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Arabs and Secularism


 The Levant Exclusive – By Salam al Rabadi*


National independences must remain divides geographically only, not civilization’s divides that contain basic differences. And if there are lessons can be learned from historical developments in terms of the problematic relationship between religion and the state, in the forefront of these lessons include:

1 – Linking religion to the hands of the rulers: inevitably leads to the exploitation of religion for political purposes. This is our current reality.

2 – If religion to overcome another religion: this means converting the second religion’s followers to second-class citizens. Therefore equality is not possible in such a framework.

3 – Inside every religion there is a difference: especially if it were combined religious and secular power in the hands of a particular religious group. And therefore are talking here about system of government: Wahhabi, Alawite, Shia, Sunni, Maronite….

4-  A political systems that combines state and religion: it has Does not prevent conflict between the leaders to take control of the state whether it’s family or sect or class or  party or even the closest relatives.

5 – Linking religion with politics: it means  freezes society and prevents development.  And turns religion to community element bombing.  And also to the reactionary political. because it is impossible to satisfy the followers of all religions or sects and boredom. In addition to owning a theological intellectual absolute truth both temporal and spiritual.

All those facts and lessons of complex and conflicting and we need to evaluate it within  the Arab world.  And happened a lot of discussion and dialogue under headings and different names::

  • Arabism and Islam.
  • Islam and modernity.
  • Islam between the ego and the other.
  • Islam between the past and the future.
  • Islam between intellectual comfort and among various other ideas: nationalism,  Christianism, liberalism, Marxism , technological, democracy, human rights …..

And to this day  there is not a clear approach to this data. On the contrary there is in our Arab societies mixing in concepts and approaches in both what published and believed in the cultural field. Not to mention the intellectual confusion prevailing and dominant in all what practiced in politics.

Today these trends are in the most severe crisis. Whether conflict : visible or invisible , silent or noisy .also Whether it was ideological,military,security,cultural. A good example of this what ails Islamic sects currently from differences among themselves or within the Muslim community in general . Between moderate or fundamentalist or Muslims Brothers or liberal or state islamic ( DAASH) or al- QAEDA….

But can not us ignore one of the most dominant intellectual turmoil in the present which is based on the problem of how to deal with the other. unfortunately more specifically other is not only  foreign non-Arab? but It also different ego (himself  Muslim) or Arab Christian citizen. As is currently the case in all of Yemen, Bahrain, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Sudan, Lebanon,Saudi Arabia…


We are facing a reality all the barriers fell, and contacted people to each other. Where the cultures have become mixed and overlapping. As we now need more than ever in the Arab world and indeed the world to take of a shared human culture. It is not only Christianism or Islamic. And not  only Marxism or liberal. And not only spiritual or materialism. And also not only technological. But must be human culture and all humanity. So every or any attempt far from this vision is a desperate attempt and a waste of time and a waste of effort as is the case with the Arab nation at the present time.    


It seems that all of those lessons that history teaches us or actually present do leave us only one way that is: the secular system, religious freedom and human dignity system. Based on the neutrality of religious authority, giving the religious freedom of the individual thus separation between religion and state. Because the separation of religion from politics very important for us . it is The truth that learned us the historical experiences and including Arab history.

And what we want more of experience : Al-Qaeda and Muslims Brothers and Islamic state in the Levant ( DAASH) to make sure the correctness of this option ?

*Salam al Rabadi is a researcher specialized in international relations.

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