Friday, April 09, 2004

Islamic fundamentalism in Southeast Asia is erasing the past and cultures of the peoples of the region, with Christianity and Islamic fundamentalism "at war with each other", the 2001 Nobel Laureate for Literature Sir Vidia S Naipaul said in Bangkok yesterday.

Naipaul, who was speaking after reading from a work on Malaysia at Chulalongkorn University, said some people wanted to stamp out their own past and culture. This destruction of people's pasts is "very brutal", he said.

The outspoken Trinidad-born, Oxford-educated writer is often accused of giving Islamic societies a less-than-glowing appraisal, and he did nothing to change that yesterday, saying countries that converted to Islam--such as Malaysia and Indonesia--had suppressed their pre-Islamic pasts, resulting in their people developing "troubled personalities".

-- Pravit Rojanaphruk reports on Naipaul's visit to Bangkok in today's Thailand Nation.

No comments: