Salman Rushdie seems to be angling for a new death sentence, and not simply for hanging out with Bono of U2:

"Speaking as somebody with three sisters and a very largely female Muslim family, there's not a single woman I know in my family or in their friends who would have accepted wearing the veil.

"I think the battle against the veil has been a long and continuing battle against the limitation of women, so in that sense I'm completely on [British House of Commons Leader Jack Straw's] side.

"He was expressing an important opinion, which is that veils suck, which they do. I think the veil is a way of taking power away from women."

More here. Hat tip: Drudge.

Reason interviewed Rusdie in 2005. A sample quote:

The idea of universal rights--the idea of rights that are universal to all people because they correspond to our natures as human beings, not to where we live or what our cultural background is--is an incredibly important one. This belief is being challenged by apostles of cultural relativism who refuse to accept that such rights exist. If you look at those who employ this idea, it turns out to be Robert Mugabe, the leaders of China, the leaders of Singapore, the Taliban, Ayatollah Khomeini. It is a dangerous belief that everything is relative and therefore these people should be allowed to kill because it's their culture to kill.

I think we live in a bad age for the free speech argument. Many of us have internalized the censorship argument, which is that it is better to shut people up than to let them say things that we don't like. This is a dangerous slippery slope, because people of good intentions and high principles can see censorship as a way of advancing their cause and not as a terrible mistake. Yet bad ideas don't cease to exist by not being expressed. They fester and become more powerful.

Whole thing here.

Tim Cavanaugh calls the hijab hinky--and even worse, laws against it--here.