Rushdie Speaks Out for "Secular Muslims"

September 4, 2005

Source: Yahoo! News

Wire Service: AFP

On September 4, 2005 Agence France-Presse reported, "Novelist Salman Rushdie warned that British Muslims are lacking secular representative institutions and the government has made serious mistakes in listening to the Muslim groups filling the void. The writer, born in India to a Muslim family, called the situation a 'great tragedy' and said Prime Minister Tony Blair had blundered in listening to the likes of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB). 'One of the great tragedies of the moment is the lack of genuinely representative institutions, certainly in this country, people who really speak for the mass of British Muslims who are secular and who are integrated and don't want anything to do with jihadis or the kind of rhetoric of Islamic radicalism,' Rushdie told BBC television... Rushdie has previously slammed Blair for promoting Sir Iqbal Sacranie, secretary general of the MCB, the kingdom's representative Muslim umbrella body, as the acceptable face of moderate Islam. Sacranie reportedly said 'death is perhaps too easy' for Rushdie... The novelist said he was worried about interior minister Charles Clarke's crackdown on Islamist extremists following the bombings... Rushdie argued strongly in support of freedom of expression, even for people who embrace extremist views."

See also: Islam, International