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Page 3 Profile: Philip Pullman, author

Say a little prayer for me?

Author Philip Pullman has condemned the “terrible things” Islamic extremists have “done to young girls” in the name of religion.

Salman Rushdie MK II?

Speaking of recent unconfirmed reports of a Syrian girl stoned to death for using Facebook, Pullman, 67, said: “That’s what happens when religion gets its hands on the levers of power. As soon as it has any political influence, it does bad things; becomes wicked and cruel.” He continued: “I don’t believe there’s anything in the Koran about genital mutilation.”

What’s his attitude to zealots of other persuasions?

He was equally scathing about everyone from Salafi Muslims to extreme Orthodox Jews. Pullman, famous for the His Dark Materials fantasy trilogy, which features two children battling the repressive authority of the Magisterium (a thinly veiled Catholic Church), said: “They have different origins but their effect is to give power to a group of men who have an unhealthy interest in other peoples sexuality…That’s religion prying into places it doesn’t belong. We should resist it.”

He’s not afraid of ruffling feathers…

Pullman challenges oppressive dogma, encourages free thought and is used to attracting the wrath of religious figureheads. The Golden Compass, a 2007 film of his first Dark Materials book, was attacked by the Catholic League.

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