Islam and secularism

Islam and secularism

The idea of secularism in Islam means favoring a modern secular democracy with separation of church and state, as opposed to Islam as a political movement. There are many countries which are extremely secular although living under Islamic rules, or vice versa (secular state with a devoted Muslim population).


Over the last century, there has been a strong tradition of secularism in Turkey. The Republic of Turkey is a secular state since 1937 under the Kemalist ideology and Atatürk's reforms. Although an overwhelming majority of the population, at least nominally, adheres to Islam, the state neither has an official religion nor promotes any, and it actively monitors ("active neutrality") the area between the religions. The practice of Turkish Laïcité, established around the concept of "public reason", claims that activities falling outside of the private sphere should be secular.

The Constitution asserts that Turkey is a secular and democratic republic, deriving its sovereignty from the people. Sovereignty rests with the Turkish Nation, who delegate its exercise to an elected unicameral parliament, the Turkish Grand National Assembly.

During the Turkish presidential election in 2007 secularists feared that a president from the AK - a party with Islamist roots - could undermine Turkey's secular order. [ [ BBC NEWS | World | Europe | Turkey 'must have secular leader' ] ] Mr. Gul’s candidacy goes to the heart of the secular-religious debate, because the presidency is such a revered symbol with real powers — he is commander in chief and has a veto. Turkish military leaders in the past have remarked that they would refuse to visit the presidential palace if a woman in a head scarf were living in it. [ [ Presidential Pick in Turkey Is Sign of a Rising Islamic Middle Class - New York Times ] ]

Secular states with majority Muslim populations


* Burkina Faso [ [] Article 31]
* Chad [ [] Article 1]
* Gambia [ [] Article 1 (1)]
* Guinea [ [] Article 1]
* Mali [ [] Article 25]
* Senegal [ [] Article 1]
* Somalia [ [] Article 1.6/2.6]


* Kazakhstan [ [] Article 1 (1)]
* Kyrgystan [ [] Article 1 (1)]
* Tajikstan [ [] Article 1]
* Turkmenistan [ [] Section 1: Foundations of the constitutional order, Article 1]
* Uzbekistan


* Albania
* Azerbaijan [ [] Article 7/Article 18]
* Bosnia and Herzegovina

* Kosovo
* Turkey [ [] "Constitution of Turkey" Characteristics of the Republic: Article 2, Provisions Relating to Political Parties: Article 68, Oath taking: Article 81, Oath: Article 103, Department of Religious Affairs: 136, Preservation of Reform Laws: 174]

ee also

* Cultural Muslim
* Liberal movements within Islam
* Secularism in Iran


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