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  15 February 2012  | 15:46  . ET

Published : 22/8/2011 15:10
Secular Democracy
Hani Al-Sibai
Egyptian Sunni Scholar lives in London

"These cancerous cells that have spread through the nation's body, which are the garbage and refuse of the obsolete secular ideology, are the source of corruption, and the reason for all the disasters that befell this nation. These are ideological microbes that are alien to this nation.


"The Islamists are always the ones who help people, and save them from their plight. They are active, and that is why they are envied by these microbes [secularists], which have spread their ideology throughout our countries. These Islamists, even in Jordan ... Take any place in the world, and you will see that the Islamists are the masters of the world. There are no real men except for the people of Islam.


"Look at the people who give reason to hold the head of Islam high. In politics - they are the masters. In the battlefield - they are the masters. They are the ones who rub in the mud the nose of the occupation forces in Afghanistan , in Iraq , in Palestine , and throughout the world. The perpetuality of the conflict makes them strong.


"In contrast, what is the contribution of those who are devoid of any ideology, whose faith has been deformed, who are divorced of their religion? What have they contributed? The only thing they have contributed is destruction. They are evil omens for their peoples. They lead their people to hell. The masses must vomit them from their midst. They should be placed in public squares, so that people can hit them with their shoes and spit on them. Their place is with the occupiers."

Lafif Lakhdar
Tunisian-born reformist thinker based in France

"To say that secularism is anti-religious, a person must be an ignoramus on the definition of secularism in the dictionaries of Europe, the homeland of secularism – or must have evil intentions, such as many leaders of political Islam.


"Women and non-Muslims in this state of transition are partial citizens, and sometimes even class-zero citizens. For example, a woman is forbidden to run for the presidency or even for a less lofty office, because in many Islamic countries women are still considered as lacking the intelligence needed for governing, and lacking the religious standing needed to perform religious ritual. Non-Muslim citizens are still treated as dhimmi s [non-Muslims under Muslim rule and protection]… The state in transition implements man-made laws in certain areas, and [divine] Shari'a laws in other areas.


"In a secular country, a citizen's connection [to the state] will be based not upon religion, ethnic group, or school of thought, but upon a social link – that is, it will draw upon human logic and upon the citizens' best interest… Thus, the secular country draws its legitimacy from the social connection, not from religion, in organizing the life of the society, and in attaining domestic peace amongst its religions and cultures.


"The secular state intervenes when individuals or groups violate man-made laws in the name of their beliefs. It does not permit circumcising girls in the name of Pharaonic traditions, nor the stoning of adulterers or other barbaric punishments in the name of Shari'a. … The laws and penalties of Shari'a are ancient, and clash with the spirit of the modern laws that are against corporal punishment, such as beating, amputating a hand, and stoning and murdering the apostate.


"Secularism is the key to political modernity… The faith of the believer belongs to him and his private conscience alone, and is unconnected to his rights and obligations as a citizen. The believer practices his private belief in the mosque, the synagogue, or the church, while the citizen actualizes his citizenship, with his rights and obligations, within the borders of the entire homeland…”


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Dr. William Ball | 19/11/2007 ,9:01 AM
Mr. Al-Sibai, the people you are admiring exhibit the most cruel and barbaric behavior the world has seen in modern times. Your "masters" in the battlefield hide behind their own little children, behind the sick and old. They would happily blow up schools and hospitals full of women and children only to accuse us of doing it. They know we, in the West, have this fatal flaw - we love and value human life - and they take full advantage of it. They hide in hospitals, schools and mosques. They rule by fear and by death. They are often drugged with potent psychiatric drugs to make them even crazier and more blood-thirsty. They are illiterate, psychotic, sword-weilding, child-molesting rapists and murderers. They, and you, shame the religion of Islam. You are causing us to laugh at Islam with your lies and your unrelenting cruelty. You are making the Qur'an a mockery for all the world to see. Shame on you. You will only succeed where decent, civilized people don't yet know who you are. This is a temporary situation, I assure you.

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Ariella Kapelner | 16/11/2007 ,6:33 AM
Mr. Al-Sibai's article contains broad generalities and insults to cover for his lack of facts or reason. "The Islamists are always the ones to help people, and help them from their plight." Really? Whom did the Islamists save from his or her plight? Aren't the Islamists the ones who mutilate women and stone them to death? Subjugate their brothers to a hopeless, violent life? Behead those who disagree with them? Deny people justice? Aren't Islamists committing the most horrific crimes against humanity by executing anyone who dares to hope for justice and peace? Mr. Al-Sibai states: "In contrast, what is the contribution of those who are devoid of any ideology, whose faith has been deformed, who are divorced of their religion?" He mistakenly assumed that people who are not Islamists have no ideology nor faith. He also seems to be basing his support for the Islamists on their brute strength - they are "masters" on the battlefield, "masters" in politics, "masters of the world." Having been repressed for centuries by ruthless rulers who denied them education, fair wages and a say in their own lives, Muslims have simply lost all hope for a life worth living. To deflect responsibility for what they have created, Islamist rulers flood their people with lies and hatred toward others. How tragic. I submit to you, Mr. Al-Sibai, for your consideration, that it is you who has been leading the world to hell. The solution is not hate but love.

3 - The author of 21 books in English & Arabic + the former chairman & CEO of Shell Oil Companies.
tarek Heggy | 13/11/2007 ,6:00 PM
The language that al Sebai used tells a lot about the psychological, intellectual, educational & social formation of the gentleman. Did he need to use such a non-scholary vocabulary ? I do not think so - Tarek Heggy.



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