Meddling with the Muddling Rushdie Affair

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The “Rushdie affair” is one of the most far-reaching book events of the late 20th century. This study argues that the Muslim demonstrations caused by the book’s allegedly “blasphemous” nature, the fatwa and its aftermath may be regarded as a chain of snowballing effects which brought an entire century of book censorship to an end. However, what started the “affair” was not only The Satanic Verses that stirred waves of protests in the Muslim world and ambiguous attitudes in the West, but also its author, whose life was put in serious jeopardy by the fatwa. After 23 years since “the unfunny Valentine” was sent to Rushdie the “affair’”has not stopped radiating a whole spectrum of problems, which are still part of our global culture. This study traces the “affair” since the 14th of February 1989, when the fatwa was decreed, until January 2012, when Sir Salman Rushdie was initially invited to give a video address to the Jaipur Literature Festival in India only to be announced that the address was cancelled on grounds of violence threats from Muslim activists.

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The Journal of Linguaculture Centre for (Inter)cultural and (Inter)lingual Research, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi

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