Were The Satanic Verses published today, we wouldn’t be surprised at the outrage it would generate. Not in the slightest. Rather, we’d be astonished that anyone would dare write it at all, or that any publisher would release it. In our post-Charlie Hebdo times, every publishing house and editorial office is haunted by the spectre of aggrieved fanatics bursting through the doors with machine guns.
Murder, carnage and terror have had an impact:
‘Today, they would accuse me of Islamophobia and racism’, he said. ‘They would charge me with crimes against a cultural minority.’ There is so much dishonesty today in discussions over Islamism, Rushdie continues, not least our propensity to place murderous perpetrators under the safer category ‘mentally unbalanced’.
Of course, they must steer clear of The Religion That Must Not Be Named.
Today The Satanic Verses would be denounced today as ‘unhelpful’, ‘regrettable’ and ‘inflammatory’.
If only Rushdie was 'mentally unbalanced', then he would be accorded some respect.