There is so much going on these days that one feels whipsawed by the turn of events. While I don’t comment on everything, even though it is tempting, I feel that I would be remiss not to comment on the recent savage stabbing of author Salman Rushdie. In 1989 Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa against the famed author for alleged apostasy in his newly released book, “The Satanic Verses.” A fatwa is a sentence of death and a bounty of several million dollars was placed on Rushdie’s head. I protested then and I protest now, 33 years later. Also involved in the fatwa was anyone associated with the book including editors and publishers. At the time bookstores were afraid to display Rushdie’s books in their store windows. I called them out on their cowardice. I have my copy proudly displayed on my main bookcase in the living room of my home alongside my other “good” books.
To say this was a barbarous act of cowardice on the part of the would-be assassin would be an understatement. It deals a powerful blow to the right of free expression and free speech. It is anathema to our way of life in the free world and puts a chill in the air of artistic freedom. It demonstrates the complete absurdity and insanity of religious fanaticism. I hasten to add that it is a perversion of Islam and does not represent the mainstream which is by far more tolerant.
I believe in freedom of religion, and I respect everyone’s right to believe what they choose. But you don’t have the right to impose your belief on me or anyone else. You certainly don’t have the right to kill me if I don’t agree with you.
It looks like Mr. Rushie is going to pull through despite his many injuries. For that, I am very grateful and wish him the best and a speedy recovery, although there will be lasting effects from his injuries including the probable loss of an eye.
I condemn this senseless act of violence in the strongest possible way, and I trust his assailant will be held fully accountable. Meanwhile, “The Satanic Verses” is soaring on the charts.