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Sat 25 November 2017

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Some Muslim responses

Many hitherto ‘closet’ Muslims felt betrayed by the intolerance of their liberal friends and significantly for the future development of the community, from that point onwards were far more willing to be associated with defending the Muslim corner in public and academic debate:

…The central point in my review article was that – whatever the author’s intentions – The Satanic Verses controversy reinforced the crudest cultural and religious prejudices about Muslims in general. In the UK, it re-drew the boundaries around Muslim immigrants, showing them as a species apart, and opened them to the most horrendous racist taunts and even attacks…British Muslims – a decent, law-abiding, low-profile community – were equated to Nazis and barbarians. Muslims explaining why they were deeply offended by certain passages in the novel were simply dismissed as fanatics or fundamentalists, and non-Muslim critics became unenlightened cultural philistines….In a world torn by ethnic and religious confrontation, I personally abhor violence whether in the name of religion or politics. But Mr Rushdie must recognize that over 20 people have died protesting about his book and countless numbers have been humiliated and angered. He owes the deepest apology to Muslims.

Professor Akbar Ahmed, The Times, 7 Dec 1990

I look back at the hundreds of cuttings I collected then and even now feel shaken by the names, the tone and the content of what was hurled at us all, all Muslims.

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, The Independent, 15 Oct 2001



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