The new season of the Big Question has started, and I have finally decided to fulfill my old idea of writing a weekly review for this show. This week’s episode was slightly different than the rest in having only one “Big Question” and that question was Should Human Rights Always Outweigh Religious Rights? The answer should be a simple one if we refer to article 9 of 1998 Human Rights Act. We are all humans so we all should have human rights but we are not all religious or even from the same religion, therefore while religion is a big part of many people’s identity, it is the religious rights that might conflict with human rights and not the other way around.
The religious side of the panel started the argument by stating that religious rights are part of the human right and by restricting the religious rights of a sector of society you are infringing on their human rights, which I suppose is true in some way, but as it was mentioned by a member of the audience, religious rights are just a part of the human rights and it cannot overrule human rights of others.
I hate to sound biased but the religious side did not do themselves any favours by constantly contradicting themselves, and looking hypocritical. The Christians were all for wearing crosses in public but against wearing Niqabs in public. Reverend Betty King went as far as praising the French government for imposing a ban on the Niqab in public places. Reverend Lisa Rose was all for a B&B Couple discriminating against unmarried and gay couples but not for M&S Muslim employees to refusal to sell alcohol and pork. The Muslim section were all for wearing Niqabs and segregating seating arrangements between men and women while being against a secular group wearing Jesus and Mo T-shirts. Regarding the B&B couple, the Muslim lady believed that it would be wrong for her to act on her true belief in thinking homosexuality is wrong while next minute she claimed that manifestation of one’s true belief is a human right.
Islam is a strange religion, they cut off your genitals’ head when you enter it, and they cut off your head when you leave it.
Ubayd Zakani, 14th century Persian poet
Rabbi Neil Janes was presented to defend the right of parents to circumcise their male infants. His argument was that children do not have much choice about anything in their lives, and parents do not circumcise their children to cause them harm but to bring them up with their religious and cultural values. I personally view circumcision as an unnecessary act; there is still debate on the benefits of circumcision, however even if circumcision is done for hygienic reason or to reduce the risk of STDs such as HIV, I fail to see why a male child cannot go through with circumcision in his later life when he is old enough to make a decision for himself. It seems to be a very random act, and if it was not for religion I do not believe many people would think of circumcising a child as a good thing. As a circumcised male myself I believe that infant circumcision is an unnecessary act and even though there are not enough studies on the negative effects of infant circumcision, it is better to be stopped as a precaution.