” Are you fasting?” eavesdropped the fellow Fellow sitting on my right side at the Melikian Center.
“No,” I replied.
“Why not?” he inquired in what appeared as the inception of a “moral policing” session.
” I am not a ‘believer’,” I added.
” So you don’t believe in God?” he went on.
“No,” I remarked.
“98.99% of the world believes in God,” he insisted as if my “conversion” was the greatest need of the hour.
“But I don’t,” I quipped.
Silence. Silence. Silence.
” America is a place where people from all over the world come to start a new life,” he said, ” many people want to bury their past and start the hunt for a new and different life.”
I woefully realized that I had not been so lucky. The religious ‘big brothers’ keep chasing me everywhere I go to. With thousands of people having been killed so far in my country in the battle between “good Muslims” and “bad Muslims”, I truly wanted people around me during the Humphrey year to judge me, as Dr. Martin Luther King Junior said, by the contents of my character rather than the religious belief.
I am not opposed to religions or religious practices. What I resent is a forceful imposition of one’s religious views on the others.
I am ecstatic that we pondered over the issue of personal space and privacy in today’s class. We need to realize that religion is a purely personal and private matter, a territory that no one else should be permitted to enter.
While America (not all of it, of course), as aruged by Peter Beinart in the Daily Beast, has disgraced itself over the Ground Zero mosque vendetta, I wonder what is going to happen to the rights of those who do not believe in any religion at all! Do people necessarily or unnecessarily have to be (religious) ‘believers’ to have some rights in a state?
If that is the case, I’d prefer to retain my right to ‘freedom of belief and experssion’ over any other basic human rights.