The Advantage to Islam of Mosque-State Separation: What the American Founders Can Teach

Policy Review, Vol. 8, No. 2, Spring 2008

Islamic Law and Law of the Muslim World Paper No. 08-19

10 Pages Posted: 4 Apr 2008  

Alexander Benard

Stanford Law School; Gryphon Partners

Abstract

Mosque-state separation and religious freedom appear to have stalled in the Middle East. Recent public opinion surveys, however, indicate that in a number of key Middle Eastern countries, including Iraq and Algeria, a majority of people favor mosque-state separation. The question, then, is how to help this majority advance its interests vis-a-vis vocal extremists. This article presents an example of a different group of advocates for separation of religion and politics - the Founding Fathers of the United States of America. It argues that their approach serves as a valuable template and shows how the arguments they used to persuade their deeply religious fellow citizens to favor separation of religion and politics can be applied in the Middle East today.

Keywords: Middle East, Iraq, Afghanistan, religious freedom, Founding Fathers

Suggested Citation

Benard, Alexander, The Advantage to Islam of Mosque-State Separation: What the American Founders Can Teach. Policy Review, Vol. 8, No. 2, Spring 2008; Islamic Law and Law of the Muslim World Paper No. 08-19. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1116041

Alexander Benard (Contact Author)

Stanford Law School ( email )

559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA 94305-8610
United States

Gryphon Partners ( email )

1001 Pennsylvania Ave
Washington, DC 20004
United States

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