Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Good old Salman Rushdie

"Speaking as somebody with three sisters and a very largely female Muslim family, there's not a single woman I know in my family or in their friends who would have accepted wearing the veil.

I think the battle against the veil has been a long and continuing battle against the limitation of women, so in that sense I'm completely on [Straw's] side.

He was expressing an important opinion, which is that veils suck, which they do. I think the veil is a way of taking power away from women."

The Guardian reports that Omar Bakri Muhammad has "said Rushdie was an apostate whose life was still in danger."

Despite knowing as well as anyone the danger he could place himself in by speaking against the taboos Islamists enshrine through threats of violence, Salman Rushdie just won't stop speaking out.

I've never read the Satanic Verses, its content doesn't seem important to the debate over whether it is legitimate that the views contained be expressed and I always have a busy reading list, but I think I will now. It seems like a fine time to send a little royalty money Rushdie's way. Also, why has the distasteful Sir Iqbal 'death would be too good' Sacranie been given a knighthood and Rushdie not been similarly honoured? Standing up for your right to free speech when so many others have folded or kept quiet has huge positive externalities and deserves recognition.

Of course, as far as Rushdie himself goes there probably isn't any real need for my strange form of donation or official recognition. Salman Rushdie seems happy despite the risk he faces, the picture the Evening Standard chose to accompany the article gives centre stage to his stunning wife and he is, I believe, quite wealthy. Well deserved.

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