Rushdie, Fatwas and Cancel Culture


This just may be what comes of the triumphant cry of the warrior who knows but one truth, and who is determined to destroy all those who stand in its way: Salman Rushdie, laying in a pool of blood on a stage at the Chautauqua Institution in upstate New York. He was getting ready to speak to a group of like-minded souls about the United States as a refuge for writers exiled elsewhere.

Then a long knife in the hands of a mad man struck, again and again and again. A furious 24-year-old stormed the stage, nearly killing Rushdie before stunned onlookers could subdue him.

You want cancel culture? This is where it leads, inevitably – the murderous silencing of dissent.

The Shah of Iran put a price on Rushdie’s head, declaring a Fatwa, or decree from an Islamic religious leader, calling on the faithful to act. In 1989, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Supreme Leader of Iran, called on Moslems worldwide to kill Rushdie for the great crime of writing scenes unflattering of none other than Mohammed himself in a piece of literary fiction known as “The Satanic Verses.” This early expression of cancel culture sparked violence, riots and death worldwide. A bounty of several million dollars was placed on Rushdie’s head, a quick, but risky get rich quick scheme. The fatwa remains in place, and The New York Times places the value of the bounty at $3.3 million as of 2012.

The would be killer? A man named Hadi Matar, who was taken into custody at the scene.

Was the mayhem the result of the fatwa?

Oh, this could just be another piece of random madness of the sort that seems all too regular these days. Had Rushdie been attacked with a firearm, there’d no doubt be marches for gun safety measures among the polite and politically correct. There will not, I suspect, be a similar outcry for better training in the use of cutlery.

Little is know about Matar. The New York Times reported him a “New Jersey” man, obscuring, for the sake of diversity, what more is known about Matar. A law enforcement official told NBC news that Matar, who was born in California, demonstrated sympathy for Shia extremism and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard – Iranian shock troopers formed after Islamic extremists seized power in Iran in the late 1970s. It is hard to avoid the conclusion that Matar’s attack was inspired by the fatwa. Even the Times spent column inches discussing the fatwa, Rushdie’s decades of living in hiding and seclusion, and left the impression that its editors have reached a conclusion its writers are too feckless to state – Rushdie’s stabbing was a result of intolerance.

Matar was charged with attempted murder in New York shortly after the stabbing. He will soon appear in court for an arraignment, where, undoubtedly, the world’s press will await his appearance. Will he tells us then what inspired him? I doubt it. He’ll be appointed top-drawer counsel to defend him, and their first move will undoubtedly be to have Matar evaluated by a team of psychiatrists. Perhaps the young man is a latter day John Hinckley, seeking to impress some unlucky soul with this shocking act of violence. Or perhaps, and this is speculation, he really is a religious extremist. It would a stunning act of honest lunacy for him to appear before a New York judge and claim Allah’s reward. Intolerance kills.

It was a bad week for Islam in the United States. In Dallas, Yasser Abdel Said was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for killing his two teenage daughters in 2008. Why’d he do that? Said, who was born in Egypt, and came to the United States in 1983, didn’t like the boys his daughters were dating. “I was upset because in my culture it’s something to get upset about,” he said, while denying the killings. Score one for honor killers everywhere. Intolerance kills.

And in Albuquerque, New Mexico, all eyes were on the Moslem community, where a string of homicides of young Islamic men sparked concern that the victims were targets because of their faith. It turns out they may have been, an Afghan Moslem from a different sect has been taken into custody by police. Was this sectarian violence we read about elsewhere? Intolerance kills.

And what of the attempt on the life of an activist living in the greater New York area? The Times reports that men believed to connected to Iran targeted an activist for assassination. Her crime? Speaking out for the rights of women in her native country. Intolerance kills.

There’s a message in this for all the woke virtuosi who are oh-so-certain they know the metes and bounds of the good, true and beautiful. Speak at variance with this crowd, and suffer the consequences – today they will malign you, try to force you from your job and otherwise stalk and harass you. Give them power and ostracism will give way to darker impulses, I fear. There is nothing quite so terrifying as a self-righteous mob.

Rushdie is on a ventilator and suffering from serious, life-threatening injuries. He may well have been mauled because he expressed ideas unpopular to some. The demand for conformity resulted in calls for his execution.

It took 33 years for hatred to strike a near fatal blow in Rushdie’s case. I suspect the growing intolerance in our midst makes the lag time between fatwa – whether religious in origin or merely the unctuous demand of the politically correct – and execution much shorter these days. Rushdie came to New York to celebrate asylum from hate. Little did he know that we’re not immune here, not any more.

 

Comments: (5)

  • You write like Matthew McConnaughley
    You write like Matthew McConnaughey (or how ever you spell it at 664 years of age Jogailia. Try to get some sleep.
    Posted on August 13, 2022 at 11:27 pm by Girl in Painting 1532
  • Garbled Facts
    The Shah didn't put out a fatwa on Rushdie over his book. The Shah was never considered "an Islamic religious leader," either. The Satanic Verses wasn't published until 1988, almost a decade after the Shah was thrown out of power and died shortly after. There was only one such order, the fatwa issued in 1989 by Khomeini. As for it taking 33 years for the fatwa to be carried out, Rushdie was the target of prior foiled attacks, including one just a few months after the fatwa was issued. He had to live in hiding for a long time.
    Posted on August 14, 2022 at 9:51 am by Ye Old Scribe
  • Intolerance, Jonestown, and The Fourth Reich
    I'm having trouble summing your words about Rushdie, e.g. "intolerance kills" and your defense of Alex Jones. Believe me when I tell you, I believe in the importance of free speech...havev a peek at my Facebook; I truly don't give a fuck, and I mean that in a good way. That being said, Mr. Jones is absolutely a racist, and spews hurtful and hateful rhetoric from a soapbox that influences a large amount of people. In his own way, he's all about a Fatwa of sorts, as he will say anything for a price or to stay relevant. Now I hate our political and judicial system and have been summarily fucked in the ass by both in ways no other person can even comprehend, but there has to be a line somewhere or you end up with the Third Reich. Make no mistake, those seeking to control this country are as racist, sexist and LGBTQ-phobic as the day is long, so if intolerance kills (and I believe it does) that means we cannot tolerate the aforementioned devisive tools of the Totalitarian Oligarchy, which is the situation we find ourselves in currently...aka the Fourth Reich. I'm hoping you've been sabotaged to some degree through Nefarious Systems Alterations, but that's a topic for the future. Your thoughts?
    Posted on August 18, 2022 at 9:16 pm by Andrew Karsen
  • This is hilarious
    It makes me smile to see how many people think you’re a dickhead
    Posted on September 15, 2022 at 8:31 am by Jeff
  • Always Educating
    While I tend to disagree with you on many topics I always find your blogs (or rants) educational. I've recently have spent hours attempting to get a sour taste out of my mind after discovering that you refused to answer questions from a judicial review board regarding the release of records in the Alex Jones case. I stand behind you 110 percent sir and firmly believe in free speech but at what cost? Even you, as a highly educated gentleman with a conscience and caring heart know that your client Mr Jones is guilty as he'll Norm. And I get it, everyone deserves a defense under our constitution but you're so much better than said client. I do look forward to you clearing your name in the accidental release of these files but, in the meantime keep your head high and focus on your own well-being and never let the bastards get you down old friend.
    Posted on September 24, 2022 at 5:32 am by William Cole

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