Dateline Lyon, France, 2017: Salman Rushdie, the only modern author to earn an official warrant for his arrest and execution from the Islamic world, was born into the world of Islam in Bombay, India. He is an author who published a novel “Satanic Verses” in 1989. By no means a saint of any sort, this sly Third World leftist former small-time stage actor does, however, hold a grudge against Islam, and does so intellectually so that he can reason his way through his opposition to the spread of Islam, to his credit.
He is a scandal-embroiled individual, something of a taboo theme man in the Muslim world, where he is an apostate condemned to death. Ironically, the unnecessary Muslim meddling into the content of this book became the source of its greatest publicity, for without the intolerant noises against the book practically nobody would have even noticed its existence. In 1989, a decrepit old leading Muslim fanatic in Tehran who never in his life smiled once, known as the Ayatollah Khomeini, enacted a fatwa (religious edict) calling on Muslims to destroy the said writer and burn his book. He has been something of a reclusive figure in the years since, especially because he worried for his life.
The content of The Satanic Verses is not the only complaint by the Islamic community (known in Arabic as “ummah”) against Rushdie. While the book’s prosaic depiction of Muhammad is often cited as the reason Rushdie has experienced so much hatred, many conservative Muslims were just as offended by the liberal life choices made by Rushdie. Many believe he abandoned Islam and disrespected his upbringing, his country, and his traditions after moving to England. Rushdie was born into Islam and naturally raised as a Muslim, although he ultimately declared himself an atheist, becoming an apostate in the eyes of Islam. To appease those who wished to execute him, he publicly announced a return to Islam in 1990. His cowardly “change of heart” did nothing to stop the death threats because everybody could see right through it, and he later admitted that it was all for show.
The reaction among the Muslim mobs to The Satanic Verses was violent. Death threats were made, bookstores were bombed, and Rushdie no longer felt safe in public. While still making appearances on occasion, he spent a large part of ten years keeping his location a secret, with an expensive government-paid security detail. Although he is no longer in hiding, Rushdie reports that he still receives an annual reminder from the Iranian government about their plans to execute him. Rushdie has led a tumultuous personal life, largely of his own making. Apparently, all this trouble did not impede his sexual exploits and his cheating nature, which is why he was married four times. He was romantically linked with many actresses and models. Apparently, inviting danger is still sexy to some bored ladies of the jet-set. Queen Elizabeth II apparently never reads her country’s tabloid newspapers. So, in 2007, this loud opponent of European traditions and the Colonial Era (during which the Western Civilization expanded) was ennobled or knighted by the Queen of England to become “Sir” Ahmed Salman Rushdie.
In his apocryphal and nearly unreadable book, The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie launches a convoluted backdoor assault on the mysteries of Islamic faith as it pertains to this faith’s delivery of its God’s revealed messages to prophet Muhammad. Rushdie offers an alternative tale of Muhammad’s errors and the Devil’s interference with Muhammad’s prophecies. The imagined verses recited in a dream (created by Rushdie) offering alternative versions of the Quran were alleged in his book to come from the Devil, which is why Prophet Muhammad in the story had to excuse himself from prophetic labors for a while before resuming the self-righteous course.
It would have been nice to see Rushdie oppose Islam for the right political reasons, instead of self-promotion, ironically — of the kind that prophet Muhammad has on his mind in the condemned novel. While criticizing the Right in every country, nonetheless Salman Rushdie opposes Islam’s expansion. How loyal is he to the cause of the salvation of the West? After all, loyalty is not his forte. Rushdie betrayed the faith of his ancestors as much as he betrayed the four wives he married and who left him due to his effusive cheating. It is astonishing that an English Queen or her government would grant such a man knighthood but endorse a ban on travel to England for some eminent and highly moral American conservative authors whose only “guilt” was to speak the truth about Islam on much clearer terms than Rushdie ever offered in his fictional writings. It used to be that knights were noble men. In any case, Rushdie, for better or for worse, is an ally in the war against Islam’s encroachment, for whatever his contribution is worth – it is something.
The blindness of the West to Jihadism worries Salman Rushdie
After France and Belgium, Great Britain, where you lived for a long time, is targetted by terrorists. In your opinion, is jihadism a radicalization of Islam or a nihilist revolt that has crystallized in Islam?
I am in fundamental disagreement with these left-wing people who do everything to dissociate fundamentalism from Islam. For fifty years, Islam has been radicalized. On the Shiite side, there was Imam Khomeini and his Islamic revolution. In the Sunni world, there was Saudi Arabia, which used its immense resources to finance the spread of this fanaticism of Wahhabism. But this historical evolution took place within Islam and not outside. When the people of ISIS are blown up, they do it by saying “Allahu Akbar”, so how can we then say that this has nothing to do with Islam? It must be stopped.
For the novelist Salman Rushdie, one must be “stupid” not to see it: the origins of jihadism, this increasingly violent holy war to propagate and defend Islam, including waves of attacks in the streets London, Brussels or Paris, are indeed signs of radicalization of this religious current. And the blindness of the Western Left, to avoid the stigmatization of Muslims, has always been counterproductive, even contributing to the darkening of the world, writes the author of Two Years, Eight and Twenty-eight Nights.
“For 50 years, Islam has been radicalized,” summarizes Salman Rushdie in a recent interview given to French magazine L’Obs on the sidelines of the international gathering of novelists at Villa Gillet in Lyon, France, in which he took part last week. “When the people of ISIS blow up, they do it by saying “Allahu Akbar”, so how can we say that this has nothing to do with Islam? We must stop this stupid blindness. “
The man who, since 1989, lives under the influence of a fatwa enacted against him by Ayatollah Khomeini in the wake of his Satanic Verses , a book deemed blasphemous, says he understands the reasons for that denial which aims to avoid falling into the “amalgamation of a minority of radicalized Islamists into the majority that is not.” “But precisely, to avoid this stigma, it is much more effective to recognize the nature of the problem and treat it,” he adds.
In an era where “everything can happen” and where “something strange is happening in the world,” he said, the call to lucidity would have to be taken very seriously. “When a deviance grows within a system, it can devour it,” the novelist summarizes, recalling that “most Muslims are not extremists,” as “most Russians were not champions of the Gulag” and that “most Germans were not Nazis”. But he adds that this did not “prevent the Soviet Union and Hitler’s Germany from existing”.
According to him, jihad is not what several theorists of the present call ”nihilist revolt” that would ride Islam like a utility vehicle. And what is worrying is to hear “Marine Le Pen [the radical candidate involved in the last electoral race in France] analyzing Islamism with more accuracy than the left”, it is also “to see that the extreme right is able to take the measure of the threat more clearly than the left,” and that is why it makes sense today to warn the world, because “this will pose a problem in the future, unless we change our way of thinking.“
Salman Rushdie, who lives today in the United States, where he says he feels “close to the awakening of the American left” who has just entered resistance, is also afflicted by the “calamitous” presidency of Donald Trump, , “Even if he commits a serious offense a day” he continues to be worshiped by his electorate. “In the United States, the moral barriers that prevented the worst behaviors have been skipped,” he said. The courts and the media are also under threat . […] The more the president scandalizes the world, the more those who voted for him appreciate it. He was elected to destroy the world order, and that’s what he is doing,” he said, now calling on the rest of the world to stop him from doing so.
Islamic mobs burning the book by Rushdie.