Arise Sir Salman

Not being a great fan of patronage and peerage, I’m not usually enthused by the Honours Lists. They are a way to recognise valuable individuals, particularly the local charity workers who may otherwise be unknown. However, it also means the usual list of old polticians, civil servants, military officers and employees of the Royal family getting a gong simply for having done a job.

This year’s Queen’s birthday list saw the knighthood of Salman Rushdie. It would be unremarkable for an esteemed author (not just a Booker, but the ‘Booker of Bookers’) to be honoured, except of course that there is more to his history.

When The Satanic Verses came out, he was accused of blasphemy (how a non-Muslim can be accused of blasphemy seems odd, surely any member of a religion that denies Allah’s place as the indivisible god of all creation is also a blasphemer). Famously, the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini condemned him to death in a fatwah.

Of course, this sort of thing undermines the idea that Islam is a religion of peace, or that it is robust enough to withstand criticism. Like the Danish cartoons affair of 2005/6, a deliberately provoked overreaction led to violence.

Today the Pakistani parliament did their best to calm tensions – by condemning the knighthood in a debate which included a government minister suggesting that it could justify suicide attacks. The Muslim Council of Britain called it an insult.

The real insult is actually the idea that people of a faith can dictate to everybody else what to read, what to say, or what to think.

While I have no problem with Muslims as people, and regard all religions as equally valid, I think that one’s beliefs are ones own affair, and should not be imposed on other people simply because they stem from a religion. That includes institutional control like a theocratic government and most definitely includes the threat of violence (or the justification of violence).

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7 Responses to “Arise Sir Salman”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Heart breaking

    I thought long and hard about doing a post about the tragic death of brave policeman Jon Henry, fearful of being accused of using this terrible incident for political gain.
    But then I saw the photograph and read the story (Here) of a loving father and his 11 month old doting daughter, and I felt as a father of two little girls I had to speak out and try and ensure that such a needless death does not happen again.
    This Murder was caused by the Labour Government and its soft open door policy on immigration and its even softer stance on letting Illegal immigrants gain leave to stay.
    Had we a decent immigration service backed up by a government with the backbone to deport all Illegal immigrants quickly, Jon Henry would have been at home Monday evening kissing his daughter Maggie goodnight and helping his loving wife settle her down for the night.
    But no his daughter will now have to grow up relying on family and friends to remind her of her brave father. Jon’s widow Mary will have to go through a lifetime of hurt, missing her husband who should have been their to share in the happiness of watching their daughter grow up. Every birthday, school sports day, Christmas, and all the other milestones in a Child’s life will now be permanently tinged with sadness and regret.
    We will never forget P.C. Henry a brave man who put himself in mortal danger protecting the public. A man who should have had the same protection from our spineless government. Yes the Man who allegedly carried out this savage attack is to blame but equally are the government and multi-cultural PC brigade who would have happily championed the cause of this man and others like him staying in Britain. We don’t know who is in our country, what crimes they have caused, what dangers they pose, but still the floodgates are open.
    Britain has enough of our own home grown criminals that we are not dealing with, so why do the government insist on making our streets more dangerous for the public and our brave emergency workers. Its time the people of Britain made a stand and said no more. Remember Jon Henry and other brave people like Sharon Beshenivsky, parents that are the victims of our failed multi-cultural experiment the next time you vote. They deserve never to be forgotten, and we must ensure that we make the streets safe for their children to grow up in, it’s the very least they deserve.

  2. Gordon Seekings Says:

    “…brave people like Sharon Beshenivsky, parents that are the victims of our failed multi-cultural experiment the next time you vote.”

    I didn’t know that Beshenivsky was a British surname.

  3. Danivon Says:

    I also wonder if the BNP will make it safer for kids like Stephen Lawrence to walk the streets? The police involved in that didn’t help much to keep his killers off the streets, did they.

    Apart from anything else, why is this screed posted in response to a post about Salman Rushdie’s knighthood? Why is it directly cut and pasted from a BNP website? Why has the poster chosen to remain anonymous?

    Mr Aberdeen BNP, you clearly are exploiting this for political ends.

  4. anticant Says:

    I respect Muslims as human beings, but I don’t respect their [or any other theistic] belief system. A religion that does not affect non-believers is an oxymoron. No religion does not aspire to impose its “truths” upon non-believers.

    They do not respect me: Why should I respect them? To seek to impose one’s faith upon others by violence or threats is contemptible. And utterly undemocratic.

  5. Danivon Says:

    anticant – at least you can stay on topic…

  6. anticant Says:

    Why “at least”? Yes – it makes me a rather unusual blogger, I suppose.

  7. Danivon Says:

    Well, as soon as I saw your name, I had an idea of what you’d say. :-)

    I don’t disagree with you, although perhaps my terminology may differ (I agree with Dawkins in the main, except in the way he expresses himself).


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