The separation of church and state is one of the fundamental tenets of the modern Western world, but that doesn't make it inevitable for all cultures, argues Shadi Hamid of the Brookings Institution in Washington.
It's possible to see roots of the separation of church and state in Europe in Christianity's opening acts. The Roman state quickly asserted its opposition to Christian teachings and the church structure was set up in parallel to the state. As the Roman civil government faded away, churches took over more and more of the key roles in civil society, while and emperors allied with popes and patriarchs and weighed in on religious disputes. But even then, ecclesiastical law and civil law were never quite one.
Hamid describes a different path for Islam. The Prophet Muhammad was a temporal leader - both political and military - as well as a spiritual one. Since he was a statesman in his own right, Hamid says, the state and sharia are not so easily divisible as they are in the West. In fact, such a separation may sound nonsensical to many Muslims.
If secularism runs against everything a population believes, why push for it?
So, are Islam and the West are doomed to eternal warfare? The answer, of course, is not that simple.