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Opinion: If Salman Rushdie dies, it would not a victory for any religion, rather it will be a victory of fanaticism

Salman RushdieSource: CNN

On 12 August 2022, British writer Salman Rushdie was stabbed in his neck and stomach before he was about to give a lecture at the Chautauqua Institution in New York. He was immediately taken to a nearby hospital in Pennsylvania by helicopter. His agent, Andrew Wylie, told journalists that he is currently on a ventilator and sustained many injuries including a damaged liver, and severed nerves in one hand.

Salman Rushdie was born in a middle-class family in India. He moved to England to complete his graduation. He rose to prominence in 1988 when he published his fictional novel called The Satanic Verses. The publishing of this book caused such a controversy that would change his life forever. Although this book became a bestseller in the western world due to the controversy it caused, it got banned in many countries of the eastern world.

Apparently, his novel, The Satanic Verses, contained a lot of blasphemous content. In that book, he insulted his religion so much that it really pissed off many people throughout the eastern world. During the early months of 1989, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the first Supreme Leader of Iran, issued a religious edict where he sentenced Salman Rushdie to death for blasphemy.

A bounty of $6 million was placed for Rushdie's death by the Iranian government. After the death sentence got passed, the government of the United Kingdom provided round-the-clock protection to Rushdie since his life was in such danger after the death sentence was passed. The United Kingdom had to break diplomatic relations with Iran for the sake of Rushdie.

Even after being provided with protection by the government, Rushdie was still forced to go into hiding due to the uproar that his book had caused. However, he later came out of hiding and started making appearances in public. He shifted from London to New York after coming out from hiding.

The Chautauqua Institution, where Rushdie was stabbed had previously refused to tighten security measures in their venue, because they feared that it would create a divide between the audience and the lecturers.

The suspect who stabbed Rushdie had been arrested and was later confirmed to be a supporter of the Iranian government. Even though the Iranian government has distanced itself from the edict passed long ago in 1989, sentiments against Rushdie still existed.

After the stabbing attack, Rushdie did not die and was hospitalized. However, if Rushdie dies due to his injuries, his death would not be a victory for any religion in particular. Rather it would be a win for the fanatics and a loss for free speech. His death would encourage fanatics to resort to violence over anything that criticizes their views. His death would also demotivate journalists and writers to express their opinions freely and the public would lose confidence in their right to freedom of speech.

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