We are shocked and abhorred by the recent attack on the author Salman Rushdie. We wish him a speedy recovery, staunchly reaffirming our commitment to freedom of expression, which is not only compatible with freedom of religion and belief but a condition of it. All religious communities and people of good will should support the freedom of philosophers, artists, authors and every human being to express their opinions and beliefs without fear of violent retaliation. The IARF strives to promote and protect a religious freedom not limited to the rights of religious communities to worship and profess their creeds free from state intervention, but which includes “freedom in religion” as well – the right of every individual to convert without fear of repercussions, as well as to distance themselves from, disagree with and question every idea in the framework of open public debate.
The religious communities that are members of the IARF, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, Native and Pagan, Shinto, Unitarian/Universalist, Zoroastrian and others, confident in their commitments and unafraid of challenges, recognise this as a part of their tradition as well as a fundamental principle of a democratic society based upon the rule of law and respect for individual rights and freedoms.
We call upon all people of faith to profess and defend their beliefs without attempting to silence those who criticise them or call them out, just as we will continue to defend the right of religious communities to profess their beliefs and conduct their worship openly and publicly free from harassment and threats.