We strive for a society in which no force may be exercised to compel anyone to adhere to any code, save that of the state, the code being its law. What we believe in regarding civil liberties in that state law is this: your whole person, body, mind and soul, is your business, and you can do whatever you wish with it and your life as long as your actions do not infringe on others’ rights, including this same right to liberty. This liberty, we believe, should be enforced without preferential treatment to any specific group.
The immediate consequence to this, is a direct and open opposition to the forcible enforcement of Shariah laws, Custom laws, and current civil and criminal established state laws that do exactly that: force an adherence to a specific set of societal norms borne out of the highly inaccurate and patriarchal supposed societal values, rather than justice, fairness and principles of equality.
We ought, though, to be acutely aware of the incredible chasm between this version of society we seek and our current reality, and the great animosity society has grown to feel towards those ideas. We realize that change comes from within, and furthermore, we postulate, that in order for society to become more tolerant of the Other, and more accepting of the basic ideal of living and letting others live, it alone an insurmountable task, it must first realize its own self, and actually manage to Live, against the deteriorating state of society, manifested in its longstanding economic, political and civil poverty, that have driven it to become a breeding ground for all that is exclusionary and divisive, and a graveyard of progressive ideals.
(One’s own social media experiences are, understandably, a poor indicator of anything, and if we are to extrapolate from them, we should do so with caution. Take the following with a spoonful of salt.)
Magnified, perhaps, by the Hadeer Mekkawy incident, there is a growing trend of intellectuals divorcing themselves from society and taking to being strictly principled outsiders, making statements for the sake of making statements, not for any educational purpose. Their tones are confrontational and their words exclusionary, drawing border lines rather than guiding ones, often dehumanising the other.
We are already an extremely polarised society, and insistence on accentuating differences between camps without an attempt of bridging the divide is ill advised.
The aforementioned opposition to laws infringing on individual rights and civil liberties is one of those divisive stances that ought to be stated with care and understanding of its audience’s knee-jerk reaction towards it, and with a clear benefit in mind, otherwise it only serves to further prolong the paralysing polarisation of this society we profess we aim to heal.