Religion And Politics Is Never A Good Mix

Religion And Politics Is Never A Good Mix

People will die for their religion – and many will kill for it too. Wars have been fought as people try to prove that their religion is better than the other. And while no one can really tell for sure which religion is “the real thing”, believing in their faith is enough to keep people going and remain hopeful.

The Church and the State always worked separately. While they may voice out opinions about the other, they try their best not to meddle with each other’s affairs. But it seems that very little has changed in this aspect of life. The church is always observant of the actions of the state. And the state does the same. It is not always a nice picture when the two pillars of society clash especially during election season.

Two of the most interesting photo ops of France’s current presidential election campaign took place last month 2,000 miles away in Lebanon — and they were all about religious optics.

In one, the far-right leader Marine Le Pen called off a scheduled meeting with Grand Mufti Abdellatif Deriane just outside his Beirut office when the Muslim cleric’s staff insisted she don a headscarf before going in for the meeting.

With the video cameras rolling, she emphatically refused.

Later that day, with the same media entourage in tow, she smiled and exchanged pleasantries with Patriarch Bechara Boutros al-Rai, leader of Lebanon’s Maronite Christians and a cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church.

The National Front leader made her first trip abroad as presidential hopeful to burnish her weak foreign policy credentials, but the images flashed back to France sent a strong domestic message.

Her supporters back home immediately got the memo — “no to Muslims, yes to Christians” — and loved it.

Playing the religion card so openly is unusual in France, where the official separation of church and state is normally taken so seriously that politicians rarely if ever mention in public whether they have a faith or not.

But this two-round election, on April 23 and May 7, is not taking place in normal times.


With the growing tension from terrorist threats, the issue of religion never fails to leave the spotlight considering most terrorists are devout Muslims who will not hesitate to give up their lives because of their religious beliefs.

And that is a major problem in the world today. Terrorist attacks happen in many places today and are no longer confined to war-torn countries where these terrorists often hail from. They attack major cities in progressive countries where many innocent lives are lost. And each year, we witness one attack after the other, but still, authorities can’t make them stop.

There has been a chorus from politicians, community and religious leaders about the need to present a united front in the face of the terrorist atrocity at Westminster. This desire for social cohesion is understandable and it is praiseworthy that there has been no backlash against peaceful Muslims who have no intention to terrorise anybody.

Such valid concerns should not, however, lead us to neglect the profoundly religious nature of the radicalisation which has led to this and other acts of terror all over the world. The Salafi-Wahhabi narrative which underlies extremism and its terrorist consequences is rooted in a selective but devoted reading of the early history and practices of the Islamic world and in a conviction that these provide a detailed agenda for law, governance and social ordering today.


If only we can have room for more love in our hearts and understanding for the next person, hate will be unheard of and everyone can coexist peacefully. You may disagree with one another (it is acceptable) but we should all know the line between what’s acceptable and what’s not.

World leaders should stop politicizing and start doing their job as public servants and religious leaders should start tending to their flocks and humanity will be in good hands. Religion is supposed to save mankind from sins and not provoke them to commit more injustice to the world.

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