Friday, 29 November 2013

Religious freedom banned in Saudi Arabia but focus is on Angola

File:Flag of Angola.svg

A few days ago I noticed a couple of reports via Goggle News that Islam had been banned in Angola. A rather odd event I thought and when the Angolans denied it I took this at face value. After all there are always scare stories when religion is involved. I wish I'd kept the links now as the story is now in
the Guardian newspaper. Under a picture of "Palestinians burning an Angolan Flag" (surprised they had one to be honest) they report:

Angola has been accused of "banning" Islam after shutting down most of the country's mosques amid reports of violence and intimidation against women who wear the veil.
The Islamic Community of Angola (ICA) claims that eight mosques have been destroyed in the past two years and anyone who practises Islam risks being found guilty of disobeying Angola's penal code.
Human rights activists have condemned the wide-ranging crackdown. "From what I have heard, Angola is the first country in the world that has decided to ban Islam," said Elias Isaac, country director of the Open Society Initiative of Southern Africa (Osisa). "This is a crazy madness. The government is intolerant of any difference."........
Religious organisations are required to apply for legal recognition in Angola, which currently sanctions 83, all of them Christian. Last month the justice ministry rejected the applications of 194 organisations, including one from the Islamic community.
Under Angolan law, a religious group needs more than 100,000 members and to be present in 12 of the 18 provinces to gain legal status, giving them the right to construct schools and places of worship. There are only an estimated 90,000 Muslims among Angola's population of about 18 million.
Further on in the paper they also report the growing imposition of Sharia Law on non-Muslims in Nigeria's northern states:

About 240,000 bottles of beer have been shattered by an earthmover as part of a widening crackdown in Nigeria's northern city of Kano.
Alcohol is banned under sharia law, imposed in the city in 2001, but authorities had turned a blind eye to its consumption in hotels and the Sabon Gari Christian quarter.
At the public destruction of beer on Wednesday the head of the religious police board warned that his officers would put an end to alcohol consumption.
Bars in Sabon Gari were the target of multiple bombings on 29 July. The attacks, which killed 24 people, were carried out by suspected Islamist militants who have claimed authorities are not properly applying sharia law that governs nine of Nigeria's 37 states. The country is divided between a mainly Christian south and predominantly Muslim north.
As a secularist and atheist I believe in the rights of everyone to hold their own beliefs or just as important none if that is their freely held choice. I oppose all and any attempts for others to impose their religious beliefs on others. If Muslims do not want to drink that's fine, but no one has the right to enforce their choices or as in this case kill people who choose to do so.

The Islamists of Boko Haram are part of a growing clerical-fascist movement within the Muslim world. However while they and others may be the focus of ire in the West, it's often ignored or deliberately overlooked that a lot of Muslim countries either ban or persecute members of religious minorities.

Iran target the Baha'i faith and imprison christian "apostates" who they accuse of leaving Islam. Pakistan has it's draconian blasphemy laws which are regularly abused to suppress both religious dissent and members of other faiths, especially Christians. In Egypt, Iraq and Syria Christians are persecuted by Islamists and treated very much as second class citizens.

I'm waiting to see in particular what the Wahhabi dominated Saudi regime will have to say about all this. Saudi Arabia offers no legal rights to members of other religions. People are not allowed to make any public displays of their alternative faiths. This a country with a religious police force, unbelievable but that is the case and you wouldn't want the Wahhabi Gestapo knocking on your door.


This a country where you can be arrested for wearing a Christian cross and distributing (that is even just selling) the Bible is prohibited. Don't even think about changing faith from Islam, the penalty of this barbaric state is death.

All this goes on while so called "progressives" bleat about "Islamophobia" but say not a word about the fate of Christians, Jews and others across the Muslim world.

The trick guys is to learn to respect each others rights to believe and express views without resorting to hate speech or violence. If you don't like a book or TV programme or someones opinions it's just tough. 

Live with it!

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