I recently wrote here about how citizens of Switzerland were lining up in opposition to offering Islam the same kind of official government recognition there that Christianity and Judaism already have.
It appears now that a predominantly Muslim country, Bangladesh, may do what the Swiss and others should do, which is to remove government sanction of a religion, in this case Islam.
As the story from The Independent to which I just linked you reports, "Dr. Abdur Razzak, a leading member of Bangladesh’s ruling Awami League party, proposed the religion be withdrawn from the country’s constitution during a discussion at the National Press Club in the capital Dhaka.
“'Bangladesh is a country of communal harmony. Here we live with people from all religions and Islam should not be accommodated as the state religion in the Bangladeshi constitution,' Dr. Razzak said in his report."
In some ways it is more difficult to create faith-state separation in Muslim-majority countries because Islam itself tends not to draw a distinction between religious and non-religious life. It's all religious. Which is to say that Muslims are obliged to follow Islam in all areas of their lives.
In effect, the same is true of Christianity and some other religions, but Islam seems more insistent about there being no separation between public and private behavior or between religious and secular matters.
Still, if Razzak is right that in Bangladesh "we live with people from all religions," then the hospitable thing to do is to create a welcoming environment for all faith traditions. And that means not naming one such tradition as the national, or established, religion.
Religions should stand on their own, without either support or interference from government.
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WHAT GUSEWELLE GAVE US
If, as I believe, the religious impulse begins with awe and wonder, few writers could express those emotions more beautifully than my friend and former Kansas City Star colleague Charles Gusewelle, who died this week. Gus, who was not a religious man in the traditional sense, understood that we live in a world that offers us beauty and marvels at every turn. To honor him, I suggest that you find some of his books and that you marinate in his words. You'll be a better, more mindful person because of the experience.