#1: Salman Rushdie was attacked on Friday before a scheduled lecture in western New York. Rushdie was stabbed by a 24-year-old New Jersey man. Rushdie’s fiction book, “The Satanic Verses”, was released in September 1988. It has been prohibited in Iran, India, Bangladesh, Sudan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Thailand, Tanzania, Indonesia, Singapore, Venezuela, and Pakistan. Rushdie referred to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in his book as “Mahound,” a disparaging epithet given to the Prophet by early crusaders that meant “devil” or “false prophet.” What is your take on the attack?
The obscene blasphemy in Rushdieâs book is actually much worse than just calling the Prophet (pbuh) insulting names. It is way over the top, and raises the question, why did he write such a book? Several decades ago I read three of Rushdieâs novels as part of my graduate studies in World Literature. My impression was that he wrote The Satanic Verses as a deliberate provocation designed to get exactly the kind of attention it got. In other words, he deliberately set out to make himself into some kind of literary martyr. Why? Because he is an extreme egotist with boundless ambition but without the talent to match it; he wanted more fame than his writing alone would ever earn him.
Rushdie’s first book Midnightâs Children attempts to turn the author himself into a mythical hero whose birth and biography represent the birth and biography of modern India. That is quite a grandiose self-image. Midnightâs Children won the Booker Prize and sold well. What could he ever do to surpass that? I think he realized, consciously or unconsciously, that Midnightâs Children was overrated, his talent was limited, and that he would never again achieve that kind of successâŠunless he did something so outlandishly provocative that his name would become a household word for extra-literary reasons.
So in my view Rushdie deliberately courted the notoriety that ensued from the publication of The Satanic Verses. He invented himself as a characterâthe obscenely blaspheming author held up as a symbol of Western-style freedom, hunted and forced to live on the run, vastly more famous than thousands of much better writers, a kind of real-life cartoon character in the Westâs comic book narrative of free speech (us) versus its enemies (them).
As time has passed, Rushdieâs one-note act has gradually faded from public view. So though I wouldnât have been surprised to hear he been attacked in, say, the mid-1990s, it seems rather incongruous in 2022.
#2: Some self-proclaimed advocates of human rights have condemned the attack. How do you see this?
During the same week that Rushdie was attacked, several Palestinian children were shot dead by Israeli snipers. Unlike Rushdie, those children did nothing to provoke the attacks. Their crime was to be born under occupation. They were targeted for genocide simply for existing.
Why are so many Western self-styled human rights advocates so obsessed with the likes of Salman Rushdie and so uninterested in the Palestinian children being murdered by the genocidal occupation? The answer is that they see Rushdie as a martyr who represents their deepest âreligious” values of liberal secular humanism. The liberal pseudo-religion holds up individual freedom as its highest value. And the freedom to transgress religious and moral prohibitions â ultimately, the âfreedomâ of Machievelli and the Marquis de Sadeârepresents the secret desire of the devotees of the religion of liberalism. So for them, the obscene blasphemer Rushdie is the martyr, while the innocent children of Palestine are simply collateral damage in the exercise of absolute freedom from religious and moral restraint as exercised by the Zionist de Sades, with whom they ultimately identify, and whose crimes they fund with Western taxpayer dollars.
#3: Some also argue that the attack was a plot hatched by the US or an attempt to spread islamophobia. Do you believe so?
The timing of the attack on Rushdie was curious indeed. His case had been largely forgotten since the peak of his notoriety forty years ago. Suddenly, at the exact moment that the JCPOA nuclear deal was about to be revived, this incident generated worldwide headlines and threw a new roadblock in the path of the deal. And it happened just days after reports of an alleged Iranian plot against John Bolton.
If we ask cui bono, “who gains,” the answer is thunderingly obvious. The state of Israel has made no secret of the fact that it views the JCPOA as an existential threat. The Israelis have done everything they can to derail the JCPOA. And they have a long history of using false flag terror to achieve political goals. Anyone familiar with Thomas Suarezâs State of Terror: How Terrorism Created Modern Israel and Ronan Bergmanâs Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israelâs Targeted Assassinations, knows that the Israelis will kill anyone, anywhere, any time, to achieve their desired political objectives.
Additionally, the Israelis have a history of using mind-controlled patsies in their targeted killings. Perhaps the best-known case is that of Sirhan Sirhan, a young Palestinian who was put under hypnotic control and set up as the patsy in the killing of Robert F. Kennedy in 1968. (The Israelis had killed John F. Kennedy in 1963 to remove a mortal threat to their nuclear weapons program, and needed to kill Robert in 1968 to stop him from winning the US presidency and exposing the truth.)
So it would not surprise me if the young man who is accused of stabbing Salman Rushdie was acting under the influence of Israel, not Iran.