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Parasites In The Lands Of The Infidels

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Why did Trump strike Syria?

In an interview, Amr Adly discusses his recent Carnegie paper on Egypt’s large private enterprises.

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A test for the Muslim Brotherhood

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Egypt beyond Mubarak

The dissolution of the NDP

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No citizenship without social justice

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The Brotherhood on the edge of reform

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Buying the People’s Assembly

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Rethinking Internal Security in Egypt

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Sir Salman Rushdie's fatwa against freedom of expression

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From the Archive
About The Moment of Death
No Christmas in Baghdad
Satan Is the True Fabricator of the Deities and Saints Worshiped by the Muhammadans
Quranists Arrests in Egypt Proves Government Radicalism
A propos de ce poussin chiite qui nous insulte!
Fatwas Part Ninety-Four
Fatwas: Part Seventeen
A Quranist Vision of the Massacre of the Two Mosques in New Zealand
Fatwas Part Seventy-Four
Quranic Terminology: Wombs
These Cursed Wahabis!
Quranic Terminology: Successor
Fatwas: Part Forty-Two
Abou Bakr, Omar, Othman, and the Rest of the So-Called Companions Did Not Conspire to Assassinate Muhammad
More Details about Being Cursed
The Mechanism of Torment/Torture in the Hereafter and the Meaning of Being Cursed
The Metaphysical Realm in the Quran
Atheism Is A Myth – (3) More about the Features of the Leader of all Atheists: Moses' Pharaoh
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF HOMELAND?
Fatwas Part Eighty-Three
Yes.he is right - Hello I and my sister never known our biological father , we Grow up a... ......
Confused - its important to find someone to answer me asap,,, i am muslim (unti... ......
it is Halal - Asalam alakyum A question for Dr Sobhi Is it halal or haram to wor... ......
Sir Salman Rushdie's fatwa against freedom of expression

  by: : BY SHAJAHAN MADAMPAT

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 of 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!

Shajahan Madampat is a cultural critic and commentator. He can be reached at
shajahan98@yahoo.com