Remember the attack on Zainub Dala last month? After she said at a writers’ festival in Durban that one of the many writers she admired was Salman Rushdie? Well now, according to PEN America, she’s been shoved into a mental institution. Bookslive.co.za reports:
Now, according to PEN America, the shocking news has come about that Dala has been put under “extreme pressure” by members of the Muslim community in Durban to “renounce her statement about Rushdie’s work” and “to make a public vow of religious loyalty to Islam”.
When she refused, she was apparently admitted to a mental institution.
PEN America has called for Dala’s “immediate and unconditional release” and has also called on President Jacob Zuma and the South African Authorities to “ensure Ms Dala’s safety and to prevent reprisals against her freedom of expression and thought”.
PEN American Center expressed outrage at the harassment and confinement in a mental institution of South African psychologist and novelist Zainub Priya Dala (ZP Dala) exacted in reprisal for her comments in appreciation of the writing of former PEN American Center President Salman Rushdie. Speaking at a literary event at a school several weeks ago, Dala voiced public appreciation for Rushdie’s work. Shortly thereafter she was the victim of a violent attack in which the assailants referenced her praise for Rushdie. She was hit in the face with a brick and had a knife held to her throat, resulting in a broken cheekbone. Regrettably, rather than rallying around Dala, some members of the local Muslim community in Durban, South Africa, have ostracized Dala, putting her under extreme pressure to renounce her statement about Rushdie’s work, to repent for her “sins,” and to make a public vow of religious loyalty to Islam. When she continued to refuse to make a religious vow or other statements inconsistent with her personal beliefs she was admitted to a mental institution. A psychologist by profession, Dala is the mother of a young child and ultimately consented to go to the hospital to avoid intense and intrusive harassment at her home. She also reports continued questioning about her beliefs by hospital staff.
It just never ends.