I am Secular!

Muawad Mustafa Rashid

The principles of secularism that protect and underpin many of the freedoms we enjoy are:

  1. Separation of religious institutions from state institutions and a public sphere where religion may participate, but not dominate.
  2. Freedom to practice one’s faith or belief without harming others, or to change it or not have one, according to one’s conscience.
  3. Equality so that our religious beliefs or lack of them doesn’t put any of us at an advantage or a disadvantage.
    Secularism raises core questions in all of the humanities, about how we balance freedom of, and from, religion with other rights.

Separation of Religion from State

The separation of religion and state is the foundation of secularism. It ensures religious groups don’t interfere in affairs of the state, and the state doesn’t interfere in religious affairs.

Secularism Protects both Believers and Non-believers

Secularism seeks to ensure and protect freedom of religious belief and practice for all citizens. Secularists want freedoms of thought and conscience to apply equally to all – believers and non-believers alike. They do not wish to curtail religious freedoms.

Religious Freedom

Secularism seeks to defend the absolute freedom of religion and other beliefs, and protect the right to manifest religious belief insofar as it does not impinge on the rights and freedoms of others. Secularism ensures that the right of individuals to freedom of religion is always balanced by the right to be free from religion.

Secularism Is about Democracy and Fairness

In a secular democracy, all citizens are equal before the law and parliament. No religious or political affiliation gives advantages or disadvantages and religious believers are citizens with the same rights and obligations as anyone else.

Secularism champions universal human rights above religious demands. It upholds equality laws that protect women, LGBT people, and minorities from religious discrimination. These equality laws ensure that non-believers have the same rights as those who identify with a religious or philosophical belief.

Equal Access to Public Services

We all share hospitals, schools, the police, and the services of local authorities. These public services must be secular at the point of use, so no one is disadvantaged or denied access on grounds of religious belief (or non-belief). All state-funded schools should be non-religious, with children being educated together regardless of their parents’ religion. When a public body grants a contract for the provision of services to an organization affiliated with a particular religion or belief, such services must be delivered neutrally, with no attempt to promote the ideas of that faith group.

Secularism Is Not Atheism

Atheism is a lack of belief in gods. Secularism simply provides a framework for a democratic society. Atheists have an obvious interest in supporting secularism, but secularism itself does not seek to challenge the tenets of any particular religion or belief, neither does it seek to impose atheism on anyone.

Secularism is simply a framework for ensuring equality throughout society – in politics, education, the law, and elsewhere – for believers and non-believers alike.

Secularism Protects Free Speech and Expression

Religious people have the right to express their beliefs publicly but so do those who oppose or question those beliefs. Religious beliefs, ideas, and organizations must not enjoy privileged protection from the right to freedom of expression. In a democracy, all ideas and beliefs must be open to discussion. Individuals have rights; ideas do not.

Secularism Is the Best Chance We Have to Create a Society in Which People of All Religions or None Can Live Together Fairly and Peacefully.

Contrary to those who describe secularism as atheism, secularism originated in the seventeenth century AD as a solution for those suffering from religious persecution in Europe.

Secularism does not mean atheism as many people think, but the neutrality of the state so that everyone enjoys the freedom of religion, belief thought, etc.

Secularism does not antagonize religions but protects religions and the freedom of the people to choose. They were safe in their lives, their freedom, and their possessions.

However, secularism does not allow religions to interfere in the work of the State apparatus so that it does not favor a religion at the expense of another. Those who associate secularism with communism are ignorant, they do not know secularism, they do not know communism, and some know but deliberately confuse the two to achieve personal goals.

We need to constantly raise awareness and remove the widespread misunderstanding of (secularism) in the minds of many that it is atheism or it promotes atheism, or force people to leave or change their religions and ideas or spread the disintegration and decay in society as promoted by some, either misunderstanding or a misunderstanding to deceive people and forced to embrace their ideas and advocate their orientations and parties!

There are secular Muslims, secular Jewish, secular Christian, and non-religious.

The faith of the secular may be better than the faith of those who classify his as infidelity because infidelity is a divine affair that only Allah the Almighty knows.

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