Thursday, January 14, 2010

Government's Religious Policy

Last night on TVM program 'Q&A with Miqdad', the SMS question (paraphrased) was:
Are you satisfied with the government's religious policy? yes/no
On one side was MoIA minister Dr. Abdul Majeed, MP Ahmed Rasheed. On the other side was MP Dr. Afrasheem and MP Mutthalib. With lots of attacks and counter-attacks from both sides (and Miqdad unable to moderate), the show had to be abruptly stopped without any concluding remarks, because they ran out of time.

Before answering the above question, one must consider another crucial question. What could a government's policy towards religion be in the first place? There are three possiblities:
1. President himself becomes the supreme authority on religion. He decrees what is and what is not allowed as per his interpretation of religion.
2. A group of scholars is selected to be the authority on religion (MoIA/Fiqh Academy).
3. Government gets out of the business of being the authority on religion

Option 1 has been tried during the Maumoon regime, where he cuts and molds religion to his discretion. Religion was being used as a political tool for controlling the population. Obviously, only Maumoon and his cronies who got control were happy with the policy.

Option 2 is the current one that is being tried. A selected group of people (Adhaalath) party has the current monopoly over MoIA. A lot of people are satisfied with this policy. This was clearly seen in the SMS results for last night with ~70% voting yes. But the MoIA has been criticised from both ends of the spectrum (liberal/modernist to conservative/'extremist'). I wonder how many of the supporters of the current policy will feel when and if MoIA is monopolised by some people who they don't like (perhaps Afrasheem & co, the Dots or any other).

The third option has not been tried. Both option 1 and 2 make everyone else follow the whim of the one in authority, whether they like it or not. Everyone is clearly aware of the corruption and nastiness of the political game. Is it not time that we evaluate a policy where religion is not left to the whims of the politicians? Religion is too important to be given to politicians to be made a weapon of mass control.

7 comments:

Shinau Shinaz said...

A government, religion and policies are not synonymous in any circumstance. Perhaps, religion is absolutely different from policies, theories, or manipulation of democracy. Religion is a particular belief, a faith or a thought of conscience, not a part of a government or a law at any cost in my point of view.

meekaaku said...

Yes religion is a belief. But there are legal aspects to religion, and some want to follow that, and they should be allowed to. So a legal system based on religion is the outcome.

Yaamyn said...

Religious policy?

What can one say about a 'policy' where the MoIA can block websites, decide curriculum, disallow any kind of religious debate, submit one petty bill after the other to take away human rights of non-muslims (citizens or otherwise) and so on... ALL IN THE NAME of protecting our 100% islamic constitution.

But they won't pass a similar edict just 'banning' all resorts, or the alcohol in them.

These are just politicians doing what they do best. Clinging on to emotive issues.

meekaaku said...

Yes, thats why we should seperate religion and state.

f i Я a s said...

Islam is a Policy. Islam is State. Islam is a Law, a Government, a Defence Treaty, a Human Rights Convention, Islam is a way of life...

f i Я a s said...

btw you "wonder how many of the supporters of the current policy will feel when and if MoIA is monopolised by some people who they don't like (perhaps Afrasheem & co, the Dots or any other)."

hehehe wat are you trying to say?? as the poll suggests 70% ARE happy with a Adhaalath majority.. of course the 70% won't be happy with Dr.Afrashim... that's what the poll tells you.. hehe :-)

meekaaku said...

What I am saying is, the policy is having a MoIA with monopoly over everything religion. Currently MoIA is occupied by Adaalath, at some point in time it might be occupied by some others. With the current _policy_ of monopoly over religion, 70% are ok with it as long as its their monopoly. When it is someone else's monopoly they won't agree. But in both cases the policy/system of monopoly over religion is the same.

So my question is this system of monopoly a good thing?