I am not a religious person and the reformation of any religion shouldn’t be my problem or anyone else’s. I wish I could respect other’s beliefs to the point of indifference. It shouldn’t be my concern how someone else’s superstitions, mythologies, and traditions evolve and adapt to survive in the modern age through reformation and reinterpretation. How their religion can withstand being disproven by science and refuted by universal human rights is not my problem.
But religious people have made themselves everyone else’s problem.
Religious terrorists have murdered, raped, and enslaved thousands across the globe and threaten tens of thousands more. Religious fanatics impose their beliefs on everyone else by seeking impose religious laws and deny others equal rights. Religious tyrants suppress free speech by outlawing it as blasphemy, suppress the freedom of choice by banning apostasy, and suppress women’s rights by imposing “modesty.” Religious oppressors use legend and prophecy to justify occupation, apartheid, and ethnic cleansing.
Let’s recognise that the majority of terrorists, oppressors, and bigots today–be they Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu or Buddhist–justify their actions with a fundamentalist interpretation of ancient religious scriptures.
There are terrorists who are inspired by Marxism, Fascism, and other non-religious ideologies, but those do not diminish or absolve the actions of religious terrorists.
Denying the link between religion and terrorism, oppression, and bigotry will not make the problem go away.
We must support those who are reforming their own faith. We must recognise the problems within these faiths that these reformers are pointing out.
We may not share their faith or their culture. But it is in our own interest that they prevail in liberating their religion and culture from bigotry and terrorism. We must support reformers and secularists such as Maajid Nawaz, Raif Badawi, and Faisal Saeed Al Mutar.