Religion is a particular system of faith and belief concerning the cause, nature and the purpose of the universe. There are number of religions in the world with the major religions as Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism. Each religion has different concept of God as well as different lifestyles as guided by their religious leaders. It can be clearly observed that every person has distinctive lifestyle with their own interests, activities, opinions and attitude. Even the way they are carrying themselves in the dresses or their outer appearance also forms the essential part of their lifestyles. While most of the civilized societies have settled down in peace with the tremendous efforts in raising the respect for each religion amongst the residents, creating the essence of brotherhood and humanism, there still exist many areas in the world where intolerable attitudes towards other religions and their lifestyles are found and the conflicts still remain unresolved. From past history to present day, there are so many stories and incidents revealing about the religious wars and their resulting in emotional, physical and economical calamities. If it is seen through the past history, first the war started between Jews and Christians followed by the Christians and Muslims and then later some intolerable Muslim emperors and leaders started discriminating and violating the Hindu beliefs and lifestyles. And in this way throughout history religion has been misunderstood and abused. Majority uses it as a source of power and domination over the other religion people and their beliefs. In fact in the name of the religion number of injustices is done in one way or other and in the cause whole humanity is suffering from the earlier BC period till now. And this violation has been done to such an extent that even the word religion has lost its true meaning which is sign of peace. Truth is that no religion taught this. Every religion spreads the message of peace. Though these conflictions have been diluting with the time but unfortunately it seems to be everlasting and will be always lingering amongst the societies. Always such examples can be traced where there is a conflict on the views, violation in the name of the religion, hatred for others activities even in the present day. And where the extremists do not have any ironic point to fight at they start attacking the minor issues like dress codes.
Dresses give the reflection of their religions. In some cases the dresses they wear is obligatory to wear them. Major religions that have the strict dress codes are Islam, Sikhism, Buddhism and monks. In Islam, it’s obligatory for both men and women to wear the modest dress but women have to wear the clothes that cover almost every part o her body except face, hands and feet (Hijab). Both Sikhs men and women have to cover their heads according to their religious laws. They wear a metal bracelet (Kara) on their wrists as it is their religious identity. Traditional dress of the Jews men includes payos, curled forelocks and shawls. Buddhist nuns and monks wear robes (http://www.factmonster.com/ipka/A0900638.html). And similarly many other existing believers in this world have some sort of traditions and faiths about what they wear. Some part of the world also has such people who do not believe in system of religious clothing. They like to wear whatever they like without any religious pressure.
“As a general rule, the rights to freedom of religion and expression entail, that all people should be free to choose what – and what not – to wear. These rights cannot be restricted simply because some – even a majority – find a form of dress objectionable or offensive.” But the problem exists when the person’s individual choice is curbed due to the facts and merely useless causes. Whatever be the reason for this, it is totally inhumane. Without going beyond hundred years or centuries, past recent years itself gives the evidence of such happenings. The most popular controversial issue has been the matter of Hijab that has reflected huge disagreements between the Muslim beliefs and western societies. Some other examples also dictate the similar stories are discussed below.
Controversy of Hijab in the western countries
Not so far it was the recurrent news in 2004 when France government banned the wearing of Hijab and Burqa in the schools, colleges, work places and even most of the public places. Even some other countries like Spain and Germany also wanted to implicate such laws in their respective countries. After the incidence of 11/11 even America was not behind in restricting the Muslims from openly following their religious beliefs though they claim the reasons for this to be political. In one of the articles it’s stated that If you chose to wear Hijab guaranteed obstacles are going to come your way. There will be a problem in schools and colleges, in the career field. The girls who will be wearing Hijab will not have as many as opportunities as the girls who are without it. (Nadia Fadir, 2009). They suffer great underestimation just because of something that has so modest reason to be followed. Wearing Hijab does not at all mean that women cannot perform better or possess less knowledge. In fact this is something which protects the women from bad part of the society. Why there are such conflictions where innocent are suffering? Is it less than a terrorist attack? It cannot be judged to what extent it is hurting and exploiting the rights of the woman. Definitely Muslims have full right to fight against these unjust laws to be implicated. It is right to defend the girl’s right to wear her religious dressings if she chooses so. On the other hand she should not be forced if she does not want to. That is also unacceptable. As Muslims denounce the violation of their religious freedom similarly they should also tolerate the non-Muslim beliefs and care should be taken that their ways are not unmolested.
Issue of the Sikh turban
While there was a ban on headscarves there was equal opposition on the Sikhs wearing turbans and even the Jews wearing yarmulkes in the western countries. Sikh turbans are facing the difficult times in the western countries though the current immigration status of the Sikhs originated in the period of 1980s when there were many conflicts between Hindus and Sikhs in India (Priyeneha Gohil, 2004). Though time have brought a great change to the Indian province regarding the religious matters, but for a long period of time Sikhs did not have much space in the political world and were assigned for other high official posts in a limited number. Turban was the major reason behind their rights being curbed. They were looked upon by odd eyes as they were not the part of the society. Besides being a citizen of India, they are just found adjusting in the Punjab Territory. India is majorly a Hindu country and Hindus are not accustomed to cover their heads with turban as Sikhs. These rights cannot be restricted simply because some – even a majority – find a form of dress objectionable or offensive.” Their right of wearing turbans should not be violated. They have full right to follow their own ways and lifestyles. They should have an equal access to all the opportunities as an integral part of the community.
Other similar issues
Religion is a way of life. Everyone has an equal right to choose their own lifestyle. Number of people in this world decides not to follow any particular belief and desire for freedom of thought and outward appearance but now on contrary, these sorts of people have also been targeted somewhere by the religious countries or religious people. They are tortured even if they are not harming anybody or interfering in other’s beliefs. They are blamed for spoiling the religious values and thought to be against the existence of God which is not true. Orthodox people forget that God’s first lesson through every religion is humanity. They possess intelligence and participate in the development of the economy as equally as others but yet they are not spared.
Though small, but these significant issues are creating differences amongst the different cultures which are of no worth. It is giving rise to hatred and wars. The main reason for this reason we have made the religions as a cage to keep ourselves confined to that and trying to force others as well to remain within this rather than raising the spirituality levels which takes us to the greater heights. Spirituality will always overstate the similarities while understating the differences. These kinds of restrictions and conflicts are not adding to the glory of any religion or society but rather highlighting their harsh part. These all immoderate acts are the result of the ignorance of the true meaning of the religion and the lack of knowledge and ill-bred nature. These behaviours are anti ethical to religious and moral ethics. Moreover when the God will measure the man he will measure the hearts but not the brains and outward appearance unless it is becoming the reason of causing some deadly sins to prevail.