The Satanic Reverses

When the Ayatollah declared his fatwa against Salman Rushdie I was reading chapters at my local church from "Witnesses to Glory", my life of Jesus set in the present day. To return the story to its shocking reality I had made some changes: Magdalene became a male prostitute; Judas a female terrorist, Herod a female prime minister (no prizes for guessing which real person she was modelled upon). Mary Whitehouse declared her own fatwa against me in the Daily Telegraph, and the curate who had arranged my readings was reproved by the Rector. No religious publisher would publish the book because, as one said revealingly, it would harm sales of his more middle-of-the-road books. (I have since self-published it on Amazon Kindle.)
I published a pamphlet, "The Fear and the Fatwa", in which I tried to examine this cause celebre, and, while identifying with Rushdie I also tried to understand why his story which comes out of the Islamic tradition) had caused Muslims such pain.
When a Muslim scholar came to Bradford to support the fatwa I spoke up in defence of Rushdie at a meeting of over a thousand local Muslims, who gave me a respectful hearing. Some even applauded at the end. Others queued up to buy my pamphlet. I received no death threats.

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About Karl Dallas

Former BBC and IRN presenter, presenter of jazz, classical, movie and talk shows on Bradford Community Broadcasting, editor and presenter of VideoCaroline, "the best TV over the Seven Seas".
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