Right of Reply: Fuad Nahdi
The editor of an Islamic journal criticises our call for the lifting of the fatwa against Salman Rushdie
Friday 25 September 1998
Islamophobic discourse of the type platformed by The Satanic Verses legitimises systematic discrimination against Muslims. A Jewish writer who aired anti- Semitic views and denied the Holocaust, would, I suspect, not command such enthusiasm on your part. And yet the degree of hurt to a despised community has been no less; indeed, the Muslim community is more vulnerable, poorer, and less represented than British Jewry.
A more worthy target for your campaigning zeal would be the blasphemy laws, which at present discriminate in favour of the established religion. In 1994, the European Court of Human Rights upheld a ban by the Austrian courts on the anti-Christian film Council in Heaven. In their verdict, the judges "did not consider that the film's merit as a work of art or as a contribution to public debate in Austrian society outweighed those features which made it essentially offensive to the general public".
If Britain could extend this principle to protect minority as well as majority faiths, Rushdie would undoubtedly be safe to emerge from the shadows. That is the only approach which respects the principle of human equality, as well as Mr Rushdie's right to life.
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Peter Lik: The self-proclaimed 'fine-art photographer' whose work sells for millions
The best underrated Christmas movies from Love, Actually to While You Were Sleeping
Grace Dent on TV: The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies was a beautifully shot, immensely considered drama
The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, review: Jason Watkins is brilliant, but real victim Joanna Yeates is reduced to a footnote
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
New era of cheap oil 'will destroy green revolution'
Ukip founder Alan Sked and Nigel Farage 'begged Enoch Powell to stand as a candidate'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant