‘Salman Rushdie taught liberals to hate Islam’


Before that January day in Bradford, the Left-liberal consensus was notionally on the side of the Muslim community, which in Britain is predominantly Asian. Since that day there has been a creeping racialist antipathy towards Muslims, by the Left. The grounds of their growing hatred are entirely spurious and are represented as religious. The very part of Muslim belief that trespasses on the territory of the secular liberal creed is identified, for that reason alone, as intolerable. That is to say, Muslims are denied the right to take offence when their most holy emblems are deliberately pilloried.

No they’re not – they’re denied the ‘right’ to do things like kill people or torch embassies or threaten people or plot to kill people. Those things are crimes, actually, not ‘rights.’ Of course all the rest of the passage is absurd nonsense too – but life is short, and I have places to go and things to see.

This line of artistic endeavour finds its ultimate expression in Theo van Gogh’s film Submission (a word translating “Islam”). Islam holds the text of the Koran holy, and insists on public modesty in the depiction of women. So why not, the film-maker thought, project the holy words of the Koran on to the exposed body of women? Tee-hee, he chortled in his Dutch way. So van Gogh was killed.

And…the religious columnist Christopher Howse apparently approves? At least, it’s difficult to spot any sign of disapproval in anything he says.

The secularist haters of Islam pretend that that they have a sacred principle of their own, which is freedom of speech, freedom to publish.

Yes, that’s right. We’re funny that way. Of course we wouldn’t (the sensible among us at least) call it a sacred principle, and we would agree that freedom to publish is not completely without limits, but we do have ‘a principle’ that we should be able to publish stories and polemics and disputes about religion and religions, in general and in particular, without being threatened or set on fire or blown up or shot or carved up. Does Christopher Howse not agree?

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