At the height of the battle against The Satanic Verses Shabbir Akhtar, the Muslim philosopher who acted as a spokesman for the anti-Rushdie campaign, mocked the equivocations of Western liberals. ‘Vulnerability’, he wrote, ‘is never the best proof of strength’. The more you cave in to those who would censor, the more they wish to censor. And the more you seek to appease the hardliners, and view them as the ‘real’ Muslims, the more you marginalise progressive movements in the Muslim world. The myths enshrouding the Rushdie affair have ensured that the lessons we have drawn from the battle over The Satanic Verses are the very opposite of the ones we should have learnt.
Words of Kenan Malik