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Ear to the Ground

That’s ‘Sir Salman Rushdie’ to You

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Posted on Jun 16, 2007
rushdie
AP Photo / Fritz Reiss

No stranger to danger:  Author and provocateur and now freshly knighted, Salman Rushdie re-emerged into public life in 1999.

Eighteen years after the publication of Salman Rushdie’s explosively controversial novel “The Satanic Verses”—which led to widespread criticism by Muslims and a death threat ordered by Ayatollah Khomeini—the Indian-born writer has been singled out for a much more desirable form of official recognition:  Rushdie has been knighted by the queen of England.


BBC:

His re-emergence has not been without controversy.

In backing Jack Straw over his comments on Muslim women wearing veils, Sir Salman said veils “suck” as they were a symbol of the “limitation of women”.

He also weighed into the furore surrounding the Danish cartoons, which satirised the Prophet Muhammad, warning against Islamic “totalitarianism”.

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By Fatwah in my Soup, June 20, 2007 at 10:58 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

#79588 by Billy the Dik on 6/20 at 8:30 am

Who am I to teach you manners.

As for anyone else reading this, I doubt Billy’s tough words would phase a man or woman intent on killing themselves and anyone who got in their way.  This isn’t the Sopranos.  The 9/11 guys evaded the CIA and the FBI, were educated and prepared, even down to keeping a smile on their face on boarding the planes, to avoid suspicion.  These weren’t some bar room bullies intimidated by bad language.  The men who attacked the USS Cole, Kenyan Embassey etc., were playing hardball. 

We are essentially dealing with a tiny minority who have crossed over the line from legitimate protest to killing for political reasons.  To go up against the most powerful war machine in the world, that is not the job of some illiterate, faint hearted hick.  If it were, then maybe Billy’s harsh language could have saved the CIA and the American people a lot of grief.

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By Allan Wheeler, June 20, 2007 at 8:35 am Link to this comment

#79416 So you want to hang a piece of writing on doors and curse people in the market place? Is that a threat or a joke? I guess you still don’t get the fact that most civilized people do not care or take that very seriously so long as you are not VIOLENT. Most civilized people have learned that words do not hurt and can deal with words and ideas which they find offensive without becoming violent.

I personally salute Rushdie because he has proved to the world that Islam is NOT a religion of peace. It is the religious “LEADERS” who scream loudest and incite their followers to violence rather than preaching peace. And yes, I agree in advance, that other religions have done the same, especially Christianity. Fortunately for the world, most have seen the error and harm in this and have matured and become more civilized. The ones which haven’t are still in the dark ages with their intolerant and ignorant Muslim brothers.

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By Fatwah in my Soup, June 20, 2007 at 3:45 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

#79430 by Billy the Dik on 6/19 at 7:48 pm

“If you’ve accomplished nothing else, Fadilly, you’ve got an enemy in me for life. “

Billy
Peter Sheer would concur, I think, when I say that kind of talk accomplishes nothing but more entrenchment.  I’m dismayed at the vituperative tone. How is that changing hearts and minds? 

You can view this as a war of Attrition with a “Vietnam” mindset, or, you can persuade, win new friends and good neighbours.  After all, only a fool makes enemies for free.

We are all riven with human failings.  How can you dismiss someone for human weaknesses we all possess?  I hardly think your agressive tone is going to help persuade anyone to not strap on a vest full of C4 explosives and walk into a shopping mall or onto an aircraft.

I’m anticipating an abusive response, so let me say I bear you no ill will.  My only ambition is to stop, and make some misguided soul THINK, before turning into a suicide bomber, killing innocent men women and children. 

If someone were persuaded and programed to kill, they can be equally de-programed and dissuaded.  I believe The Pen is Mightier than the sword.

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By Fadel Abdallah, June 19, 2007 at 9:21 pm Link to this comment

#79430 by Billy the Dik on 6/19 at 7:48 pm
(348 comments total)

Fukal, I wish you would go back where they make you shut up.  You will only sink deeper into madness if you try to beat your head against our freedoms.  We’ve got domestic fascists enough around here to refute with out superstitious brain-dead freaks trying to import their ignorance and basic contempt for free thought and free expression.  If you said half the shit you’ve said in the US back in your dungeon, you’d be minus a head.  Granted, the only difference would be your physical head, but you’re barking up the wrong tree.  If you’ve accomplished nothing else, Fadilly, you’ve got an enemy in me for life.

===================
Well, your wish will not be granted, for I am here to stay. This sad place, and more so because you live in it, has been my home for over thirty years; it’s been my fate that I almost accept with resignation!

Meanwhile, may you be consumed by your irrational bigoted hatred till you drop dead! You are the ultimate “white trash”! The world will be a little better with two less filthy pigs; you and your violent Zionist friend “lefty.”

If you knew what real freedom means, you would not been cowardly hiding behind a fake name, because you know well you’re increasingly living in a police state, and it is cowards like you who will allow a perfect police state to take hold!

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By Fadel Abdallah, June 19, 2007 at 8:23 pm Link to this comment

#79059 by Fatwah in my soup on 6/18 at 4:40 pm
(Unregistered commenter)

Congratulations on your enlightened comment in which you say:

“Salman knew exactly what he was getting into.  He’s smart enough to know what contentious issues he was dealing with.  I just question the wisdom of his thinking process.  Being controversial for the sake of controversy is more like cynicism rather than artistic veracity. “

Your comment is balanced and it comes from civilized and cool head. That’s why the bigots on this thread reacted with uncivilized attack on you.

You know when the line between bigotry, deliberate provocation, libel and calculated evil vis-à-vis freedom of expression and lack of basic human sensitivity are blurred, then everything can go, including my coming to your house and hanging a piece of writing on the door saying, ”Because you’re a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim or an atheist I am going to curse you in the open market, because I believe in freedom of speech, and dare to try to stop me.”

Civilized people throughout history have adhered to written or non-written laws against individual libel; then imagine what should be the judgment on someone who libels 1.3 billion Muslims or one fifth of humanity.

You’re right when you said that Rushdie knew exactly what he was doing, and in fact he was paid handsomely and cheered for writing. Salman at the time he wrote his pieces of garbage was married to a Zionist, I am not sure she was an American Zionist or British Zionist. She was also a second rate writer, but rest assured she was doing a lot of cheer leading and co-wrote with him. However, I am glad after the scary situation he put himself and her through, she woke up to the reality and divorced him. Since then she disappeared and no one knows anything about her.

If Salman did not like the religion he was born into, he could have easily and quietly converted to Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism or have become an atheist; no one would have noticed and no one would have been offended. But his case is one of ultimate treason, and we know that even in modern times and in the so-called civilized West people who are caught in an act of treason against their nation receive the most severe punishment, including the penalty of death in many countries. I am not an advocate of death for Salman. Actually, I believe that the most severe punishment for him is to have him live the rest of his live in fear and very insecure.

Being knighted by this short-sighted and good-for-nothing queen is not going to bring peace and security to him; unless of course he moves to the royal palace where there is always heavy security.

Salman’s story is indeed a tragic human ffailure of the highest proportions; the story of man’s falling so low for money, fame, and vainglorious show at any price possible. I feel sorry for him and for any one who sympathizes with his deliberate self-inflected wounds!

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By Fatwa in my Soup, June 19, 2007 at 1:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

#79275 by lilmamzer on 6/19 at 11:39 am

I didn’t say anyone should pander to Fundamentalists whatever their creed, or even be an apologist for them.  What is required, depending on you view, is some Lateral thinking, some horse sense.

John Lennon remarked about being more famous than Jesus.  Lennon was making a cultural and media observation in a world of TV, but The resulting KKK death threats were inevitable.  Should we then talk about Jesus as a bad influence on Americans?  Or should we call the KKK an intolerant aberration of American society? 

It would have been conflating the issue of Christianity with the mindset of the KKK by subsequently attacking Jesus.  Which, in my opinion, would have been a grave injustice. 

What good would have come out of slamming Jesus for the KKK threatening John Lennon?  All that would have resulted would have been some Political opportunist would have picked up the ball and indulged in demagoguery.  (This wouldn’t be the first time that happened.) 

The fundamentalists are the problem throughout the world with their, child like, pathetic notion of moral certainties of black and white.  They should be tackled by all means.  But how do you tackle a person indulging in a human weakness we all have the potential to succumb to?  I would like to think my approach was more constructive.

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By rowdy, June 19, 2007 at 12:52 pm Link to this comment

islam the most stupid religion still in existence. no wait, fundamental KKKristianity,the most stupid religion still in existence.sorry,i almost forgot, judiasm,the most stupid religion still in existence. i propose my religion. worship of thermonuclear holocaust. let the bombs fall on isreal first,then the entire middle east, then anywhere else those idiot muslims hold sway.let them eat nuclear fried pork,washed down with french wine. it would be glorious.

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By lilmamzer, June 19, 2007 at 12:39 pm Link to this comment

#79059 by Fatwah in my soup:

Salman knew exactly what he was getting into.  He’s smart enough to know what contentious issues he was dealing with.  I just question the wisdom of his thinking process.  Being controversial for the sake of controversy is more like cynicism rather than artistic veracity.

What’s important about Rushdie and Van Gogh is the violent Jihadi response of many Muslims, and the overwhelming silence of most Muslims, in the brutal murder (in the case of Van Gogh) and the death fatwa (in the case of Rushdie). This is nothing less than intimidation and assaults on basic freedoms by the use of threats of violence.

Remember the Danish cartoon crisis? Same thing. And the scary part of it is that the Jihadi Muslims have succeeded in sowing fear and doubt among non-Muslims. Resistance is the answer - don’t let yourself or anyone else be intimidated into silence simply becasue someone else doesn’t like what you have to say. Speak your mind and be ready to fight for your freedom to do so.

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By Allan Wheeler, June 19, 2007 at 8:57 am Link to this comment

Some comments contain interesting ideas:
“christians and muslims killing each other off in one grand act of accelerated evolution”. Wonderful and devoutely to be wished except for the possible collateral damage!
AND
“The West issuing Fatwas against any cleric calling for one”.  Wonderful idea! At least send them back to their repressed, uneducated, undeveloped, ignorant, illogical, co-religionists whose only responses seem to be anger and killing.
AND
The reality of Muslims killing EACH OTHER. Over what? The placement of a comma? The length of a beard? Forcing little girls to burn to death because they aren’t totally covered? WOW! And they ask for respect for their unrepentant barbarity?

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By James Yell, June 19, 2007 at 7:39 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It appears at least one of your readers think that Rushdie and Van Gogh were responsible for their misfortune, but they were both in their own countries, supposed western democracies with entrenched belief in Freedom of Speech and Expression. What they said, could have been constructive if Islam actually wanted to address their oppressive mis-deeds. Islam is free to writeand publish their opinion using their own talents. Killing people or trying to, just because they are clear they think you are in error is not acceptable. Should not be acceptable anywhere.

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By Fatwah in my soup, June 19, 2007 at 12:36 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

#79136 by Billy the Dik on 6/18 at 9:43 pm

My friend, you are completely missing the thrust of my argument.  If I wanted to point out the Pat Robertsons and their wild eyed minions as false prophets, I’m hardly going to attack or denegrate Jesus Christ, in a work of art.

Jesus is hardly responsible for what comes out of Pat Robertson’s mouth.  So attacking the symbol of christianity would not only not be fair, but also culturally insensitive.  Likewise, one one should be sensitized to other religions too. 

I’m hardly advocating backing off from critiquing fundamentalism. Artistic license is one thing, but has to be used judiciously when pointing out the many flaws of religious followers.  Wouldn’t you agree on that approach?

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By Jarod, June 18, 2007 at 11:55 pm Link to this comment

Fadel,

Devils do not exist either.
What do you mean with your Kool-aid remark ? Is it supposed to be an insult or just an advertisement ?

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By Fatwah in my soup, June 18, 2007 at 5:40 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

#79056 by Billy the Dik on 6/18 at 4:08 pm

Billy
I’m exercising my opinion.  No one was killed or hurt by what I said, despite my bad spelling.  If you think my explanation has no merit, then, maybe if I said Absolute Freedom is another way of saying Chaos.  Would that make things any clearer?

Salman knew exactly what he was getting into.  He’s smart enough to know what contentious issues he was dealing with.  I just question the wisdom of his thinking process.  Being controversial for the sake of controversy is more like cynicism rather than artistic veracity.

Now you can tell me to go to hell.  Ignore what I said.  But Theo Van Gogh is dead.  And the loss of human life is always a tragedy.  As a fan of Vincent, I feel it all the more.

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By Colin Jackson, June 18, 2007 at 4:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“kevin99999

Brits are a joke.”

Isn’t that a bit sweeping?

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By A Fatwah in my soup, June 18, 2007 at 3:40 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Salman Rushdie and Theo Van Gogh were on thin ice and they knew it.

Salman could have made the point of misconceptions and backwardness, in the modern Muslim world without resorting to metaphorical representations of Mohammed or Ayatollah Khomeini.  No one in Britain would like to see Winston Chrurchill used as a denigrated metaphor for today’s ills, I’m sure.  That would be wrong.

Theo chose to be deliberately provocative regarding a physically modest culture and religion and attacked a revered source with, what amounted to tittilation.  It would be the same as writing the Declaration of Independence on a naked woman of African or Native American origin, to emphasize the precieved hypocricy of American culture. 

I’d be the first to point out the short comings of the Muslim world, cultural, political and societal, and I wouldn’t even need to drag in Isreal or America as mitigating factors.

It’s just a case of how much “Free” publicity you are willing to court for the sake of success and cleverness.

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By Timothy C, June 18, 2007 at 11:25 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The British Crown are hardly strangers to tweaking the clergy…Muslim or Catholic.

Deal with it.  Rushdie deserves this honor.

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By James Yell, June 18, 2007 at 11:09 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I may be one of the few who read “The Satanic Verses” clear thru and I will agree it was a slow read, but I would say it was interesting and yes, obscure for all but perhaps Anglo-Indians. One thing I did come away with was a conviction that Sir Rushdie was in fact a great craftsman of the English Language.

As to the Fatwa against Sir Rushdie, I was extremely disappointed in the mildness of his defense before the Islamic crazy frenzy. In fact I bought and read the book in support of the right of “Freedom of Expression”.

My one unease is the degree that many Americans have given George Bush to instigate repression of the same type under the banner of Christian Fundmentalism, another brand of Abrahamic Religious certitude guaranteed to destroy this country. When having a fury about Islam, don’t be giving Christians such as Bush a free pass.

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By Bubba Fett, June 18, 2007 at 9:12 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It is in the interests of the Ruling Class of 6000 Pharohs of the House of Saud to keep the common man distracted by nonsense like the Rushdie case or the infidels in the West.

That is how Ahmedinajad is playing it at home with his war on the Evil West.  Indeed that is how Bush is playing it with his war on the Evil East.

All the while it’s Business as Usual for the Ruling class of the world.  And who needs the headache of rational thought anyway when you can rely on fatalism and irrelevancies.

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By Bubba Fett, June 18, 2007 at 8:02 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’ve no brief for defending Salman’s work, but at the outset, let me say I tried to read it but, god help me, it was boring.  Obscure metaphores and similies, encoded in campus hip idiom of Oxford University.  It just smacked of superficiality and pseudo intellectualism; the kind Christopher Hitchens indulges in.

His book may be on the coffee tables of some people’s homes who want the cache and kudos of having a controversial author in their midst. But I doubt if they really would honestly concede his book having any artistic merit, either way.  I don’t. But that is just my opinion.

Having said that, I don’t think killing him for writing such an pretentious story was ever a good idea.  Death threats to anyone for writing a book is not healthy for society.  Otherwise we wouldn’t have the Koran, the Old Testament…or even William Tyndale’s literary master piece translation of the Bible.

Death Threats are less to do with religion and culture and more to do with POLITICS.  That has always been the case through out human history.

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By Fadel Abdallah, June 18, 2007 at 6:09 am Link to this comment

#78886 by Jarod on 6/18 at 3:41 am
(3 comments total)

Fadel,

Hell does not exists, neither does Allah. 1.3 billion muslims deluded. No veils necessary, just keep your hands to yourself.

==============================
But Devils of your type do exist, I am sure you had your Kool-Aid dose before you posted!

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By Jarod, June 18, 2007 at 4:41 am Link to this comment

Fadel,

Hell does not exists, neither does Allah. 1.3 billion muslims deluded. No veils necessary, just keep your hands to yourself.

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By Hammo, June 17, 2007 at 3:54 pm Link to this comment

Rushdie’s novel and the reaction to it showed that works of “fiction” can trigger a significant social response.

Those in the creative world of books, film, media and music can take note that their efforts can have great impact . . . positive or negative, or both.

A recent example (as advertised on TruthDig.com) is the new HBO TV series taking over the Sunday evening time slot of “The Soprandos.”

This show, “John from Cincinnati,” is already controversial and is triggering much discussion and even some head scratching.

More on this in . . .

“New HBO series ‘John from Cincinnati’ has metaphysical mysteries”

http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/viewArticle.asp?articleID=29716

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By Leefeller, June 17, 2007 at 10:37 am Link to this comment

The cherry on top will be for Queenie to k-knight George Bush and then the silver spoon up his ass will be appropriate with the rest of royals.  “Sir Bush” has a ring in my ear and the White House can be called the “Royal Palace”.

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By Fadel Abdallah, June 17, 2007 at 9:42 am Link to this comment

Comment #12345 by Fadel Abdallah on 6/17 at 8:30 am
#78714 by Scott on 6/17 at 7:45 am
(38 comments total)

Speaking of veils, not to mention getting a grip, someone recently asked why muslim men don’t just wear blinders instead.
I thought it was a good question myself. Perhaps Fadel could enlighten us.
==============
Scott:

If you are open for enlightenment, you’ll find the answer in what I will tell you:

First: Even in the West, not a long time ago ladies of the upper class wore veils as a mark of distinction and class.

Second: Tell me why to this very day a bride on her wedding day, would wear a veil as part of the wedding custom? Can you rationalize that?

Third: In Islam, men are instructed to lower their gaze when talking to a woman who is not of their immediate family.

Fourth: Veiling for women in Islam is intended to be a symbol of modesty for virtuous women; if a woman does want to wear a veil, she can do so at the cost of violating a modesty symbol of their religious law. That’s why more than half of so-called Muslim women today don’t wear veils.

Fifth: Is it difficult for you to understand that the world is full of people with varying customs, value systems, traditions and ways of lives that might be different from yours? To insist on devaluing and mocking other cultures and value systems in comparison with yours is not only arrogance and misplaced self-righteousness, but also narrow-mindedness and fanaticism.

Remember that the United States constitute only 2.5 % of world population; are you going to tell me that only those 2.5 % have the right value system that every one in the world should follow and emulate?! Not at least in these times when Americans for almost seven years have been ruled by the most stupid and evil man modern history has known, and people like you are not capable of doing any thing about it. Those who live in glass houses should not be throwing stones at others!

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By Fadel Abdallah, June 17, 2007 at 8:48 am Link to this comment

#78681 by Billy the Dik on 6/16 at 10:42 pm
(317 comments total)

Fadel, the literary critics at least read the f+ckin’ book, instead of allowing themselves to be instructed on what and how to think about it by irrational fundamentalist fanatics. You really should insist on a time-out for yourself, or at least for your “feelings and sensitivities.” “hellfire” indeed.
==============
Billy! Here you go again showing your true colors. I feel sorry that I posted on another thread something to the effect of changing my opinion about you to a positive one. It seems that you are a frustrated unemployed who has nothing to do but hair splitting.

I have nothing more to say to someone who the words of “feelings and sensitivities” have no meaning even at the cost of infuriating one fifth of humanity. So in light of this, If you want to see a “fundamentalist fanatic” all you need to do is look yourself up in the mirror!

Outreageously yours!

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By Scott, June 17, 2007 at 8:45 am Link to this comment

Speaking of veils, not to mention getting a grip, someone recently asked why muslim men don’t just wear blinders instead.

I thought it was a good question myself. Perhaps Fadel could enlighten us.

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By Tom Doff, June 17, 2007 at 6:04 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I guess this means that the next time Rushdie and the Ayatollah get together at the Ritz-Carlton for an afternoon cocktail, the Ayatollah’s gonna have to kiss Salman’s hand. Or ass.

Or maybe he’ll pretend Salman’s a queen, and just bow.

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By kevin99999, June 16, 2007 at 8:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Brits are a joke. Anyone can see this is a politically motivated recognition.

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By Fadel Abdallah, June 16, 2007 at 8:12 pm Link to this comment

This stupid bigot provocateur will certainly burn in Hellfire along with this good-for-nothing queeen who disgraced the meaning of ‘knight’ by knighting this disgraced traitor, who more than once insulted the feelings and sensitivities of 1.3 billions Muslims, in the form of pieces of garbage passed and promoted as literature or art. The standards of literary criticism in the West must have fallen to their deepest low when the first stupid publisher decided to puplish this trash!

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