Editorial&Opinion: From the Archive ; from a Leading Article on the Fatwa against Salman Rushdie 15 February 1989
Rushdie, Salman, The Independent (London, England)
THE RELIGIOUS edict or fatwa issued by the Ayatollah Khomeini calling for the murder of Salman Rushdie and all involved in the publication of his supposedly blasphemous novel The Satanic Verses should be a source of the most acute embarrassment to the Muslims in Bradford who took part in the ceremonial burning of the book and those politicians who have subsequently encouraged demands for the suppression of the work.
"Blasphemy itself could not survive religion' if anybody doubts that, let him try to blaspheme Odin." So wrote G K Chesterton in 1904. Many devout Muslims would share this view.
The very fact that films as diversely provocative as Martin Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ and the satirical Life of Brian have been widely shown in this country without general outrage, far less unrest, is likely to be taken as an indication that Christianity is going the way of Odin-worship.
The anger caused by Mr Rushdie's novel is not confined to extremist ayatollahs or to ill-educated bigots manipulated by political opportunists in Third World countries. …