Anti-Islamism Britain Islamic Intolerance Pakistan

Salman Rushdie And British Backbone…….

Dr.Daniel Pipes’ recent article reveals some interesting truths about the thinking behind the knighting of the “Satanic Verses” author, Salman Rushdie, and the Muslim world’s response, especially from Pakistan. D.Pipes writes:

“Is the knighting of Salman Rushdie, 60, by the queen of England “a sign of the changing mood” toward British Muslims, as Observer columnist Nick Cohen wrote? Is it “a welcome example of … British backbone,” as Islamism specialist Sadanand Dhume described it in the Wall Street Journal?

I think not. Rather, the knighting, announced June 16, was done without heed of its implications.

Most of the uproar against the honor is taking place in Pakistan, as it did in 1988, when Sir Salman’s novel, The Satanic Verses, was initially published. “We deplore the decision of the British government to knight him,” a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said The lower house of parliament unanimously passed a government-backed resolution calling Rushdie a “blasphemer.”

Ditto. The Brits believed that the great brouhaha surrounding Rushdie’s book had faded into the pages of history, and it was now time for the UK to show its respect for its Muslim authors, and grant one of the more famous –and for some, “infamous– the title of Sir.

Pipes then goes on to quote one of the more outspoken Muslims of the day, concerning the Muslim “streets” reaction to Rushdie’s knighthood, Irshad Manji, a female Canadian Muslim author/activist:

“Fortunately, some Muslims decried these reactions. Canadian writer Irshad Manji noted that the Pakistani government had nothing to say about “assaults on fellow believers” in Kabul and Baghdad, where Islamist terrorism killed more than 100 Muslims. “I am offended that amid the internecine carnage, a professed atheist named Salman Rushdie tops the to-do list,” she wrote.”

An excellent point. Those protesting a Muslim author’s knighthood are more outraged (oh those pictures of Muslim rage boys) over an author and his book, than of Muslims killing, murdering, maiming and driving into destitution other Muslims. As Dr.Daniel Pipes observes, even Rushdie himself, was deluded into believing that the late Ayatollah Khomeini’s fatwa and the interest in it had waned. Far from it.

Pakistan’s minister of religious affairs, Mohammed Ijaz ul-Haq’s endorsement of suicide bombing against the United Kingdom is just one indicator of how volatile the situation is.

“If someone exploded a bomb on his body, he would be right to do so unless the British government apologizes and withdraws the ‘sir’ title.” Ijaz ul-Haq later added that “If someone commits suicide bombing to protect the honor of the Prophet Muhammad, his act is justified.”

Pipes has an interesting parting comment on what would be a proper British response that showed some real “backbone”.

I draw two conclusions: First, Rushdie should plan around the fact of Khomeini’s edict being permanent, to expire only when he does. Second, the British government should take seriously the official Pakistani threat of suicide terrorism, which amounts to a declaration of war and an operational endorsement. So far, it has not done that.

Other than an ambassadorial statement of “deep concern,” Whitehall insists that the minister’s threat will not harm a “very good relationship” with Pakistan. It has even indicated that Ijaz ul-Haq is welcome in Britain if on a private visit. (Are suicide bombers also welcome, so long as they are not guests of the government?) Until the Pakistani authorities retract and apologize for Ijaz ul-Haq’s outrageous statement, London must not conduct business-as-usual with Islamabad. Now that would constitute “British backbone.”

We’ll have to wait and see if that “backbone” ever materializes. If the 15 British sailors and marines response to their own kidnapping by Iran –as well as Her Majesty’s government– is any indicator, a “stiffened British backbone response” will be in the form of wet noodle. *L* KGS

4 Responses

  1. The Rushdie story is full of unnecessities, as I see it. Offering him knighthood was unnecessary, with regard to the outrage it was bound to create. Accepting this honour was unnecessary for Rushdie, for the same reason. What pleasure does this title give a postmodernist intellectual anyway? For him it is just a deliberate provocation, which again is unnecessary.

    As for the Satanic Verses, probably my favourite book of all time, the provocative parts in it were, I think, absolutely unnecessary. It’s merits have been greatly overlooked because of this. The book is a fantastic account of Thatcherite Britain and the problems that immigrants face in a new country.

    Rushdies provocations have so far only caused damage, to all involved. He should grow up, though it probably is too late.

  2. Hi Anon,
    You seem to have over looked some of the central issues Pipes was driving at.

    Both Rushdie AND the Queen of England misunderstood the Muslim world’s reaction. Both parties involved believed that the Muslim’s rage was a past event.

    Rushdie accepted knighthood in the same way as many other auhtors and notables, it was an honor to be recognized for one’s own work or deeds. Nothing wrong with that.

    In my opinion, what was unfortunate was the reaction of the Muslim world symbolized in the Khomeini fatwa, which boiled down to a lack common sense and rational thinking.

    Instead of blaming the messenger, the finger should be pointed at the medieval thinking that exists throughout the Islamic world.

    Perish the thought that Muslims and Islam should be included into the modern age!

  3. Such honors and medals are given all over the world in all societies and organisations. I found them unattractive, but of course, understand the reason and the meaning of such prizes. They, in short, are status-symbols, and indicate something from the individual’s way of thinking.

    But what the Muslim world doesn’t understand, that we do not protest when they grant their own medals. Maybe we should?

    Muslim world doesn’t realize, that we have the right to do almost anything that doesn’t violate someone else’s liberty. Our rights for physical actions are instead very limited, because they tend to violate the liberty of others much more easily than the words.

    We have laws against racism, for instance, but Islamic world doesn’t. We have already protected the rights of Muslims in the West, which is dangerous in case they do not protect ours in their countries. Would we accept, that our diplomats in Arab world shall not have the same rights their diplomats have in the West? No one is so crazy to suggest, that you can come to my house anytime to do anything you like, but I couldn’t even enter your house. It is stupid, immoral, uncivilized and can be lethal.

    Muslims are welcome to the West, they can believe in their god but they have to respect our rights. The freedom in our society is the main reason why Western countries are so much wealthier. Should we really make a U-turn?

  4. I read some time ago a great trick from the famous Finnish Pirkka-magazine:

    Someone suggested to study Braille (the blinds’ typewriting). Saves energy and doesn’t bother your spouse in the bed in the evening!

    Now, that’s creative – though ridiculous. How much more can one humiliate himself? How disturbed is the spouse’s mind when finds that as a good solution to ANYTHING?

    That is exactly the case with the Muslims. They want us to turn off the light bulbs and read alone in the dark room in the middle of the night and to be scared not to disturb their sleep.

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