Sunday, August 16, 2009

On freedom of the mind

Couple of nights ago, I saw few minutes of talk on the 'Islaamee Dhiriulhun' program. There were three young guests on the show with the host asking them questions. One of the guests was talking about the Maldivian culture and its relation to Islam. He goes on to mention that all Maldivians were Muslim and that we should should try to minimize the cultural influences of the West. The other guest mentioned that Islamic golden era produced many great scientists and philosophers.

That got me thinking. Are we still in the days of make-believe where Maldives is a 100% Muslim country? Do they not know that there are many atheists, Christian and sects among Maldivians? Whose interest is it serving when politicians and public figures lie when they say Maldives is a 100% Muslim country?

Or is it because it is defined that all Maldivians are Muslims? This begs the question, are we Muslim by definition? Or are we Muslims by belief? I am a Muslim not because some constitution defines it. I am Muslim because of what I believe. As being a Muslim is all about belief and submission, how could one override the meaning of Muslim to say someone could be Muslim even if that person does not submit to God?

Everyone should have the right to believe what they want. The freedom of the mind is the most important freedom. Things such as freedom of speech and press, that our politicians fancily talk about, can only be realized with freedom of thought. Anyone who suppresses people's freedom of thought (be it for national, cultural or religious reasons etc), is a person who wants to control people's lives.

These freedoms are what we are born with, not what we obtain from the State. Each individual is sovereign over that individual's mind. No one, not even the State, has sovereignty over one's mind.