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Religious segregation is the separation of people according to their religion. The term has been applied to cases of religious-based segregation which occurs as a social phenomenon, as well as segregation which arises from laws, whether they are explicit or implicit.
The debate over the ban on non-Hindus entering Hindu temples began around 30 years ago when singer Yesudas, who planned to take part in a music programme, was stopped at the Guruvayur Temple gate. He finally had to sing bhajans outside the temple wall. Though several temples in Kerala have signs saying non-Hindus are barred entry, few of them enforce it as strictly as Guruvayur Temple, which insists on following its distinct traditions. 'Only Orthodox Hindus are allowed’, reads a signboard hanging from the Lion's Gate of the Sri Jagannath Temple in Puri. The issue has triggered many a controversy in the past and continues to arouse strong feelings even today.
In the past a number of dignitaries, including former prime minister Indira Gandhi, had not been allowed to enter the 12th century shrine; she was married to a Parsi, Feroze Gandhi. In 2005, Princess Mahachakri Sirindhorn of Thailand was not allowed inside the temple as she is a Buddhist.
In 2006, the shrine did not allow a citizen of Switzerland named Elizabeth Jigler, who had donated 17.8 million Indian rupees to the temple, because she is a Christian. Kashi Vishvanath Varanasi in Varanasi, the temple stands on the western bank of the holy river Ganga, and is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas, the holiest of Shiva temples. The most famous of the many temples in Varanasi is the one dedicated to Vishveswara—Shiva as Lord of the Universe. Non-Hindus are not allowed inside the temple, although this is not always enforced. On the northern side of Vishwanath Temple is the Gyan Kupor Well. Non-Hindus are also strictly forbidden entry here.
Shi'a Islam has been the state religion of Iran since the Iranian Revolution in 1979. While Judaism, Christianity, and Zoroastrianism are officially recognized and legally protected religious minorities, they are not allowed to evangelize or allow Muslim Iranians to convert to their faiths. The U.S. State Department has claimed that religious minorities have been subject to harassment and religious persecution.
Other religious minorities, such as those of the Baháʼí Faith, are not recognized by the government and thus do not have any legal protections nor the constitutional right to practice their religion. The Muslim Network for Baháʼí Rights has reported cases of Baháʼí students being expelled from university due to their religion. According to the Times Higher Education, Baháʼí educators are required to renounce their faith in order to teach in Iranian universities. Due to its heterodox beliefs, the Baháʼí faith is officially considered a heretical movement because of the Baháʼí belief that Bahá'u'lláh is a divinely ordained prophet in contradiction of the Qur'an, which asserts that Muhammad is the last and final messenger sent to mankind.
In 2015, Malaysian human rights activist Shafiqah Othman Hamzah noted that the practice of apartheid policies against different religions in Malaysia is institutionalised and widespread, adding that "What we are living in Malaysia is almost no different from apartheid."
The 2012 Rakhine State riots are a series of ongoing conflicts between Rohingya Muslims and ethnic Rakhine in northern Rakhine State, Myanmar. The riots broke out after weeks of sectarian disputes and they have been condemned by most people on both sides of the conflict. The immediate cause of the riots is unclear, with many commentators citing the killing of ten Burmese Muslims by ethnic Rakhine after the gang rape and murder of a Rakhine woman as the main cause.
Whole villages have been "decimated". Over three hundred houses and a number of public buildings have been razed. According to Tun Khin, the President of the Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK (BROUK), as of 28 June 650 Rohingyas have been killed, 1,200 are missing, and more than 80,000 have been displaced. According to the Myanmar authorities, the violence, between ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims, left 78 people dead, 87 injured, and thousands of homes destroyed. It also displaced more than 52,000 people.
The government has responded by imposing curfews and by deploying troops in the region. On 10 June 2012, a state of emergency was declared in Rakhine, allowing the military to participate in the administration of the region. The Burmese army and police have been accused of targeting Rohingya Muslims through mass arrests and arbitrary violence. A number of monks' organisations that played a vital role in Burma's struggle for democracy have taken measures to block any humanitarian assistance to the Rohingya community. In July 2012, the Myanmar Government did not include the Rohingya minority group–-classified as stateless Bengali Muslims from Bangladesh.Myanmar immigration law was amended in 1982 declared 135 indigenous ethnic races of Myanmar without the Rohingya and therefore they are not granted the indigenous rights and only small part of the people can claim Myanmar citizenship per the law.
According to Amnesty International, the Muslim Rohingya people have continued to suffer from human rights violations under the Burmese junta since 1978, and many have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh as a result.
As of 2005, the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) had been assisting with the repatriation of Rohingya from Bangladesh, but allegations of human rights abuses in the refugee camps have threatened this effort.
Despite earlier efforts by the UN, the vast majority of Rohingya refugees have remained in Bangladesh, unable to return because of the regime in Myanmar. Now they face problems in Bangladesh where they do not receive support from the government. In February 2009, many Rohingya refugees were helped by Acehnese sailors in the Strait of Malacca, after 21 days at sea.[failed verification]
Over the years thousands of Rohingya also have fled to Thailand. There are roughly 111,000 refugees housed in nine camps along the Thai-Myanmar border. There have been charges that groups of them have been shipped and towed out to open sea from Thailand, and left there. In February 2009, there was evidence of the Thai army towing a boatload of 190 Rohingya refugees out to sea. A group of refugees rescued by Indonesian authorities also in February 2009 told harrowing stories of being captured and beaten by the Thai military, and then abandoned at open sea. By the end of February, there were reports that of a group of five boats were towed out to open sea, of which four boats sank in a storm, and one washed up on the shore. On 12 February 2009 Thailand's prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said there were "some instances" in which Rohingya people were pushed out to sea.
"There are attempts, I think, to let these people drift to other shores. [...] when these practices do occur, it is done on the understanding that there is enough food and water supplied. [...] It's not clear whose work it is [...] but if I have the evidence who exactly did this I will bring them to account."
On the banks of the Bagmati River in Kathmandu, Nepal is a Pashupatinath Temple dedicated to Pashupatinath. This temple complex which is on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites's list since 1979 was erected anew in the 15th century by King kirat Yalamber.
Entry into the inner courtyard is strictly monitored by the temple security, which is selective of who is allowed inside. Only practicing Hindus and Buddhists of Indian and Tibetan descendant are allowed into temple courtyard. Practicing Hindus and Buddhists of other than Nepali, Indian, Tibetan descent are not allowed into the temple complex along with other non Hindu visitors. Others can look at the main temple from adjacent side of the river.
In Northern Ireland religious segregation has been a phenomenon which increased in many areas, particularly in the capital city of Belfast and Derry. This trend increased since the Troubles, a protracted series of conflicts and tensions between Roman Catholics and Protestants from the late 1960s to the late 2000s. Segregation does not occur everywhere. State schools are non-denominational, but many Roman Catholics send their children to Roman Catholic Maintained Schools.
In government housing, most people will choose to be housed within their own communities. This form of segregation is most common among lower income people who live in larger towns and cities, and areas where there have been heightened levels of violence.
In 2012 Foreign Policy reported:
The number of "peacewalls," physical barriers separating Catholic and Protestant communities, has increased sharply since the first ceasefires in 1994. Most people in the region cannot envisage the barriers being removed, according to a recent survey conducted by the University of Ulster. In housing and education, Northern Ireland remains one of the most segregated tracts of land anywhere on the planet—less than one in 10 children attends a school that is integrated between Catholics and Protestant. This figure has remained stubbornly low despite the cessation of violence.
Pakistan was created through the partition of India on the basis of religious segregation, as demanded by the pro-separatist Muhammad Ali Jinnah and the All India Muslim League, though not without significant opposition.
In the colonial Indian province of Sind, the historian Ayesha Jalal describes the actions that the pro-separatist Muslim League used in order to spread communal division and undermine the government of Allah Bakhsh Soomro, which stood for a united India:
Even before the 'Pakistan' demand was articulated, the dispute over the Sukkur Manzilgah had been fabricated by provincial Leaguers to unsettle Allah Bakhsh Soomro's ministry which was dependent on support from the Congress and Independent Party. Intended as a way station for Mughal troops on the move, the Manzilgah included a small mosque which had been subsequently abandoned. On a small island in the near distance was the temple of Saad Bela, sacred space for the large number of Hindus settled on the banks of the Indus at Sukkur. The symbolic convergence of the identity and sovereignty over a forgotten mosque provided ammunition for those seeking office at the provincial level. Making an issue out of a non-issue, the Sind Muslim League in early June 1939 formally reclaimed the mosque. Once its deadline of 1 October 1939 for the restoration of the mosque to Muslims had passed, the League started an agitation.
In the few years before the partition, the Muslim League "monetarily subsidized" mobs that engaged in communal violence against Hindus and Sikhs in the areas of Multan, Rawalpindi, Campbellpur, Jhelum and Sargodha, as well as in the Hazara District. The Muslim League paid assassins money for every Hindu and Sikh they murdered. As such, leaders of the pro-separatist Muslim League, including Muhammad Ali Jinnah, issued no condemnation of the violence against Hindus and Sikhs in the Punjab.
Amid a terrible slaughter in which all main communities were both aggressors and victims, somewhere between half a million and a million people were killed. Tens of thousands of women were abducted, usually by men of a different religion. In Punjab in particular, where Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs had lived together for generations and spoke the same language, a stark segregation was brought about as Muslims headed west to Pakistan and Hindus and Sikhs fled east to India. —British Broadcasting Corporation
Today, Pakistan is officially an Islamic country and defines who and who is not a Muslim. Under these conditions, Ahmadi Muslims are declared non-Muslim by law of the land and cannot practice their faith freely. They are not permitted to call their mosques as mosques, or meet with people with the Islamic greeting of Peace. Ahmadi Muslims are excluded from government and any other high-profile positions within Pakistan. There have been cases when the Ahmadi Muslims have been expelled from schools, colleges and universities, for being Ahmadi Muslim. Once the entire population of Rabwah, the Pakistani headquarters of Ahmadi Muslims was charged under Anti-Ahmadiyya laws.
Pakistan also houses some holy sites for Sikhism. Due to security concerns, Muslims are not allowed in the Samadhi of Ranjit Singh at Lahore fort.
In Mecca, only Muslims are allowed, while non-Muslims may not enter or pass through. Attempting to enter Mecca as a non-Muslim can result in penalties such as a fine; being in Mecca as a non-Muslim can result in deportation.
Coalescing in the All-India Muslim League and led by Muhammad Ali Jinnah, these Muslim nationalists asserted that India's Muslims constituted a nation separate from non-Muslim Indians and subsequently demanded a separate homeland in areas with a Muslim majority.
The partition of the Indian subcontinent was based on the formula of religious segregation. Many Muslims migrated to Pakistan, but many more also decided to stay back. The country had an obligation to protect Islamic interests as Muslims in India tied their destiny with the rest. There were also Christians, Jews, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and other communities which were living mostly in peace for centuries.
Many Indian Muslims, including religious scholars, ferociously opposed the Muslim League's demand for Pakistan.
However, the book is a tribute to the role of one Muslim leader who steadfastly opposed the Partition of India: the Sindhi leader Allah Bakhsh Soomro. Allah Bakhsh belonged to a landed family. He founded the Sindh People's Party in 1934, which later came to be known as ‘Ittehad’ or ‘Unity Party’. ... Allah Bakhsh was totally opposed to the Muslim League's demand for the creation of Pakistan through a division of India on a religious basis. Consequently, he established the Azad Muslim Conference. In its Delhi session held during April 27–30, 1940 some 1400 delegates took part. They belonged mainly to the lower castes and working class. The famous scholar of Indian Islam, Wilfred Cantwell Smith, feels that the delegates represented a ‘majority of India's Muslims’. Among those who attended the conference were representatives of many Islamic theologians and women also took part in the deliberations.
Many Muslim organizations are opposed to it. Every non-Muslim, whether he is a Hindu or Sikh or Christian or Parsi, is opposed to it. Essentially the sentiment in favor of partition has grown in the areas where Muslims are in a small minority, areas which, in any event, would remain undetached from the rest of India. Muslims in provinces where they are in a majority have been less influenced by it ; naturally, for they can stand on their own feet and have no reason to fear other groups. It is least evident in the Northwest Frontier Province (95 per cent Muslim) where the Pathans are brave and self-reliant and have no fear complex. Thus, oddly enough, the Muslim League's proposal to partition India finds far less response in the Muslim areas sought to be partitioned than in the Muslim minority areas which are unaffected by it.
On the same dates, Muslim League-led mobs fell with determination and full preparations on the helpless Hindus and Sikhs scattered in the villages of Multan, Rawalpindi, Campbellpur, Jhelum and Sargodha. The murderous mobs were well supplied with arms, such as daggers, swords, spears and fire-arms. (A former civil servant mentioned in his autobiography that weapon supplies had been sent from NWFP and money was supplied by Delhi-based politicians.) They had bands of stabbers and their auxiliaries, who covered the assailant, ambushed the victim and if necessary disposed of his body. These bands were subsidized monetarily by the Muslim League, and cash payments were made to individual assassins based on the numbers of Hindus and Sikhs killed. There were also regular patrolling parties in jeeps which went about sniping and picking off any stray Hindu or Sikh. ... Thousands of non-combatants including women and children were killed or injured by mobs, supported by the All India Muslim League.
When the idea of Pakistan was not accepted in the Northern States of India, the Muslim League sent out its goons to drive the Hindus out of Lahore, Multan and Rawalpindi and appropriate their property.
The pamphlet 'Rape of Rawalpindi' gives gruesome details of what was done to the minorities in the Rawalpindi Division. No such details have been published for other towns but the pattern of barbarities committed by the Muslim League goondas was the same everywhere.
In the evening of 6 March Muslim mobs numbering in the thousands headed towards Sikh villages in Rawalpindi, Attock and Jhelum districts. ... According to British sources, some two thousand people were killed in the carnage in three rural district: almost all non-Muslims. The Sikhs claimed seven thousand dead. Government reports showed that Muslim ex-service persons had taken part in the planned attacks. The Muslim League leaders, Jinnah and others did not issue any condemenation of these atrocities.