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Why The Politicization Of Islam Is Costing Us Dearly

Al-Mustaqbal, Lebanon, February 20

In order for us to begin tackling the threats originating from within our societies, most notably the rise of terrorism and violence, we must first take a step back and look at ourselves critically. How has Islam, a religion of tolerance and peace, been turned into a political agenda that fuels fundamentalist worldviews? Since the dawn of time Islam has embraced the values of love, kindness, forgiveness, and justice—but these values have, unfortunately, been distorted by a few. A minority of fundamentalists that has risen from among us falsely asserts that the Koran was meant to serve as our political constitution. In reality, however, the holy book focuses on the relationship between human beings, not between state institutions. It is concerned with ethical and behavioral dilemmas, not with issues of government. The attempt to politicize Islam and transform it into a political movement has no parallel in the history of our religion. The effort began in the 20th century, as people grew increasingly disillusioned with their governments and sought to find meaning in religion. In doing so, they started propagating the belief that there is only one single truth and one single interpretation of religious texts. More importantly, they undermined the fundamental relationship between a government and its people. Don’t misinterpret my words: Islam should serve as a guiding principle in our lives and the conduct of our state. But it should not be turned into a political agenda that gives rise to dangerous ideas. The only way for us to move forward is by restoring Islam as a religion by separating it from political processes. Only then will we be able to address the radical ideologies in our very own societies, which claim to speak on behalf of our entire religion.  – Ali al-Amin

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