In defence of « blasphemy ». Bloody Inquisition stalks Salman Rushdie

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

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 ».


Let ‘Satanic Verses’ be read!

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

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!


John Barrett: « The Tigers of Wrath »

Article de John Barrett paru dans Here and Now, no. 9, 1989, p. 3-5

After a brave foray into leafleting a Leeds March, John Barrett examines he Muslim mobilisation against the « Satanic Verses » and the liberal Rationality enshrined in Western notions of ‘freedom’.


Adolph L. Reed, Jr. : The Jesse Jackson Phenomenon

Extrait du livre d’Adolph L. Reed, Jr., The Jesse Jackson Phenomenon: The Crisis of Purpose in Afro-American Politics, New Haven, Yale University Press, 1986, p. 41-60

Mythology of the Church in Contemporary Afro-American Politics

Exceptionalist approaches to black politics typically are fed by the mystique of black churchliness and religiosity, which postulates a peculiarly racial basis of participation and representation. According to this view, which assumes the organic leadership model, the church is the elemental unit of political mobilization in the black community. Because its structures are decentralized and operate at the « grass roots, » the black church can be construed as an authentically popular institution. Moreover, because this view also assumes a pandemic black religiosity, the church can be understood to be prior and superior to electoral or otherwise procedural institutions as a source of popular legitimations.


Trends in Arab Thought: An Interview with Sadek Jalal al-Azm

Entretien de Sadik Jalal al-‘Azm par Abu Fakhr, Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 27, No. 2 (Winter, 1998), p. 68-80.



Abu Fakhr: You have stated that one of the errors of the Left was that it neglected the importance of civil society, democracy, human rights, secularism, and so on. At present, many are giving up the mantle of Marxism and enlisting in the ranks of the secularists as though they believed secularism could serve as a shield against religious fundamentalism [salafiyya]. Where do you believe we are headed in the near future?