As a person who does not know a lot about the religion of Islam, I cannot attest for the violence, or lack thereof, from its resulting religious groups. Listening to the interviews conducted with the author Salman Rushdie, however, surprised and frightened me from the violence stemming from sharing one’s own opinion and or outlook on the world. The fact that a peaceful man who has a different outlook on the world than the majority in his subject of interest should be subject to assassination seems absurd. Since his opinion differs, he will forever have a bounty on his head. I understand that religion itself does not work together as a whole body, but that those who are part of it may act outside of the majority’s wills and ideas, but when something such as religion allows for a person to be maimed and have their life sought after, it destroys, in essence, the reason for religion: to aid in moral judgment.
When a culture or religious group is so scared of someone’s opinion that it must be silenced, it may vouch for what the larger group stands for, and pique my interest in what they are afraid of. This relates to a way of power that does not align with my own ideals. Leading from a point of control where everyone’s opinions must align with one’s own seems restraining.
A part of the first interview caught my attention. “Rushdie was stabbed multiple times as he took the stage to give a talk on artistic freedom” (Wachtel, 1992). This gruesome description caught my eye, but what rattled me, even more, was that he was there to “give a talk on artistic freedom.” Rushdie was not provoking violence, only discussing his passion for freedom within the arts. His life of self-expression turned dangerous because of his controversial opinions. From Rushdie’s point of view, Islam is trying to silence those of opposing opinions. It defeats the purpose of religion teaching morals but instead promotes religion as a way to rule and control the people.
One thought on ““A Tribute to Salman Rushdie” Interview”
Adam, I like some of your ideas here. I also don’t know a lot about the religion of Islam, so I agree that it is difficult for me to speak about the content of Rushdie’s work. I agree with you that self-expression is important, but I also wonder at what point it is no longer a good thing. There have been many past and recent cases of people expressing their opinions and it becomes harmful to others. A good recent example of this is with Ye West’s recent statements about Jewish culture; it has been harmful to a lot of people around the world, even though it is just freedom of expression. For this reason, it can be a tricky subject whether or not freedom of expression is beneficial or not.