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February 16, 2009


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Uzair Kayani

I think the problem with "political Islam" is not orthodoxy but anarchy. Since there is no Sunni clergy, no one is in charge. That is, no one has the authority to declare what religion requires.

You would think that countries that hold themselves out as Islamic states would be able to dictate what Islam requires better than secular states could. There is no separation of mosque and state there, so there is no reason (other than a very sensible trembling) for the state to refrain from religious interpretation. But only the most conservative Muslim states seem to play such a proactive role. In India, I hear the emperor Akbar was able to mix Islam with other religions to create a whole new faith ("Din-e-Elahi") without much incident. Some folks are doing similar things in Europe and Africa. But these days people get fatwas for that.

And the fatwa phenomenon is instructive. There is no religious authority behind some deluded hack declaring that someone has offended Islam. No one made him Muslim-in-chief. I don't understand why people listen to holy men.

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