The Satanic rules

Even after all these years, Salman Rushdie is still being targeted:

Iran accused Britain yesterday of insulting Islam by awarding a knighthood to Salman Rushdie, whose novel The Satanic Verses prompted the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to issue a fatwa calling for his assassination.

Mohammad Ali Hosseini, a spokesman for Iran’s foreign ministry, portrayed the decision to honour the novelist as an orchestrated act of aggression directed against Islamic societies, describing Rushdie as “one of the most hated figures” in the Islamic world.

“Honouring and commending an apostate and hated figure will definitely put the British officials [in a position] of confrontation with Islamic societies,” he said. “This act shows that insulting Islamic sacred [values] is not accidental. It is planned, organised, guided and supported by some western countries.”

People I’m speaking to about this in Iran find the latest pronouncement about Rushdie simply embarrassing. The struggle between conservatives, moderates, hardliners and fanatics has rarely been stronger, and at the moment at least, the moderates are falling way behind.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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