Wole Soyinka..... Nigerian author, poet and Nobel laureate for Literature.
“England is a cesspit. England is the breeding ground of fundamentalist Muslims. Its social logic is to allow all religions to preach openly. But this is illogic, because none of the other religions preach apocalyptic violence. And yet England allows it. Remember, that country was the breeding ground for communism, too. Karl Marx did all his work in libraries there."
“We should assemble all those who are pure and cannot abide other faiths, put them all in rockets, and fire them into space."
"Education and rigorous punishment for those who feel, not 'I'm right, you're wrong,' but 'I'm right, you're dead.'"
"A virus has attacked the world of sense and sensibility, and it has spread to Nigeria,where it has taken on a sanguinary dimension.”
"If religion was to be taken away from the world completely, including the one I grew up with, I’d be one of the happiest people in the world. My only fear is that maybe something more terrible would be invented to replace it, so we’d better just get along with what there is right now and keep it under control."
"In the European world today, especially in America, it seems to be forbidden for children to have responsibilities."
"The person who needs to convert others is a creature of total insecurity."
"The hands of the clock of progress and social development have been arrested, then reversed in widening swathes of the Nigerian landscape."
From his address to the UN's Conference on the Culture of Peace and Non-Violence on Sept 21,2012.
"Certainly it cannot be denied that religion has proved again and again a spur, a motivator and a justification for the commission of some of the most horrifying crimes against humanity, despite its fervent affirmations of peace. Let us, however, steer away from hyperbolic propositions and simply settle for this moderating moral imperative: that it is time that the world adopt a position that refuses to countenance religion as an acceptable justification for, excuse or extenuation of crimes against humanity."
"While it should be mandatory that states justify their place as members of a world community by educating their citizens on the entitlement of religion to a place within society and the obligations of mutual acceptance and respect, it should be deemed unacceptable that the world is held to ransom for the uneducated conduct of a few, and placed in a condition of fear, apprehension, leading to a culture of appeasement."
"What gives hope is the very special capacity of man for dialogue, and that arbiter is foreclosed, or endures interminable postponements as long as one side arrogates to itself the right to respond to a pebble thrown by an infantile hand in Papua New Guinea with attempts to demolish the Rock of Gibraltar. I use the word "infantile" deliberately, because these alleged insults to religion are no different from the infantile scribble we encounter in public toilets, the product of infantilism and retarded development. We have learned to ignore and walk away from them. They should not be answered by equally infantile responses that are, however, incendiary and homicidal in dimension, and largely directed against the innocent, since the originating hand is usually, in any case, beyond reach."
"One takes consolation in the fact that some of us did not wait to sound warnings until the plague of religious extremism entered our borders. Our concerns began and were articulated as a concern for others, still at remote distances."
His opinion on the world's two main religions and the Yoruba belief which he thinks is the least lethal:
"And of course, the more I learned about Yoruba religion the more I realized that that was just another interpretation of the world, another encapsulation of man’s conceiving of himself and his position in the universe; and that all these religions are just metaphors for the strategy of man coping with the vast unknown."
On the Iranian ayatollah
"It all began when he assumed the power of life and death over the life of a writer. This was a watershed between doctrinaire aggression and physical aggression. There was an escalation. The assumption of power over life and death then passed to every single inconsequential Muslim in the world—as if someone had given them a new stature.Al Qaeda is the descendent of this phenomenon. The proselytization of Islam became vigorous after this. People went to Saudi Arabia. Madrassas were established everywhere."
Recently, on the situation in Nigeria:
"The unrest which is taking place as a result of Boko Haram, in my view, has attained critical mass. When a movement reaches that state of total contempt even for universal norms, it is sending a message to the rest of the world, and to the rest of that nation, that this is a war to the end. The president of Nigeria is making a mistake in not telling the nation that it should place itself on a war footing. There’s too much pussyfooting, there’s too much false intellectualisation of what is going on, such as this is the result of corruption, this is the result of poverty, this is the result of marginalisation. Yes, of course, all these negativities have to do with what is happening right now. But when the people themselves come out and say we will not even talk to the president unless he converts to Islam, they are already stating their terms of conflict."