• kewal sethi

changing face of human rights and religion - some comments on the book

some comments on a book 

changing face of human rights and religion a book by clemens n. nathan just finished glancing through the book. it was very unsatisfactory. at first glance, it hardly finds anything wrong with judaism. totally ignores the exile of the palestinians from their lands and their plight as refugees. mentions apartheid without any harsh comments. just describes what the afrikaners thought. in the whole book, there is almost no mention of religions from the east. it is all about judaism, christianity and islam. sikhism is mentioned twice, once in the context of bhindranwala and the indian army action in golden temple; and second time when a sikh in turban is chased in new york after 9/11. buddhism is mentioned once in the context of the tamils in sri lanka and dismissed in about six lines. hinduism is mentioned only once in the context of assassination of gandhi. of course gandhi, himself, gets two full pages describing his leading the nonviolent struggle against the british. he is cited as an example of maximalising religion for human rights. hijab and burqah are discussed at length citing case law in uk and elsewhere and the legislative action in france and other countries. capital punishment is discussed in the context of the spiritual texts of judaism, islam and christianity. action taken in various countries is discussed briefly. there was one interesting comment about luther, the founder of protestant sect. it says, "what then shall we christians do with this damned, rejected race of jews? …… let me give you my honest advice. first their synagogues or churches should be set on fire …… secondly their homes should likewise be broken down and destroyed." and i always thought that martin luther reformed the christian religion by fighting against the tyranny of the pope. no wonder, the author says that holocaust was the natural culmination of such ideas. on apartheid, the prime minister malan, of south africa is quoted as saying, "apartheid is based on what the afrikaner believes to be his divine calling and his privilege to convert the heathen to christianity without obliterating his national identity……….he must preserve his racial identity intact. the church is, therefore, entirely opposed to inter marriage between black and white." one final quote about terrorism, "that was when i realized that his is the ultimate terror - not violence and death in themselves, but the sheer randomness, striking the innocent for no reason, for there is nothing that terror has ever achieved or ever will that could not have been reached by other means. it is destruction for destruction sake."

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