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Unformatted text preview: Secular State, Citizenship and the Matrix of Globalized Religious Identity Tahmina Rashid* No man has a right to treat any other man tolerantly, for tolerance is the assumption of superiority 1 . Evolution of Secularism and Secular State There seems to be a general consensus that Islamic/Muslim values are incompatible with secular/western values. Before delving into further details, this paper would revisit the developments and characteristics associated with secularism and secular state. The concept of secular state emanated from the idea of secularism and secularisation of society and state, following the revolutionary developments particularly in Europe and North American. The multiplicity attached to these concepts has given them different meanings and understandings; having negative and positive connotations; exposing the diversity and complexity of these ideas. However, in general, secular is understood as the belief that religious influence should be restricted; and that education, morality, and the state (etc.) should be particularly independent of religious influence. Social analysts (Weber, Comte, Marx, Spencer, Durkheim & Lenski) view secularism as a defining character of modern society; diversion from faith based to scientific, knowledge and human self-regulation (Dallmayr: 1999, 715), a shift from religion to the glorification of the nation (Gottfried: 1999). Early proponents envisioned separation of state and church, (Descartes, Hobbes, Locke, & Rousseau) yet refrained from total rejection of faith in the divine, recognising Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations, Vol. 6, No.1&2, Spring & Summer 2007 156 the need of faith as an instrument for the proper functioning of the state. However, later scholars (Kant) inadvertently marginalised the divine religion, and even (Marx) considered it an obstacle to achieve universal equality, declaring it (Nietzsche) against democracy and egalitarianism and promoter of a hierarchical social order intrinsic to humanity (Louay: 2001). Religion has been considered useful (Voltaire- during French revolution) to keep lower classes peaceful though revolution was primarily against the Catholic Church not Christianity; intending to separate the state from the church structure and to separate religious and political authorities. It does not necessarily mean that religion will disappear from the official rhetoric or daily functioning of state, it only regulates the separation of religion from state (McClay: 2000). Earlier, religion denied moral authority to secular politicians, while in modern times the political authorities have attempted to monopolized the authority to sanction violence, albeit for limited purposes: military defence, police protection, and capital punishment. Later, religion was viewed as conflicting with citizens priorities with the rise of nation-state and nationalism, therefore necessitated further weakening of religious loyalty by extending equal rights to all European...
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