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Rushdie attack might be Israeli plot to spread Islamophobia: Scholar

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This still image from video shows Hadi Matar, 24, of Fairview, N.J., at left, being escorted from the stage as people tend to Salman Rushdie, center right, at the Chautauqua Institution, in Chautauqua, New York on Friday, Aug. 12, 2022. (Photo by AP)

An American writer and political analyst says the last week's attack in the US on Salman Rushdie might be an Israeli plot to spread Islamophobia around the world.

Rushdie, the infamous author of the blasphemous anti-Islam book, The Satanic Verses, was attacked on Friday before a scheduled lecture in western New York. Rushdie was stabbed by a 24-year-old New Jersey man.

Rushdie's blasphemous book was released in September 1988. It has been prohibited in Iran, India, Bangladesh, Sudan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Thailand, Tanzania, Indonesia, Singapore, Venezuela, and Pakistan.

Rushdie went into hiding in 1989 under a British government protection program, which included a round-the-clock armed guard. He re-emerged after nine years of seclusion and cautiously resumed more public appearances in a publicity campaign against what he labeled as “religious extremism overall.”

Despite his anti-Islam campaigns, Rushdie was knighted by the British Queen Elizabeth II in 2008 and earlier this year was made a member of the so-called Order of the Companions of Honor, a royal accolade purportedly for people who have made a major contribution to the arts, science or public life.

Press TV website conducted an online interview with Dr. Kevin Barrett, an American author, journalist, and radio host, on the issue on Thursday.

“The obscene blasphemy in Rushdie’s book is actually much worse than just calling the Prophet (PBUH) insulting names. It is way over the top, and raises the question, why did he write such a book?” Barrett said.

“Several decades ago I read three of Rushdie’s novels as part of my graduate studies in World Literature. My impression was that he wrote The Satanic Verses as a deliberate provocation designed to get exactly the kind of attention it got... Why? Because he is an extreme egotist with boundless ambition but without the talent to match it; he wanted more fame than his writing alone would ever earn him,” said Dr. Barrett, who has a PhD in Islamic and Arabic Studies.

“Rushdie's first book Midnight’s Children attempts to turn the author himself into a mythical hero whose birth and biography represent the birth and biography of modern India. That is quite a grandiose self-image. Midnight’s Children won the Booker Prize and sold well. What could he ever do to surpass that? I think he realized, consciously or unconsciously, that Midnight’s Children was overrated, his talent was limited, and that he would never again achieve that kind of success…unless he did something so outlandishly provocative that his name would become a household word for extra-literary reasons,” he added.

“So in my view, Rushdie deliberately courted the notoriety that ensued from the publication of The Satanic Verses. He invented himself as a character—the obscenely blaspheming author held up as a symbol of Western-style freedom, hunted and forced to live on the run, vastly more famous than thousands of much better writers, a kind of real-life cartoon character in the West’s comic book narrative of free speech (us) versus its enemies (them),” he said.

“As time has passed, Rushdie’s one-note act has gradually faded from public view. So though I wouldn’t have been surprised to hear he been attacked in, say, the mid-1990s, it seems rather incongruous in 2022,” he noted.

'Western hypocrisy on the obscene blasphemer'

Commenting on last week's attack, Dr. Barret said, “During the same week that Rushdie was attacked, several Palestinian children were shot dead by Israeli snipers. Unlike Rushdie, those children did nothing to provoke the attacks. Their crime was to be born under occupation. They were targeted for genocide simply for existing.”

“Why are so many Western self-styled human rights advocates so obsessed with the likes of Salman Rushdie and so uninterested in the Palestinian children being murdered by the genocidal occupation? The answer is that they see Rushdie as a ‘martyr’ who represents their deepest ‘religious’ values of liberal secular humanism. The liberal pseudo-religion holds up individual freedom as its highest value. And the freedom to transgress religious and moral prohibitions — ultimately, the ‘freedom’ of Machiavelli and the Marquis de Sade—represents the secret desire of the devotees of the religion of liberalism. So for them, the obscene blasphemer Rushdie is the ‘martyr,’ while the innocent children of Palestine are simply collateral damage in the exercise of absolute freedom from religious and moral restraint as exercised by the Zionist de Sades, with whom they ultimately identify, and whose crimes they fund with Western taxpayer dollars,” the scholar noted.

When Dr. Barrett was asked whether the attack was a plot hatched by the US to spread islamophobia, he said, “The timing of the attack on Rushdie was curious indeed.”

“His case had been largely forgotten since the peak of his notoriety forty years ago. Suddenly, at the exact moment that the JCPOA nuclear deal was about to be revived, this incident generated worldwide headlines and threw a new roadblock in the path of the deal. And it happened just days after reports of an alleged Iranian plot against John Bolton,” he said.

“If we ask cui bono, ‘who gains,’ the answer is thunderingly obvious. Israel has made no secret of the fact that it views the JCPOA as an existential threat. The Israelis have done everything they can to derail the JCPOA,” he stated.

“And they have a long history of using false flag terror to achieve political goals. Anyone familiar with Thomas Suarez’s State of Terror: How Terrorism Created Modern Israel and Ronan Bergman’s Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel’s Targeted Assassinations, knows that the Israelis will kill anyone, anywhere, anytime, to achieve their desired political objectives,” he said.

He added, “Additionally, the Israelis have a history of using mind-controlled patsies in their targeted killings. Perhaps the best-known case is that of Sirhan Sirhan, a young Palestinian who was put under hypnotic control and set up as the patsy in the killing of Robert F. Kennedy in 1968. (The Israelis had killed John F. Kennedy in 1963 to remove a mortal threat to their nuclear weapons program, and needed to kill Robert in 1968 to stop him from winning the US presidency and exposing the truth.)”


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