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Time for a Global Secular Initiative


Time for a Global Secular Initiative
Sam Ghandchi
February 5, 2015

The global strategy of the West to confront Communism during the Cold War era was to raise the flag of human rights in the world, and in that battle, the West considered anti-secular movements such as Islamism in the Middle East as its ally. US support of Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan highlighted that policy till the collapse of Soviet Union. But with the end of Cold War, the West is still entangled in its old strategies that were drawn for a state of the world that no longer is the current reality of the global lineups.

Global Lineups at the Present

It is true that with regards to states which challenged the West, such as Taliban, when it was in power in Afghanistan, or Iran's Islamic Republic, the human rights issue is the critical focus but in the grand scale of Islamism as a challenge to the Modern World, the governments are not the only problem, as we can witness in most of the Arab world. The world is facing an anti-secular current and exactly the secularism of the West which the Islamists despise, is the point of strength of the West-- not to be apologetic about. Unfortunately the strategy of the West even after September 11th attacks stateside in the U.S., has still remained to de-emphasize secularism.

The West needs to realize that secularism has to be the focus of its global strategy to be able to confront Islamism. The West and particularly the United States has a very strong heritage of secular thought and practice which has shown to be very successful for over 200 years to bring progress and prosperity to people of the United States and it is something to be proud of and to promote rather than to be apologetic about.

What is Secularism?

Currently there is a strong grass root secular movement in Iran, and in the rest of the Middle East, which needs the support of the West and unfortunately the apologetic approach of the West about its own secular tradition is not helping these movements. These secular currents have risen from the experience of Islamist state in Iran having run its natural course, and many of the pioneers of 1979 Revolution have reached the conclusion of secularism. It is a grass root movement and is not something being forced on people from above.

It is time to start a Global Secular Initiative (GSI) to challenge Daesh, whether Shiite or Sunni, not by force but by reason. Mutual violence between Islamism and the Modern World will only kill more innocent people and also more of those committed to ideologies of both sides will die. The outcome of the old strategy has not been anything to be proud of in the last 15 years. Secularism is a win-win solution for the whole world just as it proved to be in the U.S. and Europe for centuries. The experience of defeats of secularism in areas like the Middle East or in former Communist world should not be understood as the problem of secularism, rather it was the failure of dictatorships. These are the facts that need to be communicated to the world in a war of ideas and not guns which the Global Secular Initiative (GSI) can spearhead.

Why Secularism Failed in Half of the World?

Hoping for a democratic and secular futurist republic in Iran,

Iran Futurist Republic

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