Kuwaiti journalist Abd Al-Aziz Alqenaei made an impassioned call for separation of religion and state, saying that the conflation of secularism with alcohol and prostitution and the claims that it is harmful are "naive nonsense" and pointing to "the liberties it gives, its system of transference of power, the human dignity it provides, and the equality, justice, and liberties it offers." Political Islam, in contrast, defends tyranny and has brought nothing but destruction, sectarian strife, and wars to the Arab world, said Alqenaei. He was speaking on Al-Jazeera's "Opposite Direction" talk show on August 8.
Abd Al-Aziz Alqenaei: "If not for secularism, you would not find a single mosque in the West. At the same time, in the Islamic states – states that the profess to be ruling according to the finest religion and shari'a – the Christians and other non-Muslim minorities have no rights.
"In secular France, which enacted the well-known law in 1905 about the separation of religion and state... In the French capital of Paris today, there are 2,000 mosques, in which the name of Allah is heard and the call to prayer is sounded in public. My colleague here says that the secularism goes against religion and that it is harmful. Brother, these claims are all naive nonsense. They are uttered by people who want to distort secularism, in order to prevent the collapse of the Islamists' agenda. After the Arab revolutions, what has political Islam brought to the Arab world and the Arab Gulf other than the destruction, and the sectarian strife, and the wars that are raging in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and elsewhere?
"The Islamists consider secularism to be nothing but alcohol and prostitution. This is the scope of their mind. They don't see in secularism the liberties it gives, its system of transference of power, the human dignity it provides, or the equality, justice, and liberties it offers. All they see in it is... They are judging the book by its cover, because they can claim that secularism is alcohol and prostitution. I am astonished: Haven’t they read Islamic history? Haven’t they read that each of the Prophet’s companions owned an alarming number of slave girls, and that there were others who raided countries and took children captive?
"Political Islam defends tyranny, out of fear that its rule and dominion over the Arab peoples will cease. Political Islam wants the Arab peoples to be subservient and humiliated, whereas secular ideology wants man to be free, to have free will, and to reject the hegemony of men of religion.
"It is in the interest of the [Arab] rulers to keep the peoples as they are – to keep them ignorant and to control them. There is no easier way to control the peoples than through political Islam. The most that a secular person can do is say to you: 'I disagree with your views.' Political Islam, on the other hand kills you. It kills you! It files charges of apostasy against you!"