The Rushdie Affair: The Novel, the Ayatollah, and the West

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Transaction Publishers, 1990 - History - 303 pages
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The publication in 1988 of Salman Rushdie's novel The Satanic Verses triggered a furor that pitted much of the Islamic world against the West over issues of blasphemy and freedom of expression. The controversy soon took on the aspect of a confrontation of civilizations, provoking powerful emotions on a global level. It involved censorship, protests, riots, a break in diplomatic relations, culminating in the notorious Iranian edict calling for the death of the novelist. In The Rushdie Affair, Daniel Pipes explains why the publication of The Satanic Verses became a cataclysmic event with far-reaching political and social consequences.

Pipes looks at the Rushdie affair in both its political and cultural aspects and shows in considerable detail what the fundamentalists perceived as so offensive in The Satanic Verses as against what Rushdie's novel actually said. Pipes explains how the book created a new crisis between Iran and the West at the time--disrupting international diplomacy, billions of dollars in trade, and prospects for the release of Western hostages in Lebanon.

Pipes maps out the long-term implications of the crisis. If the Ayatollah so easily intimidated the West, can others do the same? Can millions of fundamentalist Muslims now living in the United States and Europe possibly be assimilated into a culture so alien to them? Insightful and brilliantly written, this volume provides a full understanding of one of the most significant events in recent years. Koenraad Elst's postscript reviews the enduring impact of the Rushdie affair.

"The Rushdie Affair is a lucid, balanced often startling and ultimately convincing analysis....scrupulously fair, respectful of Islam yet unintimidated by the flood of threats and invective."--Mark Caldwell, Philadelphia Inquirer

"[A] work of impeccable scholarship.Pipes offers a number of conclusions that merit attention at all levels."--Amir Tahiri, Los Angeles Times

Daniel Pipes is director of the Middle East Forum and a columnist for the New York Post and the Jerusalem Post. Among his books are The Long Shadow: Culture and Politics in the Middle East, In the Path of God: Islam and Political Power (both published by Transaction), Greater Syria: The History of an Ambition, and Friendly Tyrants: An American Dilemma.

Koenraad Elst is a Belgium-based writer on comparative religion, Indian history, and Hindu-Muslim relations.

"Very highly recommended for anyone seeking a better understanding of contemporary Islam in general, and this defining controversy in particular."--Wisconsin Bookwatch


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The Rushdie affair: the novel, the Ayatollah, and the West

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

There has been a sudden deluge of books about Salman Rushdie and the attempt to silence him. This book, written by an expert on Middle East politics, is one of the better ones. Besides recounting the ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - oakes - LibraryThing

It is useful, post-9/11, to review the Rushdie story. A postscript cites more recent threats and acts of violence against muslim critics. Read full review

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