Peder D4

Discussion of politics and other odious things

Monday, June 18, 2007

Make that 'Sir' Rushdie

I'm not a huge fan of Queen Elizabeth's track record of knighting folks. My notion is that Sir Whatsisname should do something more important than right pop songs. Quaint notions of bravery and whatnot. But this time she's making a good choice by awarding a knighthood to Salman Rushdie.
You may remember him as the author of 'The Satanic Verses', a book that caused a fatwa to be issued, calling for his death. Well, some people still remember.
Pakistan has condemned Britain's award of a knighthood to author Salman Rushdie as an affront to Muslim sentiments, and a Cabinet minister said the honor provided a justification for suicide attacks.

"This is an occasion for the (world's) 1.5 billion Muslims to look at the seriousness of this decision," Mohammed Ijaz ul-Haq, religious affairs minister, said in parliament.

"The West is accusing Muslims of extremism and terrorism. If someone exploded a bomb on his body, he would be right to do so unless the British government apologizes and withdraws the 'sir' title," ul-Haq said.

Read that last sentence again. Who could possibly accuse someone of extremism for advocating suicide bombings in response to a knighthood? Seriously, there really is a problem with people that react this way.
Looking around at Reason (everyone's favorite libertarian mag), I ran across this interview with the author from 2005. In it, he talks about that fatwa, his political evolution and how to honestly deal with this virulent strain of Islam.

Reason: You wrote an essay criticizing President Bush and other Western leaders for claiming after 9/11 that "this is not about Islam." In what way is this about Islam?

Rushdie: Well, you know, that was said for good reasons. It was said to minimize the backlash against Muslims. But just in terms of actual fact, it is absurd. It is not about football.

The fact that it is about a particular idea of Islam that many Muslims would reject does not mean it is not about Islam. The Christian Coalition is still about Christianity, even if it's an idea of Christianity that many Christians might not go along with.

Reason: What they mean is that it is not about Islam properly understood. That it is about certain extreme followers of Islam who might not be interpreting the religion correctly.

Rushdie: Yes, but Wahhabi Islam is becoming very powerful these days. To say that it is not about Islam is to not take the world as it really is.

Interesting stuff from one of our most important contemporary authors.


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