Press Statement by Swami Agnivesh on Charlie Hebdo


New Delhi 8th Jan, 2014

Sarva Dharma Sansad believes that the dastardly attack on Charlie Hebdo in Paris raises fundamental questions on the religious industry in general and the rise of deadly disease of religious fundamentalism in Islam in particular. Religion or faith is painfully becoming opposed to rationality, reason and scientific temper and thus eventually becomes the greatest threat to our freedom. We all stand with Charlie Hebdo in these tragic times, as the free flow of ideas or concepts is divine and must be protected. At this critical time all the religions should get into self criticism mode and look for the lacunas that are there in their respective religious texts which are hijacked by such terrorists to carry on such heinous crimes. Merely proclaiming that ‘ours is a religion for peace’ and that ‘there is no scope for violence in our religion’ isn’t good enough. Anything that is unreasonable or illogical or against the spirit of scientific temper or something that promotes violence against the other should be disowned and discarded. All the responsible and well meaning religious leaders should join hands with the spirit of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam(Whole World a Family) and work towards a society free from religious bigotry.  All the literature that ridicules or rejects blind faithism or obscurantism should be upheld and celebrated, for example in the Indian context movies such as PK and OMG. If there is indeed some literature that is inflammatory, it should be condemned by all, but no form of violence should be allowed as a response to it. In fact if there is a reactionary case of violence it should be condemned unequivocally and immediately. A reply to a piece of literature like a film, article or book can only be another piece of literature.  ‘Respect for religions’ should not be made synonymous to ‘fear of religions’ and all religious texts or theories, like all other concepts, should be up for critical analysis.