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Saturday, March 25, 2006

Is there freedom of religion and tolerance in Islam?

Guess what? There's no turning back if you're born Muslim or a muslim convert. You're stuck with this one and only religion for the rest of your life. Unlike the other religions, the religious practices and choice has always been an "open door" policy, Islam, on the other hand, is strict in the sense that it forbids the conversion to another faith.

As life progresses, it is perfectly normal that we may find content, guidance, faith and peace of mind with another religion and wish to convert. We have the freedom to exercise our choice as long as it doesn't offend others. Apparently, this is not the case if you're Mr. Abdul Rahman. Mr. Rahman is an aid worker in Afghanistan who was arrested and charged with religious offense because of converting back to Christianity from Islam. If Islam is a religion of "peace, tolerance, kindness and integrity" as it claims then there should not be this much of an outcry over Mr. Rahman's personal decision. Instead, educated Islamic clerics around the world should stand up and defend Mr. Rahman's right, not just some selected Christian ministries. Nobody can decide for Mr. Rahman. It's his decision and his rights and we should all respect that.

There's also a similar case in India where Christian converts are constantly being harassed and threatened by the Muslim majority.

For more commentary, see BBC's Mood hardens against Afghan convert and even the Pope is pleading for the release of Mr. Rahman.

3 comments:

halifaxdude said...

Just a side note that you may be interested....

Common Characteristics of Cults:

1) The group is focused on a living charismatic leader to whom members seem to display excessively zealous, unquestioning commitment.

2) The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.

3) The group is preoccupied with bringing in money.

4) Questioning, doubt and dissent are discouraged or even punished.

5) Use of mind-numbing techniques; for example, meditation, chanting, speaking in tongues, and debilitating work routines.

6) The group's leadership dictates, sometimes in great detail, how members should think, act, and feel.

7) The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leaders, and members; for example: the leader is considered the Messiah, Prophet or an avatar.

8) The group and/or the leader have a special mission to save humanity.

9) The group has a polarized, 'we-they' mentality that causes conflict with the wider society.

10) The group's leader is not accountable to any authorities, as are, for example, clergy with mainstream denominations.

11) The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify means.

12) The group's leadership induces guilt and fear feelings in members in order to control them.

13) Members' subservience to the group causes them to cut ties with family, friends and personal pre-group goals and interests.

14) Members are expected to devote inordinate amounts of time to the group.

15) Members are encouraged or required not to live and/or socialize with other non-believer group members.

Interestingly these are not limited to "religion". Many of the above 15 items can be found in modern practices of (failed) democracy, (fantasy-like) free-market economy, consumerism, star-worship celebrity and (of course) war-state vs. "Axis of Evil".

In essence, we are all cult members of some kind. The moment you start taking things for granted is the moment you surrender your freedom.

Anonymous said...

That is not true my friend. You have the chioce to be muslim. As far as I know you have the choice but after you chose to be a muslim you should not turn back.

Chris Allen Gaubatz said...

It's so sad to watch the self proclaimed righteous offing each other in the name of their god. There is a good chance World War III will be the greatest 'Holy War' of them all.