Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Religious freedom. A basic human right.

As a Jew, I am well are of the potential consequences of mainstream politicians ostracizing and scapegoating a portion of the population based on religious beliefs. Some statements are truth, some half-truths, and some blatant lies that somehow persist. For example, Jews were attacked with the blood libel for centuries.

I will not stand idly by as others are attacked in this way. I will not be silent at the persecution of my fellow human beings. There is no just cause, ever, anywhere, for labeling and segmenting a group based on race, ethnicity, religion, creed, nationality, orientation, or other shared characteristic they inherited by birth.

There are millions suffering at the hands of DAESH (a.k.a. ISIL, ISIS), and most of those are Muslims. They need our help, the world's help, in fact, and we must not turn our backs. Every life we can save is a world saved. Every life we fail to save is a world lost.


In a similar vein, if anyone tries to tell you that, "unlike Christianity, Islam is religion of violence" remind them that there are Christians who have interpreted the Bible to mean non-Christians should be forcibly converted or slaughtered. Perhaps they've heard of the crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, the Holocaust, the Balkan war (Christian Serbs slaughtering Muslim Yugoslavians as the country disintegrated into civil war), or the current genocide occurring in the Central African Republic in the name of Christianity.

Also, direct them to . In particular, call out quotes such as:

'According to Feisal Abdul Rauf, "the Quran expressly and unambiguously prohibits the use of coercion in faith because coercion would violate a fundamental human right—the right to a free conscience. A different belief system is not deemed a legitimate cause for violence or war under Islamic law. The Quran is categorical on this: "There shall be no compulsion in religion" (2:256); "Say to the disbelievers [that is, atheists, or polytheists, namely those who reject God] "To you, your beliefs, to me, mine" (109:1-6)"'

Knowledge and facts are power.