Tendance Coatesy

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“Respect pour Salman Rushdie”- Charlie Hebdo.

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Salman Rushdie condemns attack on Charlie Hebdo. 2015.

English PEN condemns today’s shootings at the offices of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo as a shocking assault on press freedom and free speech. Writer and PEN Pinter Prize winner Salman Rushdie has issued the following statement about the horrifying events in Paris

Religion, a mediaeval form of unreason, when combined with modern weaponry becomes a real threat to our freedoms. This religious totalitarianism has caused a deadly mutation in the heart of Islam and we see the tragic consequences in Paris today. I stand with Charlie Hebdo, as we all must, to defend the art of satire, which has always been a force for liberty and against tyranny, dishonesty and stupidity. ‘Respect for religion’ has become a code phrase meaning ‘fear of religion.’ Religions, like all other ideas, deserve criticism, satire, and, yes, our fearless disrespect.”


Charlie Hebdo has responded to the attack on Salman Rushdie,

Respect pour Salman Rushdie. 12th of August, Laurent “Riss” Sourisseau.

“The word respect has become a weapon used to threaten and even kill.”

Nothing justifies a fatwa, a death sentence” , the editor of Charlie Hebdo,  Riss wrote after the attack against the British writer Salman Rushdie . “At the time of writing, we do not know the motivations of the perpetrator of the knife attack,” wrote Riss, one of the few survivors of the 2015 terrorist attack in Paris. Adding, with heavy irony: ” Was he enraged about against global warming, the cost of living crisis, or against the ban on watering flower pots during the heatwave? “

“Let’s take the risk of saying that he is probably a believer, that he is just as probably a Muslim and that he committed his act even more probably in the name of the fatwa launched in 1989 by the Ayatollah Khomeini against Salman Rushdie, and which condemned him to death” the cartoonist, writer and publisher continued.

[Attaque au couteau de Salman Rushdie: ce que l’on sait de l’agresseur présumé. Agé de 24 ans, Hadi Matar a été arrêté après avoir tenté d’assassiner l’écrivain. D’après ses réseaux sociaux, il vouait un culte au régime iranien et au Hezbollah libanais. Salman Rushdie knife attack: What we know about the alleged attacker Aged 24, Hadi Matar was arrested after attempting to assassinate the writer. According to his social networks, he worshiped the Iranian regime and Lebanese Hezbollah. Libération.]

“We heard commentators this evening explaining that the fatwa against Salman Rushdie was all the viler because what he had written in his book, The Satanic Verses, was not at all disrespectful towards Islam. This is distorted logic, because conversely, disrespectful remarks towards Islam would then explain a fatwa and a punishment, even if it was fatal.”

“Not at all. We will have to repeat again and again that nothing, absolutely nothing justifies a fatwa, a death sentence, by anyone for anything whatsoever….”

Riss is impassioned against giving authority to religious figures and texts written by an “illuminé” (a fanatic inspired by faith). He asks, “By what right do individuals – and we don’t give a toss about whether they are religious believers – take upon themselves the right to say that someone must die? ” It would be better insead to put “our trust in Humanity,” “human intelligence, sensitivity and creativity.”

“…the word “respect” is systematically brandished by religions. Their dogmas affirm absurd things which can only be imposed by submission or intimidation. When you inspire respect, you don’t need to issue fatwas to be credible. Respect is not due, it is earned. This is where the great weakness of religions lies. They more often inspire ridicule than respect.”

Salman Rushdie made the same essential point, in fewer words,

“Why can’t we debate Islam?” he said. “It is possible to respect individuals, to protect them from intolerance, while being sceptical about their ideas, even criticising them ferociously.”

Salman Rushdie on Islam: ‘We have learned the wrong lessons’

Guardian July 2015.

“The Satanic Verses, if published today, would not be defended by those who protested against Charlie Hebdo’s PEN award, says author.”

On Newsnight yesterday evening:



Written by Andrew Coates

August 13, 2022 at 4:35 pm

One Response

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  1. A truly bizarre article in the latest online SW by Charles Kimber on this subject. In keeping with that publication it starts on one side of the fence, hops onto the fence and then lands up on the other side ! It’s quite the talent Kimber has there. It’s obviously written to appeal to the thin demographic within the Left that the SWP wishes to recruit. It spends a lot of its time shoring up and validating previous SWP positions of 30 years ago (a common recent theme in Kimber articles – there must be something happening with in the Party at CC level ?).
    One useful thing in the article is to remind us of the Right’s attacks on Rushdie at the time – Norman Tebbit’s being the most notable but spoils this by a truly strange assertion that the British based Muslim backlash against Rushdie in the late 1980s was caused by the loss of the Miners Strike . Kimber claims that Muslims would have has a strong Working Class movement to channel their anger if it had won and reveals Kimber’s latest syndicalism. It also totally misreads the nature and pull of reactionary Islamism.


    August 13, 2022 at 8:49 pm

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