Muslim world facing ‘ideacide’, says Egyptian scholar

Muslim world facing ‘ideacide’, says Egyptian scholar

  | August 7, 2017

Dr Heba Raouf Ezzat calls for more common sense, and not mere memorisation.

Dr-Heba-Raouf-Ezzat

KUALA LUMPUR: The Muslim world is facing an annihilation of ideas or what an Egyptian scholar termed as “ideacide”, resulting in public discourses and the struggle for greater rights being muted.

Political scientist Dr Heba Raouf Ezzat said one reason for this can be tracked to the fragmented education inherited from the colonial era, resulting in society’s shallow understanding of Islam today.

She said among the problems is an Islamic education system that has been reduced to memorisation of the verses of the Quran, without emphasising the spirit of the holy book in order to understand contemporary problems.

“Sometimes we don’t need too many verses of hadiths but more common sense in developing policies” she told a forum co-organised by the Islamic Renaissance Front yesterday.

Speaking at the forum “Rethinking Secularism in the Globalized Era: Seeing Beyond Modernity”, Ezzat cautioned against using Islam or any religion to gain political points.

Instead, she said it was better to “harmonise” Islamic principles of justice and compassion with public policies, rather than using the religion as an overarching label by any institution or political party.

“In a post-secularism world, we have to talk about Islam in the secular language,” said Ezzat, a political scientist with three decades of experience in political theory and history of political thought.

“However, we also see how Islam is used as a tool of control, of obedience to authority but not God.”

She said laws and authorities imposing religion would result in a society that is less pious, and defeats the tenets of Islam as a religion of rahmah (compassion).

She said policymakers in Muslim countries should embrace the moral justice in Islam and harmonising it with the secular system.

She added that this would create not only a more sustainable development, but also allow the organic development of faith, rather than an imposing one.

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