By Nasir Khan, October 29, 2013
Kemal Ataturk was the first Muslim ruler who understood that religion and State have to be separated in the interest of the people. He had seen the decadent Ottoman Caliphate and the abysmal stagnation of the State and society under its Sultans and Caliphs. For a long time the decaying Turkey was regarded as the ‘Sick Man of Europe’ by the European powers. They simply didn’t know what to do with this lifeless giant!
After abolishing the Caliphate, Kemal introduced far reaching reforms in the Turkish Republic. He didn’t force anyone to give up Islam; to follow and practise a religion, Islam in this case, was a personal matter; the State had nothing to do with it. The State was to be secular, which means the State had no religion and it did not interfere with the religion/ religions of the Turkish people in any way.
If the rest of the Muslim countries who gained independence from the colonial powers had followed the example set by Kemal then we would have seen a different world map. But instead the manipulators of Islam and reactionary ideologues of Islamism (Abul Al Maududi, Hassan al-Banna, Sayyid Qutb, etc. etc.) used Islam to push vast populations into ignorance and darkness. That’s where at present stand the vast majorities of the Islamic counties of the Middle East, Iran, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, etc. etc.