POSTED BY Buzz ON Sep 15, 2012 AT 16:16 IST ,  Edited At: Sep 15, 2012 16:16 IST

Salman Rushdie to BBC Radio 4 Today on the recent protests in the Muslim world against a video clip posted on Youtube:

...means a number of things. In the case of Satanic Verses, it meant that we stood up for what needed to be defended and we managed to defend it. In a larger sense, it's more problematic. The events surrounding the Satanic Verses created a climate of fear that has not dissipated that makes it harder for books -- not even books critical of Islam -- books, anything about Islam, to be published.

This idea of respect, which is a code word for fear is something we have to overcome And I very much felt that what happened to me was a harbinger of many things that followed. And I think you can draw a direct line of connection from the entire Satanic Verses controversy to the 9/11 attacks, to the 7/7 attacks in England to what's happening today across the Muslim world -- this extraordinary thin-skinned, paranoid reaction to a piece of garbage, which any rational person would say, yes, that is a piece of garbage and we can ignore it...

Today presenter James Naughtie: You mean the film?

Salman Rushdie: ....this video or clip from an alleged film which may or may not exist. Any reasonable person would say, yes, that's crap, it's an ugly crap, and we should just dismiss it as unimportant and proceed with our day. But the idea that you react to that by holding an entire nation and its diplomatic representatives responsible, when they weren't remotely aware of, is ugly and wrong.

I think what we have to do is to insist -- all of us, all of us -- that the culture of this country is one of open discourse and the point about open discourse is that people will constantly say things you don't like. But if you can't defend the right of people to say things you don't like, then you don't believe in free speech. And often in the free speech lobby you find yourself defending things you detest. But you know there is no trick to defend stuff you agree with or stuff that particularly doesn't get up your nose. It's when somebody does something that you really despise and loathe, when somebody says something like that, that's when you discover if you believe in free speech.

And I think we do believe in free speech and maybe we need to stand up for it more clearly.

I think there is certain confusion. I think what happened in Libya -- the attack on the embassy, the killing of the ambassador -- may not have been related to this idiotic video but may have been a pre-planned Salafi attack, an indication of this is that the flag that was put out on the embassy in Libya is the flag that is very frequently used by Al-Qaeda. I think that's a different thing. I think that today is Friday and today across the Muslim world there is this absurdly hysterical protest about a piece of garbage that really needs to be named as such. And I think the Muslim world needs to learn that to react every single time to pathetic, deliberate provocation -- not even impressive provocation -- in this way, to believe that in the face of this minor, little pinprick that it is ok to attack property, to threaten people, maybe even take life, that is not acceptable. It is not acceptable, it is an ugly reaction and it needs to be named as ugly.

POSTED BY Buzz ON Sep 15, 2012 AT 16:16 IST ,  Edited At: Sep 15, 2012 16:16 IST
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Daily Mail
Sep 27, 2012
02:42 AM


>>>> The VHP/RSS must learn a lesson from that.
>> The BJP has ruled many Indian states for quite some time,and there is no theocracy or discrimination of religious minorities anywhere.

My remark was about the comments of some of the VHP/RSS leaders. BJP-ruled states is one thing. A sole BJP non-coalition government at the center is something we have never had. Maybe when it happens it would be as enlightened as you claim, or maybe not.

Dallas, United States
Sep 26, 2012
09:59 PM

 Anwaar >> The VHP/RSS must learn a lesson from that.

The BJP has ruled many Indian states for quite some time,and there is no theocracy or discrimination of religious minorities anywhere. Gujarat 2002 was an exception but it is absolute fact that after 2002, Gujarat has been most peaceful than anytime in last 100 plus years. 

In contrast,when was last time when a Hindu or Christian or Sikh could practise his or her faith with pride and without fear in the Islamic Theocracy of PAKISTAN?

Delhi, India
Sep 24, 2012
11:56 PM


>>>> Both Jehadis and Hindutvawadis must be made to understand that
>>  no one in their right minds would believe there is any kind of equivalence between the two.

The discussion was about theocracy and the fact that both Jehadis and Hindutvawadis need to understand that theocracy can lead to disaster. Pakistan is a good example of that. The VHP/RSS must learn a lesson from that.

Dallas, United States
Sep 24, 2012
11:43 PM


>> Anwaar - Thanks to oil in the middle east, these countries over there are rich.

Are you responding to something that I had said? What?

Dallas, United States
Sep 24, 2012
09:49 PM

@ Anwaar - Thanks to oil in the middle east, these countries over there are rich. not because of some great enterprise or intellect. they hold the entire world to ransom because they hold the key to energy reserves. the only way to end this kind of terror is by drying up their funds. use alternate sources of energy. shale gas would definitely help in doing so. similarly all countires importing energy should work on developing alternate energy in a big way.

Kiran Voleti
Chennai, India
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