By Dr S M Rahman

Islam and Secularism

My article “Is Secularism that Sacrosanct?” of February 22, 2010 triggered quite an ‘intellectual storm.’ I am leaving aside the positive ones. The negative comments have centered mostly on the fallacious assumptions that most of my quotes were out of context; the value of religion is not denied, and that Quaid-e-Azam was very clear about secularism (according to 11th August speech). Why was Objective Resolution incorporated after the death of Quaid-e-Azam, etc. Moreover, the halva eating MMP leaders riding Pajeros are calling the shots, while the poor are dying. (Th Uthaal)

I owe no apology for the Mullahs, I do feel that they have not interpreted Islam in the right progressive spirit, but there are also Anglophiles who are greedy and rapacious equally to be blamed for devaluing our own values and accepting the West as the model to imitate. My quotations were very specific to the preposition that Christianity adopted “dualism”, i.e., separation of Church from the State, and as it was a natural reaction against Church, which had propounded the divine right to rule as representing the will of God. I have not only included the historical antecedents but a very cogent argument by Allama Iqbal, as to why Islam discards “dualism”. Secularism in the West, is only conceptual in nature but truly speaking (except for Communist states, religion does influence the conduct of the state.

It was the religious obligation of George Bush to follow the evangelists – whose state policies were to support Israel, as a religious obligation, to facilitate Christ’s second coming and launch a war on ‘terror’ against Muslim countries. Bush used the word ‘crusade’ and later claimed it to be slip of the tongue. According to Freud, there is nothing like slip of tongue, it is unconsciously motivated expression. Islam is the target of USA and its allies, after the fall of Communism. It was used to defeat former USSR and the same Taliban and radical Islamists were eulogized. President Reagan had invited some of the radicals in the White House and had said that “they were the moral equivalents of Jefferson.” Now the table has turned, these very radicals are to be eliminated as they are threat to the world, particularly USA. No Afghani or Iraqi nourishes any ambition to do harm to USA. I am simply stating that ‘religion’ is not a taboo in the affairs of state. Who committed the holocaust against the Jews in Germany? Were they Muslims or the Christians? Why were Bosnian Muslims mercilessly butchered? and in Kosovo, all terrors were let loose, including rape of women, only because they were Muslims. Not one of them was a radical extremist. Europe could not reconcile to having a Muslim country in its midst. Why is Turkey being denied membership in EU? If it is not for religion, what else it is?

There is an article in the most prestigious US Journal, Foreign Affairs (Sep-Oct 2006), by Walter Russell Mead. An extract from the article God’s Country? “Religion has always been a major force in US politics, policy, identity and culture. Religion shapes the nation’s character, helps from American’s ideas about the world and influence the ways Americans respond to events beyond borders. Religion explains both Americans’ sense of themselves as chosen people and to their belief how they have a duty to spread their values throughout the world. (P-24)

About the inclusion of Objective Resolution, it was included as a preamble to the Constitution – a sort of Meta theoretical orientation. Every country has an ideological orientation. Even ‘Secularism’ is an ideology. David Apter in his book ‘Ideology and Discontent’ very aptly says: “No part of human race has even been known to exist without a system of such convictions and it is clear that their absence would mean intellectual annihilation.” Making it a substantive part was Gen Ziaul Haq’s doing and making it the polemical.

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Now, the contention that Quaid-e-Azam was a “Secularist” is only true in the sense that the citizens will not be discriminated against an account of their religion. He was surely averse to a theocratic interpretation of Islam. In a broadcast speech to the people of United States of America in February 1948, he said: “I do not know what the ultimate shape of the Constitution is going to be but I am sure that it will be of democratic type embodying the basic principles of Islam. Today they are applicable in actual life as they were 1300 years ago. It has taught equality of man, justice and fairplay to everybody.”

One must never ignore what Quaid-e-Azam had very emphatically asserted: “Pakistan is the embodiment of the Muslim nation and so it must remain. That unity, we as true Muslims must jealously guard and preserve. If we begin to think ourselves as Bengalis, Punjabis first, and Muslims and Pakistanis only incidentally, then Pakistan is bound to disintegrate.” How prophetic!!

Farakh Khan supports Ishtiaq Ahmad, Daily Times, March 9, 2010) and Amendment for a secular Constitution by Babar Ayaz (Daily Times Feb 2010, as very convincing pieces. In other words, Pakistani Constitution should be out rightly ‘secular’ in nature. It will amount to a great historical betrayal and Quaid-e-Azam’s demand for Pakistan based on two-nation theory – would become a flawed concept. If he were secular, he would not have accepted to be the President of Muslim League.

The 1973 Constitution in its original form truly reflects the Muslim ethos to carve out a state where the minorities will have equal rights, opportunities and privileges. State however cannot enact a law which is unethical, immoral and contrary to the ‘Deen’ of Islam. For instance, waging war on Iraq based on a concocted lie that it possessed weapons of mass destruction and causing deaths of innocent citizens, men, women and children and unashamedly dismissing it as collateral damage, is not permissible in Islam. The neocons war for control of oil wealth of Muslim countries is cunningly concealed as ‘War on Terror’. This is typical Machiavellian strategy.

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Many historical examples can be cited of immorality on the part of the USA, which had waged wars just to change regimes, not acceptable to them. Chiles’ popularly elected leader was ousted through a coup, master minded by Henry Kissinger on 9/11 (year was 1973). He was also the author of National Security Memorandum (NSSM 2003) which“asserted Anglo-American cold war ownership of the planets strategic raw materials wealth and aggressive corollary doctrine of drastic population reduction through war, disease, famine – all targeted at the Third World (Executive Intelligence Review Jan 13, 2006, Vol. 33, No. 2).

George Kennon, the Guru of all US strategists and the main proponent of the concept of Containment. His secret memo of Feb 1948 states:

“We have about 50 per cent of the world’s wealth, but only 6.3 per cent of its population…In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national security.”

The so called Clash of Civilizations, a construct contrived by Bernard Lewis Zbigniew Brezezinski and Samuel Huntington, was typical of imperial drive to take control over Eurasian mainland’s economy, sequel to the end of Cold War. It was based on the contention that a global imperial power would not be possible without controlling the internal dynamics of Eurasia. The clash of civilization war, the Middle East war, Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and so forth were necessary pre-requisites for imperial global hegemony by the Anglo-American faction.

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Dr. Ishtiaq Ahmad (A Secular State is a Moral State, Daily Times, 9-3-2010) is critical of the fact that I had covered the subject in a broad sweep of the history of 2000 years of Christendom, the Renaissance, the Reformation and so on but not reviewing contemporary views. So let me do that. David Waters, Washington Post Staff Reporter – in his article God Gap impedes US Foreign Policy, (Feb 24, 2010). I shall quote in his own words:

“ American foreign policy is handicapped by a narrow, ill-informed and :uncompromising Western secularism” that feeds religious extremism, threatens traditional cultures and fails to encourage religious groups that promote peace and human rights, according to a two-year study by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. The Council’s 32-member task force, which included former government officials and scholars representing all major faiths, delivered its report to the White House. The report warns of a serious “capabilities gap” and recommends that President Obama make religion “an integral part of our foreign policy.”

Dr S M Rahman is Secretary General FRIENDS, a Think Tank established by General Mirza Aslam Beg in Rawalpindi. Dr

Dr S M Rahman

Rahmnan is a respected name amongst intellectuals and opinion makers.

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