Religion is a word that has the potential of making and breaking this world. It’s not something new. Religion has been the parameter for much of world decisions that guide our lives even today. For the better or worse is not for us to decide.
Every religion, at its core, is utterly peaceful and inclusive. However, religious dogmatism might have led humankind to an unsolicited detriment. There are many countries in this world which follow some core religion or the other. President Trump issues notices and declarations by the name of his “lord” even today!
There are, however, some countries that have taken dogmatism to another level. These countries notoriously monitor their citizen’s religious practices and do nothing to protect religious freedom.
Let us now see these countries at a glance:
A country with its majority population practicing Buddhism, is strictly against religious freedom. Burma prefers the practice of Theravada Buddhism over other major religions like Islam, Christianity, and Hinduism. The practitioners of these religions have been facing religious conversions or proselytizing for a long time now. Moreover, Muslims Hindus, and Christians are discriminated against on various grounds.
The minorities in Burma are often denied permits to build houses. Moreover, religion is given such priority that stating your religion in all your official documents is a must. The constitution of Burma provides for restricted religious freedom. However, officials are known to discriminate against citizens on their religion all the time. The infamous Rohingya Muslims are the worst affected by such restricted religious freedom in Burma.
The Chinese Communist Party is known to be an atheist political party. It is also true that the Chinese Constitution provides for religious freedom and expression. However, government officials are often known to discriminate against people based on religion. Any religious practice which could potentially threaten their empire is strictly curbed and prohibited. Torturous imprisonments, religious conversions do not seem to protect religious freedom on any level.
This country is situated on the African Continent just underneath the Red Sea. The government of Eritrea is also known to restrict religious freedom. This country is known to recognize four religious groups officially. They are Evangelical Lutheran Church, Roman Catholic Church, Eritrean Orthodox Church, and the Sunni Muslims.
Even then, these religious groups enjoy a degree of religious freedom. On the other hand, all other religious sects and communities are notoriously bogged down by the officials. The minorities are harassed and imprisoned on one false pretext or the other. Followers of other religions are not even granted a permit to leave the country. The government decides on religious persecutions and is, therefore, nothing to do with societal norms.
A country where the constitution provides for limited freedom to religions like a few particular sects of Islam, Christianity, Zoroastrians, and Jews. The Baha’i faith is notoriously and relentlessly pursued, prosecuted, and harassed daily in Iran. The Iranian government officially labeled the Baha’is as the “political sect” and considered them apostates.
Iran’s draft on “Citizen’s Rights” is mere eyewash, and the coziness provisions limit employment, housing, and education based on religious differences. “Anti-Islamic propaganda” and “enmity against God” are a few charades of Iranian religious discrimination. The media in Iran is controlled mainly by the government and is used to enhance religious hatred amongst citizens against minorities like Jews and Baha’is.
5. North Korea
Even though the North Korean constitution guarantees religious freedom, we can only sense what it is like. The land of Kim Jong-Un is said to be officially an atheist nation. However, through its administrators, North Korea considers established religions a threat to the country’s political unity and, hence, discriminates loudly.
North Korea is said to have tortured people having bibles with them by torturous imprisonment and death. Kim Jong-Un’s hostility can be rarely traced as information is hard to come out of North Korea.
It seems that religion has been made a harpoon by authoritarian states to propagate their imperialism for decades to come. Under these pressing circumstances, it is becoming more challenging to protect religious freedom across the globe.
Religion, of all other aspects in life, is a personal space where we often find peace and hope. It is our right, as human beings, to answer calls of our beloved god wherever and whenever we want. It is dehumanizing to restrict someone from practicing their faith. Religion and faith are contemporaneous to hope. And without hope, there is no humankind.