From Publishers Weekly
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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
“Engaging…Malik’s is a liberal self-critique of the sort that has become familiar since 9/11, with Paul Berman’s Terror and Liberalism
leading the way in a mini-genre that includes Nick Cohen’s What’s Left?,
Bernard-Henri Levy’s Left in Dark Times
, and the writings of Christopher Hitchens. Unlike those works, however, From Fatwa to Jihad
is persuasive more often than not.”
—The Christian Science Monitor Praise for the UK edition
“A gripping account of how we went from burning books to bombs on buses. The Rushdie Affair has shaped all our lives. This book shows us how.” —Hanif Kureishi
“A thorough and highly readable history of the politics of the Rushdie affair and an important intervention in the current debate on freedom of expression.” —Monica Ali
"In tracing the legacy of the Rushdie Affair into our post-9/11 present, Malik marries the attributes of an investigative journalist and a political analyst. He challenges the cultural myths which have grown up during this period and sets out to slay their attendant monsters...A bracing analysis." —Lisa Appignanesi, The Independent
"In the slipstream of history...The Rushdie Affair wears the strange innocence of an ancient war...Kenan Malik's From Fatwa to Jihad is an enthralling...attempt to place [it] in context."
—Robert McCrum, The Observer
"The Rushdie affair has become a key event in our understanding of free speech and blasphemy, as well as Islam, faith, politics, and even international diplomacy...From Fatwa to Jihad attempts to extract a message...[and] proves that conflict rarely leads to enlightenment. —Nicholas Blincoe, Da...