Politics, Foreign Policy, Current Events and Occasional Outbursts Lacking Couth

Thursday, July 05, 2007

On Sir Salman The Weary.

(AP Photo:BK Bangash)

Screaming for vengeance.

Shortly after publishing his fourth book, The Satanic Verses, novelist Sir Salman Rushdie was victimized by an Islamic "judgement" or fatwa issued by the late Ayatollah Khomeini that found him guilty of blasphemy and suggested that Sir Salman's sins be atoned through death.

In 1998 the fatwa was "lifted" as the Iranian government decided it would no longer uphold their previous death sentence. "Coincidentally," the Iranian President at the time was moderate Mohammad Khatami. Given a new lease on life without threat of death from primeval idiots, Rushdie crawled out of the effective "spiderhole" he'd resigned himself to and got a taste of free will again.

Last month saw the novelist formerly known as Salman Rushdie become, as Queen Elizabeth waved a sword shoulder to shoulder and bode him "stand," Sir Salman Rushdie. Knighted for his contribution to literature Rushdie should be looking forward to enjoying his new status and publishing his next book. Instead the audacity of the British government to knight such a scourge as Rushdie whose "Satanic Versus" dared paint the prophet Muhammad in a negative fashion has resulted in the "renewal" of the previous fatwa. What's the literary offense that begot Sir Salman's troubles? From Wikipedia:

"The title refers to a Muslim tradition that is related in the book. According to it, Muhammad (Mahound in the book) added verses (sura) to the Qur'an accepting three goddesses that used to be worshipped in Mecca as divine beings. According to the legend, Muhammad later revoked the verses, saying the devil tempted him to utter these lines to appease the Meccans (hence the Satanic verses). However, the narrator reveals to the reader that these disputed verses were actually from the mouth of the Archangel Gibreel. The book was banned in many countries with large Muslim communities."

Not exactly Piss Christ, but never the less enough to invite both mass banning within the Muslim world and invite the Ayatollah Khomeini to issue the fatwa demanding Rushdie's death that was "let go" in 1998 and recently re-endorsed by Iranian cleric Hojatoleslam Ahmad Khatami shortly after Rushdie received his honor.

Not to be outdone by their eastern counter-parts a handful of protester's gathered in London to rant, rave, threaten and generally look and sound like a troop of lost time travelers from the 8th century as they chanted such niceties as "Death to Rushdie" and "Death to the Queen." No word yet on any organized parties to rage against the Taliban's use of Afghan civilians as human shields. Apparently the old saying "the pen is mightier than the sword" is taken very seriously by this bunch.