Daoud Kuttab at PostGlobal

Daoud Kuttab

Jerusalem/Amman, Jordan

Daoud Kuttab is a Palestinian journalist. He was born in Jerusalem in 1955. He is a former Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton University in the United States. Mr. Kuttab is the former director of the Institute of Modern Media at Al Quds University in Ramallah, Palestine and the founder of AmmanNet, the Arab world's first internet radio station. His personal web page is www.daoudkuttab.com. Close.

Daoud Kuttab

Jerusalem/Amman, Jordan

Daoud Kuttab is a Palestinian journalist. He was born in Jerusalem in 1955. He is a former Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton University in the United States. more »

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Lifting Ban Wins Turkish Hearts and Minds

I like that secularists in Turkey are keeping their country secular. God knows we have suffered and will probably suffer from governments, leaders and religious people trying to insert God directly into politics instead of just considering religion as a source of shared values. During my teaching here at Princeton, and during some of my travels in the U.S., I have found that people have some doubts about the principle of separation of church and state (it applies to all religions.) Indeed, they were surprised when I told them that this is one area in which many true democrats look favorably at the U.S. and the west.

Fundamentalist religious beliefs, when injected into the daily running of government, are are a disaster and lead only to failure. Government policies are subjective and are open to the give and take of realpolitik, where decisions, laws and budgets can and do come into question. The situation with God and religion is different because it assumes that it is not wise to question God's words, although the men (and usually it is men) interpreting God's words have and will continue to interpret them to the benefit of their personal position or that of their financial benefactors.

As to the headscarf, I always thought it was a weak argument to force women not to wear the hijab in public. Nuns wear their habit, observant Jews (and not just religious leaders) wear a kipa, Sikhs have their turbans, and so on. I think the issue here is personal rights, not necessarily changing secularism. If Turkey's secular leaders want their country to stay that way, they have to win people’s hearts and minds with their work and their good government. The present ruling power in Turkey, although it leans towards some sort of political Islam, works hard at improving the lot of the Turkish people. It is a positive example of how moderate Islamists can rule within their own population's demands, according to 21st-century standards.

I am a practicing Christian Palestinian, and I have no problem in allowing women to wear the Islamic veil in public (though not the full niqab, which hides the face except for a slit for the eyes) if an adult Muslim woman chooses to do so.

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