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In which the rights of God are assured

The “soft-spoken Islamic scholar” Rachid Ghannouchi has nice plans for Tunisia, he tells us.

“We will continue this revolution to realize its aims of a Tunisia that is free, independent, developing and prosperous in which the rights of God, the Prophet, women, men, the religious and the non-religious are assured because Tunisia is for everyone,” Ghannouchi told a crowd of cheering supporters.

He might as well say “We will continue this revolution to realize its aims of a Tunisia that will square the circle.” If the rights of God and the Prophet as understood by clerics and “Islamic scholars” are assured then the rights of women and the non-religious can’t be assured; it’s an impossibility.

It’s blood-chilling that a political leader thinks he knows what “the rights of God” and “the rights of the Prophet” are, and that they have to be assured, and that they get top billing. It’s not surprising, of course, because that’s what Islamists do think, but it’s blood-chilling.

The prophet is dead. He’s been dead for 14 centuries. What “rights” can he have?

“God” is hidden and secretive and mysterious and indistinguishable from not there at all. What “rights” can it have?

How can the cryptic spooky incomprehensible “rights” of a long-dead guy and a posited supernatural agent come ahead of the rights of living people?

Those are general questions. More particular questions would ask how the “rights” of the god and the prophet can co-exist with the rights of women, such as the right to choose whether or not to marry and whom to marry; the right to be equal before the law; the right to education; the right not to be stoned to death for being raped; and similar items. They would ask how the “rights” of the god and the prophet can co-exist with the rights of the religious to stop being religious. They would ask how the “rights” of the god and the prophet can co-exist with the rights of the non-religious to point out that to all appearances the god in question doesn’t exist.

H/t to Fin in comments for the quotation from Ghannouchi.
 

 

Comments

  1. Andrew B. says

    I assume the individual meant that God and the prophets have the right not to be slandered or libeled. If such parties feel that their reputation has been damaged in anyway, they can consult with their lawyer and file a civil suit against the offending party. However, no legitimacy can be given to anyone that takes offense (and action) on their behalf.

  2. says

    You mean you assume he meant that and no more? That would be way too much to assume! I’m assuming he meant something much more like “the rights of god and the prophet to have everyone do what they say are assured.” Basically the same old “nothing is permitted that is not compatible with sharia.” See the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam.

  3. Andrew B. says

    Yes, I should have written that wasn’t an exhaustive list. I was struggling to think of an example of rights, because as you said, what rights could dead people and reclusive supernatural beings actually possess?

  4. says

    It’s a hopeful sign that he at least mentions “the non-religious,” as Obama deigned to do in his inaugural speech. But, as you say, the rights of human beings are incommensurate with the “rights” of the imaginary Father-Creator of the Universe. The two cannot conceivably be reconciled, and it’s astonishing that Ghannouchi does not recognize this.

  5. Fin says

    The western reaction to these revolutions has been worrying me for some time. In particular, the assumption that things will get better in these nations. So far, there has been little to allow me to be optimistic. Whether it’s the lynching of black Libyan civilians by the rebels, or the rise of Islamist factions in Egypt and Tunisia.(1)

    Tunisia currently, as far as I understand, has a majority in favour of secularism, but with Ennahda-supporting bloggers celebrating the victory of “democratic Islam over tyrannical secularism”, there is significant cause for worry.(2)

    I think it is a reflection of debates happening in other nations like France and Britain, where the religious have deliberately conflated secularism with atheism, in order to make it unpalatable to their audience. In addition, they talk about it as a tyrannical, enforced atheism, in order to make it unpalatable to those not necessarily religious, but who are in favour of freedom. These two tactics are both being employed by Ennahda supporters explicitly, and at least implicitly by Ghannouchi himself.

    It worries me quite a bit, because a moment’s reflection should be enough for anyone to realise, especially if they are religious, that a lack of secularism is extremely dangerous. What happens when you still believe, but you believe something slightly different to the Official Religion? Uh oh.

    1. http://humanrightsinvestigations.org/2011/07/07/libya-ethnic-cleansing/
    2. http://globalvoicesonline.org/2011/04/17/tunisia-bloggers-debate-secularism/

  6. Roger says

    “the rights of god and the prophet to have everyone do what they say are assured.”
    As god knew what everyone would do before he made the universe- or so muslims say- and must have meant them to do it- or he wouldn;t have made them like that- it is impossible for people not to do what god wants and so impossible not to assure the rights of god or not to do what god says.

  7. Tony says

    >I assume the individual meant that God and the prophets have the right not to be slandered or libeled. <

    I haven't had a religious discussion in a year or two (which is probably a good thing sometimes, since I'm a bartender), so I haven't had the chance to ask a believer, but I've long been curious exactly *WHY* god would get *offended* by anything. Saying "GD" is supposed to be offensive to god? What, does it hurt his feelings or something? You'd think someone as "perfect" as a deity would be above hurt feelings.

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