In this documented research we talk about discrimination and specifically about religious discrimination. We mention the reasons for religious discrimination, some examples of it on modern times and we make an analysis on how religious discrimination relates to human rights. Finally, we compare religious discrimination with ethics and we determine the impact that it has in today´s societies.Discrimination has been present throughout human history, and still nowadays it is a common practice among people. Although it is not a necessary social practice, everyone has the tendency to discriminate or has done it in one way or another, and obviously in different amounts and with different ends. Discrimination refers to the fact of treating a group of people or a person different from othersbased on personal judgment and prejudice. More specifically, religious discrimination occurs when a person is unfairly treated because of his or her religious beliefs or practices. This research will focus on this type of discrimination.
This topic is clearly addressed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which contains three articles that deal with it; for example, in article 2, it issaid that everyone has the same rights and freedoms without any distinction (including religion). Also, in article 16, it is stated that all men and women have the right to marry (no matter what their religion, race, or nationality is). Article 18 is the most important regarding the protection of the right everyone has to choose and practice the religion that best suites his or her beliefs: “(…)this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.” (“The Universal Declaration of Human Rights”) As seen in the lines above, Human Rights are universal and they focus on a non-discriminatory practice and respect as a basicprinciple.
As said before, discrimination is not necessary and also, it is not natural to discriminate; all people learn to do it because of their cultural background, beliefs, social groups, etc. For example, children like to play with any other children they meet; but as they grow, they start to adopt and accept the beliefs and ideas of their family and friends; in this way, they change the wayin which they acted before and start to have prejudices and discriminate. But, as the foundation of Ethics is reasoning, all of us should question and reflect on “why must we discriminate?”, because by doing this, we will not be basing our decisions in moral fallacies. Furthermore, because we are all rational beings, we deserve respect; so, we need to respect other people’s dignity (guarantee ofself-respect), recognize others as equally valuable and not affect people with our actions. If these actions are affecting other people’s dignity, we are not being rational and we will be against the good life, or happiness, which is one of the ends of Ethics. Another important fact is that, because Ethics exists because we, humans, have to live in society, we should exercise it and reflect on ourdecisions and its consequences.
Here are some examples of these discriminatory practices in the 20th and 21st centuries:
1. In the business world, there´s plenty of discriminatory attitudes towards people with different beliefs. We can think on a Muslim who needs to pray at a certain time of the day, but many managers think that this would create distractions and that is not part of theworkers duties to “loose time praying”. We can find another example in an article published the 23rd of September of 2010 in The New York Times, where they talked about how “Abercrombie & Fitch” didn’t hire an 18-year-old Muslim because she was wearing a head scarf and her image wasn’t compatible with Abercrombie’s image.
2. The biggest and most shocking example of religious discrimination took place...
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