Civil Liberties

Salman Rushdie's Memoir of a "Life Profoundly Disfigured by Terrorism"


In the Wall Street Journal, Reason Contributing Editor Michael C. Moynihan reviews Salman Rushdie's new memoir, Joseph Anton, which is about "a life profoundly disfigured by terrorism." The memoir is a reflection on the fallout from the death sentence issued in 1988 by Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini after Rushdie published The Satanic Verses.


The list of putative liberals suddenly concerned with hurt religious "sensibilities" is depressingly long: Joseph Brodsky, John le Carré, Hugh Trevor-Roper, Roald Dahl ("long, unpleasant man with huge strangler's hands"), Germaine Greer, the reliably Islamophilic Prince of Wales, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, who coughed up the most astonishing pronouncement of the whole affair: "We must be more tolerant of Muslim anger."…

It is quite stunning to be reminded of the craven "religious leaders" who openly suborned Mr. Rushdie's murder, to no response from the police or courts. Mr. Rushdie hasn't forgotten, though it seems everyone else has. Iqbal Sacranie, one "leader" given substantial airtime and column inches to adjudicate Mr. Rushdie's fate, said that "death, perhaps, is a bit too easy for him." In 2005, Mr. Sacranie was knighted at the behest of Tony Blair. Then there is Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens), who in 1989 publicly supported the death sentence, saying that Mr. Rushdie "must be killed." In 2010, he was a special guest at comedian Jon Stewart's "Rally to Restore Sanity" in Washington, D.C. In a subtle dig at Mr. Stewart, Mr. Rushdie sighs that the musician, who later denied his words, must have understood that "he lived in an age where nobody had a memory."

Read the whole thing here.

As noted yesterday, the bounty on Rushdie's head has just been increased by $500,000.

Reason on Rushdie.