Saturday, June 23, 2007
Rabble-Rousers - A Fatwa Revived
Excerpts from a report in The Guardian:
While some British Muslims protested against the award of a knighthood to the writer Salman Rushdie yesterday, amid reports of strikes and demonstrations in India, Iran and Pakistan, others distanced themselves from the effigy-burning and calls for violent reprisals.
About 20 demonstrators protested at Regents Park mosque in London after prayers yesterday afternoon. Men with their faces covered to avoid identification waved placards, one of which read "God curse the Queen", and shouted slogans.
"We've come to demonstrate against the apostate Salman Rushdie," said one. "He has insulted Islam and the Prophet Muhammad. Salman Rushdie is the devil. We have a responsibility - he should be punished, he should be attacked. We should not be afraid of the kuffar [non-believer]. They say Tony Blair is going to be sent to the Middle East as a peace envoy. We hope he comes back in a box."
The protesters also burned a homemade St George's flag, to the cheers of some and the dismay others. "It is disrespectful to behave like this outside a mosque," said Mohammed Ahmed, a 24-year-old part-time charity worker. "This protest will do nothing to change the negative perceptions people have about our religion."
Mosque staff also distanced themselves from the demonstration. "We do not sanction this protest or the views they are expressing," said a woman from the director general's office.
In Srinagar, in India, shops and offices were closed yesterday in protest. In Iran, worshippers at Tehran university chanted "death to the English" as clerics claimed the fatwa against Rushdie was still in force.