Attempt to Understand the Muslim Reaction to the Satanic Verses

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This volume deals with all the major issues surrounding The Satanic Verses controversy. It explores Muslim reasons for wanting the novel banned and places their arguments in context with the history of the West and the Islamic world. It shows how Muslim hurt and anger toward the publication cannot by reduced solely to sociological or anthropological factors, but rather locates the reason for offence in the manner Rushdie chose in writing the novel. The book also seeks to illuminate how liberal reaction widened the gap between the author and the Muslim community in Britain. A large section of the book challenges the liberal arguments against censorship. It reveals the mistake liberals make in imposing their own belief system on the Muslim community. It explores the reaction from Christian circles, focusing explicitly on the Church of England. Finally, the study examines all the issues surrounding Law. It shows how the fatwa issued by the late Ayatollah Khomeini, though religiously motivated, is contrary to the law and spirit of Islam and must be condemned. It provides a unique discussion of the blasphemy law in relation to The Satanic Verses.


“… a useful study for students since it encompasses most of the relevant literature and reviews the arguments in her chosen topics in a clear fashion….offers a useful review and critique of the arguments of Muslim and liberal concerning the whole issue of artistic licence versus artistic responsibility…” – Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations

Table of Contents

Table of contents:
Preface, Introduction
1. A Sequence of Events
2. A Synopsis of the Story
3. Can a Great Work of Literature be Suppressed? An Appreciation of the Literary Significance of The Satanic Verses : The Novel as a Postmodern Icon; A Sympathetic Novel - Migration and Loss
4. Major Themes in the Work of Salman Rushdie: The Offending Passages; Critical Non-Islamic Passages
5. Rushdie: His Intentions, His Conversion and its Implications
6. The Satanic Verses – A Modern-Day Orientalist Writing?
7. Historicity and the Fictional Nature of The Satanic Verses
8. The Central Role of the Prophet Muhammad for Muslims
9. Jews, Christians and Muslims – Disparate Treatment?
10. Secular Fundamentalism
11. Secular Values Challenged
12. Should the British Law of Blasphemy be Extended?
13. Khomeini’s Fatwa: Against the Spirit of Islam
14. From What Criteria Can One Make Value Judgments?
15. The Christian Responses to the Controversy
Conclusion, Notes, Bibliography, Index

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