Who could have imagined that in the 21st century, freedom of religion would become one of the central issues in world politics? Of course it has been for a long time, for example, for Jews historically facing persecution everywhere, for Christians in their early days, for Jews & Muslims in the former Soviet Union, for Palestinians under Zionist occupation, for Kashmiris under Indian occupation, for Rohingya disenfranchised for several decades, & for many others. But these seldom made banner headlines & were mostly followed by human rights activists, if at all. The struggle for religious freedom was preempted by the ubiquitous & brutal nature of ethnic oppression although religious & ethnic oppression are most often completely integrated.

The struggle for religious freedom presents a threat to the current rightwing thrust of political regimes since Jewish or Muslim or Buddhist or Hindu or Christian-only states are a direct threat to democracy, not to mention immigration & refugee rights. It’s a more complex matter than most of us have always understood & needs to be analyzed fully to understand its relations with ethnic oppression. It’s a hard way to learn things & the only worthy thing derived from the immense suffering of so many but we must oppose religious persecution whatever our level of understanding. Human beings have to right to their religious & political beliefs & to practice them if they do not involve the oppression of others.