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The world’s future is in the hands of an Israeli Islamist — if we’re lucky

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The West has got it wrong on religion.

All over the West, in the rich countries of Western Europe especially, you see a culture based on the assumption that religion is just a thing of the past — a dangerous, harmful, backward manifestation of the patriarchy used to oppress women and LGBTQ folks, and people who are not like ‘us’ in various ways, including race. Religion is seen as the enemy of freedom and liberty.

The problem is that the rest of the world just doesn’t see it that way. Everywhere else in the world people are committed to religion as a source of truth, meaning, and, yes, freedom. That’s what so many Muslim women in France are saying to the dominant, secular culture there — my hijab is not a sign I’m oppressed, it’s a choice that reflects my freedom, identity and agency. They’re deeply committed to this, just as I, as an observant Jew, am committed to refraining from all work on Shabbat and from eating pork or mixing milk and meat. Those restrictions are more a source of freedom for me — freedom from the materialistic obsessions of the secular culture I am also very much a part of — not a source of oppression.

The results of the Arab Spring, now over 10 years old, prove this centrality of religion. When its dramatic wave of protests and uprisings first swept over the Arab world, most of us in the West (including me!) thought it meant that the Arab populace was calling out for Western-style, secularist democracy. But, instead, it’s the political leaders who are open about the religion of Islam being their ultimate motivation who have often benefitted the most.........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

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