You are either with us or against us


In our society, labeling people is very common, especially when it comes to critiquing ideas and opinions. Our society needs to understand that labeling people is useless. We need to change the way we think and learn to mind our own business. We have been raised and taught to fear foreign ideas. Society itself rejects anything foreign since we are not used to it. This is because we are attached to our customs and traditions.

My father studied abroad for eight years and when he came back he shared his ideas about women driving. He was of the view that the government should establish schools to teach women how to drive. His family did not accept his way of thinking. They told him that he was very liberal and that our religion does not allow it. However, religion has nothing to do with women driving. In our society, people tend to confuse customs with religion.

My dad, on the other hand, said that women driving would help our country socially and economically. It would improve the social life for both genders and benefit us economically as there would be no need to hire drivers and people would save money.

Another type of labeling relates to religion. Daesh (the self-proclaimed IS), for example, labels Muslims and non-Muslims as disbelievers. Their ideology is based on three rejections. The first is that they think Muslims who insist Islam is a religion of peace are not true Muslims. Secondly, they do not tolerate Islamic teachings on how we should behave peacefully with Christians and Jews. Thirdly, they reject secular ideologies, especially democracy. People who adhere to these views, according to Daesh, are disbelievers. Judging a person by their ideas, looks or religion is wrong. Society needs to go through an awakening to start accepting different opinions and views.

Diversity is an important factor in society. It encourages people to understand each other. In addition, being culturally diverse helps people recognize other cultures, respect differences, value what other cultures offer, and acknowledge that they have different cultural expressions and ways of contributing and empowering each other to be critical of their own biased self.

In our community, people tend to impose their views on others, especially those who have different opinions. We are not used to listening to different views and accepting that they have different opinions. It is okay to disagree and it is okay to voice your opinion. However, do not tell the other person that their opinion is wrong and do not say that they are disbelievers just because their way of thinking is different.

It honestly does not make sense how people label others based on their way of thinking by saying that they are open-minded, liberal, etc. Being open-minded is a good thing since the open-minded person will accept that each one of us has his or her own views on life.

Al-Joharah Al-Ghamdi