Letter: Keeping faith within reason

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The Independent Online
Sir: Matthew Kalman (Faith and Reason, 31 May) protests too much. There is no objection to the freedom of Jews (or any other group) practising their religious (or any other) customs, provided they don't violate the freedom of others.

What is objectionable is expecting us to accept practices which are unacceptable in themselves, like infant circumcision or ritual slaughter, or which interfere with other people, like eruv markers and sabbath observance. Jews who wish to keep the sabbath may reasonably demand that other people should allow them to do so, but not that other people should make special allowances to help them to do so.

There are similar problems with some Hindu or Muslim or Christian customs. We all have conflicts between our principles as individuals and our membership of the community, and we sometimes have to compromise the former to continue the latter. A multi-cultural community doesn't have to welcome every custom just because it is practised by a particular culture.

NICOLAS WALTER

Rationalist Press Association

London N1

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