A few days ago, a London-based Muslim blog released an article written by Hussain Makke titled: "Why as Muslims we can’t support Noor Tagouri’s decision to feature in Playboy" which was highly critical of journalist Noor Tagouri for featuring in said magazine. While the main premise of the article is one I disagree with, the author gives multiple reasons why Tagouri's decision was a bad one, but in that reasoning, he gives a window into displaying everything that is wrong with Muslims. Makke's first punch comes in the title, where he states that "as Muslims we can't support" Tagouri's decision. This suggests that he views Muslims as a monolith, who all believe the same thing, almost as foolish to suggest that we are his sheep and he is our shepherd. Not only is this an incorrect stance to take, it is also incredibly insulting. Makke should refrain from speaking on my behalf in the future, let alone the egregious act of pretending to speak on behalf of 1.2 billion other Muslims. There are millions of Muslims who do not fit into his cookie cutter vision of what Muslims are, how they should behave, and what they should believe, and that only he and like-minded Muslims who fit the mold have the moral authority to speak down to the rest of us. Makke continues, and makes the argument that a few centuries ago, our societies, whether Islam or Christian, were dominated by religion and mindfulness of an afterlife. He also argues that the liberalization of our societies have relegated religion to the back seat in Western societies. Essentially, Makke holds the view that separation of church and state has resulted in the veiling of religion from the public square, which can't be farther from the truth. There is nothing stopping him or other proselytizers of Islam from heading to the public square, and preaching Islam, as many have famously done. The separation of Church and state means that Makke can live in a historically Christian country like the UK and still practice Islam openly, unlike any other theocracy in the world. It also means that he can be a Muslim and not be subjected to Christian laws that contradict his faith. Secularism is important because religion is a matter of faith and it is wrong to force laws on people that contradict their beliefs. As the Quran states, "Verily, the right path has become distinct from the wrong path. لاَ إِكْرَاهَ فِي الدِّينِ (There is no compulsion in religion), meaning, "Do not force anyone to become Muslim, for Islam is plain and clear, and its proofs and evidence are plain and clear." (Wikipedia). Makke continues to argue that Islam has become less spiritual and more ritualistic to Muslims in the west. It has become more about identity and less about principles. This is where we can deduce Makke's true views which he doesn't state, but views which we have analyzed throughout the article so far. These are views many Muslims share, whether they are moderate or conservative, and it is the notion that only his Islam is the correct one, and that separation of Church and state is a silly notion because he, and people like him, are anointed with the privilege of telling the rest of us how to live a proper Islamic life. It is the notion that only he and like minded Muslims decide who are good Muslims and who are the bad. This sounds oddly familiar with another societal framework, one that Saudi Arabia has set up. A theocracy where only their version of Sunni Islam is the religion that is practiced openly within the country. A state where "virtue and values" policemen stalk completely innocent people in the streets, markets and public places to make sure everyone is practicing Islam the way they are supposed to. They know their role and they obey. What Makke fails to realize is that authoritarian-minded Muslims are diluting spirituality from this religion. People in these societies no longer practice key tenants of their religion because they feel or believe in the religion, they do because there's a gun to their head. He continues to state that he is "sick to my stomach of people who are using the religion" for personal gain and that "You act as if you represent this faith.". Makke and other like-minded Muslims really don't care about what personal relationship you have with God, your faith, your questions or your doubts. You will be made to understand that as long as you wear the uniform of the Muslim collective, you must adhere to the rules of the Muslim collective. Any deviance from trying to express yourself as an individual or your own personal views will be stomped down. Either you follow Makke's version of Islam or you are not really practicing Islam. These are the reasons why Muslims are regressing and not progressing. There is no tradition or viewpoint that sees a benefit in a liberty-based Islam, one where people are free to practice the religion in differing ways, one where people can question and preach the faith in their own creative ways, an Islam where people make the active decision to continue their Islamic traditions and practices free of a government body forcing it down their throat or societal pressures threatening to ostracize them if they deviate from the collective. These are the problems that modern, Western Muslims face, and if we can't even start with the concept of separation of Church and State being a good thing for a society, then we are truly lost.