Bill Keller: The Satanic Video





Bill Keller is an Op-Ed columnist for The New York Times and former executive editor for the newspaper.

...It’s not really over for Salman Rushdie, whose new memoir recounts a decade under a clerical death sentence for the publication of his novel “The Satanic Verses.” That fatwa, if not precisely the starting point in our modern confrontation with Islamic extremism, was a major landmark. The fatwa was dropped in 1998 and Rushdie is out of hiding, but he is still careful. His book tour for “Joseph Anton” (entitled for the pseudonym he used in his clandestine life) won’t be taking him to Islamabad or Cairo.

Rushdie grew up in a secular Muslim family, the son of an Islam scholar. His relationship to Islam was academic, then literary, before it became excruciatingly personal. His memoir is not a handbook on how America should deal with the Muslim world. But he brings to that subject a certain moral authority and the wisdom of an unusually motivated thinker. I invited him to help me draw some lessons from the stormy Arab Summer.

The first and most important thing Rushdie will tell you is, it’s not about religion. Not then, not now...



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