Salman Rushdie has always said and written things hardline Islamists have nightmares about. Rushdie's tryst with Islam's conservative, oppressive practitioners is often held up as evidence of how illiberal some Muslims can be. In 1989, Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini advertised that whoever manages to kill Rushdie will be rewarded handsomely.
The writer has never minced words on how so called religious people try committing the worst atrocities in the name of Islam. Recently, he appeared in a video where he weighed in on the subject of calling one strain of terrorism as 'Islamic terror'.
It has been argued for a while that while talking and writing about terrorism, it is perhaps unnecessary to call terror attacks inflict by Muslim terrorists 'Islamic terrorism'. Calling terrorism 'Islamic' undermines the religion's truest values, which doesn't promote violence and murder, like any other religion. It has been said that the terrorists choose to contort and abuse the idea of the religion and by no means should their actions be legitimised by associating them with the word Islam in sensible public discourses. That is why, many publications, columnists and commentators choose to call 'Islamic State' Daesh - an Arabic word which means 'a group of bigots who impose their will on others'.
However, Rushdie has contended, that, "“If everybody engaged in acts of Islamic terrorism says that they’re doing it in the name of Islam, who are we to say they’re not? I mean now of course what they mean by Islam might well not be what most Muslims mean by Islam. But it’s still a form of Islam and it’s a form of Islam that’s become unbelievably powerful in the last 25 and 30 years.
He goes on to talk about 'this liberal spirit of appeasement', 'of political correctness'.
He explains that it is true that several Muslims in America and Western Europe are actively discriminated against, putting them in a position of economic disadvantage and one needs to talk about ending discrimination. However, he adds, religious ideas held by them necessarily doesn't become legitimate because they belong to economically or racially disadvantaged people in countries like America.
He adds that when free speech is shut down, minority communities are the ones who suffer the most. So they should actively promote the need to let free speech remain truly 'free' and if some criticism of their own religious ideas have to faced in the process, so be it. "It comes with the territory," says Rushdie.
"Most of the oppression of Muslims in the world right now is carried out by other Muslims, you know. Whether it’s the Taliban in Afghanistan or, you know, the Ayatollahs in Iran or wherever it might be. But to say that this is not Islam is to misname the problem. The problem is that there’s been a mutation in Islam, which has become unusually virulent and powerful. And it needs to be dealt with, but in order to deal with it we have to first call it by its true name," he says.