The British writer Hanif Kureishi decided to mark the 20th anniversary of the Rushdie affair by adapting for the stage his 1995 second novel “The Black Album”. The novel is set in 1988/89 and the Rushdie affair and radicalization of young Muslims are its central themes.
The Black Album charts the cultural and political development of impressionable Asian teenager Shahid, who moves from suburbia to college in London and is subsequently torn between two disparate lifestyles and loyalties – the Western liberalism of his lecturer Deedee, with whom he has a relationship, and the fundamentalism of his new Muslim friends led by the charismatic Riaz.
In the course of the story, the Islamist group burn a copy of Salman Rushdie’s “The Satanic Verses”, of which Shahid is appalled.
The play is being discussed in the context of whether or not Rushdie’s critics have succeeded. British lecturer and broadcaster Kenan Malik claims that the critics have lost the battle – as Rushdie is still being published –, but won the war, because it has become much more widespread not to offend another religion. The Black Album is on tour throughout the country, showing at West Yorkshire Playhouse, Oct 20 to 24 and Liverpool Playhouse from October 27 to 31, among other places.
Salman Rushdie is threatening to sue publisher John Blake Publishing Ltd. over a book by a former bodyguard that he says portrays him as mean, nasty, tight-fisted, arrogant, and extremely unpleasant. Rushdie’s lawyer Mark Stephens wrote a letter to the publisher, demanding that the book – called On Her Majesty’s Service – be withdrawn from publication. Rushdie has been accused of trying to stop freedom expression, which would be a curious move contrary to what he has long advocated. However, Rushdie has asserted that he is not trying to prevent his former bodyguard – Ron Evens – from publishing the book, but that if the publication goes as planned, there will be consequences and there will be a libel action, citing a difference between free-speech and libel.
A German theater has brought Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses to the stage, with no sign of trouble after authorities promised thorough security precautions. The Hans-Otto Theater in Potsdam says its version, which has 12 actors and ran for nearly four hours, is the first theatrical presentation of the novel. Iran’s late spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, issued a 1989 fatwa, or religious edict, ordering Muslims to kill Rushdie because The Satanic Verses allegedly insulted Islam. The threat forced Rushdie to live in hiding for a decade. Theater director Uwe Eric Laufenberg had invited the author to Sunday’s premiere, but it had been unclear whether he would attend and Rushdie could not be seen in the audience. I think it is time for the Muslim world to say exactly what it finds so provocative about this book. Simply to say, _This book insults us’ is no longer enough at some point, Laufenberg said. He argued that the theatrical version could help to focus on the book’s contents and ease objections.
A German book author said he wants to read aloud inside a Cologne mosque from “The Satanic Verses,” the 1988 novel by Salman Rushdie that some Muslims consider blasphemous and led to a 1989 fatwa against Rushdie. Just before political and religious leaders met in Berlin for the second national integration summit, journalist and author G_nter Wallraff, 64, proposed to read from Rushdie’s “The Satanic Verses” at a mosque to be built in Cologne by the western German city’s Turkish community. He said the Ankara-funded Ditib religious foundation had not been insulted and was discussing his proposal. The organization’s secretary for dialog, Bekir Alboga, said Wallraff’s idea had not been rejected outright, and that the Ditib board, would respond to the request.
Salman Rushdie’s knighthood provoked cries of rage among mollahs. The Pakistani Minister of Religious Affairs reckons that because of Rushdie’s provocations and blasphemies, it is not surprising that Muslims demonstrate their rage through violence and bombings. Several member of the Pakistani government expressed their own anger at the UK for exacerbating the alienation and indignation of Muslims communities in Europe and Asia.
Outrage over Salman Rushdie’s knighthood threatened to ignite across the Muslim world yesterday. Security around the writer was reviewed by Scotland Yard as an Iranian group placed an _80,000 bounty on his head. The same group accused the Queen of mocking Muslims with the honour. In London, Lord Ahmed, Britain’s first Muslim peer, said he had been appalled by the award to a man he accused of having ‘blood on his hands’. In Pakistan, where effigies of the Queen and 59-year-old Rushdie were burned, a minister appeared to justify suicide bombings as a response to the knighthood.