Why The Satanic Verses offended Muslims: Imran Khan explains
- Salman Rushdie was stabbed on stage at the Chautauqua Institution, New York
- The assailant was identified as Hadi Matar, who is an apparent Ayatollah Khomeini sympathizer
- Khomeini issued a fatwa against Rushdie for The Satanic Verses
Author Salman Rushdie was stabbed on stage at the Chautauqua Institution, New York, where he was about to deliver a lecture. Hadi Matar, a 24-year-old New Jersey resident, was identified as the assailant and taken into custody. The 75-year-old Booker Prize winner has been mired in controversy since his fourth book The Satanic Verses came out in 1988.
It angered the Muslim community and in 1989, Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa against him. It is still in effect, and while Matar's motives haven't been officially declared by law enforcement yet, his defunct social media profiles show the assailant having sympathies towards Khomeini. Imran Khan, the former Pakistan Prime Minister, also explained why Rushdie's works angered the Muslims while speaking at the United Nations a couple of years back.
The book ended up "maligning, insulting, ridiculing" the Prophet, Khan explained. As a result, there was a reaction in the Muslim world, but the west couldn't understand what the problem was.
The 69-year-old Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader said from personal experience that religion is perceived very differently in the West.
"They don't look upon religion like we do", Khan continued, saying that every couple of years someone would malign their Prophet, and there'd be a reaction from the Muslim community, and Islam would once again get labelled as an "intolerant religion".
Khan acknowledged that Islam wouldn't have this reputation if Muslims explained to those in the West what the Prophet means to them, and then proceeded to do so at the UN.
The Prophet was witness to the divine book, the Holy Quran. This book serves as the guidance for Muslims and the Prophet's life was living the Quran. He was an example of what the Quran guided Muslims to be. "So, he is the ideal we all try to get to", Khan said, adding it was important to understand the Prophet lived in Muslim hearts.
Hence, when he's insulted it hurts Muslims in the heart, which Khan said is worse than physical pain, and explained that this is why Muslims reacted.
However, the attack on Rushdie is already drawing criticism to Islam with Kelvin MacKenzie, talkSport founder, saying "I know it's a wild guess but I imagine the attacker who stabbed Salman Rushdie in the neck in upstate NY is a follower of Islam. Another example of it being a peaceful religion. Sickening."