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Islam and Sectarianism ( 15 Jun 2020, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Humanity Is Sodden with Discrimination: Want to Discriminate? Ask God First! -Part-I

By Syed Shahabuddin

June 15, 2020

“If me [sic] being gay was a choice, it was a choice that was made far, far above my pay grade,” Buttigieg said. “And that’s the thing I wish Mike Pence’s of the world would understand. That if you got a problem with who I am, your problem is not with me — your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.” This was the response to Mike Pence, Vice President of the United States, by the ex-Democratic presidential candidate, Pete Buttigieg.

This was the best response I have been looking for as to why people should not discriminate. No human being is perfect; everyone has moral and ethical flaws. However, physical, religious, cultural, race, ethnicity, origin, and gender are not flaws because no one except God chooses them. Therefore, anyone who discriminates based on these characteristics should question (ask) God.

People discriminate on many bases. Therefore, societies, races, and countries are in turmoil because they use God-given characteristics to blame other people for no fault of theirs. The reason a person is white, brown, or black is that he or she was born that way. That person had no choice. Therefore, if anyone has a problem with whiteness, brownness, blackness, or any other human features and characteristics of human beings, they should ask God why He created people (discriminators) so stupid as not to know who creates people. Their quarrel should be with God, the creator, for creating them (discriminators) stupid.

People discriminate on any basis, but religion is the most common cause of discrimination and conflict. The choice of a religion is not the fault of a person born into a specific religious family. It was not a choice; God created that person assigned to a family. Since many conflicts and destruction of countries are the result of religion, one needs to understand different religions and sects within a particular religion. In sociology, a sect is a name given to a group of people who break away from a larger, established religious denomination or movement because of a set of beliefs that differ in some fundamental ways. While many views and practices of a sect will overlap with those of the larger group, other beliefs will be distinct enough to warrant a schism or division between the groups.

Catholicism is an example of a denomination of the Christian religion. It shares some overarching beliefs with other Christian denominations but has its own beliefs, traditions, and rituals as well. An example of a sect within Catholicism is the Community of the Lady of All Peoples, also known as the Army of Mary. This group’s beliefs depart from the official doctrine of the church. states that “Today, sects are still prominent. One of the most well known is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, more commonly referred to as Mormons. The Mormon sect eventually evolved into its own denomination of Christianity and continues to increase in followers.” Sects are often subsets of religions due to their members’ perceived need for reform. As the sect grows, it becomes more established, builds a congregation, and becomes more accepted into the mainstream. At that point, it becomes a denomination.

While sects are often used to describe extreme religious views, many sects are peaceful and differ with the larger denomination over some particular issues. As time passes, many become accepted as mainstream denominations. Christianity has the largest number of sects. In the past, Christians associated sects with heresy and blasphemous beliefs, but in recent years, sects have become more respected for their beliefs. A Christian sect is recognized as separate from the core religion over certain beliefs and practices.

Within the Catholic Church, many sects operate separately but still consider themselves Catholic:

* The community of the Lady of All Nations: Founded in 1971, this sect believes that its founder, Marie PauleGiguere, is the reincarnation of the Virgin Mary. This differs from the Catholic belief that reincarnation is not possible and that Mary was ascended to heaven.

* Palmarian Catholic Church: The Palmarian Catholic Church does not recognize the current papacy as valid and infallible, splitting with the Roman Catholic Church. They have not recognized the authority of the Pope since the death of Pope Paul VI in 1978.

Besides sects in the Catholic Church, there are many other sects in Christianity. Each one has a common belief with variation making them a separate sect. They are Protestantism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Anglicanism, Oriental Orthodoxy, Non-Trinitarian Restorationism, and miscellaneous branches.

Islam also has some religious sects; each one follows Islam’s traditional teachings with some variation. There are two (the third, Ahmadi was declared non-Muslim by the Pakistan government) main core groups, but each one has several sub-sects as well:

* Sunni Islam: This is the largest Muslim sect, and differs from other groups in that they do not believe the Prophet Muhammad’s appointed a successor.

* Shia Islam: Members of this group believe that Muhammad did appoint a successor, in stark contrast to the Sunnis.

* Ahmadi: Like Mormonism, this was originally a splinter group. However, it mainly exists in Pakistan, where it has now been declared non-Muslim under the law.

Everyone knows that to judge is wrong. Whether it is racism or just plain discrimination, it is an act of wrongdoing. Yet people are blinded by religion or other biases, and they often use it to discriminate.

The history of humanity is sodden with discrimination. It takes different forms and shapes, and modern society is not an exception. It dominates cultural history and has influenced many social, cultural, and economic occurrences that we see today. Religion is often used as a common excuse for discrimination. As a result, in the United States discrimination takes many forms:

1. Religiously-affiliated schools firing women because they become pregnant while not married;

2. Business owners refusing to provide insurance coverage for contraception for their employees;

3. Social workers refusing to counsel gay people;

4. Pharmacies turning away women seeking to fill birth control prescriptions; and

5. Bridal salons, photo studios, and reception halls closing their doors to same-sex couples.

Worst yet, people are killed or attacked because of their religion or lack thereof. This is a very common way for one group to show their disdain for other religions, whether by an average person killing another human or a nation attacking another nation because of religion. Some people in Western countries attack Muslims and Jewish citizens and many Western countries, e.g., the US, attack or encourage other nations to support removing leadership in Muslim countries because of their lack of cooperation with the Western countries. Unfortunately, nothing can be done to protect Muslim or Jewish citizens in Western countries or prevent Western countries from attacking Muslim countries to change their leadership.

Syed Shahabuddin is Ph.D. (USA), Professor Emeritus (USA)

Original Headline: Want to discriminate? ask God first! (Part-I)

Source: The Daily Times, Pakistan


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