by Ian Donovan
Salman Rushdie never challenged religious beliefs. He wrote a book that implied, among other things, that the female relatives of Mohammad were prostitutes. There is no historical evidence of this.
It offends believers but doesn’t challenge belief at all. It attempts to scandalise the founder of a religion with personal slurs according to reactionary social values.
He calculated that the scandal and sensation of his book would make him big bucks. Instead it ruined his life. He is merely to be pitied.
While we do not support or defend the recent stabbing attack on him at a public event in the US, we do not join in the outcry from the vile reactionary media in the Western countries.
We note that even as they wax with indignation at an attack on an author who used fictional slurs to provoke and enrage devout Muslims, they are involved in the wholesale, and racist, censorship of Russian media in the West, to try to supress the truth about Ukraine: that NATO imperialism is funding outright Nazis in a proxy war against Russia, continuing in its own way Hitler’s Operation Barbarossa which killed 27 million citizens of the USSR, 24 million of whom were Russian.
Muslims, particularly in the Middle East have been the target of innumerable imperialist crimes in the epoch of imperialism and colonialism, and especially since the Palestinian Nakba of 1948, and the ongoing ethnic cleansing of Palestinians since, as well as periodic atrocities against the people of neighbouring Arab states whenever they are perceived as threatening to act effectively in solidarity with the Palestinians. The polarisation between many Muslims and Western imperialism is fuelled by the material fact that there is no imperialist state (in the modern, capitalist sense) that has a Muslim culture.
Even disputes ostensibly about free speech have a context in the class struggle. We do not tail the bourgeoisie or the liberals on this. Not all such issues are the same.