From the Medina Charter to the Magna Carter we have had shared histories that helped us to come to the United Nation’s Declaration of Human Rights.
The Gods of War has been humankind’s albatross long before recorded history. Tens of thousands of years later, humankind continues to violate an individual’s physical integrity and murder each other for material gains of land, power, and riches. It makes one question, “Will we ever learn?”
Six decades of US domestic and international human rights activism, the sirens of bigotry, oppression, and tyranny loom large. The lives of millions, if not billions, and the quality of our global environment is a constantly losing battle. Is there a way to achieve global sanity?
I question why humankind so easily ignores the foundational causes of our collective pain. We see how governments disenfranchise their citizens for business interests, and we see how legislative charlatanry supports voter suppression, environmental tyranny, miseducation and racial strife. Of course the preferred solution is always tyrannical police methods or military-intervention where innocents are often caught in the middle of political power struggles. Religious zealots ignore Constitutional rights, White Supremacists support anarchy, and the news media promotes non-stop race baiting. We are led to believe life in the West is better than other lands.
Yet, in foreign lands, a mirror image is replete with ongoing religious, political, and race-based hegemony. Sadly, at this time, the majority is carried out by Muslim jihadist, but we cannot pretend that our past and present show Christian, Buddhist, Jewish and White Supremacist groups are not in lock-step beating the drums of war and killing indiscriminately. Is the world so blind to the offenses to human life we prefer to deny the truth before us? Can we not acknowledge that our world is full of hatred for “the other”? How many more atrocities based on “might-equals-right” thinking will lead to an inevitable annihilation of humankind?
In my role as an inclusive Muslim religious leader, I ponder whether or not our world has the capacity to respect humanism, and accept that religion cannot supersede the rights of people to self-autonomy, and the actions of humankind leaves that point of view in question. Why does it appear that large swaths of the world population still struggle with multicultural and multifaith diversity?
Whether one is a Westerner or an Easterner, re-learning the lessons of our earliest of governmental constitutions, like the Medina Treaty, which established the moral understanding, guarantees the rights of all members of a community, is essential. Or the Magna Carte where individual rights supersedes the rights of royalty and the rich. Today, we must turn to the principals of the UN’s Declaration of Human Rights to build the global standard, where human spiritual and ethical qualities are respected, despite our changing times—it is the only path to a peaceful future.
Multicultural and multifaith societies are more balanced and well-rounded, respecting belief or lack thereof, but more importantly holds secular rights as the standard of our world today. An inclusive secular global society respects a person’s gender, sexuality, age, ability, ethnicity, language, economic status, their religious affiliation or non-affiliation, and does not prevent full access and complete participation in the global multicultural and multifaith community. The only limitation is preventing harms detrimental to humanitarian standards for self-determination and personal safety from oppression and tyranny.
MECCA Institute, seeks to build multifaith and multicultural communities, where its religious and non-religious members obtain a much needed progressive education and understand the progressive roots of the Abrahamic faiths, to effect change in our communities on a global scale. Saloonaat, our research wing, and our school will produce strong scholars for the Association of Inclusive Mosques, which is a nonprofit organization whose soul mission is to place progressively educated leaders in the multicultural, multifaith community. Join MECCA Institute in bringing these communities to fruition.
Daayiee Abdullah is the Executive Director of MECCA Institute, a progressive Islamic institute with a think tank and a school.