Kenan Malik In The Spiked Review Of Books: ‘Twenty Years On: Internalizing The Fatwa’-Salman Rushdie

Full review here.

Malik takes issue with some of the British left’s handling of the Salman Rushdie (wikipedia) affair:

“It has now become widely accepted that we live in a multicultural world, and that in such a world it is important not to cause offence to other peoples and cultures.”

There is an important difference between having problems with the Muslim world, and having problems with your own society’s conflicted views of the Muslim/outside world (I think Malik means the intellectually adrift, culturally relativistic, identity politicking left).  

He argues that 3 myths persist:

“The first myth is that the controversy over Rushdie’s novel was driven by religion. It wasn’t. It was a political conflict.”

“The second myth is that all Muslims were offended by The Satanic Verses.”

“The third myth lies in the perception of the anti-Rushdie campaigners as male, middle-aged, poorly educated, badly integrated…”many, equally, were young, left-wing, articulate, educated, integrated.” 

and his main conclusion:

“So why were these people drawn to the anti-Rushdie campaign? Largely because of disenchantment with the secular left, on the one hand, and the institutionalisation of multicultural policies on the other.”

Would Malik indict the British left itself, or is it a larger problem?  Is it the current excesses of the left and British society (classical liberalism lost in the shuffle?) or something deeper?  

For my part, it’s not a prescription to be filled with organized religion…or a swing too far darkly to the right…as is too easy to do right now.

See Also On This SiteTheodore Dalrymple Still Attacking Multi-Culturalism In BritainMartha Nussbaum In Dissent–Violence On The Left: Nandigram And The Communists Of West BengalFrom The American Conservative: Going Off The Rawls–David Gordon On John Rawls

Sir Ahmed Salman Rushdie by Nrbelex.

Photo found here by Nrbelex
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