Bounty raised on Rushdie

Well, the fall is both Republican and Islam Crazy Season. As if the riots and murders in the Middle East weren’t enough, now the lousy movie “Innocence of Muslims” has led to an increase in the bounty on Salman Rushdie’s head. According to The Independent, an Iranian religious foundation has upped the reward for his murder to a cool $ 3.3 million.

Sir Salman is in New York where he is promoting the publication of a memoir chronicling his time living under a fatwa imposed by the late Ayatollah Khomeini over his novel, The Satanic Verses. The tour has been overshadowed by a declaration from religious leader Hassan Sanei, head of the semi-official 15 Khordad Foundation, that he was adding another $500,000 to the hardline group’s existing reward of $2.8m for killing the novelist.

It raised the bounty in protest at the online film The Innocence of Muslims which has sparked violent outrage in parts of the Islamic world. “Surely if the sentence of the Imam [Khomeini] had been carried out, the later insults in the form of caricatures, articles and the making of movies would not have occurred,” Ayatollah Sanei said. The British Government called for urgent action against the foundation.

Yep, if they had succeeded in killing Rushdie, it would have silenced further critics, and that’s exactly what these thugs are about. Pity that dupes like R. Joseph Hoffmann fall for it. Rushdie doesn’t even like the damn movie, but he apparently doesn’t dislike it enough:

Sir Salman has already criticised the film describing it as “a piece of crap… very poorly done and malevolent”. But he added: “To react to it with this kind of violence is just ludicrously inappropriate. People are being attacked who had nothing to do with it and that is not right.”

This apparently isn’t part of the official fatwa against Rushdie issued in 1989 for his “insults” toward Mohamed in The Satanic Verses. That was revoked by Iran 9 years later, but the 15 Khordad Foundation still has the money on the table, ergo Rushdie must live in fear and seclusion.

At least the British government is taking the right stand, though it will have no effect:

The Foreign Office said: “We call on the government of Iran to take firm and urgent action on organisations in Iran that are encouraging or offering rewards for the murder of Mr Rushdie.”

Salman Rushdie was born into a Muslim family in India.  There’s a bounty on him for having insulted Islam.  To those of you who claim that the recent riots are motivated not by faith but by politics and American oppression, I ask this question: do you really think this renewed bounty has nothing to do with religion? If you do, then you’ve left rationality behind.

78 Comments

  1. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted September 18, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    Well, obviously religion has plenty to do with it. The questions is not whether it has nothing but whether it is everything.

    • Posted September 18, 2012 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

      Yes, this exactly.

      Religion — Islam, specifically, of course — is one of the key motivational forces, and there’s no way to understand the matter without understanding the role religion is playing in all of this.

      But it’s just one of many key motivational forces. Indeed, British imperialism a century ago is almost as significant a factor — and let’s not forget the Cold War, and the CIA’s training of Bin Laden Al Qaida to act as a terrorist foil to the Soviet invasion! And, indeed, Bin Laden’s own screed justifying the 9/11 attacks focused on politics, especially the role of the US in backing Israel.

      Did I mention Israel? That, of course, brings us back to the British map-making of a century ago….

      I’ll grant, though, that Islam is the primary factor in the persecution of Rushdie, but even then it’s not the sole factor. You see, the fatwa came from the Iranian government, and that government came to power after the CIA’s puppet regime (led by the Shah) collapsed and paved the way for the current militant regime to take power….

      Cheers,

      b&

      • beyondbelief007
        Posted September 18, 2012 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

        Does the fact that Islam sees no distinction between church and state change your perspective?

        • Posted September 18, 2012 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

          That would be a deepity on your part.

          I assure you, there is nothing in the Q’ran that says anything at all about what oil price targets OPEC should set — and I think most would agree with me that that’s a very important function of OPEC’s Islamic member states.

          The distinction clearly exists, even if there’re rhetorically expedient reasons to pretend otherwise.

          b&

        • Lotharloo
          Posted September 18, 2012 at 11:40 pm | Permalink

          In Iran the said lack of distinction was derived using the following piece of sophisticated theocracy: “Because when Muhammad ruled, his politics was like his religion and his religion was like his politics” and that is it. Saying that “Islam sees no distinction between church and Sstate” is a meaningless declaration. The correct thing is to say “The current Islam does not see any distinction between church and state”

          • Jeff D
            Posted September 19, 2012 at 1:15 am | Permalink

            The loudest, most violent factions of the “current Islam” see no distinction between church/mosque and state by resorting to straightforward interpretations of the writings of Muslim scholars going back many centuries, most prominently Ibn Taymiyya, who died in the year 1328.

            The authenticity of bin Laden’s post-9-11 “letter to America” has not been absolutely confirmed to everyone’s satisfaction, but guess what America’s greatest sin, greatest offense, was in the writer’s estimation? Our constitutional separation of church and state.

            The modern Salafist / Islamist attachment to theocracy (“one man, one vote, one time”) can be described in catchphrases that might seem to be deepities, but the underlying concept is not a deepity.

    • Posted September 18, 2012 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

      Precisely. It has at least as much to do with politics as it does with religion. So, to those of you who claim that the recent riots are motivated not by politics but by faith, I ask this question: do you really think the two explanations are mutually exclusive? If you do, then you’ve left rationality behind.

      • Gary W
        Posted September 18, 2012 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

        Precisely. It has at least as much to do with politics as it does with religion.

        And you know this, how?

        • Posted September 18, 2012 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

          Well I haven’t done a rigorous analysis of the relative influence of politics versus religion. I do, however, have a basic understanding of 20th and early 21st century Middle Eastern and North African history. That, paired with my reading of some articles written by individuals knowledgeable about the political situation in that region, tells me it’s probably a pretty good hunch. If you like, I’ll downgrade my claim to, “The influence of politics is of comparable strength to the influence of religion. Both factors are of immense importance and it is silly to think it is mainly one.” How’s that?

          • Gary W
            Posted September 18, 2012 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

            How’s that?

            Unless you can make a serious case for it from evidence and logical argument, it’s worthless.

            Given that the stated objection to the book is explicitly religious in nature (blasphemy, apostasy) and has been made by large numbers of Muslims living in a diverse array of political environments all over the world, it seems pretty likely that motive really is religious.

            • Lotharloo
              Posted September 18, 2012 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

              “Unless you can make a serious case for it from evidence and logical argument, it’s worthless. ”

              Easy. In Iran it is extremely difficult to find The Satanic Verses. In fact, it is forbidden to sell, buy, or read the book. So none of those angry Iranian muslims have read the book. Now you might think, how does it work that they are outraged? Easy. The government tells them that “There is a book is blasphemous and insulting to Islam but you are not allowed to read it. Just trust me. Now, pour to the streets and demonstrate.” The said government will not tell its people that Rushie even once apologize; instead, it will claim that US and UK and all these imperialist countries have supported the book and helped in its publication. If you cannot see the political influence in this, then you have left rationality behind.

              • gbjames
                Posted September 19, 2012 at 4:46 am | Permalink

                And if you don’t see the role of religion in a theocracy then you’ve lost your dictionary.

      • beyondbelief007
        Posted September 18, 2012 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

        Does the fact that Islam sees no distionction between religion and state change your perspective?

        Every action is done for Allah.

        • Mark Fuller Dillon
          Posted September 18, 2012 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

          But that leads to some interesting questions, doesn’t it?

          By treating these issues as merely or even largely religious, aren’t we playing into their hands? Why should we accept their self-definition as genuine?

          Why should we not, instead, emphasize the political nature of these conflicts, to undermine the power of theology, to bring these issues down to Earth?

          If they say, “God,” why shouldn’t we reply, “Politics… and nothing else but politics”?

        • Posted September 18, 2012 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

          No. Actually that simply strengthens my perspective by showing yet another way in which politics and religion are intertwined for this global subpopulation! Huzzah for you!

          • Gary W
            Posted September 18, 2012 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

            But you’re claiming that there are distinct political and religious motives. You wrote, “it has at least as much to do with politics as it does with religion.” If there is little or no distinction between a religious objection and a political one with respect to this issue your dichotomy doesn’t make sense.

            • Posted September 19, 2012 at 4:03 am | Permalink

              My dichotomy? I am presenting a case for an interaction effect. Religion * politics. No dichotomy there. b1 * Religion + b2* Politics + b3* Religion * Politics, and the interaction effect isn’t zero. Neither are both dose variables. That’s what I’m arguing. What you are arguing for, THAT is the false dichotomy: “religion or politics, and it’s mainly all religion”. Your argument is overly simplistic. Mine is nuanced and more true.

              • Gary W
                Posted September 19, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

                b1 * Religion … Neither are both dose variables … it’s mainly all religion

                Incomprehensible. Whatever you’re *trying* to say, it’s no longer worth the effort of trying to figure it out.

              • Posted September 20, 2012 at 9:33 am | Permalink

                It’s too bad, because what I just said totally clarifies what we’re talking about and is a way we can move forward with this debate in a more rigorous fashion. You sure you’re not just sensing your imminent loss, and that’s why it’s not worth it for you to try and understand me ;-)?

  2. gbjames
    Posted September 18, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    sub

  3. Posted September 18, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    If it was punishment for the pretentious trite that characterizes his books… I’d understand where they were coming from. :D Just kidding!
    Annoying people have a right to life too!

  4. Posted September 18, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    In this case religion has EVERYTHING to do with it, namely the especially nasty part about clerics maintaining power, and riling up the flock. A tool for those in power. But an ayatollah putting a price on the head of an unrelated author is entirely different than groups of people motivated toward protest. In the case of the ayatollah the movie is merely an excuse, in the case of the protesters it seems more like a spark to ignite existing animosities. Both acts of violence are condemnable, but we mustn’t blinker ourselves so much with our disgust for religion that we ignore the environment that allows religious lunacy to fester and eventually erupt in the manner we see here.

    • gbjames
      Posted September 18, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

      The environment that allows religious lunacy to fester includes excuse-making that absolves religiously motivated people from their misconduct.

      • Mark Fuller Dillon
        Posted September 18, 2012 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

        I don’t see political awareness as a way to absolve people, but I do see it as way to find out why people have behaved in a certain way in a certain context, and as a way of preventing such things from happening again.

        After all, if we want a secular society, why not use secular methods to understand what’s happening around us — the empirical methods of history, analysis, enquiry? And if those methods show that actions of our governments are some of the causal factors in this conflict, should we ignore that evidence in the name of patriotic faith?

      • beyondbelief007
        Posted September 18, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

        Hear! Hear! GBJames… poetic in brevity. Massive in accuracy.

      • gbjames
        Posted September 19, 2012 at 4:27 am | Permalink

        Mark… Why do you insist on generating false choices? Why does acknowledgement of the profoundly religious inspiration for certain types of behavior require that one not acknowledge other contributors?

        I must have missed the part of my argument where I said that empirical methods were to be avoided.

        • Mark Fuller Dillon
          Posted September 19, 2012 at 5:25 am | Permalink

          >>Why does acknowledgement of the profoundly religious inspiration for certain types of behavior require that one not acknowledge other contributors?

          Actually, it doesn’t. In fact, I’ve been arguing the opposite: that other contributors are just as important in understanding the context in which religious inspiration is expressed.

          >>I must have missed the part of my argument where I said that empirical methods were to be avoided.

          I must have missed it too — because you didn’t say it. :)

          My point was a general one, a way of thinking out loud; it was not aimed specifically at you. If I gave you that impression, then I apologize.

          • gbjames
            Posted September 19, 2012 at 5:36 am | Permalink

            Turns out human communication is an imperfect art!

            • Mark Fuller Dillon
              Posted September 19, 2012 at 6:04 am | Permalink

              Sometimes, I really envy cartoonists: they get to use words *and* pictures.

              Me? All I can do is type!

  5. MadScientist
    Posted September 18, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    I’m always appalled by the ignorance of people who say this sort of thing is a reaction to “Western Oppression” – the oppression shtick is only a popular excuse. If you go to a number of nations in Asia (and I bet the same happens in Iran, Lebanon, the Palestinian Territory, etc) there are ignorant priests (and non-priests) spreading hearsay and lies and promoting hatred and violence. It is that environment of lies which people grow up in which encourages them to behave like such monkeys and kill people over trivial things. The phrase “Western Oppression” means nothing and yet it is such a trigger to trained monkeys. You can see an example of that here – some idiot makes a bad movie and the monkeys riot and attack people who have nothing to do with the movie or the idiot – an individual’s actions are taken to be the actions of an entire nation because this is another example of “Western Oppression”. The lie is particularly galling in the Asian nations because the poor folk are being screwed over primarily by the elite of their own people and not by foreigners. I suspect the same is true of other nations and their hate-mongers – it would be their own people primarily responsible for their destitution.

  6. suwise3
    Posted September 18, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    Why do they have to offer money at all? Aren’t the 72 virgins and such enough? Are they holding out for 80? They’d be happy if infidels offed him *just for the money??*

    • Sastra
      Posted September 18, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

      Money must show they really, really mean it when they say they want him dead.

      Maybe they should combine the fatwah bounty with James Randi’s Million Dollar Challenge: you get $4.3 million for killing Salman Rushdie through paranormal means.

      Let’s get them all working in that direction.

  7. Ichthyic
    Posted September 18, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    “Surely if the sentence of the Imam [Khomeini] had been carried out, the later insults in the form of caricatures, articles and the making of movies would not have occurred,” Ayatollah Sanei said.

    Either this person is outrageously lying to bolster the “importance” of fatwas, or else he really believes that this would have been the case.

    I suspect the former. Nobody could really be stupid enough to believe that killing Rushdie would have prevented the destructive path many muslims have taken?

    kinda the opposite, I would think. If their fatwa HAD succeeded, innumerable other fatwas would have followed, supported by the success of this one.

    someone would have created an assassin’s guild-for-hire.

    that this HASN’T happened tells me that in reality, there is no power to fatwas, that there is a tiny minority behind all this crap, and this, IMO, is a good thing.

  8. Mark Fuller Dillon
    Posted September 18, 2012 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    >>To those of you who claim that the recent riots are motivated not by faith but by politics and American oppression, I ask this question: do you really think this renewed bounty has nothing to do with religion?

    Mr. Coyne, neither I nor others (as far as I can see) have argued that *only* politics and American oppression have been responsible for these things. Faith is obviously central as well.

    But the *actions* by which that faith is expressed, and the degrees to which they are expressed, are channeled in many ways by the constricting forces of politics, occupation, invasion and dictatorship. When people have been deprived of political means to assert their own rights and their own identities, they will fall back on non-political methods — such as fundamentalism and mob violence.

    Just how much politics and imperialism have to do with this *particular* case, I honestly can’t say. But I do have to wonder: without that CIA-backed coup against Mossadegh, without any subsequent need for fundamentalist revolution, would Ayatollah Khomeini have ever come to power in the first place?

    It’s not a history we change, but it might be a policy we can abandon.

    • Mark Fuller Dillon
      Posted September 18, 2012 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

      Forgive me, that final sentence should have read:

      “It’s not a history we can change, but it might be a policy we can abandon.”

      I’m usually quite good at proof-reading. But sometimes — :)

    • Gary W
      Posted September 18, 2012 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

      But the *actions* by which that faith is expressed, and the degrees to which they are expressed, are channeled in many ways by the constricting forces of politics, occupation, invasion and dictatorship.

      The fatwa against Rushdie is an Islamic religious ruling issued by an Islamic cleric and justified by the religious teachings of the Koran forbidding blasphemy and apostasy. By the time the fatwa was issued, Rushdie had already been the target of numerous protests and death threats by Muslims around the world, including Muslims in western countries.

      • Mark Fuller Dillon
        Posted September 18, 2012 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

        In that case, yes, the issue here would have more to do with religion than politics.

      • Mark Fuller Dillon
        Posted September 18, 2012 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

        And yet, again, I have to wonder. Without a coup in 1953, would Iranian clerics have been able to gain the power they achieved later on?
        Would there have been protests against Rushdie, but no fatwa?

        I can’t answer those questions. All I can suggest is that the coup was wrong to begin with, that such political meddling is not in our best interests, and that Chalmers Johnson was quite right to warn us about blowback.

        Will we listen?

        • Gary W
          Posted September 18, 2012 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

          Would there have been protests against Rushdie, but no fatwa?

          Rushdie was the target of thousands of death threats from Muslims around the world both before and after Khomeini issued his fatwa. One man offered a bounty of $3 million for the death of Rushdie. There were violent large-scale protests across the Muslim world. The book was banned in almost all Muslim-majority countries, including supposedly “moderate” ones like Indonesia. Even in western countries, Muslims tried to get the book banned. They believe it is blasphemous, and they consider blasphemy against their religion to be intolerable.

          • Mark Fuller Dillon
            Posted September 18, 2012 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

            >>The book was banned in almost all Muslim-majority countries, including supposedly “moderate” ones like Indonesia.

            I’d hardly call Indonesia moderate; at the time, it was an American-supported dictatorship under Suharto.

            How many other muslim-majority countries that banned the book were dictatorships?

          • Posted September 18, 2012 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

            Interesting fact: one of the few other major countries to ban the book was the “moderate” Republic of India. The reasoning there, once echoed in public, on record, by the Chief Minister of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, was that if he could prevent the loss of lives, that would invariably result in fanatic actions, by taking away the the right to free speech of a few, he would go for the latter.

            If ever there was a slippery slope, this is it.

          • Gary W
            Posted September 18, 2012 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

            I’d hardly call Indonesia moderate

            Compared to western liberal democracies, it isn’t. Hence the word “supposedly” and the quotation marks, which you seem to have missed. Compared to the typical Muslim nation, it’s a paragon of moderation.

        • beyondbelief007
          Posted September 18, 2012 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

          Using the coup as a hypothetical means to blunt the current moral evil leaves me cold. It does not matter what might or might not have happened without a coup.

          What matters is what IS happening now, and no coup in 1953 justifies it, or balances it.

          • Posted September 18, 2012 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

            The question isn’t whether the various factors justify the violence. Outside of self-defense and defense of others, nothing can really justify violence.

            The question is whether or not the factors explain the violence.

            Imagine if you walked up to a gangbanger and started hurling insults in his face. Would your insults justify the ensuing violence? Of course not. But it sure would explain them.

            There’s a very clear causal link between the CIA’s installation of the Shah and Kohmeini’s subsequent successful coup against the Shah, and from the Ayatollah’s rise to power to the original fatwa against Rushdie. That doesn’t justify the fatwa, and it’s certainly not a complete explanation. But to leave it out of the explanation is to miss a really big piece of the puzzle.

            b&

            • Gary W
              Posted September 18, 2012 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

              Outside of self-defense and defense of others, nothing can really justify violence.

              You’re trying to diminish the responsibility of the people who are threatening violence against Rushdie by claiming they were provoked by western interference in their affairs.

              • Mark Fuller Dillon
                Posted September 18, 2012 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

                Gary, you seem to be substituting your words for his.

                How can you go from,

                “Outside of self-defense and defense of others, nothing can really justify violence,”

                and

                “There’s a very clear causal link between the CIA’s installation of the Shah and Kohmeini’s subsequent successful coup against the Shah, and from the Ayatollah’s rise to power to the original fatwa against Rushdie. That doesn’t justify the fatwa, and it’s certainly not a complete explanation. But to leave it out of the explanation is to miss a really big piece of the puzzle”

                To your own,

                “You’re trying to diminish the responsibility of the people who are threatening violence against Rushdie by claiming they were provoked by western interference in their affairs.”

                If you’ll pardon my saying this, you seem to be reading like a christian: taking from the text what you want to see, and only what you want to see.

                It’s fun to discuss these issues with you, but when you distort a clearly stated viewpoint, it makes your intentions seem less than friendly. And that’s regrettable.

              • Gary W
                Posted September 18, 2012 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

                If you agree with me that all this guff about the CIA and the coup does not in any way diminish the responsibility of Muslims threatening violence against Rushdie for their appalling behavior, terrific.

                But then, it’s completely irrelevant to the issue. It’s like a defense attorney trying to incite sympathy for his client by claiming he was abused as a child or somesuch.

              • Posted September 19, 2012 at 6:47 am | Permalink

                My, what a loverly false dichotomy you have there, Gary. One of your best all week.

                b&

          • Mark Fuller Dillon
            Posted September 18, 2012 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

            There can be no justification; there can be no balance. This fatwa is a crime, nothing more, nothing less.

            But if we want to understand what is happening now, and even more, if we want to prevent such things from happening again, then we have to study history, and we have to question previous political motives, previous political crimes.

      • Posted September 18, 2012 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

        How convenient of you to omit mention that the “Islamic cleric” in question was none other than Ayatollah Khomeini, the Supreme Leader of Iran at the time and who came to that position by way of a coup against the last Shah of Iran — who himself came to power through a CIA-backed coup.

        But, no. Khomeini wasn’t at all a political figure, merely some random schmuck of an Islamic cleric, yahyoubetcha.

        b&

        • Gary W
          Posted September 18, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

          But, no. Khomeini wasn’t at all a political figure

          Of course he was a political figure. In Iran, there is little meaningful distinction since there isn’t even the pretense of separation of church and state.

          • Mark Fuller Dillon
            Posted September 18, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

            I believe you’ve missed his point, Gary.

            • Gary W
              Posted September 18, 2012 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

              Then I believe you’ve missed mine.

              • Mark Fuller Dillon
                Posted September 18, 2012 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

                If, as you say, there is no meaningful separation of church and state in islam, then why should we, as secularists, treat their form of politics as a religion?

              • Mark Fuller Dillon
                Posted September 18, 2012 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

                Forgive me, you said, “Iran,” not “islam.”

                But the question remains: why should we, as secularists, treat Iran’s form of politics as a religion?

              • Gary W
                Posted September 18, 2012 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

                why should we, as secularists, treat Iran’s form of politics as a religion?

                I don’t think, and didn’t say, that we should do that. A theocracy isn’t the same thing as a religion. The point is that it doesn’t make much sense to assert that a cause is “political” rather than religious when the politics are essentially an expression of the religion, as in Iran.

              • Ichthyic
                Posted September 18, 2012 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

                but, Iran still has a president, does it not?

                the Mullahs do not speak for everyone there, not even the government.

              • Gary W
                Posted September 18, 2012 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

                Iran still has a president, does it not?

                It has a president who is bound by Islamic law.

      • Posted September 18, 2012 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

        > By the time the fatwa was issued, Rushdie had already been the target of numerous protests and death threats by Muslims around the world, including Muslims in western countries.

        Hrm. What other than a book could have fueled that rage? And hrm…that religious cleric is a religious leader in what country that was a hotbed of U.S. Cold War era nincompoopery in the 1970s and 1980s?

        Yeah, it’s got nothing to do with politics or history. A virus of the mind is to blame! Sweet memes. So detached from the complexities of geopolitics.

        • Gary W
          Posted September 18, 2012 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

          Yeah, it’s got nothing to do with politics or history.

          You still haven’t explained the nature of this supposed political motive for the rage and protests against Rushdie and the book. Or what evidence you think supports your claim.

          • Posted September 19, 2012 at 4:05 am | Permalink

            That’s because plenty of others in this comment thread have already done so in response to these silly, simplistic views.

  9. A Erickson Cornish
    Posted September 18, 2012 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    Presumably the oppression of minority Islamic sects and other sectarian in-fighting has absolutely nothing to do with the West, seeing as how it does not involve the West, and predates Western political involvement in the region(s). Religious fanaticism seems a better explanation for the wanton murder of Ahmadis to me than does the legacy of British colonialism, for instance.

  10. Gordon Hill
    Posted September 18, 2012 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    A five minute interview with Matt Lauer is at

    http://thelastword.msnbc.com/

  11. Posted September 18, 2012 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

    there may be other historical, socio-political, and cultural reasons behind the violence, however, one cannot ignore religion as the excuse, organizing/recruiting tool, primer and fuse for the explosion of hate and violence. Would there still be problems in these uneducated, impoverished, oppressed, and plundered nations? absolutely, but bombs need fuses, and fuses need ignition. Religion offers that like nothing else can.

    All I can say is, feeling like there is nothing I can do and not being willing to kowtow to muslim attacks on freedoms of speech, thought, and action, and in a show of solidarity, I reposted the Danish cartoons, speak out against the apologists (including an atheist friend, and my family, and I bought Rushdie’s memoir. Not much, but what else can we do?

    • beyondbelief007
      Posted September 18, 2012 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

      Excellent… What we can do is stand up in solidarity… in support of free speech and non violent reaction to idiotic speech.

      Ya done good! keep it up!!

  12. Bob Carlson
    Posted September 18, 2012 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    According to the lengthy New Yorker piece titled The Disappeared, Rushdie’s book was actually pretty nice to Muhammad, and the protests and fatwa were about things that were simply made up about the book.

    • Posted September 18, 2012 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

      That’s why they same humans and other organisms possess only -bounded- rationality.

  13. Tommy the cat
    Posted September 18, 2012 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    The absence of Christopher Hitchens has never been as sorely acute as in the last few days, seeing the madness accompanying the release of this appalling movie.
    What is even more appalling is the apparent lack of condemnation of these violent acts towards innocents in retaliation for the so-called “offense” in mainstream media (at least here in France, I don’t know about the situation in the US or in UK).
    At least Ayaan Hirsi Ali contributed a column that give a lucid appraisal of the situation:

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/09/16/ayaan-hirsi-ali-on-the-islamists-final-stand.html

    • Mark Fuller Dillon
      Posted September 18, 2012 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

      She wrote:

      “As long as Islamists were able to market their philosophy as the only alternative to dictatorship and foreign meddling, they were
      attractive to an oppressed polity. But with
      their election to office they will be subjected to the test of government.”

      Exactly.

      I’d call that a sign of hope.

  14. Achrachno
    Posted September 18, 2012 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

    If anything were to be attempted against Rushdie, could Hassan Sanei be prosecuted (International Criminal Court?) for something like attempted murder? Is there any way to charge him now based on his essentially putting a public contract on Rushdie’s head? Maybe some pushback is needed to up the cost of doing this stuff. Attempting to have people murdered is criminal activity and cannot be tolerated.

  15. jeffery
    Posted September 18, 2012 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

    I think the proper way to deal with this bullshit is to kill whoever puts out a bounty on anyone else. Then, make it quite clear that this will happen EACH time a bounty or fatwa is issued. Violence is the only thing these demented fanatics understand!

    • JohnnieCanuck
      Posted September 19, 2012 at 2:07 am | Permalink

      Oh they understand it all right. Violence against themselves is to be always remembered, even after hundreds of years. Somehow no matter how much violence they employ in retaliation, it is never enough to even the balance. Always the unjust wrongs against themselves count for more than their justified wrongs against the other.

      Northern Ireland was a fine example of this feud mentality you are promoting. It’s even now uncertain that they have completely learned their lesson from their ‘troubles’.

  16. Occam
    Posted September 19, 2012 at 2:51 am | Permalink

    How about yielding for a moment to the intended victim of these murderous proceedings, Salman Rushdie himself?

    All this happened in the fourteenth century. I am using the Hegiran calendar, naturally: don’t imagine that stories of this type always take place longlong ago. Time cannot be homogenized as easily as milk, and in those parts, until quite recently, the thirteen-hundreds were still in full swing.

    (Salman Rushdie, Shame, 1983)

    And now time for a few sweeping, unscientific generalisations.
    All monotheistic, “Abrahamitic” religions are by nature totalitarian. They pretend to jurisdiction over every aspect of human life. Their Holy Books of revelation are deemed all-encompassing, eternal, definitive.
    Judaism had the good fortune of the Diaspora: dialectics replaced stoning. Christianity hit upon the Roman empire, and couldn’t entirely eradicate the notion of civil society. Despite all attempts, the old civitas was never quite transformed into a “Civitas Dei”. Islam was, and is, a victim of its early success: the Caliphate becoming ideally congruent with the new, ever-expanding, Empire; the Ummah being construed as “One Nation Under God”. Where countervailing powers are lacking, religion is politics, and politics is religion. The power structure is not only legitimised by religion, it has to draw upon religion for its essence. Western totalitarianism was based on the power structures of the state. Religious totalitarianism is built upon total mind control as the basis for social, political and economic control. Continuous campaigning is the gyroscope that stabilises such a power structure. Perpetual strife allows it to maintain dynamic momentum; peaceful standstill threatens collapse.

    The case has been made that the Modern Age in the West was fueled by the tension, and ultimately the separation, between “spiritual” and “temporal” powers. It took us several centuries to achieve that separation, however imperfectly. It could not have been achieved had not the vestiges of the old temporal powers, and the seeds of the new, been so strong. The problem of Islam is not just that it is still stuck in the “thirteen-hundreds”, relatively speaking. The problem is the lack of endogenous countervailing elements. It’s hard to see how the totalitarian grip can be broken unless and until a crisis of belief triggers the collapse of the ideology. Until such a time, we must resolve ourselves to containment, on a scale compared to which the Cold War was a mere child’s play.

    • Ichthyic
      Posted September 19, 2012 at 3:12 am | Permalink

      The problem is the lack of endogenous countervailing elements.

      questions:

      -countervailent to what, exactly?
      -what would these endogenous elements look like?
      -you’re absolutely sure these elements you’re considering don’t exist?

      Islam does seem rather fractured, with still a very large nearly secular contingent to it.

      • Occam
        Posted September 19, 2012 at 8:36 am | Permalink

        countervailent to what, exactly?

        Countervailing to the totalitarian stranglehold of religious ideology.

        what would these endogenous elements look like?

        What would a secular society in the present Dar al-Islam look like?

        you’re absolutely sure these elements you’re considering don’t exist?

        How could I?
        However, their mere existence would not suffice. They would need enough traction to tilt the balance of power.

        Islam does seem rather fractured, with still a very large nearly secular contingent to it.

        The “nearly secular contingent”: how many divisions? Will they impede one single murder? Will they protect one single embassy?

        The Titanic “nearly” made it across the Atlantic.

  17. Dominic
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    Rushdie’s autobiography is out – serialized on BBC Radio 4 & sounds fascinating. That is why this has re-emerged as a topic.

    Viva Rushdie!


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