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Jan 20 2012

Mr Rushdie regrets

More on Rushdie not in Jaipur.

Times of India:

Two prominent authors on Friday read out portions from Salman Rushdie’s banned book “Satanic Verses” at the Jaipur Literature Festival as a mark of protest after the India-born author had to pull out of the event over security concerns.

As the literary community expressed outrage over Rushdie not being able to make the trip, Hari Kunzru and Amitava Kumar used their session at the festival to read from “Satanic Verses”. The controversial book was banned in the country shortly after it was published in 1988, for allegedly hurting the sentiments of Muslims.

Love those guys.

The organizers later asked Kumar not to go ahead with his reading. Kumar initially agreed to the suggestion but later continued reading from Rushdie’s work.

Later, authors Jeet Thayil and Ruchir Joshi also read from the Satanic Verses.

The BBC:

Author Salman Rushdie has withdrawn from India’s biggest literary festival, saying that he feared assassination after influential Muslim clerics protested against his participation.

The author had been due to speak at the Jaipur literature festival.

He said he had been told by sources that assassins “may be on the way to Jaipur to kill me”.

Wait for it -

Salman Rushdie sparked anger in the Muslim world with his book The Satanic Verses, which many see as blasphemous.

There it is. Wouldn’t do not to have that.

The author had been scheduled to speak on the opening day of the five-day Jaipur event which began on Friday, but earlier this week organisers said his schedule had changed and took his name off the list of speakers.

“I have now been informed by intelligence sources in Maharashtra and Rajasthan that paid assassins from the Mumbai underworld may be on their way to Jaipur to ‘eliminate’ me,” Salman Rushdie said in a statement read out at the festival.

“While I have some doubts about the accuracy of this intelligence, it would be irresponsible of me to come to the festival in such circumstances; irresponsible to my family, to the festival audience and to my fellow writers,” he added.

“I will therefore not travel to Jaipur as planned.”

Correspondents say the protests against this year’s planned trip are linked to crucial state elections due in Uttar Pradesh.

Correspondents say no political party wants to antagonise the Muslim community, which constitutes 18% of voters in the state, India’s largest.

Notice that correspondents apparently assume that Muslims can be seen as a solid bloc or a “community” which thinks and votes as one. Somewhat “Islamophobic,” that.

 

 

 

9 comments

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  1. 1
    'Tis Himself

    Allah must be seen by its followers as a particularly weak god if they think they have to assassinate someone who supposedly “blasphemed” Allah. Any god worth it’s name should be able to launch a lightning bolt at blasphemers, apostates and other folks pissing the god off. But Allah’s followers have noticed the lack of retribution from Ol’ Al, so they have to take up the slack.

    Any god who can’t make it in the smiting department isn’t worthy of worship. So why is Al one of the more popular deities?

  2. 2
    Your Name's not Bruce?

    Of course any god who does make it in the smiting department isn’t worthy of worship either…

  3. 3
    Jeff Engel

    Smiting people for the boss is a way to show you’re committed to the job and eager for promotion.

    But they don’t really think that smiting is going to happen without Allah working through followers like them, so Allah’s will just amounts to whatever they think they need to do to maintain their religion. That takes scaring people – Rushdie, anyone who’ll choose social or secular values over religious ones, certainly the politicians. If people with a more moderate conception of Islam – at any rate, Muslims who are less interested in terror – can be intimidated into silence, or convinced it’s a matter of crucial solidarity, then the thugs create that monolithic Islamist bloc and establish themselves as its spokesmen.

  4. 4
    F

    Sure, that’s Islamophobic*. Or Accomodationist. Or political pandering.

    *My prior understanding of the term. Now I would think that it wasn’t Islamophobic, but antagonizing the 18% would be.

  5. 5
    Eric MacDonald

    jeffengel said:

    If people with a more moderate conception of Islam – at any rate, Muslims who are less interested in terror – can be intimidated into silence, or convinced it’s a matter of crucial solidarity, then the thugs create that monolithic Islamist bloc and establish themselves as its spokesmen.

    This is the way that tyranny begins. I think it has begun. The same thing holds in many other places as well, such as Queen Mary College. When a man came in and made terrorist threats, instead of calling in the police and making sure that the lecturer and participants were safe, and the guilty party charged with terrorist related threats of violence, the lecture was cancelled. Terrorism or the threat of terrorism is very effective, and when we allow it to be, we become complicit. Freedoms are lost this way. India just became a less safe place by a fairly large margin, though it was good to hear that some participants were ready to give the finger to the terrorists in the name of freedom.

  6. 6
    James Sweet
    Salman Rushdie sparked anger in the Muslim world with his book The Satanic Verses, which many see as blasphemous.

    There it is. Wouldn’t do not to have that.

    Playing Devil’s Advocate (er, uh, anti-Devil’s verses’ advocate, I guess?), if you were writing a news story and you needed a sentence to explain to the rare reader who had never heard of Rushdie just what the hell these theocratic assholes are all violent about, how would you do it 25 words or less? The quoted sentence above is 19, and does the job handily — though of course I understand and share your objection, at least in principle.

    I suppose “The Muslim world was angered by Salman Rushdie’s book The Satanic Verses, which many see as blasphemous” is a slight improvement, since the action now seems to be with the Muslim world become angered rather than with Rushdie “sparking” anger. Although if we really parse it, it is still the book doing the angering, that fact is just concealed somewhat by the grammatical choice. And it still has to repeat the claim that the book is blasphemous uncritically — I don’t see any way around that other than to go on a multi-paragraph digression.

    I dunno, maybe I’m being thick and there is a better way of getting across the back story in just as few words. I’m seeing this less as a swipe, though, and more as just a journalistic necessity.

  7. 7
    James Sweet

    “The Muslims world angered itself by deciding that Salman Rushdie’s book was blasphemous.”? heh…

  8. 8
    Jeff Engel

    I suppose “The Muslim world was angered by Salman Rushdie’s book The Satanic Verses, which many see as blasphemous” is a slight improvement, since the action now seems to be with the Muslim world become angered rather than with Rushdie “sparking” anger. Although if we really parse it, it is still the book doing the angering, that fact is just concealed somewhat by the grammatical choice. And it still has to repeat the claim that the book is blasphemous uncritically — I don’t see any way around that other than to go on a multi-paragraph digression.

    I dunno, maybe I’m being thick and there is a better way of getting across the back story in just as few words. I’m seeing this less as a swipe, though, and more as just a journalistic necessity.

    Part of it is journalistic training, in that passive voice constructions are supposed to be avoided. It really would be better here, but it’s an option writing habits will shy away from.

    Part of it is likely journalistic laziness – they are pounding out copy, and phrasing things so that they’re accurate, fair to Rushdie, and probably not offensive to that perceived Islamic bloc would take a little time to think.

    I’d nominate “Some influential Muslim imams considered Rushdie’s novel _The Satanic Verses_ blasphemous and called for his death.” “Sparking anger” is also bad phrasing because it is far too mild.

  9. 9
    Ophelia Benson

    Sure, I realize it’s journalistic shorthand – although I don’t think it’s a case of each journo having to think up the phrase afresh each time: the phrase used is identical to the phrase used a few days ago; it’s pretty obvious that it’s a stock phrase used whenever this issue comes up. But I think it’s wildly irresponsible at best, given the circumstances, to use blame-the-victim language like that. That’s why I point it out every time. I really think the BBC needs to stop saying “X sparked anger in the Muslim world” when the subject is some Muslims choosing to get angry for no good reason and resulting threats, murder, assault, lethal riots. The BBC ought to be responsible about this. It shouldn’t be slyly blaming Rushdie…or Lars Vilks or Kurt Westergaard or Theo Van Gogh or any other Islam-tease.

    And actually I don’t think it is journalistic shorthand in the sense of being an unavoidable necessity. It’s a stock phrase, and the BBC in its wisdom could certainly figure out a better stock phrase if it wanted to. It doesn’t want to. It disapproves of Islam-teases.

    That phrase “the Muslim world” is idiotic too. Bloc thinking and patronizing, both.

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