The more politicians try to appease religious groups, the worse things get as the groups demand more and more. This seems to be a global problem affecting pretty much all religions. In the US we see Christian groups seek one exemption after another from following the rules that everyone else must follow by saying that not being allowed to do so means that their religion is being persecuted. Paradoxically, these claims of persecution become worse when these religions are in the majority because they can get politicians to pander to them, as we see with Christian extremists in the US, Buddhist extremists in Sri Lanka and Myanmar, Hindu extremists in India, and Muslim extremists in many Muslim-majority countries.
In Hindu-majority India, the election of Narendra Modi, widely seen as a Hindu nationalist, has emboldened hardline Hindus in their intolerance of others and this has extended to such things as increasing restrictions on the selling of beef because of Hindu veneration of cows.
But that is not all. There was this recent report of a mob of people invading the home of a Muslim man and brutally killing him, critically injuring his son, and assaulting his 82-year old mother, his wife, and daughter merely because of an unfunded rumor that the man’s family was eating beef. This is not the first time that rabid Hindu nationalists have attacked Muslims because they felt they have official sanction.
Police said they have sent samples of the meat in the man’s home for testing to see if it was beef or mutton (which is what goat meat is called in India). But it should not matter what meat it is. There is absolutely no excuse to murder someone because that person violates your religious taboos.
It is at times like this that the truth of Voltaire’s statement becomes manifest: “As long as people believe in absurdities, they will continue to commit atrocities.”