Mohammed novel: Salman Rushdie defends books that challenge religion
Satanic Verses author Sir Salman Rushdie has spoken of the need to ask questions about religion in the wake of the row about a new book on the Prophet Mohammed.
Sir Salman, who himself spent 10 years in hiding over the controversy sparked by his book featuring the Prophet, said he still did not regret writing it.
He said he “wouldn’t not have wanted” to be the writer that asked questions about religion and civilisation.
But the avowed atheist insisted he had nothing against religion provided it did not spill over into the public arena and become “my business”.
He has criticised his own publishers Random House for getting cold feet over publishing the Jewel of Medina in the US after warnings of violent reprisals.
“I am very disappointed to hear that Random House has cancelled another author’s novel, apparently because of their concerns about possible Islamic reprisals,” he said in August. “This is censorship by fear and it sets a very bad precedent indeed.”
The Jewel of Medina and the response to it has already been compared to the furore surrounding the publication of the Satanic Verses, which saw Sir Salman forced to go into hiding after the Iranian Ayatollah issued a fatwa that it was the duty of all Muslims to murder him.
The latest book focuses on Mohammed’s relationship with his young bride Aisha and is written by American Sherry Jones.
Following a suggestion that it amounted to “soft pornography”, the north London home of its British publisher were firebombed. The boss of the publishing house has been forced to seek police protection.
Muslims — or those extremists and hate criminals claiming to be Muslims — will have to learn that most civilized countries will never submit to Islam, will never be under Islamic rule, and will continue to value and ensure freedoms that Muslim extremist hate so much.
Resorting to hate speech, threats and acts of terrorism is just moronic to the nth degree — and if these extremists think that kind of behavior buys them a ticket to paradise, they should have their heads examined.
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