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Saturday, 5 July 2014

German-Muslim scholar calls for greater individual rights in freedom of religion


German-Muslim scholar calls for greater individual rights in freedom of religion
How a person practices his or her religion is an individual right, said German Muslim scholar Prof Dr
Harry Harun Behr. - Pic by Cynthia Ng
Cynthia Ng, Astro Awani | Updated: July 04, 2014
(First published on: July 04, 2014 09:00 MYT)
KUALA LUMPUR: Religion is a personal thing, so said Prof Dr Harry Harun Behr, a representative of the German Islamic Conference.

Harun reiterated that a person’s can practice his or her individual right and can be differentiated from the rights of his or her religious institutions.

As far back as 30 years ago, Harun noted, discrimination against how a person’s practices religion was apparent.

He related a scenario which took place in a neighbouring country where a student was unceremoniously expelled from school because she wore the 'hijab' to school.

Harun, who was a student at a university, protested to this uncouth action taken upon the pupil on the basis of encroaching her religion freedom.

Today, the scenario has changed. A majority of students from the same country are hijab wearers and if a girl is prosecuted for not wearing the hijab, said Harun, it can be questioned as it is viewed as encroaching into her individual freedom to religion.

In this contemporary setting, he noted, there has been a rise of attentiveness towards religion in the modern society particularly, in the secular states.

In terms of an individual's spiritual identity, such developments may bring about positive effects on the personal identity.

However, said the scholar, the positive effects have inevitably contributed to the downside of the personal religion freedom.

Why, one may ask.       
“This may encourage religious communities to develop their particular political agenda as social pressure groups,” he explained.


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