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The dangers of mixing politics and religion (letter in The Guardian)



Giles Fraser rightly highlights the president of the Hindu Forum of Britain, Trupti Patel, arguing that only a Conservative government will defend the caste system in the UK but, unsurprisingly, goes wrong in his comparison with imams supporting the disgraced former mayor of Tower Hamlets.

The principled position is to argue that political parties and local and national governments must refrain from granting privileges on the grounds of religion. Politicians, and indeed the wider public, should be reminded that back in 1936 the leader of the “untouchables” in India, BR Ambedkar, in his 1936 book Annihilation of Caste, thought that “Hinduism is a veritable chamber of horrors”. In her introduction to the 2014 edition of Ambedkar’s classic work, the Indian writer Arundhati Roy argues that “for a writer to have to use terms like ‘untouchable’, ‘schedule caste’, ‘backward class’, and ‘other backward classes’ to describe fellow human beings is like living in a chamber of horrors”. So legislation that seeks to prevent such typology and attendant discriminatory practices in the UK is absolutely necessary.

Published in The Guardian on 21st May 2015

This is the link to Fraser's article on 16th May 2015: