Mukto Mona Condemns Angry Attacks on Salman Rushdie

Mukto-Mona Moderation Team

Published on June 23, 2007


The recent award of a Knighthood to Indian born British author Salman Rushdie by Queen ELizabeth II has provoked angry reactions from Muslim fundamentalists the world over. We have seen the government of Iran, a country that offered a multi million dollar reward for the author's murder and who never withdrew the fatwa (see the news report: Rushdie death fatwa still stands, Iran says) summon the British Ambassador to lodge a protest against this internal decision of the British government. The reaction in Pakistan, a country where Rushdie lived before moving to Britain has been even worse. At first, Religious Affairs Minister Ijaz ul Haq announced that suicide attacks could be justified because the knighthood insulted the Prophet Mohammed but then withdrew his comments and claimed that he had been misquoted when newspapers in the UK began editorializing that Britain withdraw Pounds Sterling 480 million worth of aid that they had earmarked for Pakistan this year. He has now offered to visit the UK on a damage repair mission.

That has not been the last word from Pakistan, though. The Pakistani Ulema Council jumped at the opportunity to offer the title of "Saifullah" meaning "Sword of Allah" to Osama Bin Laden in response to the knighthood bestowed on Rushdie. While this was taking place, Afzal Sahi, Speaker of the Punjab Province Assembly and a key supporter of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf declared that he would personally kill Rushdie if he set eyes on him. And, worse was to come: Azmal Baluch, the Secretary General of the Islamabad Traders' Association has just announced a reward for Rushdie's head and urged his fellow traders to boycott British products.

The genesis of threats against Rushdie's life, however, did not originate in Iran or in Pakistan. The late Rajeev Gandhi, former Prime Minister of India whose widow is regarded as India's de facto ruler these days, first raised the Satanic Verses bogey and banned the book in order to court extreme fundamentalists among the Indian Muslim community. It was this cynical attempt at manipulating religious sentiments in order to win elections that he lost eventually that spilled across India's borders and threatened the life of an author whose book Gandhi had certainly not bothered to read and nor had Ayatollah Khomeini, Iran's murderous, semi-literate mullah who announced the first fatwa on Rushdie's life.

At Mukto-Mona we strongly condemn this brutish and barbaric behavior by uneducated fanatics and criminals against a writer of fiction. We affirm that the British government has the right to award what titles it wishes to award to it's own citizens and offer our congratulations if this knighthood was indeed awarded in order to cock a snook at the fundamentalists and political manipulators of the world. There is no room in civilized society for the kind of thuggishness that we are witnessing in response to what is virtually a non event outside Buckingham Palace. And we invite all freethinking people and supporters of the freedom of expression to join us in condemning the recent actions of those who have been advocating murder, suicide bombings etc. We hope that the authorities in Pakistan, a nation that calls itself a moderate Islamic state, would take actions against these religious criminals for incitement to murder. And we also hope that the world is more aware of the nature of the regime that rules Iran based on it's renewed viciousness against Rushdie in the past few days.

Mukto-Mona Moderation Team

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