Sir Salman Rushdie

I haven't read any of Salman Rushdie's books. Maybe I will, maybe I won't. He should, though, be able to write what he wants free from intimidation. A lot of people are condemning the reactions to his knighthood - that is well and good. I hope that someone in Pakistan is writing that the reactions are misguided, wrong and damaging to perceptions of Islam.

One slight note of caution. By being offered and accepting a knighthood, Rushdie does become part of the establishment. This is neither good nor bad, and is often a sign of the mature period of a writer's career. While it does not signify any form of approval of the content of his works, it does perhaps echo the general unease that some feel around Muslim-'Western' relations.

I'm sure that the FCO and Cabinet Office would have considered the impact that this knighthood would have. My concern is that his gradual reappearance into public life has made people here fail to appreciate that it is entirely possible that the last time Rushdie's name was heard to some was in connection with the Satanic Verses, with ignorant fervour whipped up by self-promoting clerics.

Interesting things on this have been written by Matt Sinclair, Tiberius Gracchus, Vino and Iain Dale.

I think one thing could help both this and the aftermath of the Danish cartoons would be for a senior Muslim in the UK - Iqbal Sacranie? - to say that it is acceptable and perhaps necessary to criticise Islam.



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