By Tefera Dinberu
How are human rights interpreted if a woman does not have freedom to choose her partner but relatives arrange her marriage, or she refuses to be a mere reproductive agent rather than being a love partner? What justifies a woman to be denied of equal right to own personal property, and the right to educational opportunities? What justifies killing a person for believing in a certain religion or for not believing in a religion, or for being infidel? Is conversion a free choice of a person or the will of the family or of the state? Is religious discipline restricted within spiritual affairs or can it replace the criminal code? How is faith to be reconciled with democracy? It can be helpful to pose some of such basic questions as an introduction for the discussion on this topic.
Besides physiological needs of the right to life, liberty and safety, and other basic human needs, as theorized by the widely accepted theory of Abraham Maslow, all human beings seek the pursuit of life and happiness that is interpreted in everyday application of freedom of humanity and conscience. And this includes the right to love/belongingness, self-esteem, and self-actualization. The right to conscience includes the right to think, the right to believe in what one perceives acceptable, the right to worship or not worship, and the right to work in the choice of one’s interest of trade or career. In fact through history, different societies, primitive, and civilized, have treated these things in different ways. In ancient societies where slavery and serfdom prevailed, human beings were treated as animals and properties by other human beings who conquered and ruled the societies. However, since human dignity is recognized in modern societies, all human beings are deemed to be treated equally without any discrimination. And by their common nature, all religious faiths respect humanity and follow the Golden Rule of treating all human beings with equal respect and dignity as cited below:-
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  — The Bible
“As you would have people do to you, do to them; and what you dislike to be done to you, don’t do to them. Now let the stirrup go! [This maxim is enough for you; go and act in accordance with it!]” ——–Christian
“Lay not on any soul a load which ye would not wish to be laid upon you, and desire not for anyone the things ye would not desire for yourselves. This is my best counsel unto you, did ye but observe it.”  ——–Islam
“Thou shalt Love thy neighbor as thyself.”  ——Baha ullah
“Hurt not others with that which pains yourself.”  —-Buddhism
“What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others. —-Confucianism
The United Nations Charter on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states as follows:-
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
(2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.
These rights are selected to show that all human beings have the right to any faith of their own; the right to teach and organize on religious matters and that people following different faiths are equally respected before the law.
In light of this, it could be noteworthy to see historical religious persecutions in Egypt as an example since Egypt is one of the first countries where civilization started and also secularism was greatly affected by forceful conversion of Christians to Islam.
Egypt that became a Hellenistic kingdom under the Ptolemaic dynasty (305–30 BC and later a province of the Roman Empire in 30 BC, with the Ptolemaic kings replaced by distant emperors, where Christianity spread across in the third and fourth centuries AD, and edicts by Christian emperors and iconoclasm by local Christians eroded traditional beliefs; then an intensive program of Islamic indoctrination of the young took place through a number of powerful avenues, including mosques, public school system, and the media. The main objectives and ultimate goals of Islamic indoctrination are the Islamization of the local population and the destruction of the indigenous Christian culture. The program of Islamic indoctrination included historical negationism that presents one thousand years of violent bloody Islamic Jihad, which resulted in wide-spread destruction, pillage, killing, and abusive enslavement of women. Islamic indoctrination suppressed the histories of all pre-Islamic civilizations: Coptic (Egyptian Christian), Syriac, Assyrian, Phoenician, and so on. For instance, Coptic history from the first to the seventh centuries was removed from the textbooks of public schools for decades till the year 2002. Hostility toward pre-Islamic civilizations reached the point that in the reign of al-Hakem B’amr Allah (996-1021), the face of the sphinx was mutilated and its nose was broken. History was reinvented and an imaginary version of it is promulgated in order to foster the glorification of the Islamic Arab military conquests, and to claim Islamic supremacy and the superiority of Islamic civilization despite the contrary historical evidence. The program of Islamic indoctrination also included the Islamization of the schools’ curriculum which is imbued with anti-Christian and anti-Jewish materials with a campaign of defamation against Christianity and its teachings. Non-Muslims were designated as Kuffar (unbelievers), scorned, vilified, and denigrated as infidels. This promoted an atmosphere of hatred, contempt and intolerance of non-Muslims.
Great ancestors who converted to Christianity from paganism had converted out of deep conviction, commitment, and love to Christ. Christ and his apostles did not send out an invading army into Egypt to conquer, rule, and convert the country to Christianity. Instead, they sent unarmed peaceful evangelists to preach the Gospel of Christ. The most known of those evangelists is St. Mark who was martyred in Alexandria by pagans in 68 AD. In fact, the Egyptian Christians in the early centuries of Christianity in Egypt were so strong in their Christian faith and commitment to Christ that they stood fast for Christ against multitudes of severe and bloody Roman persecutions, the most brutal of which was the Diocletian persecution of the fourth century (303-311) that failed to stop the tide of Christianity for some time. The number of Egyptian Christians who were martyred for their faith in this persecution exceeded 800,000 martyrs. A conversion based on the responsible exercise of the person’s free will, and grounded in his strong conviction and commitment is certainly a valid conversion. It is indeed tragic that many Christians in those cruel centuries of the Islamic Arab rule converted to Islam because of persistent unrelenting Islamic persecution by the invading Muslim Arabs of Egyptians who initially refused to convert to Islam. While at times these persecutions were violent and bloody, most of the time it was economical persecution in the form of al-jizya (Sura al-tawbah 9:29), al-kharaj (land tax). Poor families who were unable to pay al-jizya were forced to surrender their innocent children to the Muslim rulers as payment. The Muslim rulers would then sell them as slaves to Muslim households where they were forced into Islam, or to fight wars for them. The economic persecution took also the form of dismissing Egyptian Christians from their government jobs if they did not convert to Islam. Most Egyptian Muslims did not adopt Islam out of conviction and free-will choice. The Egyptian Muslims of today are borne in Muslim families because their great grandparents were either forced into Islam by persecution and coercion, or adopted Islam to obtain material gain (to get a government job, etc), or to retain family wealth (only a Muslim convert from the family could inherit the wealth of another family member who converted), or were taken into captivity as slaves when they were children and were brought up in Muslim households, or their great grand mothers were raped by invading Muslim Arab soldiers or tribesmen and forced to become their concubines. That is how all the Muslims of Egypt came to be Muslims.
Persecution of Christians increased in intensity and frequency in the age of the crusades and Mamluks. This persecution pattern of lawless Muslim mob violence incited by Muslim brotherhoods and supported by Mamluk princes characterized most of the Mamluk era of over 250 years (1250-1517). It peaked in the Bahri Mamluk period (1250-1390); the Mamluks were Christians purchased to be soldiers.
To date, although the Egyptian government does not have a policy to persecute Christians, it discriminates against them and hampers their freedom of worship, and its agencies sporadically persecute Muslim converts to Christianity. In particular:
• The government of Egypt enforces onerous Hamayouni restrictions on building or repairing churches, restrictions that do not apply to mosques.
• The government of Egypt applies religiously discriminatory laws and practices concerning conversion, marriage, parenthood, education, and clergy salaries.
• The government of Egypt has effectively restricted Christians from senior government, political, military, and educational positions, and there is increasing discrimination in the private sector.
• The government of Egypt subsidizes media which attack Christianity and restricts Christians’ access to the state-controlled media.
• The government of Egypt fails to take adequate measures to prevent the persecution and abuse of Copts at the local level, whether the perpetrators are terrorists, members of the community, or the security forces of government.
2. Police at the local level frequently harassed and sometimes even persecuted Christians. Conversion took place out of fear. In several instances local police, under the auspices of the government, played significant roles in the coercive conversion of Coptic girls.
3. Islamist terrorists persecuted and intimidated Copts by extortion, assault, and sometimes massacre, especially in the Christian areas of Upper Egypt.
History is merely repeating itself. As is known, the face of Egypt was changed and mutilated from a Christian majority nation to a Muslim majority and a persecuted Christian minority nation.
The same methods are applied today by the fundamentalist Islamic government of the Sudan against the Christians of the Sudan. Similar methods with less extent are still used in Egypt today in order to force Christians to convert to Islam.
It is noteworthy to see scattered but related recent episodes in other countries vindicating these:-
On August 8, 2012, Pastor Balaev from Aliabad in northern Azerbaijan was reportedly sentenced on charges of using violence against a state representative and accused of holding “illegal meetings under the guise of religious activity without concrete authority and without state registration,” attracting young people to worship services and playing loud music there.
On December 15, 2012 Christians who were legal residents of Saudi Arabia had gathered together to pray at a private home of one of the Ethiopians, but police responded by raiding the house and arresting the group. At least 35 Christians from Ethiopia were deported by Saudi Arabia after having been detained for over 7 months for reportedly praying in the privacy of their own homes. “Saudi security officials assaulted, harassed and pressured the Christians to convert to Islam. Officers also kicked and beat the men in Buraiman prison, and insulted them as “unbelievers,” a jailed Ethiopian man said. They were simply arrested for practicing their faith at a private home and were charged with ‘illicit mingling’ with the opposite sex. International Christian Concern (ICC) wrote in a statement published on their website that “Saudi Arabia deported the last of the 35 Ethiopian Christians who were detained for holding an all-night prayer vigil.
Radicalization of Muslim extremists in Ethiopia was realized since the fall of the communist led Derg regime and expanded during the Weyane-EPRDF regime under the leadership of the late Meles Zenawi that encouraged such conflicts from the very period of its ascendance to power. In 1992, 16 Christians were slain in western Hararge at Asebot Monastery that was established in the 13th century. The regime used to fan ethnicity and continued widely since then.
An independent source reported another story as follows:-
On March 8, 2011, armed Muslims entered the home of an elderly Christian leader who had built a church in a nearby Ethiopian Muslim village. When the militants began to assault the church leader, his grandson rushed to intervene, screaming at the men to leave his grandfather. The Islamists stopped assaulting the grandfather and turned their attention to the young man – swinging at his head and arms with their machetes. He sustained three wounds to his head and one on his hand before the men proceeded to rob the home and leave the man for dead. Not content with this alone, at least two Christians have been murdered simply because they were Christians. As the “machete-wielding” Muslims warned that more killings would be coming; thousands of ChristiansHYPERLINK “http://www.foxnews.com/world/2011/03/24/thousands-christians-displaced-ethiopia-muslim-extremists-torch-churches-homes-2057387870/” fled in fear of persecution. The violence erupted after a group of Muslims falsely accused Christians in the area of desecrating the Quran. A Christian leader told ICC that a radical Muslim group who is fighting to establish an Islamic state in Ethiopia is responsible for the attacks. Such stories happened to many Christian families whose homes were robbed and burned to the ground.
In March, 2011, Muslim extremists burned dozens of churches near Jimma town in western Oromiya region. Thousands of Muslims had joined in the burnings; 4,000 Christians had fled their homes in fear around the small community of Asendabo.
The government’s silence to such human rights violation was also manifested when Muslim police and Muslim students burned a church in the village of Qoto Baloso, Silte zone, Southern Nations and Nationalities and Peoples Region (NNPR), in November, 2011. Similarly St. Rufael Church was burnt at night in Gamo Goffa in January 2012. Christians were besieged in Jimma, Ogaden, Arsi, many parts of Shoa, Wellega, other Southern regions, Wello and Gondar regions
Muslim extremists in Ethiopia have torched 69 Christian churches, a Bible school and an orphanage.. Ethiopian Christians, who have been dominant in their country since the 4th century, are in a state of crisis due to the “religious hatred and violence” of their Muslim neighbors.
Silence had been implied consent. As reported on Fox news.com on March 24, 2011, Prime Minister Meles was quoted to have said, “We knew that they were peddling this ideology of intolerance, but it was not possible for us to stop them administratively because they are within their rights. If we can find some association between what they are doing by way of preaching and what happened by way of violence, then of course we can take them to court.”
The very statement of the prime minister proves that the federal state does not have a desire to interfere in a local state when Christians are persecuted in the country. As long as a local state stipulates a law in violation of religious rights, the regime does not prevent local states from the exercise of religious persecution which contradicts the constitution of the federal government. The regime has been applying the same divisive role among Orthodox Christians since the alleged expulsion of publicly elected Patriarch Merqorios from his post by the regime in 1992 in violation of the canon of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Ironically, the US administration has been helping the dictatorial leadership of the Weyane-EPRDF regime in Ethiopia while the latter is trying to organize religious institutions as machinery of the state. The EPRDF regime has been trying to organize religious institutions as machinery of the state to help it monitor or arrest potential democratic movements through the spiritual institutions. So, the synod leadership of the Orthodox Church under the late Abune Paulos used to give political support to the state while the exiled bishops have organized an independent synod in the Diaspora.
While the state is supposed to moderate differences, on the contrary, it apparently played the role of encouraging conflicts. Although the regime denied that it deposed the patriarch, it proved its implacable malevolence as it stood fast in masterminding a new election despite the request of the former patriarch’s restoration to his legitimate post and ignoring a long mediation in process that has been going on between the exiled synod and the synod at home.
Similarly the Ethiopian government stands behind Al-Ahbash teachings of Islam. This belief is founded by an Ethiopian called Abdullah Al-Hawari Al-Habashi (also known as Sheik Al-Fitnah by Ethiopians) that went to Lebanon during the reign of Haile-Selassie and introduced his teachings there. This teaching has some followers in Lebanon and in Ethiopia today. The Ethiopian government fears Salafi-Wahhabi teachings of Islam relating this to Al-Qaeda and so supports Al-Ahbash. Muslims are struggling to keep away the state from being in command of their institutional leadership. While the constitution of the nation stipulates secularism where the state is supposed to alienate itself from religious affairs, the regime is trying to be in command of the leadership of the Muslim institution, too; however, this can create a stepping ground for radicals, which in turn would help the regime pretend to be an arbiter and hence claim Western aid to “stop radicalism or terrorism” that it actually desires to stay on power.
Similar to what happened to monasteries, the destruction of old Hindu temples in Malaysia and tombs of Muslim saints in the old city of Timbuktu is a violation of historical heritage of peoples’ faith, a destruction of history, by radical Islamists from within while historical tombs depict peoples’ consecrated and values.
Although raping is not characterized by Muslims, it has been customary to see adulterating girls and making adventures of raping women in India, Pakistan and other Middle East countries where Islam is also forced to be religion of the state.
What about the attack on Pakistani school girls? A 14 year old girl, Kainat Ahmad and Malala Yousufzai, who spoke for equal rights of education for women along with their school mates were attacked by Taliban gunmen. Kainat was shot on the head for speaking on the right of girls for education in October 2012. This can be nothing else but a violation of women’s rights stipulated in the UN charter in which the right to self-expression is curtailed.
“AsianNews.it” published on October 30, 2012 revealed that 300 Christian children from Tripuri tribes were abducted and forcefully converted to Islam in Bangladesh. Health workers who helped in irradiation of polio epidemics were attacked and murdered in Pakistan by religious fanatics.
Christians in North Nigeria are forced to choose between death and conversion to Islam and Muslim extremists have bombed Churches. Similar human rights infringements by Islamic radicals are rampant in many countries of the world, originating from the Near East to Asia and Africa. Christian persecution has taken place in Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Nigeria, Egypt, Sudan, Algeria, Turkey, Tunisia, Syria, and over 30 countries including Ethiopia.
Amnesty International reports indicate that systematic religious persecution is going on in many parts of the world especially in the Middle East and beyond like Egypt, Sudan, Pakistan Nigeria and Ethiopia.
An ICC note on “Islamic religious persecution goes unnoticed” reported by Peter Bella on 02/15/2012 on Washington Post is shown here:
In Iraq, where we shed our blood treasure allegedly for the cause of freedom, Christians are being violently persecuted, murdered, and churches are being bombed. In the West Bank and Gaza, where Palestinians are in control, Christians are being persecuted. Justus Reid Weiner of Hebrew University claims 1,000 Palestinian Christians left the West Bank city of Bethlehem, the historic birthplace of Jesus. Our government wants to negotiate with people who persecute religion to supposedly bring peace, and that freedom thing, to the region. [However] In Pakistan it is illegal to convert to any religion but Islam. They have a blasphemy law with the death penalty. We give foreign aid and military assistance to Pakistan. [But] Pakistan is a tenuous ally in the region. CNN reported in Nigeria, 12,000 Christians and animists were killed over the past decade in a religious purge.
For over half a century, the focus of the Muslim society was directed toward the status of Palestine connoted as “a land without people and people without land”, in which Muslim nationalist thinkers infuriated by the deplorable situation of the people who lost sovereignty on their land got impetus to enlighten Muslim radicals which in turn cultivated hatred towards some Western nations. Since that problem did not end up in a lasting solution, it rather escalated Islamic radicalism was even fueled by the horrible treatment of the aftermath of September 11, 2001 incident. The mishandling of the after-math of the September 11, 2001 incident and extraordinary publicity of al Qaida and its recognition in the World has resulted in emboldening the Taliban. The consequences of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan motivated Islamic radicals to rally militants who dedicated their lives in the name of Alah. Muslim jihadists also killed many thousands of other Muslims. Although there is no mention about suicide on the Qur’an, and jurists hold that killing oneself by one’s own hand is sin and leads to hell, so many lives have been lost as a result of brainwashed suicide killers (Lewis 39).
Islamic radicals relate their actions to the Quran even when they contradict it. While a Christian in an Islamic country is not allowed to walk in the street with a lady, even with a relative without carrying a license, however, immigrants have been sexually abused in the same society. A Muslim is allowed to marry as many as four wives (Sura 4: 3). Although the Qur’an (4:7) seems to protect a woman’s financial right, from practice, a Muslim woman has very limited right to acquire or inherit properly. In many countries a Muslim woman does not have the right to drive a car. She does not enjoy equal opportunity to education or work, ownership of property. Her main role as a house wife is to bear and raise children. This is very dehumanizing, humiliating, and demeaning to women under any yardsticks of human justice. The domination of women was a practice that continued from slave owning society during the time when Mohammad was expanding his faith and taking control of the idol worshipers of Ka’aba in the central Arabia and eventually took Mecca in 630 AD; prisoners of war were taken slaves and women concubines. Unequal treatment of women was justified by Islamic literary document called Ayat (Asma 160). In fact there is also a version of the Bible that makes the masculine gender superior to the feminine gender. “Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, was in the transgression” (1 Tim. 2:11-14). “Let your women keep silence in the churches. Only a man can be the “husband of one wife” and can “rule his own house well” (1 Tim. 3:2, 4; Titus 1:6). However, there is a remarkable change on matrimonial relationship from Old Testament to the New Testament. The Bible on the Old Testament supported slavery (For example Ephesians 6:5-9, Colossian 4:1, Timothy 6:1-3). However, the New Testament does not justify anything about slavery except congratulating all human beings that believe in Jesus Christ are equally freed from curse inherited from Adam and Eve.
Liberalism in the Christian community of the world toward aggressive movements against the faith has resulted in the escalation of Christian persecution by Muslim extremists on one hand and erosion of the very Christian doctrine that is given to us by God through the Old Testament, which Jesus Christ upheld through the New Testament by his teachings and the teachings of his apostles and written by all the evangelists. According to the biblical teachings, any marriage relationship other than between a man and a woman is not acceptable, and that any sexual relationship out of marriage is adultery and so sin. However, homosexuals and lesbians are coming openly to the public and even to the Church for acceptance. This inconsistency from within has contributed to energizing its adversaries.
It can be seen how articles 18, 19, and 20 of Human Rights stipulated in the UN are openly violated due to radicalism in the Muslim society where severe Islamic laws are selectively exercised. Individual human rights to conscience, speech, writing, teaching and having faith of one’s own is violated. According to the UN Charter, one has the right to believe in Allah or follow Prophet Mohamed, to believe in any religion or to be an atheist as long as one respects other people’s individual faiths. Also, the UN articles cited above show that anybody has the right to express one’s faith through writing, speech, teaching using any technical or technological means. However, there is no such freedom of faith or conscience in states controlled by Islamic clerics. While the Qur’an verse on 2.256, as interpreted by John Keltner, says that there is no compulsion in religion, Islamic extremists try to control the right of self-expression. A person who converts to Christianity is subject to persecution under Sharia law. Hence, they rule out conversion to Christianity to apostasyand a convert is severely punishable up to death.
In fact the Qur’an has 164 jihad verses that include external and internal (spiritual) wars. Ibn Taymiya quotes the Qur’an, “Fight in the way of God against those who fight against you, but do not commit aggression. Truly, God does not love those who commit aggression” (Q 2.190). A similarity of peaceful spirit is found in the Bible: “…But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…” (Matthew 5:33-35). However, extremists quote verses that suit their aggressive interests. For example, on the Qur’an is found, “O you who have faith do not take the Jews and Christians as friends or allies (Q. 5.5). So, historically it was through such verses of the Qur’an that jihadists carried wars to expand the religion. Excluding the Mamluks that ruled Egypt (1250-1517), and the Ottoman Empire (1299 –1992) that ended with the fall the monarchy in Turkey, 13 regional empires and hundreds of local monarchs were established all over the world. Islamic Law mandates that Christians be subjected to a second-class status requiring them to pay a special tax (jizya) from which Muslims are exempt. Christians are not permitted to hold any kind of authority over Muslims; are forbidden to build churches or to repair old ones; and must submit to various other humiliating and discriminatory regulations. In contradiction to the UN human rights, minorities are either forced to follow Islam, or are ostracized if they do not accept Islam in many Muslim states. Establishment of Islamic states has undermined other communities that followed different faiths. In this prevalent situation, many churches were destroyed in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Persia (Iran), Arabia, Egypt, and other Middle East countries for example where the number of Christians has decreased due to persecution, migration, and forced conversion; and minority rights are intensely violated. Nowadays due to apparent behavior of extremists the very essence of Islam that that has much connotation with peace has been shredded to pieces. So, a very popular question is hovering all over the world: “Is Jihad an offensive war against any other religion follower, or a defensive war to protect Islam from a violent attack? So, why are peaceful people praying in Mosques or Churches attacked in the name of Allah and Islam?”
The infamous video that was made by individual film makers in the USA in defaming Mohammad and put on the U-tube is an example of terrible scenario. Although it is not acceptable to belittle and defame one’s religious faith, the behaviors manifested in Muslim countries like Libya, Pakistan, etc were disproportionate. It was so disproportionate that they ended up in wildly killing personalities who were not involved in creating the video. Such behavior was totally incompatible to the very principle of Islam.
Muslim clerics interpret the Qur’an itself differently. Some try to make Islam an umbrella/model/ religion as Ayoub put it, “Muslims, Christians, Jews and indeed all other faith communities who share this universal faith of one God [sic] are called upon to accept the authenticity of all God’s revelations and the varsity of all His prophets. Yet, each community can and should worship God in its own way” (Ayoub 208).
It has been indicated above that no religion is essentially designed to create discrimination among any society; no religion has a purpose to destabilize peaceful coexistence of diversity of people or harm any human kind. Christians and Muslims have much in common and animosity between the two is sparked by mismanagement of minor differences by religious extremist or politicians. Looking back to the relationship of the religions, it could be seen that as Christendom was transformed from Judaism (the Old Testament), so Islamic theocrats desired to perfect Christendom. However this idea remained archaic long before free countries of the world started to follow the UN Charter of human rights where religious faith had to be legally respected as individual right. Nonetheless, according to the charter, the human rights abuse of forcing people to believe in what they do not believe is an aggression against values of their human conscience. And as Bernard Lewis put it, “Christendom and Islam are two religiously defined civilizations that were brought into conflict not by their differences but by their resemblances” (Lewis 43).
Religious institutions have a momentous role in containing their followers within the bounds of their true faith through teachings and indoctrination of peaceful coexistence since spiritual lessons can change the minds of suicide killers that upset peace of the civil society. However, the rest of the society has a vested interest to be under a secular state for freedom of conscience and human rights. It is up to any religious leader or philosopher to educate, preach and win over followers while the choice should exist with the individual, and the role of states is to create coherent, peaceful and healthy life of diversity of people.
Today when multi-ethnic and multi-religious communities are growing in all corners of the World, and when the alienation of state from religious affairs, and tolerance to religious differences is believed to be of paramount importance for diverse sectors of the peoples’ free exercise religious worship of their choice in any part of the World, Islamic extremists dominate many states and impose Islam to be a state religion; they force communities with different faiths to fall into limited or no rights. Destruction of secular states and their replacement with Islamic states has marginalized the basic human rights of Christians and citizens that followed different faiths. Moreover, Islamic radicals made all such human rights infringements due to silence of the free World and unresponsive state of the World Organization that failed to enforce its human rights policy and remained a paper tiger since powerful nations that dominate it preferred meeting their national interests to human rights.
While super-powers have diplomatic and economic capability to peacefully overcome this issue, mishandling of conflicts and wars related to this have radicalized even more and more Muslim extremists. Developed Western nations under the leadership of the USA entered into another blunder in their support of the Arab Spring. Support has been given to insurgents without getting any basis that the insurgents, that often lacked central leadership, would move toward formation of secular states. This oversight was a fiasco that resulted in marginalizing rights of Christian communities in these countries. So, Christians were considered refugees in their own countries and thousands were turned into immigrants. Such facilitation of the down fall of dictators without creation of a democratic atmosphere could not prevent the attack of the US embassy in Libya where three members of the US diplomatic mission and Ambassador Christopher Stevens were killed.
Local conflicts related to ethnicity especially religion have continued in many countries in different forms. Problems related to poverty have added to the fuel and committed combatants on the ground served politicians more than their faith and conflicts created by those who spin them served power-mongers that strive for hegemony. Islamic clerics that ascended to power in such ways played the dominant role in shaping policies as a result of which governments have been incapacitated to exercise justice; and even more now, religious tolerance is dying; the existing secular states are being replaced by Islamic states narrowing the human rights of minorities with different faith. This destabilized peaceful coexistence turned nonbelievers into newer refugees.
However, it has become apparent that people in the developed nations cannot enjoy breathing fresh air while it is smoking in underdeveloped nations. The world cannot be free while there is a pretext for fanatics to agitate genuine people using spiritual weapons. It is astounding to note that some 21st century leaders strive to stop such radicalism by using modern weapons of warfare. However, recent history has proved that wars alone could not solve these problems. So, developed nations should do more than getting rid of symptoms; they should make genuine and concerted efforts to exterminate the basic problems.
When there is good reason for politicians, they use religion as a weapon to organize people and get mass support and mingle with or take over the state leadership especially in the cases of Islamic states. So, the cardinal issue is the separation of state and religion where states should represent diversity of people with diversity of faith as faith is an individual affair and the role of states to create harmony among diversity of people. However, there is no clear separation between religion and politics in an Islamic state. This hinders harmony and peaceful coexistence of diversity of people in any part of the world; it hinders good governance, and smooth progress of human life. Democracy and justice is inconceivable in the absence of freedom of conscience or human rights in general. Therefore, it is not arguable that the UN has to step in and assure peaceful coexistence of the world with different faiths. To stop human rights abuse, the UN is expected to stimulate or coerce member countries take concrete steps such as assignment of law enforcement institutions to protect minority faith followers and stop racial and religious discrimination that causes infinite conflicts. The UN should motivate nations to promote respect of any race toward any other race and any religion follower toward any other religion follower, respect of spiritual institutions of any faith in any part of the World without any discrimination. Democratic Political organizations should make momentous moves in order to arrest religious fanatics. And intellectuals should enlighten the public and encourage human rights organizations to foster all peaceful means to stop this social epidemic that is imposing spiritual tyranny among peaceful people in many parts of the world and advocate the promotion of human rights.
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