We’ve all seen it, one of the distinctive catchcries of the bigots, “Ban Islam!”. It’s rife throughout the pages of ‘patriots’. They are religious difference as a threat.
When pressed as to how banning Islam would possibly be implemented, the closest thing to a legible response we have had so far is to ‘change the constitution’.
Well done, that would certainly be the first way about it, but I’m unsure any politician would be willing to put his or her job on the line by raising such a contentious issue. See, if that was taken to a referendum (as currently, banning a religion is unconstitutional) and failed (as it would), that politician would certainly need to step down.
But, let’s assume it DID happen, what would be the result?
Well, Albania tried that before, and it sort of failed. Albania banned all religion. The of August 1945 nationalized most property of religious institutions, including the estates of mosques, monasteries, orders, and dioceses. Many clergy and believers were tried and some were executed. All foreign Roman Catholic priests, monks, and nuns were expelled in 1946.
By May 1967, religious institutions had been forced to relinquish all 2,169 churches, mosques, cloisters, and shrines in Albania, many of which were converted into cultural centers for young people. A lot of clerics were humiliated and executed.
Parents were afraid to pass on their faith, for fear that their children would tell others. Officials tried to entrap practicing Christians and Muslims during religious fasts, such as Lent and Ramadan, by distributing dairy products and other forbidden foods in school and at work, and then publicly denouncing those who refused the food. Those clergy who conducted secret services were incarcerated. The murders of secret clerics by the state continued.
The United Nations Charter (chapter 9, article 55) which declares that religious freedom is an inalienable human right. In 1983, Denmark took the issue to the UN, and Albania had to recognise religious freedom. Initially, Carholicism rebounded quickly, and by 2010, 58.79% of Albanians identified as Islamic, and 16.99% as Christian. Whilst there is still an atheist sect, it isn’t the largest part of the population anymore, if it ever was.
The lesson here is that irreligion cannot be forced, education is key. Religion was still practiced in private during the fascist like years that Albania ruled out religion. The seemingly only way to get people to comply, was murder.
We also saw this in Nazi Germany. The only way to get people to stop practicing a religion was to murder them, en masse. You can’t simply legislate away faith, it doesn’t work.
In saying that, we have seen many of the bigots go as far as to call for the genocide of all Muslims. This is fascism, this is illegal, and goes against all human rights. I don’t care where you sit on the political spectrum, that’s not on.
The key to all of the issues we face at the moment regarding religious terrorism lies with education, social services, and security. Rather than rallying against an entire religion, and in effect sectionalising harmless Muslims, and making them feel outcast (undeniably a reason why many turn to extremism), we need social cohesion, we need to accept eachothers differences and embrace them.
You can legilate against religion, and many have tried, but the issue always becomes apparent – you cannot remove someone’s beliefs.
History has shown us countless times, banning a religion does not work.