Senior Fellow on Islam and modernity at @CatoInstitute. Senior Lecturer at @BostonCollege. Author of a few books. In 🇹🇷 @AkyolMustafa. In ♥️ w @riadaaa.
Sep 9 • 5 tweets • 1 min read
French secularism, laicite, is inherently oppressive, as its key aim is to "protect the state *from* religion," with little protection for freedom *of* religion.
It has poisoned the Muslim world, too, with imports in Turkey & Tunisia. It gave a bad name to any "secularism."
Conversely, in America, secularism ("separation of church & state") was built on the key aim of "protecting religion from the state."
That's why in America, religious freedom is strong.
And that's one reason why American Muslims are much freer, happier, and better integrated.
May 13 • 5 tweets • 1 min read
People who support #Erdogan say he made Turkey wealthier, greater, and freer.
Which is true... For his first decade in power, when he had principled & competent people in his team.
Then he began replacing them with yes-men, while turning growingly authoritarian and irrational.
Why Erdogan changed that way?
Lord Acton has the answer: "Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely."
Ibn Khaldun also has the answer: Conquerors of a system soon turn into what they conquered.
So, Erdogan began imitating injustices of the past that he once condemned.
Dec 5, 2022 • 9 tweets • 4 min read
Does Islam really require "religion police"?
From Iran to Saudis to the Taliban, the answer is yes, with two references: the Quranic duty of "commanding the right," the Prophetic institution of hisba.
The Quranic duty of "commanding the right and forbidding the wrong" is interestingly worded: the "good" is #maruf, which means "known." It may refer to ethico-legal values that are commonly known — and not necessarily all Sharia. newlinesmag.com/reportage/the-…
Dec 4, 2022 • 5 tweets • 3 min read
I would say:
Of course, “democracy is good only insofar as it produces good outcomes.”
For there are higher values: freedom, justice, human rights, human flourishing. Any political system, at any time and milieu, is as good as it serves these timeless values.
My guess: #Afghanistan will catch up with #Iran in raising the greatest number of ex-Muslims — atheists, Christians, etc.
For, as I wrote before, dictating a faith is the best way to make people lose it: nytimes.com/2018/03/25/opi…
Surely, disenchantment with religion has complex reasons everywhere, but exposure to violence, oppression, or bigotry in the name of religion is a significant force in the Muslim world, recently in Turkey and some Arab countries, too, as I wrote here: hudson.org/research/16131…
Aug 31, 2021 • 4 tweets • 2 min read
A venom that had brought division, hatred and savagery to Muslims from the very first century of Islam is #takfirism: To declare other Muslims with different opinions and beliefs as "kafir" (infidel), which typically follows with the imagined right to kill them.
That venom had a major revival in the past few decades.
ISIS practices it in real life, in the most extreme form, by killing any Muslim it can brand as "apostate."
Relatively milder takfiris are active on Twitter. They don't physically take arms; but they keep throwing takfir.
Apr 22, 2021 • 5 tweets • 2 min read
“We Muslims need a major renewal in religion by accepting the full meaning of the Qur’anic maxim, ‘There is no compulsion in religion.’
So no more religious policing, no threats to ‘apostates’ or ‘blasphemers’.”
#Pakistan had the right approach to religion at its birth as the great Ali Jinnah put it:
“You are free. You are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place or worship; that has nothing to do with the business of the State.”
Apr 21, 2021 • 4 tweets • 2 min read
The fiery Pakistani Islamists seen in the photo below (via @nytimes) are misquoting the #Quran.
Verse 8:59 that they apparently sloganized to justify "killing blasphemers" - their big passion - has nothing to do with punishing blasphemy... nytimes.com/2021/04/20/wor…
The verse says, "Those who disbelieve think they will escape; they will not."
According to great the Sunni exegete Fakhr al-Din al-Razi, this may be a reference to a punishment by God in the afterlife - not by Muslims on earth.