Salman Rushdie on ventilator

This is totally appalling.
Fanaticism at its worst.


The world is truly a very dangerous place now. Don’t think I could have coped all these years with so many out to get me, you just never know who anyone is.

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Yet how many people encouraged / laughed at / didn’t protest at the threats made against JK Rowling


Or was it religous, was the fatwa ever recinded?
Ahh religion, the seat of power for men worldwide and always for the subrogation of women.


Not with Quakers and Sikhs.


I heard that the fatwa cannot now be withdrawn - as only the cleric that issued it can cancel it, and Khomeini has been dead since 1989 (he died not long after issuing the fatwa in fact).

Mind you, I picked that one up online so take it with a pinch of salt.

It sounds like it was a frenzied attack which will leave Rushdie with life changing injuries - possible loss of an eye, paralysed arm, vocal cord damage.

Dreadful, dreadful, dreadful.

I heard the same on the BBC yesterday. Though Islam seems to be a make it up as you go along sort of thing for many, so maybe some other cleric could have come up with an interpretation that “withdrew it”. It seems Iran had distanced itself from it for quite some time.

Interesting point:

If there is a larger lesson to take from this it’s to examine how we have all, in the words of Kenan Malik, “internalised”’ the fatwa in the belief that it is better to be silent than to give offence.

The fatwa was not ‘rescinded’. It is extant. In 1989 the Iranian government declared it no longer supported it but the ayatollah who succeeded Khomeini - Khomenei - declared it still in effect in 2019.

No declaration of faith or apologies by Rushdie could have any mitigating effect.

Once promulgated it would continue to fester in the minds of those who believed the ‘reasons’ for issuing it were still reasons to carry it out. The passing of the years would not - have not - made it less likey that some fanatic would try. ‘Fanatic’ seems to be the word for the assailant. An eye witness said that his ferocity was such that it took five men to overwhelm and contain him.

In 1989 I was in Peshawar, Pakistan, shortly after the “Satanic Verses” riot in Islamabad. I discussed the fatwa and the book with my Afghan colleagues. I was aware that I took some risks with what I said. I had already been told by one of my colleagues, the previous year, that only because I was “his friend and his teacher” that he had refrained from killing me, as his culture demanded - and that simply for asking who farted in the darkroom!

Nobody in the office came near me for a hour or so until one of the guys expained “Mr. Chris. What you ar saying - this is very, very bad. It is against our culture.” Then the farter told me the above. Close call. What price declaring myself to be an unbeliever?

They asked me if I believed in God. I said I did not. I went on to say that if God exists and is, as Christians and Muslim alike believe to be The Almighty, creater of Heaven and Earth and all things, it was unreasonable to believe that a work of fiction by any mere man could ‘offend’ Him. He must be beyond offence.

I recall hearing a liberal Muslim - a woman - saying that Islam badly needed its own ‘Reformation’. So it does. Religions of all stripes have, over the centuries since their emergence, accumulated layer upon layer of beliefs and edicts that were never part of the original. In the main, these accretions were to increase the level of control over the faithful, much of it aimed at women.

Where, in Christianity, can one find the edict that women may not sing in the choir “because their voices are too worldly”? This has given us the wonderful treble voices of King’s, Cambridge but as an edict of the C o E it has, rightly, long gone.

The appalling distortion of Islam that is the mod op of The Taliban is an extreme example.

I thought “Midnight’s Children” and “Shame” were superb books. I tried to read “Satanic Verses” but gave up through sheer boredom. Sorry to say “The Ground Beneath Her Feet” had the same effect.

Rushdie looks to have survived this attack. Regrettably it may well encourage others to try. More regrettable still, only his death will release him from this dreadful situation.

better news today it seems

An understandable reaction. “At it’s worst” ? It’s on a scale of depravity. The Omagh bombing? At bottom, a conflict based on Christian religious sectarianism.

World Trade Centres? The endless succession of assassinations of Indian and Pakistani premiers, including Mahatma Gandhi himself? The shootings at schools in the USA?

Unlike those last, which seem to be based on mental aberration, for a Muslim to die in carrying out a fatal atrocity, he dies in belief of spectacular rewards in the hereafter and is regarded as a martyr by his community.

The meting out of Western justice on this attacker will be seen as confirmation of the reason to continue this aspect of the jihad.

Same here. I just couldn’t get through it. It was like trying to swim in treacle.

Yes exactly.
But it really isn’t about the book itself any more, is it.


I can’t finish reading what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it.

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Of course not. It hasn’t been since the first rioting and burnings of the book. But I did think it worth mentioning that I [and others who have reported that they have read it] are to some degree familiar with the contents.

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A few years ago I was asked to go to Pakistan and flatly refused on the grounds that I’d stick out like a ‘sore thumb’ and the risk of some fanatic doing something unpredictable was just too high in my opinion! India on the other hand - I had many many trips and found the locals to be absolutely delightful, but there were obligatory bomb checks on the car entering the hotel, then metal detector before actually entering the hotel - given my trips were after the Mumbai horrors it was hardly surprising. What a crazy world we live in! I think Mr Rushdie has been extremely lucky on this occasion.

Everything would depend on why you were there and the people with whom you were involved. As a colleague of Pathans, their culture was be to protect me even when, as I have described, I caused great [unwitting] offence.

The American civil engineer with whom I shared a house in Peshawar had a meaty revolver in the drawer of his bedside locker. Our offices, The Afghan Media Resource Centre, had AK47s and pistols on the inventory. These were only evident after the offices closed at the end of the day to protect our audio-vis hardware from looting.

I was once told by a Nigerian, in 1969, that, as a representative of the hated colonialists, if I came to Nigeria he would be obliged to kill me. Being his colleague stuffing envelopes in an office in the G.M.C. for ‘Mind’, we were great pals.

It’s Africa I wouldn’t go to. Or some countries in central/south America.

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I’ve done a few jobs in Africa (Morocco, Ghana, etc) without problems - but for the British Council, which looks after you pretty well.

A friend of mine had to speak at a big conference in Nigeria. He was advised to wear a suit and tie despite the intense heat. When it came to his turn he was covered in sweat, and started his speech asking ‘Whose idea was it to wear suits in this heat?’ - upon which a Nigerian in the audience called out: ‘The British!’