Allowing religion to have political influence turns it into something "cruel and wicked", the author Philip Pullman has argued, as he condemns the "terrible things" Islamic extremists have "done to young girls in the name of religion".

Pullman, the author of the His Dark Materials trilogy, said society must resist allowing religion to "pry into places it doesn't belong", including politics.

Speaking of religious zealots of all denominations, he added power had now been given to a "group of men who have an unhealthy interest in other people's sexuality".

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