Following the victory of the Hamas in the elections for the Palestinian Authority's Governing Council, there has been quite a lot of emphasis about the "future" State of Palestine becoming an Islamic State. Discounting the clear fact that Mahmoud Ramahi has stressed on several occasions that the Hamas intends upon holding a referendum to decide the form of government the future State should have, many people have nevertheless insisted that the future of the Middle East would be bleak due to an impending "middle Ages" thanks to the dominance of Islamic religion in the political life. I have even been fiercely criticised on some boards for stressing that it was pointless to push a secularism at this stage, because on the face of it, secularism is no guarantee of liberty or well-being, and anyway... only the Palestinian people can decide what they want for themselves.
After a lot of discussion (most of it panicked) all over the place, a friend sent me this piece. He told me it was important. I get a lot of good and important pieces everyday. Having a blog that is kind of popular, I see much material that writers, activists and friends would like to see put up. Most of it is good, and some of it is important too. This one I found especially important because it responds to the very "panic" that I have been seeing around, especially in the secular, Jewish and left wing lists I am a member of.
It is written by a Palestinian woman Nahida Izzat and it is a very clear, articulate and informative presentation of the idea of Islam and State, and it touches on most of the issues such as freedom of speech, women's rights, tolerance, dhimmihood, faith, violence, etc... that a lot of people bring up, usually without fully comprehending what they mean by all of these things.
I hope everyone has the chance to take a look at it, as I found it very useful and also very inspiring.