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QUOTE OF THE DAY: Jimmy Carter and the Liberal Fatwa on Salman Rushdie

In a recently resurfaced 1989 op-ed for The New York Times, former President Carter expressed sympathy for the outrage in the Muslim world that led to the fatwa on novelist Salman Rushdie.

THE QUOTE

Writing under the headline”Rushdie’s Book Is an Insult,” Carter condemned the fatwa calling for Rushdie’s death, which then-Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini had issued months earlier.

  • “Ayatollah Khomeini’s offer of paradise to Rushdie’s assassin has caused writers and public officials in Western nations to become almost exclusively preoccupied with the author’s rights,” Carter opined on the response to Rushdie’s 1988 novel “The Satanic Verses,” which imagined that Satan narrated the Koran to Muhammad.
  • “While Rushdie’s First Amendment freedoms are important, we have tended to promote him and his book with little acknowledgment that it is a direct insult to those millions of Muslims whose sacred beliefs have been violated and are suffering in restrained silence the added embarrassment of the Ayatollah’s irresponsibility.”
  • Carter also compared the Muslim reaction to Christians’ anger at “The Last Temptation of Christ,” Martin Scorsese’s 1988 movie, arguing, “There is little doubt that the movie producers and Scorsese, a professed Christian, anticipated adverse public reactions and capitalized on them.”

Carter’s thoughts have returned to public attention following an attempt on Rushdie’s life Friday at a speaking engagement in Buffalo, New York.

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