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     Question Forum :  Religious Freedom      Date Posted:  01 - August - 2001




You talk of "the freedom of religious practice so long as it does not cause any damage to individuals or society."  What I want to ask is what to do you regard as 'damage'. A Muslim friend of mine once warned me that only followers of Islam will be saved from the fires of hell and therefore I should 'embrace' the religion. On this interpretation will you suggest, if you was to ever gain power, that all the followers of Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism and Sikhism are actually doing 'damage' to themselves and therefore must convert?

The Qur'an states explicitly that there must be no compulsion in religion. There maybe misguided fanatics in every religious persuasion, but Islam has a long history of religious tolerance: The Golden Age for the Jews was in Islamic Spain (Andalus) and the only time Palestine was safe for Muslims, Christians and Jews alike was under Muslim rule. Neither the Crusaders nor the Zionists felt other religions were desirable and worthy of protection. As for "damage": of course, there must be limitations to religious freedom, for example when aberrations like Satanism etc. demand human sacrifice or infanticide.

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