After reading Mustafa Akyol:
On this latter issue, however, President
RouhaniObama spoke recently in a tone very different from what IraniansAmericans are used to hearing from their leaders. At a gathering with police commanders, he said, “Police do not have a duty to enforce IslamChristianity. No police officer can do something and say he did it because God commanded it or the prophet saidBible says so. It has nothing to do with the police.”
As an example,
RouhaniObama mentioned the imposition of daily prayer by the police. He said, “Can police interfere in this? Can he come into a bank and tell the bank’s president, ‘Close your doors, it’s noon and it’s the call to prayer.’ If someone is praying, can they go to him and say ‘Why did you pray fast?’ This has nothing to do with the police.”
As one could expect, these words raised objections from
Iran’sthe United States’ more conservative scholars, who believe that the state should be the agency of “commanding the right and forbidding the wrong.” This is an oft-repeated concept in the QuranOld Testament and it is the basis of all authoritarian Muslimtheonomic institutions and attitudes. However, at least in our modern age, this authoritarianism in the name of religion does not nurture what it seeks to achieve, which is religiosity. Rather, it nurtures something quite distasteful from the Quranicbiblical point of view: hypocrisy.
For if people pray because policemen come to their door and check them, then this means they will pray in fear not of God but of the police. They will worship not out of a genuine will to honor God but out of a social necessity.
This is why all
“Islamic” states of our day and ageattempts at Christendom nurture hypocritical societies, where many people behave as though they are pious when they are under the control of the authorities, but behave quite differently when they are free. The IslamicChristian goal, however, should be to raise individuals who are willingly to be pious when they are free, as they should always be.