The first news of the ban on possession and consumption of beef in Maharashtra caused such an uproar in the community of liberals that it could make it to the Textbook on Internet Reactions if there was one. Not that it was unjustified.
But it looks like this one isn’t the only country that prohibits one from eating a certain kind of thing. There are countries – some of them our neighbours–where eating anything during the fasting hours in Ramzan is against the law.
In fact, not too long ago, an elderly Hindu man was thrashed for eating during the Roza in Pakistan.
A group of people which calls itself the Council of Ex-Muslims in Britain organised an ‘eating’ protest in London today to defy fasting rules during the ongoing month of Ramzan.The protest,which was headed by Iranian human rights activist, Maryam Namazie, witnessed scores of ‘Ex-Muslims’ eating outside the Bangladeshi, Egyptian, Iranian, Moroccan, Pakistani and Saudi embassies during Ramzan hours.
“We want this action to be in support of all those who are being jailed, intimidated, harassed for publicly eating during Ramadan (Ramzan), for not following Islamic customs. Unfortunately, many of the Islamic countries impose their laws and people are harassed and jailed for just smoking or drinking on a day of Ramadan. Also, we are organising a campaign on social media to post pictures eating during Ramadan.” said Imad Iddine Habib of the Council.
As Namazie mentioned in one of her articles, this year already, ISIS has caged, flogged and crucified three men found eating and drinking during the fasting period.
In Bogor, Indonesia, 13 men found eating were hauled to the police station and made to do push-ups as punishment.
In Iran, transgressing fasting rules in public is punishable by fines, imprisonment and flogging; police crackdowns take place every year.
If one comes to think of it, these incidents are as unjustified, horrifying and motivated by regressive ideals as, say, the Dadri lynching.
This protest strikes a direct chord with everyone living with religious identities created and enforced by fearmongers. The choice is more suitably replaced by habit.
May the liberal souls rest in peace? No, says the Council of Ex-Muslims.
What caused them to dissociate from their Muslim identities, would be a matter of introspection for the religious extremists.
Because every religion is great, as long as it contains no clause of compulsion.
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