Issues

Rushdie Affairs and the Demonization of Islam

By P.A.Mohamed Ameen

There is a long history of messiahs like Rushdie who preach gospels of free speech and utopian harmony but who succeed in producing disharmony in search of material greed, name and fame. Rushdie, the champion of free speech, prevented the publication of a book written by his bodyguard. Why? This is a different story that vested mass media hardly talks about. Rushdie hurriedly took out parts of his "Midnight's Children" when Indira Gandhi threatened to sue him.

Rushdie and similar mercenaries have absolute knowledge that the tradition of free speech is an abstract principle, formulated principally for the benefit of a small elite of media market-influenced and money-minded intellectuals and artists like our apostate friend Rushdie.

As brother Shad Shahid convincingly argues (MG Feb 1-15), can anyone deny the fact that there can never be absolute and untrammelled freedom of speech without any restraints or restrictions whatsoever?

If there is such an absolute freedom of speech why do we have laws against terrorism, on libel, race relations, obscenity, paedophilia, and slander?

In Britain, a valuable organisation such as Rationalist Press Association, discriminates between freedom to impart information and freedom to insult, offend or abuse.

Peace between communities should take a precedent. In a rational utopia where everybody would be free to abuse and insult everybody else and nobody would take offence may lead to disunity and disturbances and revenge killings as we painfully experienced in Kashmir caused by the publication of "Satanic Verses".

India banned the book in order to prevent more such human tragedies. Should we sacrifice the lives of people and cause communal disharmony in order to satisfy the lustful ideas of despicable perverts like Rushdie who are more interested in satisfying their paymasters and receiving fat cheques from their publishers.

In the real multi-cultural, multi-religious and pluralistic world which we all perforce inhabit, words do wound, insults do hurt, and extreme and obscene abuse does provoke anger and violence. Not to talk about India, even the European tradition recognises this.

It is an unwritten constitution of freedom in the West that has shied away from absolutist doctrines of liberty and assumed instead that with freedom there comes responsibilities: moral, prudential, conventional or simple matter of good taste covering areas much wider than the law contains. This is because absolute freedom is very dangerous.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 May 2012 on page no. 2

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