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21 June 2007

A Satanic Affair

The unmentionable truth about Salman Rushdie's fiction

By Martin Bright

I am about to say the one thing guaranteed to offend the sensibilities of the liberal left intelligentsia in Britain: I like Salman Rushdie’s novels. There I’ve said it. I do not find them hard to finish and, at his best, he is the finest novelist of his generation. For too long, critics of Rushdie have hidden behind the myth that Rushdie writes impenetrable prose. For me, The Satanic Verses is a work of geniune genius, which also provides a useful primer on the origins of Islam. Shame, his novel about the politics of Pakistan, is even better in my opinion. I must say I was surprised to find Ruth Dudley Edwards trotting out these tired cliches in the Dail Mail.

The attacks on Rushdie from self-appointed representatives of the Muslim community this time around have been utterly predictable. But it has been useful to flush out the miserable Lord Ahmed for the out-of-touch Islamist he really is. It was, therefore, a pleasant surprise to see Inayat Bunglawala of the Muslim Council of Britain recanting on Comment is Free over his previous wish to see Rushdie dead. I only hope he can bring himself to do the same over the MBC’s shameful position on Holocaust Memorial Day, homosexuality and declarations of the apostasy of Muslim sects of which it doesn’t approve.

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