During the month of Ramadan, a state owned fuel company in Jakarta, Indonesia is offering two liters of free petrol per chapter read to motorcyclists. There are prayer rooms set up in the gas stations to accommodate this endeavor. The program organizers say the goal is to promote Islam in society.
On one hand, many may come across this news and think “free gas!” On the other hand, others may see this as subtle Islamic propaganda in society. This is an incentive to be more committed to Islam and it normalizes Islamic religiosity.
While that does not seem so bad, I can’t help but consider the positions of the minorities in these societies. Imagine being a non-Muslim, Queer identified (Muslim or not), or an ex-Muslim in these environments where Islam is so socially ingrained. It can be quite suffocating.
And if you’re in a society where following Islam is encouraged and you are given economic incentive for it (like free fuel); the stigma of being an ex-Muslim, one who stands against society’s directions, can be suffocating.
Just my thought process.
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