Sunday 16 September 2012
Mobs in the Middle East, Salman Rushdie's new book, and how progressive Islam fell to the barbarians
Of course I have very deep sympathy for oppressed Muslims everywhere. But that is no excuse for this counter-productive rampageOnce, we could say with some certainty that Islamicist fanatics, thugs, killers and mind-benders represented a minority and that most Muslims, quiet and sane were unseen and unheard. Today, I fear it is the opposite.
Modernist Muslims, amalgams of the West and East, comfortable with their multiple identities, have no part to play. We are written out, quashed. By whom? By the barbarians who have taken over mosques, schools, homes, hearts and minds. And also by Western political and cultural warriors and agents-provocateurs who derive inordinate satisfaction from playing and inciting Muslims, zapping away as if playing an electronic game.
The tawdry, internet film demeaning and abusing Islam’s Prophet was doing just that, knowingly pressing buttons. It started circulating around the anniversary of 9/11 and so deliberately brought up bad memories for Americans and rewound to those days when Muslims replaced Commies as the force of evil and the fearful “patriotic wars against terror” took off.
All this is happening as Salman Rushdie brings out a book about his days in hiding after Ayatollah Khomeini passed a fatwa calling for his death. You get to understand how the fatwa cruelly stole years of his life and sense of security. Many of his friends and other libertarians are up and about chanting hymns about freedom of expression in his name and having a go at religions and followers.