Salman Rushdie thinks a ‘free Palestine’ would resemble a Taliban state

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Salman Rushdie, Taliban, Iran, Palestinian

In a recent interview with Germany’s Bild newspaper, Indian-born British-American novelist Salman Rushdie issued a stark warning regarding the potential formation of a Palestinian state. Rushdie, known for his outspoken views and literary contributions, expressed concerns that such a state would resemble a Taliban-like regime, operating as a satellite state of Iran.

Rushdie posed a provocative question during the interview: “If there were a Palestinian state now, it would be run by Hamas and we would have a Taliban-like state. A satellite state of Iran. Is this what the progressive movements of the Western left want to create?” He highlighted what he perceives as a lack of deep, rational thought behind the support for Palestinian statehood among some Western progressive movements, attributing much of this support to an emotional reaction to the deaths in Gaza.

He acknowledged the emotional response as understandable but warned of the dangerous turn when such sentiments slide into antisemitism or support for Hamas. “There are not a lot of deep thoughts about this, but mainly an emotional reaction to the deaths in Gaza. That’s OK. But when it slides into antisemitism and sometimes even support for Hamas, then it becomes problematic,” Rushdie added, emphasizing the need for careful consideration of the implications of supporting entities like Hamas.

Rushdie’s latest literary work, “Knife: Meditations on an Attempted Murder”, released just last month, delves into the harrowing attack he endured on August 12, 2022. During an event at the Chautauqua Institution in New York, a 22-year-old jihadist, Hadi Matar from New Jersey, rushed the stage and inflicted 14 stab wounds on Rushdie. The author sustained severe injuries to his face, neck, arm, and abdomen. In a recent interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Rushdie described the ordeal, particularly noting the damage to his right eye: “The worst thing was the knife in my [right] eye… it went as deep as the optic nerve, which is why there’s no possibility of saving the vision.” Initially, doctors were uncertain whether he would survive the attack.

Rushdie has been living under the threat of death since 1989, when then-Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa against him and his publishers at Viking Penguin. The fatwa was a response to Rushdie’s 1988 novel, **The Satanic Verses**, which Khomeini condemned as blasphemous against Islam, the Prophet Muhammad, and the Quran. The religious edict called for Rushdie’s death, leading to attacks on translators and publishers of the book, several of whom were assassinated.

The long-standing fatwa has forced Rushdie into a life of constant vigilance and danger, making his recent comments on the political situation in the Middle East particularly poignant. His perspective on a potential Palestinian state is informed by a deep awareness of extremist ideologies and their consequences.

Rushdie’s remarks come at a time of heightened tensions and ongoing conflict in the Middle East, where the future of Palestinian statehood remains a contentious and polarizing issue. His warning about the potential for a Palestinian state to devolve into a regime akin to the Taliban, under the influence of Iran, adds a significant voice to the debate, urging a more thoughtful and nuanced consideration of the complex realities on the ground.

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