Rushdie on Veil-wearing

Salman Rushdie on the ‘Today’ programme on Tuesday. The subject is a collaborative exhibition with Anish Kapoor, based on Scheherezade. Rushdie points out that people forget or don’t realize how murderous the sultan is – he doesn’t point out, but could have, that the reason the sultan murders all those very young women after he’s had sex with them is so that no one else will have sex with them. He gets a new virgin every night, and she is killed in the morning. The subject has echoes of recent discussions, and the reporter asks them about Jack Straw. Kapoor says it’s a matter of respect, and Rushdie asks to disagree. Then he proceeds to do so as thoroughly as possible. So I transcribed it.

“But speaking as somebody with three sisters and a very largely female Muslim family, there’s not a single woman I know in my family or in their friends who would have accepted the wearing of the veil, and I think the battle against the wearing of the veil has been a long and continuing battle against the limitation of women, so in that sense I’m completely on his side. He wasn’t doing anything compulsory, he was expressing an important opinion, which is that veils suck, which they do. You see one of the things that’s interesting about the story around which this work is based is that it is precisely about a woman taking into her hands the matter of her life and taking power back from an extremely powerful and bloody ruler, and I think the veil is a way of taking power away from women.”

Damn right. You rock, Salman. And veils suck.

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