How Iran Used Rushdie’s Satanic Verses

The move was part of a landmark agreement with the United Kingdom. Iran gave public guarantees not to push for the assassination of Rushdie in exchange for improved diplomatic relations between London and Tehran.

But there was a snag. The 1989 murderous decree based on Rushdie’s satirical novel The Satanic Verses could not be formally revoked because the source of the fatwa – Iran’s first supreme leader Ruhollah Khomeini – was dead. At least that’s what Rushdie said, according to his memoirs.

It was an artfully crafted ambiguity that has shaped Iran’s policy on this issue – and many other issues – over the years. In 2006, Hassan Nasrallah, secretary general of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah organization, publicly lamented that the fatwa against the author had not been enforced, saying that it encouraged others to “insult” the Prophet Muhammad. In 2019, Iran’s current Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei reminded his followers that the decision against Rushdie was “firm and irrevocable” in a tweet that led to his account being closed. Khamenei still tweets from other accounts.

Four months before Rushdie was severely injured at an event in New York on FridayIranian news outlet Iran Online published an article praising the fatwa.

Throughout this, Iran seemed to insist on continuing to brandish the executioner’s sword at Rushdie.

Regardless of their motives, Iran’s cynical exploitation of the feelings of some Muslims is clear. The Satanic Verses is based on a deeply controversial story from early Islamic tradition that claims that Satan momentarily intruded on divine revelations to the Prophet Muhammad. Iran did not immediately ban the book; the country’s rulers took action only months later, after the book sparked protests in Pakistan.

The subsequent fatwa proved to be politically useful. This elevated Khomeini in the eyes of Islamic fundamentalists throughout the Muslim world, including among the Sunnis. However, then, as now, he had prominent Muslims and local detractors.

Robin Wright of The New Yorker reports that Khomeini’s closest protégé at the time, Ayatollah Ali Montazeri, criticized the decree. Montazeri, who also opposed the mass executions of Iranian dissidents, fell out of favor with the regime and was placed under house arrest in 1997.
1989 letter a publication in The New York Review of Books signed by Arab and Muslim scholars also denounced the anti-Rushdie campaign.

“This campaign is in the name of Islam, although none of them do Islam any honor,” a letter signed by five prominent intellectuals, including the late Indian-born poet Agha Shahid Ali and the late Palestinian-American scholar Edward Said.

“Of course, Muslims and others have the right to protest The Satanic Verses if they feel the novel offends their religion and cultural sensibilities,” the letter added. “But translating protest and debate into the realm of fanatical violence actually runs counter to Islamic traditions of learning and tolerance.”

In Rushdie’s memoir “Joseph Anton”, the Mumbai-born author is depicted openly wondering if he had “sold out” under the 1998 London-Tehran deal just days after he announced that threats to his life had “disappeared” . Joseph Anton was his pseudonym during his time in hiding, and he refers to himself in the book in the third person.

Despite admitting that the death sentence would still hang over his head, he chose to withdraw from his life in hiding and settle in New York, where, decades later, he would be viciously attacked in front of terrified onlookers.

Suspect in last week’s attack was identified by authorities as Hadi Matar, a 24-year-old New Jersey resident.

On Saturday, Matar pleaded not guilty to second-degree attempted murder and other charges.

As before, Iran denied any involvement in the attack and said that Rushdie and his “supporters” had only themselves to blame. Hezbollah also said they had no information about the attacker and the plot in a CNN comment.

“Nothing was ever perfect, but there was a level of imperfection that was hard to accept,” Rushdie wrote in his memoir of the 1998 decision. “Nevertheless, he remained determined,” Rushdie added, referring to himself. “He had to take his life back into his own hands. He couldn’t wait any longer for the “imperfection factor” to fall to a more acceptable level.”

Digest

Iran to give final answer to EU nuclear deal proposal by midnight in Tehran – MFA

Iran will give its final response to the European Union’s proposal to renew the nuclear deal by midnight Monday, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said, according to state media.

  • Background: Iran is exchanging messages with the US mediated on the three remaining issues, one of which concerns “guarantees,” Amir-Abdollahian said. “The American side has shown flexibility on two issues that have been taken into account, and now must show flexibility on guarantees,” he said. The US State Department did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment. During the briefing, Amir-Abdollahyan did not mention Iran’s previous demand that the IAEA’s investigation into traces of uranium at three undeclared sites be stopped.
  • Why is it important: The resurgence of the nuclear deal that the US withdrew from in 2018 seemed to be nearing completion earlier this year. However, in March, negotiations stalled due to a number of problems. They resumed earlier this month in Vienna after the EU proposed a new proposal. With an increasingly tight oil market following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a resumption of the nuclear deal would help drive down energy prices once sanctions are lifted on Iran’s oil market and pump more barrels into Europe.

At least 18 children die in church fire in Egypt

At least 41 people, including 18 children, died in a fire at the Abu Sefein church in Giza’s densely populated Imbaba district on Sunday, according to a statement from an Egyptian Coptic Church spokesman, citing health officials.

  • Background: A fire that engulfed a small Coptic church in Giza, Greater Cairo on Sunday killed 14 people and injured them. At least 18 children have died, according to hospital documents seen by CNN. The children were from 3 to 16 years old. The fire was caused by a faulty electrical wiring in the air conditioning unit, the interior ministry said.
  • Why is it important: The incident highlights the dangers posed by parts of Egypt’s underdeveloped infrastructure, especially in poorer and more populous areas of the country. In 2020, an electrical fire at a hospital treating Covid-19 patients killed at least seven people.

Five Americans injured in shooting in Jerusalem

At least eight people, including five Americans, were injured. in a fire attack early Sunday morning, a bus was shot at near the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem.
  • Background: According to hospitals, two Americans are being treated at the Hadassah Medical Center and three at the Shaare Zedek Medical Center. At least two of the injured Americans were tourists, hospital officials said. The shooter fled the scene as members of the security forces, the Shin Bet and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) pursued him. Police said a helicopter from the Israeli Police Aviation Unit assisted in the search. The suspect later turned himself in to police. According to a police spokesman, the weapon he had with him was seized. Israeli media reported that the suspect is a Palestinian with Israeli citizenship. A security source confirmed to CNN that the suspect has Israeli citizenship and hails from East Jerusalem.
  • Why is it important: Sunday’s shooting comes after dozens of Palestinians were killed in fighting in Gaza over the weekend. Last Sunday, a ceasefire was announced between Israel and the Islamic Jihad in Gaza. Although militants in Gaza such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad praised the attack, the suspect has no known links to the militants.

By region

A man in the UAE has been fined up to 15,000 dirhams (about $4,000) for telling a woman she will “teach her a lesson she will never forget”. News Agency Emarat Alum.

The woman filed a civil lawsuit, and the Abu Dhabi Family Court ruled in her favor, while the man was fined for material and non-pecuniary damage, Emarat Alyoum said, without specifying either the reason for the disagreement or the details of the parties. ‘ relation.

The news comes amid a surge in gender-based violence in the Middle East and growing calls from activists to strengthen legal protections for women in the region.

The gruesome murder of a college student Naira Ashraf in Egypt drew a flurry of condemnation and praise for the accused, with some male social media users advocating such violence against women.
Just last week Egyptian state media reports murder of another college student young man after she reportedly ended their relationship. The man reportedly threatened to kill her before he died and is currently in pre-trial detention pending investigation, state media reported.
Every third woman in the world has been subjected to physical or sexual violence at least once in her life. according to UN Womenmostly intimate partners.

According to the same UN study, at least 37% of Arab women in the Middle East have experienced some form of violence in their lives.

Nadine Ebrahim

Photo of the day

A woman carries her child as people wait to be released from the Kurdish-run al-Hol camp, which houses relatives of suspected Islamic State (ISIS) fighters, in the northeastern Syrian province of Al-Hasakah, August 14.

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