Salman Rushdie fatwa redux


by Sunny
18th June, 2007 at 3:58 pm    

Oh god, here we go again.

Pakistani lawmakers passed a government-backed resolution Monday demanding Britain withdraw the knighthood awarded to author Salman Rushdie, condemning the honour as an insult to the religious sentiments of Muslims. In the eastern city of Multan, hard-line Muslim students burned effigies of Queen Elizabeth II and Rushdie. About 100 students carrying banners condemning the author also chanted, “Kill him! Kill him!”

Sheesh. Maybe Musharraf should sort his own problems out before telling others what to do. What’s interesting though, as a friend who called me and said just now, is that British Muslim orgs have been remarkably quiet on this issue given the MCB came about thanks to Rushdie. I think it may be a sign of their political maturity (however negligible that may be), that they’ve realised there’s little to be gained from dredging this up all over again. Or have I spoken too soon? Let’s see.

Update: I spoke to soon about the MCB. Political maturity? Fogeddaboudid. Anyway, more interesting is this quote I found (via SepiaMutiny):

Let me repeat what I said at the beginning: Britain isn’t Nazi Germany. The British Empire isn’t the Third Reich. But in Germany, after the fall of Hitler, heroic attempts were made by the people to purify German thought and the German language of the pollution of Nazism. Such acts of cleansing are occasionally necessary in every society. But British thought, British society, has never been cleansed of the filth of imperialism. It’s still there, breeding lice and vermin, waiting for unscrupulous people to exploit it for their own ends.

That was Salman Rushdie in 1982. No wonder Priyamvada Gopal was annoyed.


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  1. ZinZin — on 18th June, 2007 at 4:25 pm  

    I don’t give a monkeys about the honours list but this time i will make an exception. If Sacranie gets an knighthood for being a reactionary troublemaker then Rushdie should get one for his literature and Journalism.

    Also the minister of religious affairs is inciting violence.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/6763119.stm

  2. saqib — on 18th June, 2007 at 4:31 pm  

    LOL

    I personally think having to bow down to the Queen, another human being, no better than you or me is a bigger insult.

    Unfortunately South Asians love their effigies and their matches too much.

  3. Gibs — on 18th June, 2007 at 4:33 pm  

    Who cares.

    If all these countries which are protesting against the knighthood were to boycott Britain altogether – we might even be BETTER off rather than worse off.

    There are plenty of other countries we could continue to trade with – EU, North America, the Far East, India.

  4. ally — on 18th June, 2007 at 4:57 pm  

    About 100 students carrying banners condemning the author also chanted, “Kill him! Kill him!”

    Tell ya what bugs me. When I was (more) young and (much more) stupid, I would go on demonstrations about anything and everything.

    About 200 of us gathered outside Marks and Spencers in Dundee once in about 1986, with an effigy of Maggie Thatcher and I’m buggered if I can remember what we were protesting about. Could have been anything. I just remembered that we couldn’t get the evil witch to burn, despite about a dozen boxes of Swan Vesta.

    I’ve been on demos with 50 people, and demos with 50,000 people, and both have attracted the same level of national and international press coverage: precisely zero.

    Nobody cared, nobody noticed.

    Getting a hundred people to a demo is pitiful. It is nothing. If I wanted to organise a protest against the fat bloke winning Britain’s Got Talent, I bet I could get a hundred people there. And we could all burn effigies of Simon Cowell, call for the beheading of Amanda Holden and see how much attention we get.

    And yet a hundred fuckwits in Karachi get it together to burn a bad effigy of Salman Rushdie and it is all over the world’s media for 24 hours. Who gives a shit? They’re nutters, doing it for the attention. Ignore them and they’ll go away.

    Grrrr. Pissed off now.

  5. sonia — on 18th June, 2007 at 5:02 pm  

    heh how silly. and he never even invented the phrase Satanic Verses either. bet the demo organiser and effigy seller didn’t tell them that.

    there really is a huge market in effigies in south asia isnt there?

  6. Don — on 18th June, 2007 at 5:19 pm  

    But he did invent the phrase ‘naughty but nice’.

    Let ‘em boycott cream cakes, as Marie Antoinette never said.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=df_fX8nAekw

  7. Ms_Xtreme — on 18th June, 2007 at 5:28 pm  

    How stupid. Thanks Muslims for keeping us in the limelight as idiotic effgy burning violent people.

    *rolly eye icon here*

  8. Jagdeep — on 18th June, 2007 at 5:36 pm  

    You spoke too soon Sunny. Abdul Bari of the MCB has spoken:

    Also today, Muhammad Abdul Bari, secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain, said many Muslims would regard the knighthood as the final insult from Tony Blair before he leaves office next week.

    The religious affairs minister of Pakistan also comes close to actually inciting suicide bombing against British citizens and the nation of Great Britain:

    “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 apologises and withdraws the ‘sir’ title.”

    Rushdie knighthood ‘justifies suicide attacks’

    In other news, Bernard Manning has died.

  9. Jagdeep — on 18th June, 2007 at 5:38 pm  

    If Sacranie gets an knighthood for being a reactionary troublemaker then Rushdie should get one for his literature and Journalism.

    That’s hilarious ZinZin. Sacranie said that ‘Hell would be too good for Rushdie’, the naughty little rabble rousing demagogue. Now he’s a fellow knight of the realm, wonder if they’ll hang out together or anything.

  10. ally — on 18th June, 2007 at 5:41 pm  

    In other news, Bernard Manning has died.

    Oh god help us. Brace yourself for all the revisionist ‘he was a very funny man and really nice to his friend Wasim Akram’ bollocks.

    Vicious old bigot. I never wish anyone dead, but I do read a few obituaries with a sigh of relief.

  11. Leon — on 18th June, 2007 at 6:05 pm  

    Oh god help us. Brace yourself for all the revisionist ‘he was a very funny man and really nice to his friend Wasim Akram’ bollocks.

    Yep, was thinking exactly the same…

  12. Jagdeep — on 18th June, 2007 at 6:05 pm  

    Yeah I reckon we’ll be seeing loads of that Ally, about how he was a beacon of good common sense in a world of oppresive political correctness.

  13. ZinZin — on 18th June, 2007 at 6:10 pm  

    What is the criteria for a knighthood? Other than a large donation to the Labour Party.

  14. Katy Newton — on 18th June, 2007 at 6:11 pm  

    Where do they get these effigies? Do they have effigy shops?

  15. Katy Newton — on 18th June, 2007 at 6:13 pm  

    It’s like with Jade Goody in India. Two hours after she’s been offensive they’re all out with their effigies. That’s some quick work there.

  16. ZinZin — on 18th June, 2007 at 6:17 pm  

    The MCB have done well out of Rushdie and now they have started whining about him getting an honour that Sir Iqbal shares. They should be thanking Rushdie not condemning him as they have done very well out of him.

  17. Rumbold — on 18th June, 2007 at 6:32 pm  

    A fatwa is now de rigeur for most celebrities, as it ensures that people will buy your product (in this case books), just so that they can burn it. Soon you will have agents flying out to Karachi to tell the locals there that David Beckham has criticized the Muslim understanding of Judgement Day, thus sending sales of ‘My Side’ skyrocketing.

  18. Jai — on 18th June, 2007 at 6:59 pm  

    Sacranie said that ‘Hell would be too good for Rushdie’, the naughty little rabble rousing demagogue. Now he’s a fellow knight of the realm, wonder if they’ll hang out together or anything.

    *Bollywood in-joke warning*

    It’s like Amar Akbar Anthony, where cop Vinod Khanna and roguish Amitabh Bachchan beat the crap out of each other when Amitabh basically challenges Khanna to a fight by saying his bravado’s only because of his uniform, before realising later on in the film that they’re brothers and thereby becoming the best of friends (with Rishi Kapoor tagging along, of course).

    If he didn’t realise how much of a bastard he was being during his lifetime (or simply didn’t care), he sure as hell does now…..

  19. Puffy — on 18th June, 2007 at 7:00 pm  

    “Also today, Muhammad Abdul Bari, secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain, said many Muslims would regard the knighthood as the final insult from Tony Blair before he leaves office next week.”

    Sound’s as if TB’s commission for promoting religious harmony will have its work cut out.

    Shame though that there is no Muslim organisation/ spokesperson standing up and saying how proud they are a fellow British Muslim and the leading BM literary star has finally been honoured and what a great role model he makes etc.

    I mean, what other role models are there: a boxer?

  20. Puffy — on 18th June, 2007 at 7:02 pm  

    Just how preposterous that seems just goes to show how bloody sad and ridiculous everything has become, now I think on it.

  21. Jai — on 18th June, 2007 at 7:02 pm  

    Crap, my last post came out wrong. Serves me right for trying to be flash with quotes in red font and whatnot….

    Correct version:

    Sacranie said that ‘Hell would be too good for Rushdie’, the naughty little rabble rousing demagogue. Now he’s a fellow knight of the realm, wonder if they’ll hang out together or anything.

    *Bollywood in-joke warning*

    It’s like Amar Akbar Anthony, where cop Vinod Khanna and roguish Amitabh Bachchan beat the crap out of each other when Amitabh basically challenges Khanna to a fight by saying his bravado’s only because of his uniform, before realising later on in the film that they’re brothers and thereby becoming the best of friends (with Rishi Kapoor tagging along, of course).

    Vicious old bigot. I never wish anyone dead, but I do read a few obituaries with a sigh of relief.

    If Bernard Manning didn’t realise how much of a bastard he was being during his lifetime (or simply didn’t care), he sure as hell does now…..

  22. Zak — on 18th June, 2007 at 7:42 pm  

    Vicious old bigot. I never wish anyone dead, but I do read a few obituaries with a sigh of relief.

    Haha that comment had me in stitches

  23. Puffy — on 18th June, 2007 at 7:43 pm  

    Instead we get “Lord” Ahmed on C4 News. And I paraphrase: “We get someone born in India whose contribution has been marginal and caused nothing but expense to the British taxpayer… we should look at the British interest as a whole, our communities have been brought into disripute for a man who does not even live in the United Kingdom.”

    Actually the last bit was verbatim. Who is this man Ahmed? Why is he a Lord? What has he contributed? WAS HE EVEN BORN IN ENGLAND?!

  24. flambingo — on 18th June, 2007 at 7:48 pm  

    I’ve just watched Lord Ahmed on C4 news. He appears to think that giving out a knighthood for services to literary fiction and pronouncing a death threat or sanctioning suicide bombing of authors is ‘equally provocative’. The mans a effing idiot….where can i get an effigy of him and some matches?

  25. Katy Newton — on 18th June, 2007 at 7:55 pm  

    I sympathise with Pakistan. I have read Salman Rushdie’s books and I personally find them unfinishable and deeply pretentious. If the fatwa had been issued on the basis of pretentious idiocy I would have said that their case was arguable. Personally I’d rather give a knighthood to David Beckham, who knocks himself out promoting English football abroad even if he is married to a cuticle stick. But at the end of the day he is here, not in Pakistan, and if the British government inexplicably wants to give him a knighthood then it is nothing to do with them.

  26. Ramiie — on 18th June, 2007 at 7:55 pm  

    Manning was white fear laughing to control the xenophobic brute.lol

  27. DavidMWW — on 18th June, 2007 at 8:08 pm  

    Maybe Musharraf should sort his own problems out before telling others what to do.

    Musharraf should definitely sort out his own problems – but did he actually say anything about the Rushdie knighthood? I haven’t seen anything…

  28. ziz — on 18th June, 2007 at 8:14 pm  

    I am not much of a bookburner but I think Rushdie has been responsible for wasting many acres of prime forest with his impenetrable books.

    It has always tickled me pink at the thought of the fiery jihadist having to read the 200 pages of utter crap to find the odd 17 words that so offended them.

    Without their enthusiatic publicity he would have faded into an ignoble obscurity.

    Sanity ( and a little honesty) will only return to Public Lufe well all these mediaeval honours are scrapped.

    Signed
    Lord Patel

  29. Gibs — on 18th June, 2007 at 8:22 pm  

    I really don’t know why Pakistan’s minister of religious affairs had to make the comments he did.

    If his country is angry with the knighthood, they should respond in a more civilised manner – by introducing trade sanctions, for instance.

    Perhaps they should ban British citizens from travelling to that country – which would suit me just fine because I haven’t the slightest intention of ever going there.

  30. Don — on 18th June, 2007 at 9:36 pm  

    ziz,

    You think they read it before being outraged?

    I managed Midnight’s Children (I was younger then and had more stamina)but never got far into any of the others.

  31. Eremos — on 18th June, 2007 at 10:17 pm  

    I’m with Katy on this one. His books are have been progressively getting rubbish. The Satanic Verses was a last ditch attempt to resurrect a flagging career.

    Now if they gave out fatwas for rubbish books, now that would be cool. No more pulp lining the walls of Waterstones.

    All this stink reminds me of the Brick Lane debacle of 2003 and 2006.

  32. sid — on 19th June, 2007 at 12:55 am  

    I too am with Katy on this one.

    Let’s face it, we all know why Sir Salman got his title.
    It is because he is a Muslim, a prominent “intellectual”, and he was firmly pro-Iraq war. He also happens to be a smooth media operator who has been lobbying hard for the title.

  33. Sunny — on 19th June, 2007 at 1:30 am  

    Someone else made that point to me today too, if the media stopped paying so much attention to these attention seeking imbeciles, then maybe we’d have less protests.

    I’m glad the media didn’t bother covering this weeekend’s ‘British Oppression’ demo.

    As for the Musharraf comment – true, he didn’t say anything, but I doubt this would have gone through without his approval. The man wants attention deflected away from him, I wouldn’t be surprised if this carries on in Pak for a bit. Most people will wonder what the fuss is about, a small bunch of troublemakers will continue to attract attention.

    As for the MCB, clearly I spoke too soon. God help us from such stupidity.

  34. Young Fogey — on 19th June, 2007 at 3:15 am  

    Whilst I have no particular interest in Sir Salman’s novels I am pleased to see him honoured as his knighthood demonstrates that whilst honouring our own we will not be intimidated or influenced by outside political pressures.

    It is of course ludicrous to claim that this honour is “an obvious example of fighting against Islam by high-ranking British officials.” Were this true we would not have seen a 2005 knighthood bestowed by The Queen upon Sir Iqbal Sacranie, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, described by The Guardian as the “Most Influential Muslim in the UK”.

    Rather than criticise the British government, Iran should congratulate Britain for having recently raised a number of British Muslims to the highest ranks of British Society as members of the House of Lords. These include Lord Ahmed of Rotherham, the first Muslim peer; Lord Patel of Blackburn, leader of the British Hajj Delegation; Baroness Falkner of Margravine; and Baroness Uddin of Bethnal Green. See my blog for more: http://www.bloggingyoungfogey.blogspot.com

  35. ChrisC — on 19th June, 2007 at 7:59 am  

    NB Sunny – that should be “fewer” protests, not “less”!

    The most readable (and short) Rushdie novel is “Fury”.
    Very good.

  36. Kulvinder — on 19th June, 2007 at 10:58 am  

    He deserving or not deserving a knighthood aside (its a matter of opinion after all), far far far worse things are said about Islam on the internet everyday. Getting upset over Salman Rushdie seems so quaint.

  37. Jagdeep — on 19th June, 2007 at 12:32 pm  

    Has anyone been to Hairy’s Place? They’ve written a full on apology for Bernard Manning, with the sap called Brownie declaring him a much maligned and benign victim of middle class white hypocrisy, that bile filled teller of Paki and Nigger and Coon jokes.

    What a pestilent little sewer that place is — and remember, they call themselves part of the Left.

    To be fair there are a fair few people who have dismantled the little prick’s thesis in the comments, but it doesnt make any difference to that bunch of twats.

    You heard it officially on Harrys Place folks — Paki and Nigger and Coon jokes don’t make you a racist.

  38. sid — on 19th June, 2007 at 1:38 pm  

    Well you know, Brownie at Harry’s Place never really faced racism in his life nor have his family suffered racist violence. But he has endured the next worst thing: middle class white hypocrisy.

    And we should all know that that’s enough to fish Manning’s legacy from Guardanista style condemnation. For Brownie, Manning was not racist or homophobic. He was simply a victim of the ‘the usual (middle-class) suspects’ who told a good nigger joke.

  39. Kismet Hardy — on 19th June, 2007 at 1:40 pm  

    An Asian man gets a knighthood

    Isn’t anyone going to be happy just by that in itself?

  40. sonia — on 19th June, 2007 at 1:55 pm  

    well are the englishman irishman and scotsman jokes racist?

  41. sid — on 19th June, 2007 at 2:04 pm  

    Not if they’re made by an englishman/scotsman. Similarly, Woody Allen cracking jewish jokes is not antisemitic.

  42. Kismet Hardy — on 19th June, 2007 at 3:10 pm  

    Englishman, Irishman and Scotsman walk into a pub

    The barman says:

    What is this? Some kind of a joke?

  43. Jagdeep — on 19th June, 2007 at 3:44 pm  

    But he has endured the next worst thing: middle class white hypocrisy.

    That’s hilarious Sid. What a twat. Harry’s Place is a cess pit sometimes.

  44. ally — on 19th June, 2007 at 4:01 pm  

    “The most readable (and short) Rushdie novel is “Fury”.”

    Short and readable yes. Also completely awful iirc.

    Isn’t that the one about the brilliant, misunderstood novelist, exiled in New York, who has a passionate affair with a sexy young woman who just can’t resist his towering intellect, towering talent, and various other towering phallic symbols?

    Made me want to vomit.

    Midnight’s Children is magnificent though, I must admit.

  45. Jagdeep — on 19th June, 2007 at 4:15 pm  

    Fury is a terrible novel. The Ground Beneath Her Feet was a truly pompous and bloated book that you’ll rarely see the like of again. Shalimar the Clown was a middling, flawed average book. He’s exhausted as a novelist. Three failures in a row means he needs to take a break or something.

  46. sid — on 19th June, 2007 at 4:34 pm  

    He’s the Bono of the literary world. Running on empty and his own colossal self regard.

  47. thabet — on 19th June, 2007 at 10:45 pm  

    I’m with Gopal.

    Rushdie sold out.

    The man is no Naipul.

  48. Laban Tall — on 21st June, 2007 at 11:06 pm  

    Rushdie 1982 :

    “British thought, British society, has never been cleansed of the filth of imperialism. It’s still there, breeding lice and vermin …”

    Rushdie 2007 :

    “When people ask me how the West should adapt to Muslim sensitivities, I always say – the question is the wrong way round. The West should go on being itself …

    What I fear most is that, when we look back in 25 years’ time at this moment, what we will have seen is the surrender of the West, without a shot being fired. They’ll say that in the name of tolerance and acceptance, we tied our own hands and slit our own throats. One of the things that have made me live my entire life in these countries is because I love the way people live here.”

    What a difference a fatwa makes …

    http://ukcommentators.blogspot.com/2006/10/you-see-it-every-day-this-surrender.html

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