Egyptian intellectual Dr. Khaled Montaser said that such terms as "the jizya poll tax," "Jihad," "Islamic raids," "loyalty and disavowal," and "Infidel" belong in a museum and must be erased from the discourse of the Arabs, because they contradict the foundations of a secular civil state. He made these remarks in an interview that aired on Sky News Arabia (UAE) on August 1, 2021. When asked by the interviewer why Arabs fear secularism more than they fear the coronavirus, he said that this is because they are terrified of losing their rule. For more information about Dr. Khaled Montaser, see MEMRI TV clips nos. 6552 and 5849.
Interviewer: "Do you support a law that would criminalize takfir in the Arab world?"
Khaled Montaser: "Of course ! There is a whole lexicon of terms that must be entirely erased from out discourse. It belongs in folklore. It belongs in museums. 'The jizya poll tax,' 'Jihad,' 'ghazwa' [Islamic raid], 'loyalty and disavowal,' 'infidel'... All these terms must be placed in a museum because they contradict the foundations of the modern secular state, which is based on laws and on the concept of citizenship. How can I ask a Christian to pay the jizya in a secular state? How can I raid another country and call it an Islamic conquest? All these words should be erased from our lexicon.
"We experienced periods of secularism, even if these periods did not last long. We, in Egypt, lived through a period of secularism and the 1923 constitution was completely secular. Taha Hussein declared that he refused such an article in the constitution, which states that Islam is the official religion of the state because a secular state is not affiliated with a specific religion. Secularism is not atheism, as I have said before. Secularism is a theoretical method for the management of the state..."
Interviewer: "Who do you think distorted the concept of secularism for the Arabs? They fear the word 'secularism' almost as much as they fear the coronavirus."
Montaser: "Of course. They fear secularism because they are terrified of losing their political power and economic gains."