13 March 2005

Rushdie on religion

Writing in sunday's Toronto Star, novellist Salman Rushdie urges the west to "Keep religion out of public life." Translated into plain language, this means: "Keep all religions except my own enlightened secularism out of public life." Argues Rushdie: "For those of us who grew up in India in the aftermath of the Partition riots of 1946-1947, following the creation of the independent states of India and Pakistan, the shadow of that slaughter has remained as a dreadful warning of what men will do in the name of God." The human tendency towards violence is indeed a tragic reality. However, someone ought to alert Rushdie to the huge numbers of deaths -- close to 100 million -- inflicted by an atheistic régime in the grip of a secular ideology and hostile to traditional religion. That might help him to put things in perspective.

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