Indeed he would be. And he also says: “Instead of responding to attacks against freedom of expression, voices were raised to cry blasphemy and propose compromise with terrorism. There is no blasphemy in a democracy.” That’s right as well: as soon as blasphemy laws are enforced, democracy ceases to exist, for those groups that are protected by the blasphemy laws are a privileged class, with rights above and beyond those enjoyed by the rest of the population. Equality of rights under the law, a principal foundation of representative government, ceases to exist.
“Salman Rushdie: ‘Today, I would be accused of Islamophobia and racism,'” translation of “Salman Rushdie: «Aujourd’hui, on m’accuserait d’islamophobie et de racisme,»” by Thomas Romanacce, Le Figaro, September 5, 2016:
…According to the novelist, after the terrible attacks in the drafting of Charlie Hebdo, the French government has reacted badly. “Instead of responding to attacks against freedom of expression, voices were raised to cry blasphemy and propose compromise with terrorism. There is no blasphemy in a democracy,” he says.
For Rushdie, gradually our democracies have accepted the notion of compromise. The author believes that if he published The Satanic Verses today, it would not be supported as it was at the time. In this novel published in 1988, he made remarks deemed offensive against the Prophet Muhammad. “Today, I would be accused of Islamophobia and racism. Attacks against a cultural minority would be imputed to me,” says the writer. He defends freedom of thought and claims to have the right to say that religion is stupidity….
“Faced with the reality, we must call things as they are: Charlie Hebdo journalists were killed in the name of Allah and to avenge the Prophet,” says Rushdie.
Also according to the novelist, the Western governments seem to have difficulty to use the term “Islamic terrorism.” They prefer to speak of “the unbalanced” or “radical extremists”. “You French, use the Daesh label, which neutralizes things, while worldwide the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria is called the Isis movement, to avoid hearing the word Islam,” laments Salman Rushdie.
Nor does he understand the stubbornness of Barack Obama in refusing to pronounce the word “Islam” in reacting to the attacks committed in its name. The author interprets this silence as an intention not to offend Muslims and African-Americans, who often rally to Islam. Finally, Salman Rushdie says that Daesh represents a form of Islam that most Muslims reject but that exists and grows. But the British writer wondered how can we fight cancer if we do not recognize that it is in the body?