Exiled Iranian religious thinkers condemn attack against Salman Rushdie

Exiled Iranian religious thinkers condemn attack against Salman Rushdie
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A group of Iranian expatriates known as "New Religious Thinkers" have published a declaration denouncing use of violence in the name of Islam.

A group of Iranian religious thinkers living in exile condemned the attempted assassination against influential Indian-British author Salman Rushdie in a joint declaration, titled, "We do not believe in an Islam that allows terror."

The declaration signed by fourteen Iranian expatriates, who are known as the "New Religious Thinkers", was published on Islamic theologian Hassan Youssefi Eshkevari's Telegram channel.

"Hadi Matar's act of terrorism against the life of the famous British writer of Indian descent, Salman Rushdie, is hereby condemned unreservedly and unconditionally from a religious and moral point of view. This action marks a crisis in the fundamentalist interpretation of Islam. It also signals a new era of dangerous political developments in the Middle East and a new wound in the complex relationship between Islam and the West," the declaration read.

"This degenerate and evil reading of Islam, which serves religious despots, has seriously endangered the lives of Muslims and non-Muslims around the world, from Japan to Afghanistan and Iran to Europe and America, and has done so for decades."

It continued:

"This violent and destructive Islam, which has become a tool of ruling tyrants, stands at the opposite point of the interpretations of traditional Muslims and new religious thinkers. For years, the vast majority of experts in Islamic science have resolutely rejected such a muddled and toxic reflection of Islam, arguing on the basis of rational rules as well as the verses of the Quran and authentic Islamic traditions. We stand with the victims of terrorist attacks and say loudly that we do not believe in an Islam that allows terror."

It added:

"What we say today is not new. For decades we have been imprisoned and exiled by dictators because of our stance. We hope for a day when religion and government in Iran will be separated. We hope for a day when no government uses any tool (including religion) to suppress freedom and eliminate opponents and dissidents."

The signatories are:

Hassan Yousefi Eshkewari, Mohammad Javad Akbarin, Mohammed Burqa, Reza Beheshti Moez, Soroush Dabaq, Alireza Rajai, Reza Alijani, Ahmad Alavi, Hossein Kamali, Rahman Livani, Abdollah Nasseri, Dariush Mohammadpour, Mahdi Momken, Yasser Mirdamadi