Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Wednesday, December 13th, 2017

The Need for Keeping Public Order and Performing Religious Rituals in Afghanistan

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The Need for Keeping Public Order and Performing Religious Rituals in Afghanistan

Freedom of religion is one of the fundamental rights of mankind in human societies and the legal demands of citizens. Protecting this right symbolizes the intellectual maturity of a society. The nature of men is fed up with imposed faith and religion and consider it in conflict with their humanity and freedom. Freedom of religion means that mankind should be able to adopt their religions and exercise their religious tenets and rituals without being subjugated. Religion has also stressed this fact that there is no subjugation in accepting religion since the path to the right and wrong is enlightened. Faith and belief in religion and religious values need to be based on reason rather than imitation or bias. On the other hand, the state does not have the authority to interfere in people’s religious affairs but its responsibility is to campaign against religious discrimination and provide the opportunity for exercising religious rituals for all citizens. In brief, ensuring the security of practicing religious rituals and proceedings is the significant responsibilities of the government so that citizens be able to perform their religious rituals with peace of mind.
This right has been also recognized in international instruments and was emphasized that everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance. Similarly, Afghan Constitution stipulates, “The sacred religion of Islam is the religion of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. Followers of other faiths shall be free within the bounds of law in the exercise and performance of their religious rituals.” It further says that liberty is the natural right of human beings. This right has no limits unless affecting others freedoms as well as the public interest, which shall be regulated by law.
On the other hand, religious followers in Afghanistan are in dire need of peaceful existence. All are supposed to fulfill their responsibilities in protecting public order and respect the social, political and religious rights of one another and avoid humiliating  one another or resorting to violence which are against a peaceful existence.
That is to say, religious followers in Afghanistan which share some common religious principles as well as common interests are in need of peaceful coexistence more than ever before. All those who live in this land, including the followers of other religions, are entitled to live in peace. According to Islam, the dignity and fundamental rights of all individuals who live peacefully in Islamic territory should be protected.
Although Afghans show great tendency in living peacefully with one another, yet they are the casualty of mysterious hands interfering in their destiny. In another item, they are left at the mercy of futile conflicts and destructive violence. Fueling religious issues out of ignorance had necessarily led to bloody wars which inflicted irreparable loss on society. Hence, it is our responsibility to play our role in spreading awareness and have our say against radicalism and religious discrimination. Performing religious rituals and practicing upon religious tenets in the society are the requirements for religious freedom. It should be noted that one cannot ignore the rule of law under the pretext of having such rights. Thus, performing religious rituals is not supposed to hurt the feelings of the followers of other religions. It has also been emphasized in Afghan Constitution that followers of other faiths shall be free within the bounds of law in the exercise and performance of their religious rituals. Their religious education and personal matters, marriages, divorces, inheritances, wills and related lawsuits are also recognized by Afghan courts.
Rationality and maintaining public order require our moderate performance of religious rituals and avoiding extremism. That is to say, we have to consider public order while performing mourning ceremonies or religious rituals, mainly in Ashura (10th of Muharram) and shun any attitudes that might be detrimental to religious values. Needless to say that if conducting the Ashura ceremony results in violating law or hurting the feelings of religious followers – no matter to which religion they belong to – or cause public disorder, it will never be in accordance with the philosophy of Ashura and will be a blow to the sacred culture and objective of the revolution carried out in Ashura.
So, considering the human and valuable philosophy of Ashura, we should act upon religious tenets in terms of performing religious rituals so as not to violate the sanctity and high values of Ashura. We are supposed to uphold the true philosophy of Ashura revolution. It rightly said, “Freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs may be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health, or morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.”

Abdul Hamid Arifi is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. he can be reached the outlookafghanistan@gmail.com

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