Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Egyptian Philosopher: Secularism is a Cultural Necessity

Aired June 22, 2009 on ON TV (Egypt)
From Transcript:
Interviewer: You have said that the term "secularism" is taboo among the Arabs.

Murad Wahba: Any person who says he is secular they either slaughter him or accuse him of apostasy. This happened to Sheik 'Ali Abd Al-Razeq in 1925, to Taha Hussein in 1926, to Naguib Mahfouz, and to Farag Fouda, who they killed. Nevertheless, I feel secularism is a cultural necessity. I call for secularism now, and we have held four conferences about it, which were peaceful, except for some minor threats.

Interviewer: You recently said that fundamentalism has led Egypt to sterility.

Murad Wahba: The most important thing in fundamentalism is adherence to the literal religious text, rather than using the mind [to interpret] the text. In other words, it paralyzes the mind. The fundamentalists lead the paralyzing of the mind, which means the paralyzing of creativity and of thought, which leads to backwardness.

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