Anas Altikriti: Questions and Answers

Normally, when Islamists put on a Secularism v Islamism debate, they choose a non-Muslim to debate against. That allows them to present their case as “true Islam”, and the opposing view as “an attack on Islam by kufr”

For that reason, at the British Muslim Initative’s IslamExpo 2008, you won’t find a Muslim opponent of Islamism, or supporter of secularism on the platform. Instead, poor old Martin Bright and Douglas Murray will be there, playing the role of “the enemy of our faith”.

So it is nice to see the following debate on Islam Online, the Muslim Brotherhood’s website.

The speakers are Anas Altikriti, of the Muslim Brotherhood’s sister organisation, the British Muslim Initiative, and a self employed man from Singapore:

Name Dr Syed Alwi    – Singapore
Profession self-employed
Question Assalamualaikum wr wb,I live in a multi-cultural and multi-religious society where Muslims make up only 15% of the population. Society as a whole (muslims included) – believes strongly that secularism is the best way forward to avoid inter-ethnic and inter-religious strife.
The world we live in today is very different from the 10th century. Society is not structured the same way as before in the 10th century. In view of all of this – I put it to you that Political Islam is a dead-end. The the way forward for Muslims is a clear separation of Mosque from State and a strong emphasis on Modern Science and Technology. Indeed the politicisation of Islam is one major factor that works against the advancement of Muslim interests. You are better off in secular Britain than in some Muslim countries !

Dr Syed Alwi

Answer You are of course free to believe in that and to advocate it in whatever means you find appropriate. Indeed, Islam believes that any human individuals must freely choose their respective paths and how they are ruled and governed. I also believe that Democracy essentially promotes the same notion, so there shouldn’t be a problem. You choose what you think is right and advocate it, and I do the same, and ultimately the majority will decide. However, your argument contains numerous factual errors, although it’s an argument that is made quite frequently due to the current political and security crisis that engulfs the world. The first error is that religious societies necessarily result in violence, and the secular ones don’t.As I understand the first and second world wars were not waged upon the issue of religion, sect or creed. Nor do I understand that Hitler and the Nazis committed their crimes against the Jews of Central Europe, simply because of their faith, but rather due to a supremacist ideology that saw all other races and communities as inferior and hence worthy of disdain and humiliation. Also, your suggestion that modern and secular countries such as the UK and the US would not flame or produce violence is also factually wrong, unfortunately. The wars that are being fought today around the world are being led, funded and armed by those very same modern secular countries and the multi-national corporations that thrive on wars, violence and fear. My friend, you are mistaken if you took secularism to be a ‘godless’ ideology. Believe me, secularism has its own ‘gods’, and hence contains its own bunch of fanatics, extremists and terrorists as do all human societies, communities and groups.

The ‘gods’ of secularism may be different to the God that you and I or anyone else believes in, but it is very much an ideology of its own, and quickly becoming a ‘sect’ of sorts. To simply define secularism as the separation of state and church (or mosque) is simplifying it to the state of naivety, unfortunately.

The Muslim Brotherhood has an alternative vision to secularism, equality before the law, and respect for fundamental human rights.

That vision consists of the creation of a state which is ruled according to Islamic law: in which women and non-Muslims are denied equality before the law and constitutionally barred from the highest offices of state, in which religious dissenters and homosexuals are executed, and in which democracy is limited by a board of clerics who will oversee legislation, to ensure that it does not breach Islamic law.

That’s the vision of an ideal society peddled by that the organisation that is running IslamExpo, this weekend.