Western way of thinking.  The English speaking countries of the world and most of Europe including Russia have a specific way of viewing the world.

Post-enlightenment, in the West, government was separate from religion.  In the world of the 20th century, religion was allowed but not mandated. In the U.S. one could be Buddhist or Christian or Jewish or Muslim or atheist and the government has to leave you alone.

In Muslim countries, government, Islam and Shariah law are all wrapped in one.  They are part and parcel of what the person on the street sees.

According to Karen Armstrong in The Battle for God,  “Only by making an existential surrender (islam) of his or her whole being to the basic rhythms of life can a muslim (one who makes this submission) live as an authentic human being in the community.”

Ms. Armstrong also says, “By ordering the whole of life so that God was given priority and his plans for humanity were fully implemented, Muslims would achieve a personal and societal integration that would give them intimations of the unity which was God.  To fence off one area of life and declare it to be off limits to this religious effort would be a shocking violation of this principle of unification (tawhid) which is the cardinal Islamic virtue.”

Understanding that the values of the Enlightenment were first and foremost a European concept and the separation of state and church is a central part of the Enlightenment goes a long way to explaining the difference between the West and practicing Muslims.

It also gives some understanding to Fundamentalists of any religion.

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