Letter to The Editor - Those who wish to venerate saints and their shrines, a devotion which, properly practised, is not shirk at all, but authentic piety, must be free to do so

to THE AGE
     There is an irony in the behaviour of the Muslim fanatics in Islamic State and al-Qaeda (‘Branded heretics, Sufis face IS wrath’, 27/11). Starting correctly from the premise, endorsed by all the great sacred traditions, that God (‘the Unknowable’) is one, they then make the mistake which they accuse their enemies of making. They treat their particular religious discourse and theology as perfect and inviolate, arguing that therefore they can justifiably attack and kill all those who do not acknowledge it. Thus they themselves commit shirk (the identification of God with contingent phenomena of this world).
     In the Middle Ages hard-line Christians behaved in a similar way.  A major reason why we need adequate protections for religious freedom in Australia is to checkmate religious fanaticism of whatever kind, including atheistic fanaticism. Those who wish to venerate saints and their shrines, a devotion which, properly practised, is not shirk at all, but authentic piety, must be free to do so.
   NJ, Belgrave, Vic

 

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Tuesday, 09 August 2022