Stranger than fiction: Salman Rushdie on life in hiding Issues Beyond Palo Alto, posted by Editor, Palo Alto Online, on Oct 3, 2012 at 7:50 am
Listening to Salman Rushdie tell the story of a desperate man who goes into hiding to save his life, is forced to move from house to house -- sometimes in the dead of night -- and must lock himself into the bathroom whenever the plumber or electrician comes around to fix some common household problem, it's easy to forget that the acclaimed novelist with a bent toward the fanciful isn't spinning a tale.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, October 2, 2012, 3:51 PM
Posted by Wayne Martin, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, on Oct 3, 2012 at 7:50 am
Rushdie’s travails offered people in the West a clear vision of the nature of Islam’s fabric, which has, over the past fifteen hundred years, been the history of violence, military conquest, and enslavement—resulting in the deaths and enslavement of possibly as high as 250M people (although the exact numbers can never be know for certain).
In the United Kingdom, the book received positive reviews. It was a 1988 Booker Prize Finalist (losing to Peter Carey's Oscar and Lucinda) and won the 1988 Whitbread Award for novel of the year. The Satanic Verses sparked a major controversy when conservative Muslims accused it of blasphemy and mocking their faith. The outrage among some Muslims resulted in a fatwâ calling for Rushdie's death issued by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Supreme Leader of Iran, on 14 February 1989. Although Rushdie himself has never been attacked as a result of the book's creation, Islamic extremists have attacked several connected individuals such as translator Hitoshi Igarashi (leading to, in Igarashi's case, death).
The novel caused great controversy in the Muslim community for what some Muslims believed were blasphemous references. Rushdie was accused of mis-using freedom of speech. As the controversy spread, the import of the book was banned in India and it was burned in demonstrations in the United Kingdom. In mid-February 1989, following a violent riot against the book in Pakistan, the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Supreme Leader of Iran and a Shi'a Muslim scholar, issued a fatwa calling on all good Muslims to kill Rushdie and his publishers, or to point him out to those who can kill him if they cannot themselves
There are so many points that are open for discussion here—but one can not fail to ask: “Where does any religion get right to kill anyone, for any reason? That question must be closely followed by: “Is Islam so incompatible with our Western system of values, and secular law, that it should be outlawed—rather than being allowed to grow to the point that it threatens our societies with the same sectarian violence that has been ongoing in Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein?
Salman Rushdie’s story should be more than a cautionary tale—it should be viewed with the same alarm that England, France, and US should have viewed the rise of Adolph Hitler in the 1930s.
Posted by an_observation, a resident of the Palo Verde neighborhood, on Oct 3, 2012 at 11:19 am
This is *NOT* an excuse for Islam extremism. Only an interesting observation about religion.
On a recent Jon Stewart Daily Show it was noted that Islam was "only 1400 years old" (a mere teenager)and mused on what Christianity was doing when it was about that old.
The seven Crusades began in 1095 and the last ended in 1291. How many killed? Many 10's of thousands at least.
The Spanish Inquisition from 1480 through the 1500's (and not officially abolished until 1834). Perhaps thousands died.
European witch hunts peaking between about 1580 and 1630. The witch hunts declined in the early 18th century. Over the entire duration of the phenomenon of some three centuries, an estimated total of 40,000+ people were executed
So perhaps we need to wait another 300+ years or so for Islam to 'mature' through the state Christianity once passed.
Posted by Jan H., a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on Oct 4, 2012 at 1:18 pm
Once upon a time, in the early Middle Ages, all the best scientists, mathematicians, and doctors were Islamic. Then there came a schism between Sunnis and Shiites, much like the schism between Roman and Orthodox Catholics. Islamic tribes began killing each other and the Franks, which is the name they called all Europeans by. Similar to the Reformation in Europe, except the killings have yet to stop.
My husband was in the Emirates last year for a client, and was given a brief rundown on Islam. One tenet is that women must wear black because they are innately evil, men wear white because they are innately good. Foreign businesswomen on the same trip were requested to wear black clothing with long sleeves, and cover their hair with scarves...in 120 degree heat! Women whose husbands allowed them to work in cleanrooms were required to wear BLACK bunny suits!!!
Somewhere in their history, Islamics have chosen to regress and stay in the early Medieval period, also known as the Dark Ages ( I am well-studied in European Medieval History). Many of them see science and progress as evil. The Emirates are actually trying to buck this trend and come into the present within the next twenty years (probably very stressful for the people). However, because of this, they have had to heighten security to an extreme level....my husband had to be "wanted" every single time he entered or left his hotel or any other public building or event ( there was also a Formula One Race being held while he was there).
Are there any scholars wo can en.ighten me as to why Islam regressed back into one of the darkest periods in all of world history? I struggle to understand this. If I could, I think I would feel more tolerant.