It’s never easy for people belonging to minority groups to express their identity and have the freedom to live accordingly. Often, majority groups feel threatened; their fear and misunderstanding then interferes with earnest dialogue, clouding judgement and eventually leading to exclusion, oppression, stigmatization, etc. Opening any history book on peoples and nations can inform you of a wide variety of catastrophes caused by man’s egocentrism and sense of superiority. Our common understanding of the detrimental impact of such events has stirred the need for constant vigilance, and the international recognition that “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood” (article 1, Universal Declaration of Human Rights). Yet, if I am born free and equal in dignity and rights, then why do the authorities of my country refuse to see me as anything other than a drug user belonging to a harmful sectarian organization? If we are supposed to act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood, why do they mark my religious practice as a threat to public health and cut off all possibilities for earnest and constructive dialogue?… continue reading.