“A time to listen”(June 12) - the history of the Muslim people and their culture - is a thoughtful article. But, “who” writes “history”? Every person has a “lens” depending on their culture: traditions and values/religion; the way people see things.
In this century, media - a revolution by itself - plays the biggest role (that’s why China rejects Google interference), and cultures do become blended, and values do change when the new generation’s lens becomes wider: visiting the global village. So the call for democracy, the voice of the young everywhere, is strong; as it should be!
The founding fathers of democracy in Athens had the same belief system that existed in the Mediterranean and Near East. The leadership was successful in “uniting” the ten Greek-speaking tribes into a “nation” by giving each tribe equal rights.
The French revolution started the spark of the masses wanting to be heard and religion surely was an issue: the Roman Catholic Church (theocracy) versus Protestantism. For the sake of peaceful co-existence it was necessary to have separation of state and church.
At that time, late 18th century, as America was already a melting pot with English/Scottish and Europeans - with their religions, traditions and values - the American founding fathers decided that separation of church and state would also serve their new nation: “Unity in diversity” was born.
Western democracy can be exported to countries in the Middle East, Asia and Africa only if the peoples respect “diversity”.
Indonesia, a republic with a Muslim majority population, celebrates “Pancasila”, the Athenian philosophy of “unity” with equal rights: Hindus (Bali), Buddhists (Java), Muslims (Aceh) and Christians (Java, Ambon, Papua). For this reason alone, for peaceful co-existence, separation of state and religion was necessary for Indonesia to become a “truly” democratic nation where everyone can celebrate and share “their traditions”.
Olga Pitcairn, USA