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Biblical separation of church and state contradicts Koran, says Salafi leader

November 21, 2013

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The same Islamic cleric who insists that Muslim husbands must hate their non-Muslim wives, recently issued a fatwa arguing that the biblical statement attributed to Jesus—“Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s” (Matt 22:21)—does not, as widely believed by Christians for some two millennia, mean that Jesus supported the separation of church and state, “because a separation between church and religion contradicts the texts of the Koran.” 

Such are the teachings of Sheikh Yusuf Burhami, a leader of Egypt’s Salafi movement—which, since the ousting of the Brotherhood, has become the primary Islamist party, pushing for a greater role of Sharia in the nation’s constitution.

By way of example, Burhami quotes the Koran—“Indeed, the matter belongs entirely to Allah” (Koran 3:154)—which mainstream Islamic exegesis holds as meaning all earthly matters must be decided by Allah, hence the totalitarian nature of Sharia law.

In Burhami’s own words: “It’s impossible for the Messiah [Jesus]—peace be upon him—to call for the separation of state and religion, as meaning that politics are to be governed without the Sharia of Allah.”

Instead, according to the Salafi leader, the “true” Jesus—the Muslim one, Isa—made that assertion to confirm that conquered populations must pay tribute—jizya—or, in the context of Jesus’ discussion concerning the image of Caesar on a coin, that 1st century Jews should pay tribute to the Romans.

In the backdrop of Burhami’s fatwa are growing calls to make Egypt’s Christian Copts pay jizya to the state, as they historically did, as the Koran demands (9:29), and as vigilante Muslims are currently forcing them to do.

Raymond Ibrahim is author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians 

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