Tuesday, June 26, 2007 

Writing bollocks to the Grauniad.

Like many others who have commented on this topic, I've never read any of Salman Rushdie's novels and have little intention of doing so. I also believe that the honours system should be abolished, and that so many blatantly undeserving people have been rewarded with useless gongs that the whole institution was brought into disrepute long ago.

Both of those things aside, the reaction to Rushdie being knighted has been used by those with the same old grievances to further allege that the West or Britain is intent on insulting or denigrating both Islam and Muslims. My blood didn't really boil though until I read today's Grauniad letters page:

We strongly deplore the recent conferring of a knighthood to Salman Rushdie (Letters, June 21). We see this as a deliberate provocation and insult to the 1.5 billion Muslims around the world. The "honouring" of Rushdie at a time when the British government claims to be trying to build bridges with the Muslim community can only be seen as duplicitous. We regard this as a conscious effort not only to offend Muslim sensibilities but also to sow seeds of division. In honouring Rushdie, the prime minister has demonstrated how little regard he has for Islam.

Ali al-Hadithi
Federation Of Student Islamic Societies, Bashir Mann Muslim Council of Scotland, Dr Abdul Wahid Hizb ut-Tahrir, Dr Ahmad ar-Rawi Muslim Association of Britain, Dr Mamoun Mobayad Northern Ireland Muslim Family Association, Dr Muhammad Abdul-Bari Muslim Council of Britain, Massoud Shadjareh Islamic Human Rights Commission, Maulana Faiz Siddiqui Muslim Action Committee, Muhammad Sawalha British Muslim Initiative, Saleem Qidwai Muslim Council of Wales, Sheikh Abdulhossein Moezi Islamic Centre of England, Sheikh Shafiq-ur-Rahman United Kingdom Islamic Mission

Really? Did the panel, not the prime minister, which dealt with the suggestion that Rushdie being knighted think "this'll stick two fingers up at those ever complaining 1.5 billion Muslims"? I very, very much doubt it. It could be argued that they should have foreseen that some would be angered by it, but why on earth should the feelings of any special interest group interfere with giving a writer who is widely regarded as one of the finest literary talents of his generation an honour? To suggest that those behind the offering of the knighthood did so as a "conscious effort" to offend Muslim sensibilities is the same kind of conspiratorial view which reinforces the spurious beliefs held by some Muslims that 9/11 and 7/7 were somehow not carried out by terrorists but by the security services as "black ops". Rather than giving succour to such views, these leaders ought to be helping the communities they profess to represent come to terms with the fact that some in their midst have become radicalised: it's not their fault, but they have to recognise it all the same.

The final letter is even more egregious:

It has become fashionable to associate Islam with acts of destruction and terror. Through this prism, it is understandable why such a divisive figure has been awarded a knighthood. Salman Rushdie did not contribute any constructive work to interfaith dialogue, and those who justify his work, under the false guise of freedom of expression, should ask themselves whether they would accept the idea of a knighthood being bestowed upon David Irving or the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for their tireless attempts to deny the systematic extermination of the Jews during the Nazi era. Isn't it hypocritical to apply different sets of rules?

Dr Munjed Farid Al Qutob

You'd think that a doctor would know the fucking difference between a work of fiction written by Rushdie and a Nazi apologist revisionist historian specialising in Holocaust denial, but obviously not. It's not that difficult: Rushdie is a novelist, specialising in weaving together stories; Irving is a historian, supposedly dealing in truthful accounts of events in the past; Ahmadinejad is an idiot who hates Israel and thinks that putting the biggest lie of them all back into the public domain will take the attention away from his abject political failure. If Rushdie alleged that Mohammad was a paedophile, in a written history of Islam, as many on the far-right do to bate Muslims, then yes that would be hypocritical. As he has yet to do so, it isn't.

You might like to sign
this petition, via Justin, even if it has been started by Daniel Finkelstein, if you feel the same way.

Related post:
Mr Eugenides - Big Mouth strikes again

Labels: , ,

Share |


  • This is septicisle


Powered by Blogger
and Blogger Templates