Page last updated at 09:56 GMT, Saturday, 28 March 2009

'Most religious leaders are fools'

The author and playwright Hanif Kureishi was born in London in 1954. He is the author of The Buddha of Suburbia, Intimacy and Something to Tell You. His first play, Soaking the Heat, was staged in 1976, and My Beautiful Laundrette , for which he wrote the screenplay, was released in 1985.

He was appointed CBE in 2007, for services to literature and drama. Here he briefly tells BBC News his thoughts about religion.

Would you describe yourself as religious?

I've always been fascinated by religion. For me it's the deepest form of human expression, along with culture.

Hanif Kureishi
Hanif Kureishi's favourite religious song is the Rolling Stones's "Sympathy for the Devil"

God is mankind's finest creation. Has there been a better idea than that of God?

Do you believe in God, and if so, what sort of god?

I believe in the need to understand what the idea of God, or gods, do for us.

What do you think happens after you die?

You dissolve into the minds of others, and you haunt them until they are tired of you, and even after.

Does it change your view of someone when you find out that they are religious and how?

You have to think about whether they are merely following the values of those around them, or whether they are delusional psychotics!

Is religion a good thing?

That's an impossible question.

Most people in most societies during human history have lived in what could be described as 'religious' communities.

Religions, like novels and myths, describe the world and help make it safer.

What impact has religion had on your life?

It's made me think about the important questions: sexuality, childhood, authority, death, power.

Have you ever had a religious experience and can you describe it?

I was thrown out of the East London mosque for being a dissident writer and critic of radical Islam.

What is your favourite religious song?

Sympathy for the Devil, by the Rolling Stones.

What religious leader, if any, most inspires you?

Most religious leaders are ignorant fools.

It's a shame so few of them are intelligent or even interesting.

It makes you wonder why the dullest people hang around religions. Gives the whole thing a bad name.

What is your favourite religious book?

The most interesting work about the use of religion as a form of organisation of the resentful and envious is Nietzsche's "On The Genealogy of Morals".

Print Sponsor

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2019 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific