Parents are free to teach morals to their children. Parents are also free to share information about their religion and culture with their children, but not in a way that forces or pressures them to agree with it. No, but it should be done in a way that encourages them to seek out the truth for themselves. Such sharing of information does not come under indoctrination, religious brainwashing or blind following.

It's crucial to note that indoctrination involves teaching someone to accept a set of beliefs without critical thinking. If parents discourage critical thinking in their children, they are not fostering a healthy environment for intellectual development.

To illustrate, imposition involves asserting to children that their birth into a Muslim/Christian family automatically designates them as followers of that religion. Consequently, they are compelled to adhere to Islamic/Christian religious practices without any alternative. This notion is a misleading narrative that parents have the unrestricted right to enforce their religious beliefs and rituals onto their children.

In a parallel context, Japan has recently enacted a law classifying the act of inducing fear by telling children that they will face eternal damnation in hellfire if they abstain from participating in religious activities as a form of child abuse.

Kids cannot give their informed consent for religion, just like they cannot give their informed consent for marriage. So, why then impose religion on them by telling them that they have by default become a follower of a certain religion just by getting a birth into a family which follows that particular religion? No, but religion is a personal right of children, about which they have to make an informed decision only after turning 18, just like in the case of marriages they have to make such an informed decision themselves only after turning 18.

Just as it is both illegal and morally questionable for parents to coerce their children into marriages, it is similarly unacceptable for parents to enforce their religious preferences and practices on their offspring.

The undeniable proof of religious indoctrination in children is evident through the following examples:

  • A child born into a Hindu family inherently embraces Hinduism.
  • A child born into a Christian family automatically identifies as a Christian.
  • A child born into a Muslim family also adheres to Islam.

 

Japan already classifies forcing kids to participate in religion as child abuse 

Please read it:

Forced participation in religious activities to be classified as child abuse in Japan

The law stipulates four types of abuse: physical, sexual, neglect and psychological.

Inciting fear by telling children they will go to hell if they do not participate in religious activities, or preventing them from making decisions about their career path, is regarded as psychological abuse and neglect in the guidelines.

Other acts that will constitute neglect include not having the financial resources to provide adequate food or housing for children as a result of making large donations, or blocking their interaction with friends due to a difference in religious beliefs and thereby undermining their social skills.

When taking action, the guidelines will urge child consultation centres and local governments to pay particular attention to the possibility that children may be unable to recognise the damage caused by abuse after being influenced by doctrine-based thinking and values.

In addition, there are concerns that giving advice to parents may cause the abuse to escalate and bring increased pressure from religious groups on the families. In the light of this, the guidelines will call for making the safety of children the top priority and taking them into temporary protective care without hesitation.

For children 18 years of age or older and not eligible for protection by child consultation centres, local governments should instead refer them to legal support centres, welfare offices and other consultation facilities.

This legislation does not portray Japan as an authoritarian state seeking to intrude into private family matters. Rather, it is enacted solely for the protection of children against potential misuse of parental authority. The State must interfere even in the private lives of families for the following 4 cases of abuse of children:

  1. Physical abuse
  2. Sexual abuse
  3. Abuse of Neglection and
  4. Psychological Abuses to indoctrinate children and impose religion and religious activities upon them forcefully. 

Conclusion: 

  • Children are fully allowed to get information about any religion. Similarly, parents are also allowed to share information about their religion and culture. There is no problem with it.
  • So, getting information about religion is not banned, or even accepting it also not banned, but only PRACTICING it is banned till the age of 18. Neither parents have the authority to make children practice a religion nor children are allowed to practice it on their own.
  • This restriction parallels the notion that children may develop romantic feelings for someone, including an adult, which is not deemed a crime. However, engaging in sexual activities with an adult is prohibited until the age of 16, and marriage is not permitted until the age of 18.
  • This protection for children is enough that they get AWARENESS that parents cannot enforce their religion and religious practices upon them, just like they cannot enforce upon them a spouse of their choice. But sharing information and personal opinions about any potential future spouse with them is fully ok.

Excuse: We indeed enjoyed going to Church or Mosques as kids

A Muslim wrote:

My fondest memories are of my father taking me to different mosques on friday and having an imam come over to teach me the principles of our faith. I also enjoyed Ramadan fasting. We are a ‘secular’ family.

And one Christian wrote:

I've gone to church willingly and unwillingly as a kid and honestly its not bad imo at least, just boring sometimes. We even sing songs about Jesus when we run around the Christmas tree and every child participates in that. Should you not be allowed to do that? 

Response:

Please present a Better Alternative Solution in the following cases of child abuse.

The First Case:

At present, their Muslim parents are given full liberty to indoctrinate them against homosexuality. But when nature drives these Muslim children towards homosexual behaviour, then they become totally confused and this contradiction is a huge mental torture for them. In the next step, when these children exhibit behaviour that is perceived as homosexual, their Muslim parents attribute it to demonic possession and bring them to Islamic scholars who exercise Islamic Exorcisms. This approach places immense psychological strain on vulnerable children, amounting to a form of abuse that should be immediately stopped by the State. Yes, parents should not be given so much control over children that they bring such psychological harm to them. 

So, what alternative SOLUTION do we have to save such children? 

The Second Case:

Not only religious parents but also religious societies bully and exercise extreme pressure on children and impose religion and religious practices on them. 

There was a recent incident in the UK about lady principal Katharine Birbalsingh who had to ban Muslim kids from praying in school. Why?

  • Because some religious kids were bullying other Muslim kids to join them in prayers. And if they didn't then they faced violence and bullying. 
  • And those religious Muslim kids were also bullying girls to wear the Hijab. And if they didn't then they were guilt-tripped and they faced intimidation and harassment.

This shows not only parents but also religious societies are in a position to bully and exercise extreme pressure on children.

Therefore, the question remains how to successfully save children from this pressure from their religious families and societies?

Is there any BETTER solution available?

PS: We are ex-Muslims. And our experience is that the case of FASTING is even worse than that of prayers. Many kids don't want to fast, but they are pressured to do it by their families, friends and society by using the same tactics. Kids are vulnerable and not in a position to resist this pressure. They indeed need the law on their side to get protection against this abuse. 

The Third Case:

We invite you to please also visit our ex-Muslim sub and read stories about how we (ex-Muslims) had to perform daily prayer obligations five times a day, attend Quran school six days a week, and spend multiple hours each day studying and committing the Quran to memory. Imagine the overwhelming sense of oppression that children experience when forced to adhere to these rigid routines without respite.

Furthermore, consider the plight of young girls who are coerced into wearing the Hijab, even if they personally object to it. Families with strong religious beliefs often impose this attire on their daughters beginning at the tender age of three. This constant requirement can feel suffocating, especially when compared to the temporary inconvenience many experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic when masks were mandatory. Yet, these girls face the burden of donning the entire Hijab every single day. The lives of ex-Muslim girls are really miserable as they are forced to marry Muslim men and provide them with sexual services for the whole of their lives. The worst part is, they have to raise their own children as Muslims against their wishes.

Islam demands Muslim parents to FORCE their children to offer prayers and to BEAT them if they don’t offer their prayers at the age of 10 years. Although the Western States have already banned the beating of children, however, this is not enough. They should also ban parents from enforcing daily prayers or the Hijab even by using methods other than beating (like influencing them by shaming, bullying, blackmailing, harassment etc.).

The Fourth Case:

I am an ex-Muslim. I first saw kids chanting death to Qadiyanis, then after some years kids were chanting death to Shias, and after some years kids were chanting death to Barailvis, Deobandis and Salafists. And then we saw indeed Qadiyanis, Shias, Barailvis, Sufis, Deobandis, Salafists all were killed by the hands of other Muslims.

I also saw the same hatred in Muslim kids against Kafirs (non-Muslims) and they were chanting death for them. 

I also saw the same hatred in kids when they chant death to homosexuals and to those who criticize Islam (i.e. insult Islam in their opinion). 

How are you going to stop this indoctrination? Please suggest a better alternative if you have one. 

Conclusion:

In simple words, there is no harm in celebrating the Christmas and Eid festivals or getting gifts. But the participation in religious activities should be banned for children by law, as they may be used for religious indoctrination of many children. Even if some of you belong to secular religious families and you have good memories of going to the church/mosque as children, this practice should still be banned for the sake of millions of vulnerable children.

Please also remember that Secular parents also take their children to other recreational activities like swimming, camping, dancing classes, painting classes etc. and they also cause enjoyment and become some of the fondest memories.

Excuse: How are you going to POLICE it?

Response:

There are 2 issues here.

  • Hidden enforced religious practices on children inside the house
  • Openly enforced religious practices on children in public

As far as the first issue of hidden enforced practices inside the house is concerned, then it is the same as a child's beating inside the house. Either the child is himself able to report such enforcement of religious practices, or his siblings or relatives or friends or neighbours can report it.

As far as openly enforced religious practices are concerned, like enforcing children to go to mosques and pray, or going to Madrassahs is concerned, then they can be easily controlled. Similarly, enforcing the Hijab on girls in public can also be easily controlled.

Excuse: How can a State stop Muslim children who want to fast or wear the Hijab on their own?

An Islamic apologist wrote:

Many children with religious beliefs will want to practice their beliefs before 18.There is nothing you can do without becoming an authoritarian regime and taking people's freedoms away.

Response:

Since we don't know if parents have enforced anything upon children or not, the STATE has more rights over a child in such a situation.

For example, if a 9-year-old girl wants to marry an old man, then the State gets the full right to prohibit such a marriage, and it is not counted as an authoritarian regime, or taking away the people's freedom.

Even after maturity at the age of 12 years, the state neither allows kids to marry on their own nor allows parents to wed them. 

Yes, kids are allowed to like (or even love) any person of their choice (even if he/she is an adult). Still, they are not allowed to be involved in sexual activities with that person. They have to wait till they are 16 years old for sexual activity with an adult. And they have to wait till 18 to marry the person of their liking. Similarly, kids are fully allowed to like the religion of their parents and to read about that religion. But children are not allowed to PRACTICE the religion and its rituals till they are 18. 

Neither a State bans marriage nor religion. But for children, the States have the full right to ban marriage as well as religious practices till they become adults of 18 years of age to make sure that they are not harmed.

Excuse: It is an Injustice against Muslim parents

Response:

It is not an injustice against Muslim parents specifically because the ban applies equally to all parents regardless of their religious affiliation. 

This ban does not include ONLY Muslim parents, but ALL parents. This means Atheists, ex-Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus etc. all of them are banned from indoctrinating their children and imposing their ideology/religion and its practices upon children. 

One Islamic apologist wrote:

It is unjust, while atheists have no rituals. Thus such a law will only affect Muslim/Christian/Jewish families

If these religions are authoritarian and wrongfully impose their rituals on small children then atheist parents are not responsible for their wrongdoings.

The rule is only one, i.e. religion and religious rituals cannot be imposed on children. Blame these religions, not this rule or atheist parents. 

Excuse: It sounds like an Authoritarian State 

Response:

It's not authoritarian to protect children from the imposition of religion and religious rituals. The state is only protecting, and not imposing anything on children. 

True authoritarianism occurs when parents are allowed to dictate their beliefs to their children and impose its rituals upon them forcefully, denying them the chance to explore and choose their path. Forcing children to adhere to certain religious practices, such as attending Madrasa or reciting the Quran, against their will is a violation of their human rights. Similarly, forcing girls to wear the Hijab and Abaya is also a form of authoritarianism.

These are double standards when the state is wrongfully blamed for being authoritarian only for protecting children's rights, but they altogether neglect the authoritarianism of religious parents who impose their religion and rituals on children. 

They are only resorting to fear-mongering tactics against the state (Statephobia) merely to justify and perpetuate their practice of child abuse for the sake of religion. Similar concerns about civil liberties were raised to oppose the legislation against child beating. During that period, there were claims that the state would abuse such laws. Fortunately, rational individuals did not heed these weak arguments and went ahead to prohibit child beating.

Excuse: State control of people's lives is the reason where the genocide begins

Another Islamic apologist made the following allegation:

The state coming into folks homes and policing their thoughts, their speech, their interactions with their family will lead to State control of people's lives. This is how genocide starts. 

It is a flawed allegation.

The State is not controlling the people's lives here, but it is only protecting that the child's life and thoughts and speech is controlled in an authoritarian way by the religious parents. 

That is why the State comes to the homes and protects children against beating and physical abuse by authoritarian parents, and no genocide occurred due to this, but the result was only the positive outcome, where beating of children was reduced many folds and people indeed learned the law and how to abide by it.

That is why the Japanese State identified the 4 issues, where there exists no privacies of families, i.e.:

  1. Physical abuse
  2. Sexual abuse
  3. Abuse of Neglection and
  4. Psychological Abuses to indoctrinate children and impose religion and religious activities upon them forcefully. 

In these cases, the allegations of privacy breach, policing, genocide etc. are only used by religious elements to protect abuses of religious parents against their kids. 

We repeat:  They are only employing the tactic of fear-mongering against the state (Statephobia) to defend and continue their practice of child abuse for the sake of religion.

Why stop at religion? Why not ban politics for children

Of course, children should not be involved in politics till the age of 18, till they can make informed decisions on their own.

That is why, there already exists an age limit of 18 for voting.

Islamic preachers are strange. They want a person to do a PhD degree first before leaving Islam. But how can they then bring small children into the domain of Islam without their informed decisions?

Excuse: How can children be left alone at home when parents go to mosque or church?

One Islamic preacher objected:

You can’t realistically ban a parent from taking their kid with them to the Mosque or whatever other religious service. Parents have to go places and the kids have to come with them. It’s just a simple fact of life that children have to be dragged along with their parents wherever their parents go.

Firstly, if parents are going to watch a scary movie in a cinema, then they also don't take their children with them but make an alternative arrangement for their children. 

Secondly, even if parents have to drag children along with them, then they should not compel children to pray along with them. Mosques or churches can also offer separate places for children. 

The goal is not to eliminate all hurdles but to eliminate major child abuses like compelling children to go to Quran madrasas or to offer 5 prayers daily, or to compel girls to wear the Hijab etc. 

Regarding minor issues, it may be enough to issue a guideline for parents. But such minor issues should not be misused as an excuse to reject this law altogether, and to make even major abuses legal for parents to impose their religion and all rituals on children.

Similarly, another Islamic preacher objected:

How can you differentiate between religious practice and culture? Are you going to make it illegal to give gifts on Christmas?

Firstly, since when does giving gifts come under the imposition of religious rituals? Is it an obligatory religious ritual in Islam or Christianity to give gifts? Even people of other religions can also give you gifts on Eid and Christmas and Diwali etc.

Secondly, the answer is the same. We are not living in a 100% perfect world. It is enough if laws serve the purpose of stopping the major abuses, which are like compelling girls to wear the Hijab in public, or compelling kids to go to Quran Madrassas or circumcision of male children etc.

Even simply educating children that parents are not allowed to impose religion or religious rituals is enough to bring big changes and stop major child abuse. 

Excuse: It is against the PRIVACY of families to be punished for things that are not harmful

Response:

Of course, these are harmful practices, when:

  • A child is forcefully circumcised. 
  • A child is forcefully compelled to go to the Quran school and to pray five times a day, and fast. 
  • A girl is forcefully compelled to take the Hijab and Abaya against her will. 
  • When a kid is taught hate speech.
  • When a kid is pressured to enter in faith of his parents and all other choices are blocked for him. 

At present, parents are fully in a position to influence and impose their DEMANDS upon children forcefully, and there are consequences for children if they don't fulfil their demands. 

There are tons of evidence and thousands of witnesses present in the stories of ex-Muslims (on Exmuslim Subreddit), when girls didn't wear the Hijab, or didn't go to Quran school, or said that they didn't want to be Muslim, then their parents made them suffer in one way or the other (if not physically, then mentally they abused their children). Or what homosexual children have to endure in a religious family, is horrible. 

When it comes to the rights of children, then there is already no privacy involved. The State of Japan has already identified those four issues, where the so-called privacy of family doesn't matter as this privacy is only misused to protect child abuse. These four issues are:

  1. Physical abuse
  2. Sexual abuse
  3. Abuse of Neglection and
  4. Psychological Abuses to indoctrinate children and impose religion and religious activities upon them forcefully. 

If parents are not allowed to beat children privately at home, then forcing them to learn the Quran and to pray five times at home privately should also be a crime and investigated upon report.

The state is not enforcing anything upon the children, but it is prohibiting the parents from imposing and enforcing abuses upon their children as if children are their private property.

Excuse: It is impossible to implement it while Religious communities will bitterly oppose it

Where there is a will, there is a way.

Yes, it seems a difficult task at the moment, but remember that it was also seen as an impossible task when the French Government first decided to ban the Hijab and all other religious symbols in schools. But then the French Government and French people proved us wrong, and indeed they found a way to implement it.

We also see that the Tajik Government also made such a law. Please read: Tajikistan bans minors from entering mosques and makes study at secular schools mandatory

Similarly, it was considered an impossible task to ban child beating in the beginning. But then such laws were made and indeed successfully implemented. 

We have the arguments and morality on our side, and we can indeed succeed in protecting the rights of children. 

And yes, religion needs indoctrination to survive. If they rely on 18-year-olds as new followers, then most probably religions will die. But this is not our concern if a religion lives or dies. If religious people think that their religion is the best, then it should have the ability to attract 18-year-old people too. 

Excuse: We lack the funds to implement a law that may not achieve complete success

An objection was raised that:

The children's services / foster care situation in America is just tragic. We can't even properly deal with horrible sexual abuse, physical abuse, and neglect. The sad reality is... In most cases, the children have a choice between their horrible religious situation, and equally horrible or worse group homes, foster parents scamming the system, etc.

Response:

Despite encountering financial limitations in the practical implementation of this law, it does not deter us from actively promoting 'awareness' about its existence.

Initially, complete enforcement of the law against parents beating their children posed challenges. However, as awareness continued to spread, parents became informed. Consequently, incidents of child abuse gradually decreased. Eventually, we reached a stage where substantial funds were no longer essential for the enforcement of this law.

Another Islamic apologist argued:

If you want to try to create a utopia, better clean up all the gray space, and make it all work in black and white. Otherwise, it is only a waste of lot of money. 

But we tell them that:

  • No, we are not religious people who believe their God to be 100% perfect, and thus their God also created a 100% perfect world.
  • No, we don't believe in 100% perfect Utopia. No, we don't believe that things have to be 100% black and white. 

We live in a non-perfect and flawed world. We make decisions based on what is "more" beneficial and what is "less" beneficial. Or what is "more" harmful and what is "less" harmful.

Thus, even if such laws fail to 100% eliminate the physical, sexual and religious abuses of children, still they should be supported as they indeed bring a lot of good to society and provide protection to children to a great extent. 

Please watch this video which will make this issue clear.