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Letter to The Editor - There is a long and profound tradition of friendship and mutual understanding between enlightened individuals within all three of the Abrahamic faiths
To The Australian Jennifer Oriel's spirited defence of religious freedom ('Christianity empowers our Western tradition', 21/5) is vitiated a little by her forgetfulness of past violence carried out by Christian religious fanatics and by her misinterpretation of extracts from the Qu'ran. Surah 8:12 does not, as she claims, 'prescribe violent monotheism.' It is a symbolic (not literal) reference to the battle of Badr (a single historical event). As for Surah 5:51, this gives a valid warning (for Muslims) against a danger in befriending Christians or Jews because each group, naturally enough, is characteristically biased in favour of its own members - something that can be seen in many contexts today. There is a long and profound tradition of friendship and mutual understanding between enlightened individuals within all three of the Abrahamic faiths, and between such individuals and corresponding persons in the Eastern sacred traditions. In recent times this has been apparent, especially, in the writings of the 'perennialists' - Rene Guenon, Ananda Coomaraswamy and their associates. In this context anti-Muslim prejudice looks small and mean.
Nigel Jackson, Belgrave, Vic