Misuse of religion for self-interest
December 07 2021 · 4 min read
There are more than 4000 religions in the world that serve the purpose of comforting people spiritually, emotionally, physically, and socially by bringing law and order into the lives of their believers.
Although no religion promotes violence, yet certain groups having evil designs and self-interests misuse religion, forgetting its essence and deteriorating global peace and harmony. Some examples of misuse of religion for self-interests are suppression of freedom, marginalization of the minorities, infringement of women’s rights, misuse of religion to control the minds of people for political benefits, and discrimination among people. It is noteworthy that misuse of religion and not the religion itself brings destruction to society.
Marginalization of minorities:
Minorities in many states have been marginalized. Such instances are found in the countries like Pakistan, India, and Occupied Kashmir. In Pakistan, despite law and Islam which teach us to treat minorities well, there are many cases observed in which minorities are maltreated in the name of Islam. Christians are considered untouchables and there are disrespected. Even the jobs titles associated with them like sweepers show how there’re maltreated.
Similarly, Muslims in India and Occupied Kashmir are marginalized. India violates their basic human rights. This maltreatment in name of religion is leading the society towards chaos.
Suppression of freedom':
Many Muslims are suppressed and deprived of their freedom to express and practice their religious beliefs. Article 9 of Human Rights grants the: “ Freedom of thought, belief, and religion”. India suppresses this freedom right in Occupied Kashmir and in Indian Muslims. Indian Muslims are not allowed to practice Islam freely. One such example is the Islamic occasion of Eid-Ul-Azha where Muslims sacrifice animals. India doesn’t allow Muslims to sacrifice cows on this occasion which leads to many conflicts and even murders. Hindus misuse their religious identity to harm other society members. Similarly, India imposed a curfew on Kashmir and launched a genocide against Kashmiris on the ground of their identity being Muslims. This is resulting in the destruction of society.
Infringement of women’s rights:
Maltreatment of women is yet another important case of misuse of religion in Pakistan. Islam provides dignity and freedom to women but the followers of Islam do not give due rights to women. The patriarchal society of Pakistan has made the stereotypes like fragile nature of women, sacred duties of woman as a daughter, sister, mother, and a wife, but no one talks about the rights of women. Religion is misused to prevent women from getting an education, choosing a spouse for them, deprivation of inheritance, etc. Moreover, child marriages are very common in the KPK province of Pakistan and people are misusing Islam for it. Due to child marriage, many young girls die while giving birth to the child. Many women are killed under the tag of “honor killing”.
But Islam itself does not promote such teachings which maltreat women. Society misuses Islam for the maltreatment of women which, as a consequence creates misconceptions about Islam throughout the world.
Discrimination through caste system in India:
Hindu class system has the above setup:
This caste system gives perks of enjoying greater favors and opportunities in the society to the upper class than it provides opportunities to the lower caste members. This religious discrimination acts as an obstacle to economic stability. Due to this system, many criminals are born. Inhuman practices are done due to this caste system which leads society to chaos.
Misuse of religion for political benefits:
Religion is used to control the minds of people for political agendas. For example, the Indian government uses hatred against Muslims to achieve political benefits by entertaining people. India’s current Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, leader of the BJP party, promotes the ideology of “Islamophobia”. BJP is founded on “Hindutva ideology” which believes that Muslims and other alien parties can be a threat to Hindus so they work only for the welfare of Hindus. This Hindu-centered ideology focused on the prosperity of Hindus only results in the marginalization of other minorities living in India but also results in social injustices. Thus BJP party led by the Prime Minister of India is an example of extremists Which is the reason for the maltreatment of minorities in India especially Muslims.
Sectarianism in Pakistan:
Sectarianism in Pakistan is very much prevalent the sectarian conflicts are catalyzed when the law is patronized by religious groups and parties. The lack of democratic ideals and promotion leads people to misuse religion in order to attain political benefits. While this leads to extremism, sectarianism allows bringing disruption in the law and order and peace in the country. The political views of Islam help non-Muslims in Pakistan militate against Pakistan. The Islamization process during the regime of General Zia-ul-Haqseemed to be biased for the Sunni sect which was intolerable for other sects of Pakistan. Apart from state-level sectarianism, the locals also misuse it to get benefits by putting people into disputes.
So, the government of Pakistan should adopt liberal thoughts to give equal opportunities to every single person so that sectarianism may not bring any more suffering to Pakistan.
Hence, different states misuse religion in order to attain self-interests which leads to the disruption of harmony in the world. This could be cured by the use of media in teaching people the essence of their religion so that they could use their religious beliefs in order to maintain harmony in the world.