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Author Topic: Sir Salman Rushdie's fatwa against freedom of expression  (Read 790 times)
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« on: Aug 12, 2008 09:15 AM »


Ironic or what -- J.

==================================

Sir Salman Rushdie's fatwa against freedom of expression

SIR Salman Rushdie, that beloved symbol of freedom of expression, has now turned Khomeini, so to speak, exposing, in an ironic twist of tale, the hypocrisy and double standards that marked the entire liberal case for unqualified and unrestrained freedom of representation.

The man, in whose defence the world's intelligentsia mounted an intellectual blitzkrieg against the alleged medievalism of the Muslim masses, has threatened to sue the publishers of a book about him by a former police officer, Ron Evans. In his forthcoming book, On Her Majesty's Service: My Incredible Life in the World's Most Dangerous Close Protection Squad, Evans dares to paint a rather unflattering portrait of the writer, whose unflattering ways stirred up controversies ever since he began to write. Rushdie alleges that the book “destroys his character” and “presents wholly made up incidents as facts.”

Echoing his Muslim critics, Rushdie says in an interview with The Guardian: “This is not a free speech issue, this is libel — there is a difference between those two things. I can defend the truth, I will not have my character destroyed and presented to the world as something that it is not. I am not trying to prevent him from publishing his stupid book but if they publish it as it is there will be consequences and there will be a libel action.” Contrast this indignation with the Satanic Verses which describes a brothel in which all the sex workers take the names of the Prophet's wives, who are revered by Muslims as the mothers of the believers.

"He is portraying me as mean, nasty, tight-fisted, arrogant and extremely unpleasant. In my humble opinion I am none of those things," says the writer, who used the derogatory name Mahound for the prophet, a term that smacked off the crusades.

“It is an obscenity to suggest that I asked people to leave the room so that I could have sex with my girlfriend. I will not have that said about me,” avers Rushdie. This prudish protestation comes from the man who described Margaret Thatcher as “Maggie the Bitch” in his novel. He had this to write about white women: “Never mind fat, Jewish, non-deferential, white women were for ******* and throwing over.”

Ironically, Evans, the victim of the novelist's ire, was a member of the Scotland Yard team which protected Sir Salman when he faced death threats. Compared to Rushdie's favourite epithets to describe many eminent historical figures, Evan's description of Rushdie as nasty and arrogant is rather mild. After all, not even Rushdie's supporters consider him a paragon of good personal conduct and refinement. What Rushdie's critics told then is exactly what he now parrots in his defence. “The simple fact of the matter is that nothing of this sort happened.”

The last two decades have seen many interesting debates, occasionally spilling over to the streets, on the holy subject of freedom of expression. Almost always, with few exceptions, Islam and Muslims were at the receiving end. The tone and tenor of the raging controversies seemed to suggest that the medieval mindset of the Muslims made them extra-sensitive to even well intentioned and mild criticisms. Many a writer, ranging from the quotidian pen-pusher to exalted names from world literature, lamented the intolerance of the Muslim community.

There was indeed a grain of truth in the charges levelled against the community. One always felt there were better ways of handling criticisms and vilifications. Thoughtless reaction to criticisms on the part of Muslim leadership has done enormous disservice not only to the reputation of the community, but also to literature! For example, the hue and cry over the writings of Taslima Nasrin, a third-rate writer by any reckoning, has elevated her to the level of an international celebrity. At least those who never read her books seem to think she is a great writer!

However, one point repeatedly made by defenders of the Muslim view point seemed to have always fallen on deaf years. The point was that each society had its own inviolable sanctities and sacred imaginations which define, to a large extent, the collective subconscious of people identified as a single bloc by virtue of nationhood, religion, culture or whatever. Muslims have their notions of the sacred and inviolable just as other societies have theirs; counter-narratives on the Holocaust are still a punishable offence in several Western countries. Though in varying degrees, all peoples, both on individual and collective levels, are sensitive to certain modes of representation. That is precisely why all cultures sought to distinguish between free speech and libel in one way or another.

The debates around Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses showed the appalling selectivity with which arguments were deployed in his defence, marshalling an array of liberal concepts to justify his distortion of a very crucial part of Islamic history. Many objective observers who tried to dispassionately understand the issue pointed out the double standards and chicanery that marked the debate. But Western intelligentsia and their supporters elsewhere largely ignored the arguments that called for a balanced approach to the whole issue, instead of looking at the issue of freedom of expression in absolute terms.

Now, that Rushdie himself has called his bluff and betrayed his own cause, true to his consistent pattern, it is perhaps pertinent to parody those statements made ad nauseam over the last few decades: Banning of books is a reactionary way of handling differences; the solution is to intellectually fight the contents of the book. A writer of Rushdie's stature must not try to stop the publishing of a book. He must let the people judge the book and the opinions expressed therein about him, just as he wanted the people to judge the contents of The Satanic Verses. Courts of law are not the best places to judge the merits and demerits of books and films, but the wise republic of the readers and the viewers!
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« Reply #1 on: Aug 12, 2008 03:30 PM »

Typical hypocrisy to be expected from  him.
It is interesting how when roles are changed they react.

Im interested to see what all the reactions would be like if the book is actually published.

Mashallaah sis good one. purplehijabisis
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« Reply #2 on: Aug 12, 2008 07:25 PM »

I was surfing the net a few days ago through google and I came across a few articles about him which I hardly paid attention to.

What goes round comes round.  No one can hide behind hypocracy forever.

Quote
But Western intelligentsia and their supporters elsewhere largely ignored the arguments that called for a balanced approach to the whole issue, instead of looking at the issue of freedom of expression in absolute terms.

It would be interesting to see what this particular group will say.  Or maybe they will just decide to keep quiet this time round.  Saddam used to be their friend.  He was the looser in the end.  Salman Rushdie has been treading the same path albeit differently. 

The Almighty Allah says,

"When a servant thinks of Me, I am near.
When he invokes Me, I am with him.
If he reflects on Me in secret, I reply in secret,
And if he acknowledges Me in an assembly,
I acknowledge him in a far superior assembly."

- Prophet Muhammad (SAW), as reptd by Abu Huraira
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« Reply #3 on: Aug 12, 2008 09:10 PM »

Freedom of expression is only the freedom to insult Islam and Muslims as well as committing other blasphemies.
Nothing else is protected.
British prisons are full of Muslims locked up for saying things Kaffir don’t like.
And American grave yards are full of people executed for saying things white people didn’t want to hear.
Malcolm X, Martin Luther King and the rest of them were all executed for what they said.
The Capitalism of America and the UK is no less authoritarian than the Communism of Stalin or the Fascism of Hitler.
They like to point the finger at each other, but they are all the same.
Just a bunch of Kaffir living by man made systems. They rule people who think they are free from Allah laws, but are too dumb to realise they are enslaved to man made laws.
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« Reply #4 on: Aug 12, 2008 09:24 PM »

salam


What I cannot even begin to understand, is why on earth Rushdie got a knighthood in the first place, he basically insulted the queen in the satanic verses, he had a whole bit about sleeping with her (vomit inducing scenario in and of itself). I bet none of his 'supporters' could bring themselves to read more than a few pages of his book.

One of my old bosses refused to buy or read any of his books based on how horrendous his book 'midnights children' was, she was not muslim, nor asian, nor english. But for a white american lady she had a lot of common sense, and was able to make up her own mind.



Wassalaam

And when My servants question thee concerning Me, then surely I am nigh. I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he crieth unto Me. So let them hear My call and let them trust in Me, in order that they may be led aright. Surah 2  Verse 186
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