Salman Rushdie, once famously targeted for assassination by the Ayatollah Khomeini, has given an interview to the Belfast Telegraph.
... It horrifies Rushdie that so many people in his natural political home - the left - don't get it. They seem to imagine that when people call for a novelist to be beheaded for blasphemy, they are really calling for a return to the 1967 borders, or an independent Kashmir, or an end to the occupation of Iraq. ...
... III: The quiet American, and the art of slitting our own throats
Rushdie has looked down the barrel of Islamism, smelt its cordite, and survived. So he is perpetually being asked - how do we lift the collective fatwa on our transport systems, our nightclubs, our cities? How do we scrape meaning from his misery? "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. There is nothing wrong with the things that for hundreds of years have been acceptable - satire, irreverence, ridicule, even quite rude commentary - why the hell not?
"But you see it every day, this surrender," he says. He runs through a list of the theatres and galleries that have censored themselves in the face of religious fundamentalist protests. He mentions that the entire British media - from the BBC down - placed itself in purdah during the Mohammed cartoons episode. "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.
10/14/2006 1:29 AM