Interviews Muslims in the Mecca of secularism | Introduction
In the right place at the wrong time?
The 'secular enlightenment' oxymoron
It is not surprising anymore gazing at Paris and spotting a fresh law devised to trample on some of the most basic human rights - UDHR Articles 13, 23 and 26 - of thousands of Muslim women (Deseret News). But Maximilien Robespierre would have never imagined that 200 years after his Reign of Terror enforced laicism in France, the secular regime would still be in constant need to draft new prohibitions for keeping the supposed threat of religion under control.
Miscalculation being no rarity among the fathers of modern France who, in spite of repetitive claims of enlightenment, were often at odds with good judgment and fair reasoning:
Not only the father of modern chemistry, Antoine Lavoisier, saw himself perishing beneath the gallows of secular 'illumination', but tens of thousands others experienced the same fate in the course of the same year, over their refusal to give up their religious tradition. A religious inheritance owed to Charles Martel, ironically the one man who did succeed at stopping a massive immigration of Berbers into France in the 8th century.
Protecting European identity or forgetting it?
In its most recent version, this asynchrony with reason of the materialists of the West seeks to justify racism and dictatorial manners claiming a concern for European identity and tradition.
The irony being that this identity and this tradition rose from the spiritual teachings of a Palestinian (Jesus), the fables given birth by the mind of an Ethiopian (Aesop), an ideology courtesy of an Algerian (Augustine of Hippo), and a philosophy revealed by an Iranian (Ibn Sina).
This, without even making mention to the dozens of Muslim scientists from North Africa, Arabia, Iran and India who impregnated our Western dark ages with anatomy, astronomy, optics, epidemiology, and refreshed architecture, fine arts and poetry, to mention a few of bounties that we take for granted.
Because of this strong inclination for sidelining reason, many secularist Westerners nowadays consider one who professes faithfulness to his or her religion a second class citizen whose rights depend on the historic mood of those who consider themselves gods.
Mediocrity in religion, not a solution
Guilt is not just on our shoulders as arrogant Westerners, but also on our shoulders as Muslims when we (mis)use the religion as a mere clothing accessory worn only at convenient occasions. Not an insignificant percentage of European resentment against Muslims comes from the latter's moderation or mediocrity in Islam.
Notice: Not from faithfulness to Islam - which would otherwise turn us into more knowledgeable people of more civilized manners and in deeper touch with the art of human reasoning - but from moderation in it. It is this moderation, as an unfaithfulness to the wisdom proposed by the fundamentals of Islam, that forces backwards secular culture to prevail over religion. It brings about despicable anti-Islamic behaviors such as a materialism turning many into parasites sucking out European taxes money, or honor killings, oppression of women, and violent acts that harm innocent people, all of which serve so well the campaigns of some bigots.
The Western strategy of encouraging Muslims to secularize via praising moderation in Islam - rather than faithfulness to it - has thus obviously recoiled and done little to solve the cultural conflict. Rather it has fueled it more, because in its axiom it claims that the fundamentals of the religion are evil and harmful. Therefore until both Westerners and Muslims realize that the solution is not in moderating Islam but in encouraging faithfulness to it and in ending Westerner colonialism throughout the world, the conflict will go on.
The interview series that shall follow aims to share the views of those Muslim women who are those most severely targeted by the secularist prohibitions in France.
An attempt to show the views beyond the fence, given that their human condition is constantly put to question by those countrymen of theirs who have turned their backs on the divine nature of the human being. Those who claim so much concern for women's rights in the Middle East, while deeming the fundamental human rights of Muslim women in their own land lower than the rights of animals such as polar bears or laboratory rats.