November 02, 2010

Special Comment: Salman Rushdie should be more flexible with his grudges

The Daily Beast reported today that Sir Ahmed Salman Rushdie criticized Jonathan Stuart Liebowitz for having Steven Demetre Georgiou sing at the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear last Saturday. (I use their real names, not for political or racial reasons, but for silly reasons.) Jon Stewart had the artist former known as Cat Stevens (Yusuf Islam has apparently dropped the 'Islam' because five of the five letters spell 'Islam', and some Europeans & Americans have islamic allergies) sing his beautiful song "Peace Train" before it was interrupted by Stephen Tyrone Colbert ("I will not ride that train") & John Michael "Ozzie" Osborne singing "Crazy Train."

Yusuf, when he was a fresh convert to Islam in the '80s, stupidly said he'd support the fatwa death sentence placed on Rushdie after he published The Satanic Verses. (As a side note, did you know book stores in Berkeley were bombed because they carried that book?) (Also, if you haven't read it, The Satanic Verses is a pretty dense postmodern novel containing many positive Muslim characters, and the scenes inspired by the life of the Prophet are in a feverish dream by a delusional character, not at all a simple direct criticism of Mohammad.) Today's 62-year-old Yusuf is a different man than the enthusiastic convert thirty years ago, and he's become a face of moderate peaceful Islam, and one of the handsomest beards on Earth or beyond. Witness this lovely performance of Peace Train at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony honoring Muhammad Yunus in 2006:

Sir Salman, as someone who still has a fatwa on your ass, you should know better about holding grudges!

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