Luma Simms is a Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center; her essays, articles, and book reviews have appeared in a variety of publications including National Affairs, Law and Liberty, The Wall Street Journal, National Review, First Things, Public Discourse, the Institute for Family Studies, and others.

The Arab World is a Political Problem Because it has a Religious Problem

I agree with Robert Nicholson, executive director of The Philos Project and my boss, that Syria needs to be partitioned in the hope of future stability and security for minorities in the region. And I know Middle Eastern Christians who long for federalism to work; but many remember Lebanon and are skeptical that Muslims would honor a separate Middle Eastern country for minorities of any kind, especially for Christians.

The thesis is: let’s not foist Western-style secularism on the Islamic world (I absolutely agree), so let the Sunni Arabs in Syria have their own part of the land to have the government they want ruling over them. What they want is a Sharia law-based government, so let them have it. Robert quotes author Shadi Hamid asking, “Why shouldn’t Egyptians, Jordanians, or Turks have the right to try out an alternative ideological project outside the confines of liberal democracy, however much we disagree with it?”

As a Middle Eastern Christian, I have written of the dangers of the West pushing Middle Eastern countries into a Western-style secularism, and I agree with Hamid on that point. What I disagree with is the presumption behind Hamid’s statement above, especially “Why shouldn’t Egyptians, Jordanians, or Turks have the right to try out an alternative ideological project?” Hamid seems to presume that all these poor Arab countries haven’t had a chance to self-actualize into full Muslim countries.

Read the rest at The Federalist

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