that suggests that the 85% who are Muslims are interested in living in an Iran-like state. Egypt’s populations is generally very liberal, but unfortunately we are being judged by a small radical faction, that while well-organised and an ever-present addition to Egypt’s political scene, is certainly not representative of the Egyptian people.

The West is understandably afraid that any void caused by Mubarak being displaced could result in Egypt turning into an Arab Iran. But those same concerns are shared by millions of Egyptian who dislike and disregard the MB, looking upon them as a blemish on what has been a secular and democratic revolution.

In whatever new Egypt that will appear post-January 25th Revolution, freedom of religion must be recognised and respected. The separation between church and state, or to put into context, mosque and state, must be the foundation for the rules governing political parties and governance. There can be no overlap. The MB should be allowed to exist, but only as an organisation of faith, and any promotion of violence must be punished strictly by secular laws as they would punish any other organisation that promoted violence.

All religions must be respected in Egypt, and religion must have no place in politics.

Mubarak’s lasting legacy must be the continued crackdown on radicals in Egypt, which will not only provide security for us as Egyptians, but will also enforce the government’s position as truly democratic, accepting all political parties of any opinion, only if they are not religiously-oriented. Radicalism has no place in Egypt. We do not want it. We want freedom, from political oppression and from religious oppression.

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Written by BraveNewEgypt

February 3, 2011 at 9:00 pm

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