Longlisted for the Orwell Prize for Books 2010
The Number 1 international bestseller updated and reissued.
Almost thirty years ago, the image of burning copies of Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses held aloft by thousand-strong mobs of protesters became an internationally familiar symbol of anger and offence. In From Fatwa to Jihad, Kenan Malik reveals how the Rushdie affair transformed the debate worldwide on multiculturalism, tolerance and free speech, helped fuel the rise of radical Islam and pointed the way to the horrors of 9/11 and 7/7.
In this new edition, Malik examines the rise of home-grown jihadis, the threat of IS-inspired terrorism in Europe and how the West has failed to learn the lessons of the past.
Malik was a freelance journalist working in northern England when the fatwa was declared against Salman Rushdie for his novel, The Satanic Verses. The book was publically burned in England and several of its translators were beaten or murdered. Thirty-seven people were killed when anti-Rushdie protesters set fire to a hotel containing the novel's Turkish translator, and Rushdie's Norwegian publisher was shot. This fatwa, Malik persuasively argues, starkly changed the terms of cultural conflict: "With his four-paragraph pronouncement, the ayatollah had transcended the traditional frontiers of Islam and brought the whole world under his jurisdiction." The multicultural policies implemented to smooth the racial tensions of '60s-era England instead, Malik believes, "helped foster a more tribal nation" and opened a pathway for religious extremism. The "collision of Western moral evasion and Islamist political intransigence became a characteristic not just of the Rushdie affair but of the whole road from fatwa to jihad." Though Malik could be accused of repeating himself or overstating his case, his fine analysis of the cultural forces that have fueled extremist Islam has much to offer.