As a practicing Muslim who reads the Quran every day and values the teachings within the text of the Quran, this was definitely a very interesting experience listening to the interview with Salman Rushdie. However, the novel he wrote that caught my attention and was referenced several times in the interview was 1988 Satanic Verses written in. The book’s title refers to the Quranic verses as “satanic verses,” looking at the evils within the religion of Islam, which was named in many countries, the first one ironically being India. The life of the Islamic prophet Muhammad served as the inspiration for this book, which Rushdie renames “Mahound” (a derogatory nickname given by the English during the Crusades). Listening to his story about how he was attacked because of this controversial novel published did not shock me as I feel like he touched upon important Islamic core beliefs, making a mockery of the Quran, which Muslims believe is the speech of God revealed to the messenger of God (peace be upon him).
As for Iran and the attackers who attacked Rushdie, this violent approach by the leader was unacceptable, and the violence was completely wrong regarding the situation. However, even though this novel is supposed to be comical, It is also disrespectful to mock religious beliefs and challenges them in a mockery way. Muslims are told within the teachings of Islam that respecting everyone is vital: Everyone’s God-given human dignity must be respected, regardless of their faith, race, ethnic origin, gender, or social status (ref. Qur’an, 17:70). Therefore, no one is asking him to forcefully believe in what they believe in but what upsets Muslims globally is that he is making a joke about the fatwas that God has sent down. Therefore, questioning God’s speech from the perspective of Muslims is extremely offensive. Not only did he mock God and the messenger of God but also Sita and Ram, who are a part of the religion of Hinduism, and Queen Elizabeth. It is interesting to me that the British government banned an American author from using the F word for the policy of Margaret Thrasher, and when the same word is used by Rushdie 52 times within his literature but gets an award due to abusing Islam and the religion. Yet we see this book as a way to show” freedom of speech” when many people view it as a mockery of the fundamental beliefs in Islam and other religions and beliefs.
In the interview, he uses the term” Islamic culture,” which shows how he mixed the two in his overall understanding of Islam. Islam is classified as a religion, and culture is different, meaning anyone from any culture can be a Muslim. Unfortunately, Rushdie did not clearly distinguish between the two, which could have caused more controversy within his novel. An example can be when he states that women are” mistreated within Islam.” Clearly, this is wrong because this might be based on a culture where some women, even today, are not allowed to attend schools, be seen in public, or even speak. However, this is not representative of how Islam elevates and values women within the religion, giving them equal rights and a high ranking in society.
In conclusion, In Islam, there is freedom of expression, but it should not hurt anyone, and there should be proof based on the points mentioned. Based on the lies he mentions about Prophet Muhammad( peace be upon him) , causing frustration and anger among the Muslims who looked up to him. I value freedom of speech and believe that through writing and arts, individuals get the opportunity to do just that. However, I do believe there are limits to the amount of disrespect that will be tolerated, and even though the author stated this was from a non–religious perspective, it does make a mockery of the Quran, the only sacred book representing the religion of Islam and challenges the Quran which is wrong.