Opinion: Salman Rushdie Urges Islamic Reform

August 7, 2005

Source: The Washington Post


On August 7, 2005 The Washington Post ran an opinion piece by Salman Rushdie, a novelist and essayist and author of "The Satanic Verses," on the need for Islamic reform in Britain. Rushdie writes, "[Sir Iqbal] Sacranie, [head of the Muslim Council of Britain], is a strong advocate of Blair's much-criticized new religious-hatred bill, which will make it harder to criticize religion, and he actually expects the new law to outlaw references to Islamic terrorism. He said as recently as Jan. 13, 'There is no such thing as an Islamic terrorist. This is deeply offensive. Saying Muslims are terrorists would be covered [i.e., banned] by this provision.' Two weeks later his organization boycotted a Holocaust remembrance ceremony in London commemorating the liberation of Auschwitz 60 years ago. If Sir Iqbal Sacranie is the best Blair can offer in the way of a good Muslim, we have a problem... The Islamic Reformation has to begin here, with an acceptance of the concept that all ideas, even sacred ones, must adapt to altered realities. Broad-mindedness is related to tolerance; open-mindedness is the sibling of peace. This is how to take up the 'profound challenge' of the bombers. Will Sir Iqbal Sacranie and his ilk agree that Islam must be modernized? That would make them part of the solution. Otherwise, they're just the 'traditional' part of the problem."