Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Freedom To Learn

I read with interest how the French censorship authority blocked the importation of Qurans into the country. It was unclear which part(s) of the contents of the holy book deemed offensive, but subsequent to public outcry against the censorship authority, it was later revealed that those impounded Qurans were only temporarily withheld for the purpose of stamping the words "For Muslims Only" on each of them.

It is possible that some of the Christians in France might be curious people, falling victims to their natural instinct of wanting to learn more about something they don't know much about. And of course it is entirely possible that upon reading the holy Quran, they may immediately fall in love with Islam. I can only make a wild guess that the French government, and the Christian folks in particular were worried that they may lose some of their followers; thus by stamping "For Muslims Only" on the Qurans, they had hoped that that would prevent the Christians from obeying their natural instinct to learn [more about Islam].

I see such maneuver as a very subtle means by the authority of denying the freedom of the Christians from learning more about Islam, some of whom might decide favourably for the religion.

But even with the "For Muslims Only", I wonder what actions could the authority take when a Christian decides to ignore those words, and then read the contents of the Quran anyway? I can only imagine that it is practically impossible to keep an eye on every single Christian in the country to ensure that they obey the "For Muslims Only" stamp. After all there is supposed to be no compulsion in religion. So one has to wonder why bother with the stamp at all? In fact, such an act may even reflect negatively on the country trying too hard to control the freedom of its people to learn.


Cornelius said...

Oops! I beg your pardon! I’ve been having late nights, and perhaps because of lack of sleep, I’m getting a bit mixed up with what I read in the media. So please let me make the corrections here.

The country is Malaysia, not France. The impounded books were the Bibles, not the Qurans; and the stamp was “For Christians Only”, not “For Muslims Only”. [The Star]

Sorry about the mix up. Oh! I really need the sleep! G’night folks.

Anonymous said...

Hahaha!!! I was so ready to make a comment about France! Haha..

The same holds true, like you said. If they put a stamp on it, will it stop anyone? What happened to freedom of religion?

Considering it is Malaysia, and in Malaysia it is illegal to convert from Islam or apostate all together, I guess they have some authority on this and they want to flex that authority.

Cornelius said...

That's human nature, Sarah. When people have the power over others, it is not always easy to do things in a fair manner. To them, they have been very fair to the other party. But when the situation is reversed, then maybe they would feel differently?

Anonymous said...

yea, it's ridiculous