Islamic scholars stated that “The sentence was dubious on theological, not to mention legal grounds.”
Hesham El-Essawy, spokesman for Britain’s estimated one million Muslims, said, “Anyone carrying out Khomeini’s order would be guilty of murder. We very much regret and denounce Khomeini’s statement. Threats like this, or any violent response, is not the correct religious response. It is a very dangerous development and will give Rushdie sympathy where it is not deserved.”
British MP’s have also called for the British government to formally protest to Iran.”
One has to be very aware about the fanatic and fascist attitudes of religious leaders. A great consciousness is needed, particularly for those who are in power, that they don’t misuse it. Banning Salman Rushdie’s book is a misuse of power, and I condemn it with my whole heart.
I have nothing to do with the book, or with Islam, or with the writer. My concern is that these things become precedents for destroying freedom of speech, freedom of expression, which are necessary foundations for a cultured society, for a humane society.
I hope that Rajiv Gandhi comes to his senses and takes the ban away.
And the same should be done around the world by all the political leaders, otherwise all creativeness in poets, in novelists, is bound to be destroyed. And they are the very salt of the earth, they are the only people who are creating something. Religious leaders like Ayatollah Khomeini have not contributed anything to the world, to its beauty, to its truth, to its culture, to its civilization. They have only destroyed. But they destroy in the name of God, and the poor God cannot even say anything because he does not exist.
The second thing I was going to say to you before I take the questions from the sannyasins is that I came to know this day that Chinese sannyasins are a little bit upset because I may have told you that a few of the Zen masters are Japanese, and their disturbance is that they are Chinese.
I am not a very informed person. I don’t speak out of information, I speak out of my transformation. I know that Zen belongs to no country, so to me it does not matter whether they were Chinese, or Japanese, or Indians. At least Zen should not be confined to any country, to any race, to any language. It belongs to the whole universe. So what is the fuss all about?
I have never read the sutras. Maneesha finds the sutras; I simply speak spontaneously. My concern is Zen, not China or Japan. And you will see Sekito himself says, “I don’t belong to the east, I don’t belong to the west, I don’t belong to the south, I don’t belong to the north.” If Zen is also to be confined to a race, to a language, to a certain part of the earth, then it is not Zen.