Salman Rushdie

The Indian Muslims for Secular Democracy (IMSD) condemns the murderous attack on Salman Rushdie in the strongest possible terms. There cannot be any doubt that the assault on the world-renowned writer is due to the Iranian fatwa in 1989 which pronounced that Rushdie should be killed for blaspheming against the prophet of Islam. Despite the apology tendered by Rushdie for ‘hurting the sentiments of Muslims’, the fatwa against him remained in force; the bounty on his head was doubled. In Islamic theology, an apostate can be forgiven if he apologizes but the blasphemer against the prophet is not to be given any such quarter; he has to be summarily executed. That a young Muslim man, Hadi Madar, who was not even born when Satanic Verses was published, willed to execute the fatwa, only goes on to prove the extraordinary sway of such a theology.

Any such attack is designed to create a regime of fear. Translators of Satanic Verses were killed, discussions on the book were violently repressed and bookstores were forced to take the novel off their shelves. The regime of fear made sure that very few stood with Salman Rushdie, except for those Islamophobes who delighted in telling the world that this thuggery was ‘real Islam’. Thirty-three years later, we hear the same loud silence from Muslim countries and organizations. None of the prominent Indian Muslim organizations have condemned this barbarous attack on a prominent writer. It is this silence that emboldens the Islamophobes to paint the religion as a creed of violence and terror.

The recent murder of Kanhaiya Lal for another case of Blasphemy by two Muslim fanatics, is another case in point of the intolerance within sections of the Indian Muslim community. Though all major Muslim organizations condemned the murder, but did do so under the pretext of a hate-crime, but refused to acknowledge the fact that it was a murder for blasphemy. Such is the blatant hypocrisy, which only serves to weaken and further isolate the Muslim community due to it’s dual standards.

It is rather rich on the part of Muslim organizations that they only remember human rights when they are being attacked but do not extend the same rights and dignity to others, Muslims or not, who differ from them on matters of religion. This is plain hypocrisy which does not help the Muslim cause. Being a minority, Indian Muslims should be championing a rights-based discourse on the importance of free speech and dissent. It is unfortunate that despite living in a political democracy for 75 years, Muslim organizations today are demanding a national blasphemy law. Muslims do not need the Hindu right wing to argue that Islam and human rights are incompatible; they themselves have been advertising this position for long.

Satanic Verses was one of the first novels to inquire into the nature of Muslim immigration into Europe. And yet the irony is that Muslims burnt it to proclaim a politics of distinction and separateness. The IMSD firmly states that without free speech, freedom to read, write and dissent, we cannot uphold the freedoms enshrined in our constitution. And we believe that only by investing in these freedoms can we uphold the values of our republic. In this hour of grave crisis, we stand firmly with Salman Rushdie and wish him speedy recovery. We once again appeal to all Muslim organizations to rethink their position on blasphemy; a form of politics which is doing Muslims more harm than good.

For further information contact:
Javed Anand, National Convener:
+919870402556
Feroze Mithiborwala, National Co-Convener: +919029277751
Arshad Alam, National Committee:
+919968200945

Endorsed by:
1. Prof. Ram Puniyani, Author, Mumbai

2. Medha Patkar, NAPM, Mumbai

3. Sultan Shahin, Editor, New Age Islam, Delhi

4. Prof. Zeenat Shaukat Ali, Islamic Scholar, IMSD, Mumbai

5. Yogendra Yadav, Swaraj Abhiyaan, Delhi

6. Anand Patwardhan, Documentary Filmmaker

7. Dr. Sunilam, Farmer’s Leader, Indore

8. Prof. Shamshul Islam, Delhi

9. Zakia Soman, BMMA, Ahmedabad

10. Irfan Engineer, CSSS, Mumbai

11. Anjum Rajabali, IMSD, Film Scriptwriter, Mumbai

12. Sandeep Pandey, Magsaysay Award, Lucknow

13. Justice Kolse Patil (Retd), Pune

14. Ghulam Rasool Delhvi, Classical Islamic Scholar, IMSD, Delhi

15. Adv. A J Jawwad, IMSD, Chennai

16. Amir Rizvi, Designer, IMSD, Mumbai

17. Faisal Khan, Khudai Khidmatgar, Delhi

18. Bilal Khan, IMSD, Mumbai

19. Shabana Dean, IMSD, Mumbai

20. Ali Bhojani, IMSD, Mumbai

21. Sheeba Aslam Ferhi, Researcher, Delhi

22. Aziz Lokhandwala, IMSD, Mumbai

23. Salim Sabuwala, IMSD, Mumbai

24. Saleem Yusuf, IMSD, Mumbai

25. Askari Zaidi, IMSD, Mumbai

26. Masooma Ranalvi, IMSD, Mumbai

27. Muniza Khan, IMSD, Mumbai

28. Hasina Khan, Bebaak Collective, Mumbai

29. Taizoon Khorakiwala, IMSD, Mumbai

30. Akbar Sheikh, IMSD, Sangli

31. Muhammad Imran, USA

32. Sadique Basha, IMSD, Mumbai

33. Mansoor Sardar, Bhiwandi

34. Nuruddin Naik, IMSD, Mumbai

35. Kasim Saif, Chennai

36. Prof. Qamarjahan

37. Lata P. M., Researcher, Bahujan Feminist, Mumbai

38. Prof. Rooprekha Verma, Lucknow

39. Prof. Rakesh Rafique, Moradabad

40. Prof. Rajiv, Lucknow

41. Jagriti Rahi, Gandhian, Varanasi

42. Prof. Ajit Jha, Swaraj Abhiyan, Delhi

43. Geeta Sheshu, Journalist, Free Speech Collective, Mumbai

44. Thomas Matthew, Delhi

45. Adv. Arun Maji, Dalit Human Rights Defender, Kolkatta

46. Shekhar Sonalkar, Writer, Sholapur

47. Adv. Lara Jesani, IMSD, Mumbai

48. Putul, Sarvodaya, Varanasi

49. Varsha Vidya Vilas, Social Activist, Mumbai

50. Guddi S L, Social Activist, Mumbai

51. Jyoti Badekar, Social Activist, Mumbai

52. Ravi Bhilane, Ex-Editor, Journalist, Mumbai

53. Vishal Hiwale, Save Constitution Movement, Mumbai

54. Prof. Om Damani, Mumbai

55. Prof. Vasantha Raman

56. Prof. Dipak Malik

57. Prof. Cyrus Gonda

58. Yashodhan Paranjpe, IMSD, Mumbai

59. Shalini Dhawan, Designer, Mumbai

60. Neelima Shamra


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