17.05.2021 Feature Article

Religious Discrimination, There Is More To It Than Just Preventing Students From Fasting In School

Religious Discrimination, There Is More To It Than Just Preventing Students From Fasting In School
17.05.2021 LISTEN

As I read through voluminous articles, I come across well-informed opinions as to how to go about improving our religious coexistence as one people in one country. Many of these authors of such well-written articles are lawyers or yet-to-be. And they have articulated their positions very well too.

Many have also come from the religious point of view. Whichever way it goes I can still see the ultimate display of mastery with enough supporting evidence to back each of the arguments raised in these articles as they each try to appeal to our senses of religious tolerance. Thanks for making us learn from your experiences.

However, I still feel something is missing in their chronicle of events either in supporting or criticizing what transpired at WGSHS. If we want to tackle religious intolerance, then we need to do more than just fighting an institution asking for its rules and regulations to be adhered to by students irrespective of their religious background.

My main concern in this whole donnybrook is that; I think our constitution gives its blessings to freedom of association. For instance, I want to be associated with another person by way of marriage. But most often than not, one is told it isn't possible because of one's religion.

I'm saying this because I often see how our Muslim brothers marry our Christian sisters and insist they change their religion to become Muslims. But, when our Christian brothers want to marry the Muslim sisters, they are again told to change their religion. Don't you call that a sort of discrimination? Why must it always be the others calling the tunes? If we want religious understanding, then it must be a two ways affairs not as we see today in society.

Furthermore, if you go to most Christian mission schools that are assisted by the government, you will see how the Muslims in those schools fight to have their presence felt by building mosques on campus. Even if they don't get to build these mosques in these schools, they still have special grounds they gather to pray. Though some schools refuse and resist their attempt to have their mosques built on campus, others allow it for the sake of religious peace.

Now, my questions are;

1. why don't the Muslims allow the Christian students to build churches in their institutions?

2. Why do I wish to marry a Muslim girl and I'm compelled to be a Muslim before I can marry her?

3. Why do Muslims marry our sisters and change their religion and we can't marry their sisters and change their religion?

The above are not the general happenings but These things happen more often yet we don't condemn them. The situation must be a win-win situation and not always the other way round. It makes it look like the Muslims way or the highway.

These are all irreligious acts and tend to cause intolerance but we don't want to condemn these acts. If the same constitution many of you have cited here a number of times gives us the right to practice our choice of religion, the same Constitution grants us freedom of association, and by association, I mean to associate with the person one loves and wishes to marry without any religious impediments as mentioned above.

As for resolving amicably the issues in the various schools, the government must give back all the mission schools to their original owners to manage. Either Muslim or Christian mission schools, the government should hand them over. This will allow potential students to choose the schools they wish to go to. Therefore, if one knows that a particular school belongs to the Catholic where they, the Catholics have the right to practice their doctrine in the school and inculcate into their youth the beliefs and practices of their faith, yet one wants to pick that school as the place one wants to have one's secondary education, then you don't come out to complain again about the rules and regulations in that school. Because it's your choice.

Some schools belong purely to the government and such schools can be chosen by any schools either a Muslim, Christian, atheist, etc. In such schools, one is allowed to practice your religious beliefs without any hindrance. To me, this isn't discrimination but a way of preventing any unforeseen circumstances that may plunge the nation into any religious confrontation.

Until this is done, we can keep pretending and deceiving ourselves that we have religious harmony in this country. There are multiple ways we discriminate against each other either knowingly or unknowingly. Even among the same faith as the Christian faith, for example, the churches still discriminate among each other on various grounds. For instance, a Catholic parent will want their daughter to marry within the same church. They at times force their kids to abandon marriage plans just because the man or the lady belongs in a different Church. Isn't this a form of religious intolerance and sheer prejudice?

If not allowing a student to fast is a religious crime, then what of preventing someone to marry the man or woman he or she loves to take as his or her life's partner? Both Holy Books talk about love and marriage and the importance attached to that institution. Hence, it's the worst form of discrimination and intolerance if you ask me. Love is a pillar in both religions and marriage is considered one of the basic units in both religions. Forgive me for my inability to quote verbatim as you would wished. You are master in that regard and I salute you for that.

We are therefore impatiently awaiting the day the government will give back these mission schools to either Muslims or Christians to manager their own schools. This will go a long way to curb the simmering anger that will explode one day to our disappointment.

When the schools are given back, students will choose the schools they can go to and will be granted full religious freedom. The various faiths will be able to imbibe their beliefs and practices in their youth as one reason for establishing these mission schools. Religious tolerance can still be enforced without going to a Christian or Muslim schools to compel them to accept your beliefs and practices.

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