politically correct groups in the West herald Islamists as the epitome of
Muslim identity, in the Arab world, Islamists are pushing Muslims out of their
article in The Sun reported, “Arabs are turning their backs on religion in
record numbers ‘in backlash against Islamists,'” citing the following
higher number of departure from theological affiliation among the 18-29 age
group versus the 30+ age group
percentage of non-religious residents in Arab states spikes to about 46% of the
population for Tunisia and Palestine
statistics mirror a sentiment from an earlier conversation with Charlotte
Littlewood, founding director of Become the Voice, a non-profit group that
trains young Palestinians on social issue campaigns.
clear to Littlewood that young Muslims in Hebron were less interested in the
political issues surrounding Palestine and Israel, less wound up with their
identity as Muslims, and more focused on creating meaningful social changes in
attitude is also reflected in private conversations with conservative political
consultants catering to Middle Eastern countries.
of these consultants have privately shared they find more allies and support
among Muslims in the Middle East than Muslims in the West. The latter are
mostly herded under the propaganda of Western Islamists for whom religious
identity has become a political weapon.
West, there is, however, a slow resistance to the politicization of faith (to
which Islamists excel). In Arab nations however, it seems that shift away from
political religiosity has more momentum.
to the article in The Sun, the phenomena of Arabs “losing their religion” also
has to do with “a loss of trust in religious leaders and political parties,”
adding further that:
Libya and Tunisia, the ‘Arab Spring’ countries, saw three of the four biggest
rises in non-believers. These results suggest that the rise of Islamist parties
after the overthrow of secular dictators caused people to be put off religion
the Muslim Brotherhood’s President Morsi was overthrown by the Egyptian army
after a year in office. Meanwhile Libya experienced a civil war between
Brotherhood-leaning, jihadist and anti-Brotherhood factions.”
between the ages of 18-29 are more likely to turn their backs on their
inherited religion, the next set of questions that follow are:
How does it
impact secularism in the Middle East, especially in countries like Saudi Arabia
that have embraced culturally moderate reforms that include night clubs,
concerts and recently granted the women the right to drive? Will these changes
in secular culture trickle down to more structural faith-based reforms in the
next two generations?
embracing a secular identity reshape Muslim reform in the Middle East? Will the
changes be driven by theological re-interpretations or will current theological
models simply be outdated in due time as part of the drive to abandon faith?
turning one’s back on religion inherently create a more secular Middle East?
Many of the challenges in that part of world aren’t inherent to religion but to
unchallenged cultural practices. Without a spirit of enlightenment that reform
brings, it’s questionable whether the shift away from religion will benefit
vulnerable minority communities.
Islamists ultimately serve to alienate Muslims in West as well?
Source: Clarion Project