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In defence of “blasphemy”. Bloody Inquisition stalks Salman Rushdie

Article paru dans Workers Hammer, No 106, April 1989, p. 1-3

Manifestation anti Rushdie in London, United Kingdom on May 27, 1989. (Photo by Marc DEVILLE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

Salman Rushdie wrote The Satanic Verses for the Asian population of Britain. It is a scathing indictment of that experience in Mrs Torture’s nasty, racist society. It does not alibi, either, the hideous oppression in those societies from which the Asian immigrants came – products of British colonial rule and the Zias, Gandhis and the rest who then took over. A work of secular humanism, The Satanic Verses is not only anti-racist but also anti-sexist, unsparing in its criticism of the barbaric treatment of women under orthodox Hinduism and fundamentalist Islam. Rushdie is irreligious in a profound way, and thus has earned denunciation from all the forces of bourgeois/clerical reaction – not only the imams, but the Archbishop of Canterbury, the pope, the French cardinal Decourtray have denounced this “blasphemy”. Meanwhile, the race-hating fascistic scum moved in on the backlash afforded by the Muslim fundamentalist book burners to step up attacks on Asians: National Front graffiti daubed on shops and homes now add an obscenely incongruous slogan for these race-hate terrorists: “Leave Rushdie in peace”.

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Khomeini’s blood terror targets Salman Rushdie

Article paru dans Workers Hammer, No 105, March 1989, p. 12-9

Tehran, Iran: Young students march in the streets of Tehran chanting, ‘Death to Salman Rushdie and America’ while holding posters of Ayatollah Khomeini and Salman Rushdie, condemning him to death. Thousands of people demonstrated in Tehran after a religious decree or “Fatwa” was issued by Ayatollah Khomeini, calling Salman Rushdie a blasphemer and his book the Satanic Verses an insult to Islam and Prophet Mohammad, and therefore condemned to death. (Photo by Kaveh Kazemi/Getty Images)

CENSORSHIP BY ASSASSINATION

When Ayatollah Khomeini issued his decree of death against novelist Salman Rushdie and the Viking/Penguin publishers of his Satanic Verses, a shudder spread around the world. Here was the ultimate statement of theocratic totalitarianism: not only must the book be banned, but its author executed for the “crime” of having written it. It was a throwback to the days when heretics were burned at the stake and witches boiled in oil. Suddenly the dark past of the Inquisition was no further than the local shopping centre. There it was, the benighted superstition of the Middle Ages in the middle of the Computer Age.

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Let ‘Satanic Verses’ be read!

Article paru dans Workers Hammer, No 104, February 1989, p. 1-9

Muslims praying on Westminster Bridge, London, UK 1989. Near the Houses of Parliament during an anti-Salmon Rushdie demonstration after the publication of The Satanic Verses.

On 14 January, 1500 Muslim fanatics gathered in front of the town hall in Bradford, West Yorkshire and burnt copies of Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses. It grotesquely recalled the medieval Christian inquisition and book-burning orgies of Hitler’s stormtroopers. Confirming the controversial novel’s characterisation of the fundamentalist motto “Burn the books and trust the Book”, the protesters accused Rushdie’s latest book of blasphemy. Leading them all was an unholy alliance of Bradford’s Council of Mosques and prominent Labour Party councillors, including ex-mayor Mohammed Ajeeb. One book-burner vowed, “Our next move will be to ensure the book is banned in the whole world. If he [Rushdie] comes here, I tell you he will be dead” (Independent, 21 January). Another demonstration in London two weeks later brought out large numbers of Muslims – reportedly overwhelmingly male – to protest the book. This frenzy of Islamic fundamentalism could provoke a wider racist backlash engulfing fundamentalist and secular minorities alike. Down with religious obscurantism! Let Satanic Verses be read!