SHAFAQNA – “On Jan. 16, our nation will observe National Religious Freedom Day. This day commemorates the Virginia General Assembly’s adoption of Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom back in 1786.,” wrote Robert P. George, the chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.
He continued, “As Jefferson’s statute proclaimed, religious freedom is among the “natural rights of mankind.” Yet to this day, billions of people abroad routinely are denied this liberty. From forbidding the construction of places of worship to perpetrating mass torture and murder, abusers continue to operate with impunity.”
Indeed intolerance has thrived over the past decades, increasingly more so, since Saudi Arabia was allowed to rise a great tyrant over men and religious communities, behind such darkness the United States has stood a silent witness, complicit in the crimes carried out in the name of Wahhabism – a spiritual devolution which calls itself Islamic, when in fact it is not.
“For both humanitarian and practical reasons, the United States must stand with the persecuted and weave the concern to protect religious freedom more tightly into U.S. foreign policy,” George calls … only again, the United States is not. It hasn’t for the longest of time – ever since capitalism and profiteering have meant more than ethic and morals.
Religious communities have suffered a great injustice as radicals have worked to silence pluralism to rise uncontested.
There is such great beauty though to be found in pluralism … We should never lose sight of our humanity when we debate the divine, since by definition, God needs not our quarrel but only ever called for our enlightenment.
Tolerance, justice and compassion are values championed most by Islam – let’s not allow for the perversion of a few to cloud the truth of a faith which only ambitions to offer salvation.