From Fatwa to Jihad : How the World Changed: The Satanic Verses to Charlie Hebdo, Paperback

From Fatwa to Jihad : How the World Changed: The Satanic Verses to Charlie Hebdo Paperback

4 out of 5 (1 rating)


Twenty years ago, the image of burning copies of Salman Rushdie's "The Satanic Verses" held aloft by thousand-strong mobs of protestors became an internationally familiar symbol of anger and offence.

Kenan Malik examines how the Rushdie affair transformed the debate worldwide on multiculturalism, tolerance and free speech, helped fuel the rise of radical Islam and pointed the way to the horrors of 9/11 and 7/7.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Books
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Islam
  • ISBN: 9781843548256



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Malik, a psychologist and writer living in Britain, son of an Indian Hindu-Muslim couple, was shocked by the burning of Salman Rushdie’s book The Satanic Verses in Bradford in 1989, and it is never any doubt that his sympathy is with the freedom of speech and against making exceptions to that, to any religious or political side. He makes several good points: -Rushdie early on an outspoken anti-racism, anti-imperialism voice. -multiculturalism in Britain imposed from above, not broadly demanded from below. -multiculturalism restraining youth to live within boundaries and rules the British society had in many cases discarded. -diversity of views within communities, evidence from surveys. Mullahs, etc often not representative. -militants often have little knowledge. In fact, Malik views them more as generic protesters/rebels than moved by religious, fairness, or other intellectual motives. -Malik got article with an analogy between Rushdie and the freethinker Thomas Paine (1737-1809) rejected by the Independent, and is worried about possible increasing self-censorship. -cartoons etc published many times without controversy, then some people were able to make them light fire. This shows that the context is crucial. Perhaps there is some hope in this, in that controversy does not necessarily run deep.