On August 20, former Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan claimed that his remarks calling the attack on author Salman Rushdie “unjustifiable” were “taken out of context” by the British Newspaper The Guardian. In an interview to The Guardian, Khan condemned the attack on Rushdie and said that the anger of Muslims against Rushdie for the book The Satanic Verses was understandable, but there was no way to justify the attack. He had said, “I think it is terrible, sad.”
However, the official Twitter account of Imran Khan’s party, Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman (PTI), issued a statement on behalf of Khan and said, “The Guardian took my speech out of context”. Imran Khan said that once he had refused to attend a seminar in India because Salman Rushdie was also invited to the same event. He said that he explained the Islamic method of punishing the insolent Prophet in the Guardian interview, and he had referred to the Sialkot tragedy and spoke of Rushdie in the same context.
دی گارڈین نے میری گفتگو سیاق و سباق سے ہٹ کر پیش کی۔ میں نے بھارت میں ملعون سلمان رشدی کو مدعو کرنے پر سیمینار میں شرکت سے انکار کیا۔ انٹرویو میں، میں نے گستاخ رسولﷺ کو سزا دینے کے اسلامی طریقہ کار کی وضاحت کی۔ سانحہ سیالکوٹ کا حوالہ دیا، اسی تناظر میں رشدی کی بات کی۔— PTI (@PTIofficial) August 20, 2022
عمران خان pic.twitter.com/HBPLmC6Mbz
Khan emphasized that he gave the example of the “Sialkot tragedy” and spoke about Rushdie in a similar context. He was referring to the lynching of a Sri Lankan man in Sialkot, Pakistan, over blasphemy allegations. He was burnt alive for allegedly insulting the Prophet Muhammad.
Attack on Salman Rushdie
75-year-old Salman Rushdie was stabbed multiple times by a 24-year-old man from New Jersey identified as Hadi Matar, who was a US national of Lebanese origin. Rushdie was attacked during a literary event at Chautauqua Institution in Western New York. Rushdie suffered three stab wounds on the next, four to his stomach, and his right eye and chest were also punctured.
There was an active fatwa against Rushdie for his book ‘The Satanic verses’ which was released in 1988. Following the release of the book, he received death threats and continued to do so. He had to go into hiding for nine years after the fatwa was issued on his name by late Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1989. A bounty of USD 3 million was announced for anyone who kills him.
Alleged journalist Rana Ayyub had to delete his tweet on Rushdie
Imran Khan is not the only Islamic personality who has to take back his words on Rushdie. Recently, money laundering accused Washington Post columnist and alleged journalist Rana Ayyub made a “blunder” on her Twitter account by wishing for Rushdie’s speedy recovery. Following her tweet, she was trolled, mocked, and threatened on social media platforms by fellow Islamists.
Many Islamists had also voiced their views that Ayyub is speaking what the West would like to hear. Ayyub is now a ‘favorite’ amongst the Western elite liberals since she has been very vocally anti-Modi and plays the minority, Muslim under attack card quite well. Ayyub deleted the tweet claiming there was some “grammatical” error.
No one dares to condemn attacks on “Nabi’s Gustakhi”
Islamists raise one and only one slogan if they feel there has been an incident of alleged blasphemy, and that is “Gustakh-e-Rasool ki Ek saza, sar tan se Juda”. The threat is not a metaphoric one but a real one. There have been countless incidents not only in India but across the world where people have been killed for merely expressing their views about Prophet Mohammed or gotten on the hit list for merely stating what has been written in Islamic holy texts.
Take the example of Nupur Sharma, who is currently away from public life out of fear for her life. Hindus like Kanhaiya Lal from Udaipur and Umesh Kolhe from Amravati were brutally killed by Islamists because they supported Nupur Sharma. Every once-in-a-while report from Pakistan made headlines that someone had been killed for alleged blasphemy.
There have been so many incidents, but hardly anyone dares to condemn it from the Muslim world as by doing so, they will not only become a target but also will lose any support from the Islamic world, which people like Khan and Ayyub cannot afford.