Thursday, October 6, 2022

The Pen and the Sword

Indian-born British citizen and internationally renowned writer Salman Rushdie, is battling for life after being stabbed over ten times at an event he was to speak, by a fanatic Muslim terrorist in New York on August 13,2022. Rushdie has been on death list (fatwa) issued by Iranian cleric Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1989 with a $2.8-million bounty. Once a fatwa is issued by a high-ranking Muslim cleric, every Muslim is duty bound to carry out the diktat. He had written several books which are much acclaimed and which won him several international awards. Salman wrote Grimus, Midnight’s Children (for which he won the Booker Prize in 1981, the Booker of Bookers in 1993, and, in 2008, the Best of the Booker), Shame, The Satanic Verses, Haroun and the Sea of Stories, The Moor’s Last Sigh, The Ground Beneath Her Feet, Fury, Shalimar the Clown, and The Enchantress of Florence. The book, The Satanic Verses published in 1988 earned Salman the wrath of his own community. In Britain, on December 2,1988, 7,000 Muslims in the town of Bolton staged the first ever demonstration against Salman Rushdie. It was India, not Iran nor Pakistan nor Saudi Arabia nor Egypt nor Iraq which became the first country to ban the book in 1989 under Rajiv Gandhi. The ban was hard that it criminalized shipping or possession. The ban on the book India came four years (1985) when Rajiv capitulated to Islamic clerics in the Shah Bano case. The Congress government under Rajiv even banned Salman Rushdie, from coming to India. The ban was eventually lifted by the Vajpayee government in 1999, 11 years later. The Islamic terrorist who stabbed Salman has been identified as Hadi Matar, 24, from New Jersey. Police said Matar, probably a Muslim immigrant, expressed sympathy to “Shia extremism” and the causes of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard (IRGC). Another evidence of Matar’s pro-Iranian radicalism was the images of Iranian commander Qassem Solemani, the highest-ranking Iranian military leader who was assassinated in 2020, found in a cell phone messaging app. According to media reports, the leadership at the Chautauqua Institution, the venue hosting the event, rejected past recommendations to increase security at events. The Chautauqua leadership rejected any form of frisking of attendees especially at events involving hi-profile writers and personalities who face security threats, like Salman Rushdie. Muslims have remained largely silent on such issues but whenever it involved banning of Hijab, they raise Cain. The shocking massacre on January 7, 2015 when two French Muslim immigrant brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi, stormed inside the office of Charlie Hebdo a French satirical magazine and killed 14 staff and injuring 11 others. In 2020, a French teacher, beheaded for showing his students cartoon of Prophet Mohammad. To understand the fatwas, Islam prohibits description of Mohammad and any image that depicts him. Charlie Hebdo has been making cartoon satires on other religious leaders of Jewish and Christian faiths but no one was killed and the cartoons had no effect. Despite being welcomed and given equal rights in the liberal west, Muslim immigrants feel their adopted countries should be Islamised. Their inclination of Islamic radicalism can be best summed up by Saudi-Australian Islamic preacher Junaid Thorne , who said: “If you want to enjoy ‘freedom of speech’ with no limits, expect others to exercise ‘freedom of action’”.