The following is a short clip of an interview of the Lebanese Shia Muslim scholar Muhammad Hassan Al-Amin. He discusses the need for a secular state, which is quite rare in the Muslim world, particularly within what one would label the orthodox clergy.
Source: http: //youtu.be/pnwI2jcQ2Ww
In much of the Muslim world, and particularly in Pakistan, secularism has been depicted by the clerical establishment (Jamaat-e-Islami, right wing media, fake civil society) as an anti-Islamic force. Any talk of tweaking discriminatory legislation, let alone secularism, is considered anathema in Pakistan. The recent murders of Salmaan Taseer and Shahbaz Bhatti underscore the crisis we face as a country.
Pluralist forces within the country suffer from a debilitating lack of unity. My assertion is that much of it has to do with the concentration of the secularist individuals within the largely apathetic sections of the country’s elites. That is, most secularist individuals resemble Salman Taseer in social and economic status but are largely apathetic. It is this apathy, and in fact, capitulation to the demands of a small but loud minority of clerics that has rallied the masses.
Can the masses be convinced to see that secularism is good for the country and needed? Yes, I believe so. It is an important but delicate task. The first and foremost goal of which should be to discredit the clerical establishment as a group of political opportunists who have abused Islam for their own purposes.
Lebanese Shiite Scholar Muhammad Hasan Al-Amin Calls for Separation of Religion and State, and Says: “Our Future Lies with Europe”
Posted on Monday Sep 6th at 4:17am
Following are excerpts from an interview with Lebanese Shiite scholar Muhammad Hasan Al-Amin, which aired on Al-Arabiya TV on August 12, 2010.
Muhammad Hassan Al-Amin: Secularization is an ideological, religious, and social reality. I am calling for a secular state that is not anti-religion – a secular state, rather than a religious state. This is precisely the bone of contention that I have with those who believe that Islam is religion and state at the same time. I say that Islam is a religion, no more and no less, whereas a state is man-made. There can be a state of Muslims – a state that bases its legislation on Islamic religious law. Such a state would be a state of Muslims, and not a Muslim or a religious state.
As I’ve said, freedom has disadvantages sometimes, but the disadvantages of freedom are better than the advantages of tyranny. I feel that some European countries embody… I feel that our future lies with Europe. I feel that a political system that gives rise to liberties in society, and guarantees a balanced and politically modern society, is part of what Islam strives for. Islam itself strives to establish a balanced and free society, which treats both the individual and society as a whole with respect. This is what we want.
Interviewer: But today Europe is at loggerheads with the Islamic world.
Muhammad Hassan Al-Amin: This has to do with politics. I’m not referring to politics in Europe. I am referring to the social system, the values, to the general liberties, and to the social guarantees that exist in some European societies. I believe that [Europe] has made great strides in this regard, and that other nations have the right to strive to attain such a level of progress.
Al-Arabiya TV (Dubai/Saudi Arabia) – Duration: 03:47 – August 12, 2010
Lebanese Shiite Scholar Calls for Separation of Religion and State
Aired June 29, 2009 on Murr TV (Lebanon)