Secularism in the Muslim World

by R. Hinkson and Malick Elias

(Originally written and published in 1999 for the Homeland Journal)

Can the organisation of the State and the integration of religious morals into public life be separated in the Muslim World? What are the prospects for a truly secular society in the Middle East and elsewhere and why will this question be a resounding issue, even for future generations?

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Accepting Western Education Development Aid: Weighing up the Pros and Cons

 Malick Elias
There has been much talk recently of education reforms in the people’s house of the new Egyptian parliament and of whether the government should continue to accept the conditional education aid of donor nations, such as the United States. The main trust of the argument was that the meagre subsidisation of US funding, which was conditional upon increasing the teaching of English was seen as intervention into the running of the affairs of the state. I do not see the objection as unhealthy, quite to the contrary, because this is the type of pull and tug that is needed to enable donor-receiving countries, especially Islamic nations to establish their identity in a world of nations. But, in an interdependent world is it always the case that the giving of aid is motivated by attempts to exert influence upon the donor receiving nations? Continue reading Accepting Western Education Development Aid: Weighing up the Pros and Cons

I heard the Call to Prayer Today

I live in between two mosques, but today was the first time I actually heard the adhaan or call to prayer as I sat lazily at the television watching the closing scenes of the children’s movie, ‘The Chronicles of Narnia.’ What I actually heard was:

Allah is of greater importance that what you are currently doing

Allah is of greater importance that what you are doing.

I testify that there is One God, who is Allah – the Mu’adhdhin cried in the first person and I too became conscious that I was testifying myself.

When he cried: Come to prayer, Come to Success, I felt that I was being invited to pray and by the time he recited the words : Allahu Akbar Allahu Akbar again, I did not wait for him to say: There is no God, but Allah, for I was already engaged in the act of purification. I pray that I hear it this way tommorow.