I took part in a radio phone in,the subject was the riots which followed the publication of Salman Rusdie`s book, in the 1980s. It is twenty years since that happened, and the question was asked, that was the death threat to the author justified.
Am of the opinion that nothing has been achieved by or since the protests and the threats, if people believed in the Divine power, then they have no right to punish anyone.Because everyone is responsable for their own deeds and they will ultimately recieve their own dues.
My opposite number was a spokesman from the Ahamedya community, and he was such a gentleman, that he agreed with me immediately!
But the callers t that programme had other ideas. Within the first twenty minutes of the programme, there were at least two men, who threatened physical violence to the author. I found this very objectionable, that people were inciting physical harm to someone on national radio and said so. It was only a minority of the callers, but that was enough to suggest, that ALL the Muslims in this country were still looking to murder the author.
I have been thinking about it for sometime. Perhaps it is the individuals rather than the religion which promotes hatred. I believe that my faith or lack of it is my private matter. If it is strong and within me, then nothing anyone can say or do , will either insult or threaten it. But some people feel that they have to assert themselves to be noticed, and religion is a handy topic.
Watching some episodes of the programme “Around the world in eighty faiths”, I marvelled at the civilising influence some religions have had on their followers. As the presenter said, that he found a common thread of charity, kindness and tolerance for fellow human beings in all the religions. The very thing missing from some practitioners of faith.
The presenter of that programme also concluded that he felt that the three major faiths, Judaism, Christianity and Islam were much more closed to an outsider than the other religions of the world, which embraced anyone who wanted to get to know them and their doctrine.
I think, it is not so much their religion but the individuals who out of their own personal agenda, make un reasonable demand and assert themselves. I may be wrong, am no scholar. But common sense tells me that every religion teaches piety, tolerance and respect for other human beings.
I have not taught my children a definite doctrine, but have provided them an insight into many, with emphasis on the basic qualities a human being needs and they went to a Methodist school. I sometimes feel very guilty about it. But it has left them with a choice ,to make up their own mind. They have chosen partners from two different faiths,(Judaism and Catholicism) .
I do worry and wonder if I have lacking as a mother ,that I have left them to their own devices, and then I look at the strife certain belief systems bring, and wonder.
Perhaps I will never know if I have done the right thing.