Would you publish a work similar in scope to Salman Rushdie's "Satanic Verses?"

If your vocation was a writer/novelist and you believed there was a need to expose the tyranny that is the religion of Islam, would you consider the potential threat to your well being worth the risk of publication? Rushdie and Ayaan Hirsi (Infidel) both took considerable risk of life by going forward with their books. Granted other authors such as Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens have attacked Islam in a similar manner but their's are limited to specific chapters of a book that attacks religion in general. 

Is the cause so compelling that one is willing to risk life and limb? Or should we retreat from the barbarism of Islamic extremists who feel compelled to carry out the fatwa that the Ayatollah Khomeini ordered against Rushdie? The very quality of religious violence that pervades Islamic culture also seems to be a hangman's noose around the neck of those bold enough to call it into question. As an atheist I refuse to accept the preposterous notions of all religions but I view Islam as an especially dangerous variety to the peace and security of our planet. Should we not step up the rhetoric against Islam and expose this religion for what it is? Or remain subdued in our criticism in fear of reprisal? For certain your life is forever changed should you decide to go forward with publication. 

Tags: Hirsi, Islam, Rushdie, fatwa

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I think Islam and it's inherent danger and violence is not far removed from the Christian crusades.  The major issue is that technology now allows for nuclear aggression - even explosives were not really available to the crusaders - now that they are, fundamentalism and rage has a more dangerous arsenal of weaponry.

Having said that, yes I think I would publish.  It's the kind of idiotic thing I'd do.  I read the Satanic Verses, and I wasn't that impressed with Rushdie's style of writing, but other than that, it was enlightening.  I'm the kind of idiot that would gamble with my life to assert an opinion.  I don't think I'd do it for riches, but for an opinion?  Colour me stupid, but yes I think I would.

That makes two of us! 

I would publish if just to express an opinion.

That makes three of us.

I have not read "The Satanic Verses". pretty much due to my reading problem. But that's just a personal issue. Never really been much of a reader to be honest.

I couldn't give a toss about whose precious Religious feelings I hurt. It's not my fault they cry for their stupid God. I'd be just as entitled to write a book for other humans to read, as their authors of the nonsense they believe.

I've found that the truth is the best weapon against stupidity.

Greg - "Anyone who has actually read Rushdie would find the question to be a bit silly."

I don't place emphasis on the actual content of Rushdie's work as the crux of the matter. Even though the "Satanic Verses" was a fictional work it placed Islam in a most unflattering light and was divisive enough to generate an uproar among the extremists. There is nothing silly about having a bounty placed on your head. The question is would you go ahead and produce a similar work knowing the potential repercussions?

@ Strega

"Having said that, yes I think I would publish.  It's the kind of idiotic thing I'd do."

If you're convictions are strong enough and you believe the message is an important one I don't think it is fair necessarily to characterize it as idiotic.  Dangerous perhaps but sometimes living on the edge is what gives one a true sense of living life to the fullest extent. And the satisfaction of knowing that you might be aiding in the demise of a religious institution that is a very real threat to our very existence. I would admire your courage. 

Honestly, Ed, it was me I was referring to as idiotic :) although I did grammatically point at the 'thing', I realise. 

I seem to drag that "edge" pretty much into my life wherever I am or whatever I'm doing.  Sometimes I think about the things I've done and wonder how on earth I am still alive.  Just now I'm doing some roller-coaster stuff in my work life - every time the pit of my stomach drops out I wonder what is it with me, that I have this compulsion to do these things. 

So yes I'd do it, and no I wouldn't recommend it to anyone with a shred of sanity.

I published and spoke when I knew it was dangerous to my continued employment. I decided that courage and foolishness, to those who watch, depend on whether my efforts succeed or fail.

You're right; I was living on the edge and living life to the fullest. As Gandhi is alleged to have said, first they ignore, then they ridicule. When they threaten, you know they fear you--a compliment beyond the usual.


I don't think "scope" is the right word. Depending upon one's point of view "scurrilousness" or "truthfulness" might be better words.

Is the cause so compelling that one is willing to risk life and limb?

I find it appalling that the Muslim world demands non-Muslims in non-Muslim countries refrain from insulting their religion. That includes "insults" like a cartoon depicting Muhammad with a bomb in his turban.

In the US, freedom of expression includes the right to give offense, intentionally or not. In practice there is little difference between not having a right and refraining from exercising a right due to fear. So I would publish anything I wanted and not care who is offended.

Personal safety is another matter, however. So if I did publish something controversial to this degree I'd use a nom de plume. 

I'm also unwilling to sacrifice my life to fundamentalism...but what if your message had no impact under a nom de plume? 

I'm also unwilling to sacrifice my life to fundamentalism...but what if your message had no impact under a nom de plume?

If you produce good work it really doesn't matter what name is on it, or if it has no name on it at all.

For example, if you are a new author, then the name on your book doesn't matter. If you are an established author with a name that sells more books, you could use your name to find another willing publisher.

I want to agree with you, but we live in a celebrity obsessed culture.  Sometimes books need a marketing strategy that includes the author promoting her/his work in order to break through the noise and reach an audience.


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