One of the readings this week was Nilüfer Göle’s “Decentering Europe, Recentering Islam”. One aspect of the relationship between Europe and Islam she discusses that I want to touch on is the idea of Islam in secular chronotopes. That is the idea that all human and social interaction develop in their own time and space. She argues that secularism and democracy in Europe and Islam which has ties to a long history and past are still working this out as they quite different in many ways. She also explores this in the European public sphere using the example of the burka and the assumption that secularism is neutral and therefore better. Obviously this is cherry-picking on a whole lot longer article that explores many aspects of these ideas however I did find it one of the more interesting parts of her paper because of this question. Is modern life/secularism neutral?
I honestly can’t exactly answer that. I feel like it comes very close, though everything has an agenda nowadays. I agree with the separation of church and state. Though the elimination of the burka doesn’t have much to do with that. Obviously the absence of any religion is most likely neutral. I suppose it depends on one’s views and commitment to the state one is in. If you don’t accept that your religion should be a private affair, and you disagree that any time it conflicts with your functioning within the state or the functioning of the state itself that it should be discarded, then I suppose you wouldn’t view it as neutral. You’d be angry that you cannot do what you want. However, if you were to consider that ALL religions need to have this parameter and you accept that this is the best way for order to function in the state with so many differing views, and accept that you have to make some adjustments in order to enjoy that harmony, then one would have to admit it is neutral. The only time this would change is if there were certain other parties agendas being pushed by the state onto you and other religions that could be argued didn’t need to be pushed. Then it becomes a whole other problem, and that looks like very different things to very different people. Not sure where I’m going with this, It’s a big but important topic and I wanted to write down some of my initial thoughts and maybe see what other people think if you wonder about that balance as well.