The Satanic Verses: Religion vs. Politics
Perhaps one of the most controversial novels of our time is The Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie. To some people it is just another novel that has to do with religion, but then to others, for example the Ayatollah Khomeni, it was a novel that tried to make the Muslim religion look bad by saying that some parts of the Quran were from the devil and not holy. This novel sparked much debate and many problems, especially for Rushdie, Which he claims was not the reason he wrote this book. The book follows the lives of two characters, Gibreel and Chamcha, who morph from two regular people who grew up Muslim, into two devil like creatures. In the beginning, neither characters really wanted to be Muslim so as adults they stray away from the religion, each in their own way. In general, where you are from influenced how you felt about this book. For example, people here in America and European countries didn’t see what the big deal about this book was. They didn’t see it as Rushdie was trying to make Islam look bad. They didn’t take it as an insult. It was just another novel that intertwined with religion and maybe took a different
approach to how the story was told. Back in eastern countries that have a strong Muslim base however, this book is going against the Muslim religion. It is questioning the authority of the Prophet Muhammad, which under no circumstances is allowed. Not only is it questioning Muhammad, but Rushdie also makes references to Khomeni. In that society, that is just unlawful.
Because of these references, Khomeni issued a “Fatwa” or basically a bounty on Rushdie’s head, and also on anyone who had anything to do with the book and its publication. But doesn’t this interfere with Rushdie’s freedom of speech? Is he not allowed to say whatever he wants about a religion or a person in a political or religious power without having to worry about something happening to him because of...