Fatwa Against Rushdie Set Off Self-Censorship

Edict brought Muslim culture war to the West: Hitchens
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 5, 2009 4:27 PM CST
Fatwa Against Rushdie Set Off Self-Censorship
Salman Rushdie poses for a picture before the gala presentation of the Montblanc de la Culture Award in New York, in this May 2, 2007 file photo.   (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

When Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa against Salman Rushdie, Christopher Hitchens knew what it meant: "This was not just a warning of what was to come,” he writes in Vanity Fair, “it was the warning.” A global culture war, between Muslim fundamentalists and everyone else, had begun. Now Khomeini is dead, but the war persists, aided by the West, which self-censors itself in terror.

There was the Danish cartoon incident, when US news sources refused to reprint the images. Random House dumped a novel about Muhammad’s wife after a single letter of complaint. Terrified of “offending” Muslims, the West is capitulating to fundamentalists and assuming that “the inciters of goons are the authentic representatives of Muslim opinion.” Asks Hitchens: “What could be more ‘offensive’ than that?” (More Salman Rushdie stories.)

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