Advertisement

THE RUSHDIE DEBATE

This is in reference to the review of Salman Rushdie’s “The Satanic Verses” by Richard Eder (Book Review, Feb. 12).

“The Satanic Verses” is the product of a very sick mind. It uses four-letter words to refer to Prophet Muhammad and Abraham. It calls the wives of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, prostitutes. It uses the same kind of “literary language” about other holiest personalities in Islam.

Unfortunately, such filth passes for “literary masterpiece” only because it is directed against Islam. Eder calls the most offensive parts of the book “the single best thing in the book.” Is there any question as to what really thrills him about the book? It seems that values like decency and mutual respect and sensitivity become meaningless when you are targeting Muslims and Islam.

In fact, in this connection, outright lies become acceptable too. The Times on Feb. 13 reported that “The Satanic Verses” is a prize-winning book. The next day without apology, it revised that statement and said that the book is a contender for the Booker Prize. Never mind that the book failed to get the prize--that prize has already been announced and this book is no longer a contender for it either.

Advertisement

The Times went on to report that the Prophet Muhammad removed some verses from the Koran on grounds that they were inspired by Satan. This is a fabrication that Rushdie contrived and The Times solemnly affirmed to and has the same amount of truth as the statement about prize winning.

“The Satanic Verses” is an enormous success in outrage and sacrilege. Unfortunately, its review and other coverage in The Times has been an equal success in insensitivity.

KHALID BAIG

VAN NUYS

Advertisement

Editor’s Note: The Times (Feb . 13) referred to Rushdie as a prize-winning author; he won the Booker-McConnell prize for an earlier novel, “Shame.”


Advertisement