Authoritarian regimes and religious institutions in the Muslim majority world see eye-to-eye on the topic of atheism. United by their fear of losing control over their populations and their desire for conformity, consecutive governments have pushed for unfair restrictions on their subjects’ beliefs since their inception. But even in society, non-belief remains a taboo. Should atheists in Muslim majority world become more vocal?
Tag Archive: Islam
Religious disbelief is viewed with alarm in most Arab countries. Two government ministries in Egypt have been ordered to produce a national plan to “confront and eliminate” atheism. In Saudi Arabia, the most recent anti-terrorism law classifies “calling for atheist thought” as a terrorist offence. This hounding of non-believers might seem especially strange at a time when concerns are high about those who kill in the name of religion, but Arab societies have a general aversion to nonconformity, and the regimes that rule them often promote an official version of Islam that suits their political needs. Thus both jihadism and…
ISTANBUL — With President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s plans for greater powers firmly on track, Turkey’s government has set about shaping the country’s future outside the halls of parliament. Last month, as parliamentarians brawled over — and finally voted for — constitutional changes designed to establish Erdoğan’s long-awaited presidential system, the ministry of education published a draft curriculum for the new school year.
Religious scholars from all schools of thought on Saturday issued a fatwa (religious decree) that declared suicide attacks, armed insurgency against a state and use of force in the name of imposing Shariah as ‘Haram’ or forbidden in Islam.
Tensions between Egypt’s religious leadership and its political leadership—represented by the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, Ahmed el-Tayeb, and Egypt’s President respectively—have reached a point where they can no longer be concealed. The underlying disagreement has become public, and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has raised this issue in his public speeches, the most recent of which dealt with verbal divorce, to the point where Sisi told el-Tayeb, “you’ve exhausted me, honorable Imam.” The Council of Senior Scholars, which is headed by the Sheikh of al-Azhar, rejected Sisi’s call for divorce to be documented in order for it to be recognized….
Critics in the Maldives likely sighed relief when Saudi King Salman this week postponed his visit because of an outbreak of flu. The flu is however unlikely to halt a planned massive Saudi investment or the impact on Maldives society of the kingdom’s religion-driven public diplomacy. Big ticket investments and countering political violence dominated the headlines of the king’s tour of Asia together with the extravagance of his travel – an entourage of at least 1,000, 459 tonnes of luggage, a golden electric elevator for the monarch to descend from his private plane, and a specially built toilet for his visit to a Jakarta…
I am quite used to people smirking into their sleeves when they hear that I’ve just written a book called The Islamic Enlightenment. The really helpful wags say they expect something along the lines of The Wit and Wisdom of Spiro Agnew, which was billed as a collection of all the memorable aphorisms of the former US vice-president, and contained only blank pages. So, the Islamic Enlightenment — good for a laugh. But we’re all familiar with the serious argument that lies behind the jests; that Islam has not been through an Enlightenment, a Reformation, or any of the other rites of…
While forms of radicalisation have been on the rise worldwide, some young Muslims, especially in European prisons, seem to get caught up in religious fundamentalism, and increasingly become entangled in Jihadist ideologies such as that of ISIS. Among other things, the increase of terrorist attacks and populism in Europe have made it more necessary to understand the ideological currents leading to extremism, as well as the political discourse around strategies of preventing radicalisation. This article addresses the following four points: The definition of radicalisation as a phenomenon, the definition of instrumentlisation of religion, religiously framed countermeasures to radicalisation, and the…