Rushdie Attack Was An Attack On Free Speech

Rushdie Attack Was An Attack On Free Speech

Rushdie Attack Was An Attack On Free Speech

Salman Rushdie has been greviously injured in a stabbing attack that might still kill him. But however shocked people are by the brutality of this attack, too many people are willing to let their illiberal attitudes against free speech create an environment where these attacks are not only condoned, but celebrated.

To recap what led to this attack on Rushdie, we have to go back a few decades. In 1988, Salman Rushdie published The Satanic Verses. Remember South Park putting up a cartoon Mohammed that was later censored, or “Everyone Draw Mohammad” Day, or the Dutch cartoons? The controversy over The Satanic Verses was one of the first mainstream examples of just how radical and intolerant Iran, and the Muslim world as a whole, was becoming. This book upset Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini of Iran so much that he put out a fatwa on Rushdie, which was a combination of a death sentence and the promise of a reward for any bounty hunter who did it.

In Islam, a fatwa is issued by a religious scholar and then handed out by a religious leader as a legal pronouncement. A fatwa is, in essence, a ruling under Islamic law, and in rare cases like in Rushdie’s, a fatwa may call for death.”

Gordon Newby, author of “A Concise Encyclopedia of Islam,” told CNN that getting a fatwa “would be like going to someone who was a combined lawyer-priest and getting an opinion.”

He added that a fatwa is an opinion and that different scholars from different schools of Islamic law might rule differently on the same issue or question.”

Apparently fatwas can only be revoked by the same person who issued then, and this particular Khomeini died in 1989. And Iran hasn’t exactly become less radical, intolerant, or accepting of religious critiques in the last thirty years. Rushdie had to live in hiding under an assumed name in order to protect himself at that time.

Rushdie, who was living in the U.K. at the time the fatwa was issued, went into hiding for 10 years under an alias. The author was also given 24-hour police protection by former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s government.”

The New York Times wrote that according to his former wife, novelist Marianne Wiggins, the couple moved 56 times, or once every three days in the first few months after the fatwa was issued.”

Rushdie wrote about his experience in hiding in his memoir published in 2012 called “Joseph Anton,” which was his alias for a decade. The New York Times noted that the memoir is “a record of his relocation from Bombay to London to New York, where he settled in 2000.”

Yesterday, someone stabbed Rushdie and nearly succeeded in killing him as he was giving a talk.

“The news is not good,” the 75-year-old writer’s agent, Andrew Wylie, told The New York Times.”

“Salman will likely lose one eye; the nerves in his arm were severed; and his liver was stabbed and damaged,” said Wylie.”

Rushdie, who is still unable to speak, was attacked by a lone man while speaking at an event at the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, NY, about 55 miles south of Buffalo.”

He was scheduled to speak about the United States as a place for exiled authors “as a home for freedom of expression,” according to the institute. After the stabbing, he was transported by helicopter to a hospital in Erie, Pennsylvania, where he underwent surgery.”

A witness who was in the audience told The Post that Rushdie tried to run off the stage, and the two men scuffled before audience members rushed onstage to subdue the attacker.”

Approximately 2,500 people were in the audience at the time.”

Rushdie’s alleged attacker, 24-year-old Hadi Matar, of Fairview, New Jersey, was arrested at the scene by a state trooper who was assigned to the lecture.”

No honest person should be shocked by the identity of the alleged attacker, an apparent Iran sympathizer. What everyone SHOULD be shocked about is that the alleged attacker is currently ONLY being charged with “attempted second degree murder.”


But hey, the suspect is being held without bail! Given that this is New York state, I suppose that we should be grateful for that.

The other thing that no one should be shocked about is that Iran’s leadership is pretty openly happy about the attack on Rushdie.


But what SHOULD get people shocked and angry is just how willing the intolerant left, especially on Twitter, has no problem with threatening a stabbing attack of the same nature with other people who disagree with them.


You see, J.K. Rowling has used her free speech and her platform to openly challenge the religious beliefs of the hard left that a man cannot simply “become” a woman through hormones and surgery. Therefore, she is a heretic to the left and if they could issue a fatwa, they would. Twitter is their stand-in for both church and fatwa, as the multiple threats screenshotted for posterity indicate.

For those who say that they value free speech, then they really need to take up the mantle of the ACLU of old, who used to defend the free speech of others even when they disagreed with them. That is not the ACLU of today. That is not the left wing of today. The left wing today is too busy bean counting the intersectionality of everyone BEFORE they allow them voice an opinion, and using the heckler’s veto and threats of violence to try and silence anyone they disagree with. In short, the hard left has become exactly like the ayatollahs of Iran – unable and unwilling to debate, very willing to condemn, and happy to offer rewards to those who silence their critics.

Salman Rushdie may not survive yesterday’s attack, though I fervently hope that he does. Will free speech continue to survive in today’s society as an essential ideal of Western thought and expression? It has to, or we are all doomed to live under the fatwas of the intersectional left.

Featured image: Salman Rushdie in 2018, via ActuaLitté on Flickr, cropped, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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3 Comments
  • Cameron says:

    Man, that love and tolerance of Islam really fell short again. Now waiting for cries of “islamaphobia!” and “islamic backlash!” to make the rounds.

    • NTSOG says:

      Cameron I have read [in a commentary by a young Sudanese-Australian woman] that Islam is THE religion of PEACE. Surely the alleged attacker can’t be of the Islamic faith, but must be an extreme right-wing Trump supporter?

      • Cameron says:

        Be patient; the media has to comb through his social media posts before they find that connection. And it’s Sunday so the reporters are sleeping off their bender.

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