Most people associate February 14 with romance, but for Salman Rushdie, it has vastly different associations. On February 14, 1989, Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa, ordering Muslims to kill Rushdie for writing his book The Satanic Verses — and this death sentence has been perpetually reaffirmed by Iranian leaders, though no assassin has yet carried it out.
It was the first salvo in what has now become a full-throttle, multi-front, all-out Islamic war against the freedom of speech. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) continues relentlessly to try to compel Western states to criminalize criticism of Islam under the guise of “religious hatred.” Note that they classify as “hatred” any truthful analysis of how Islamic jihadists justify violence by reference to Islamic teachings. Obama and Hillary Clinton have met with the OIC and endorsed this effort. Meanwhile, Islamic supremacist groups and a willingly compliant mainstream media demonize and marginalize anyone who tells the truth about Islam and jihad. The Iranians don’t need to put out a death fatwa on us — they are doing well enough by making sure we aren’t heard where it counts.
Rushdie did not invent the “Satanic verses.” The term actually refers to an incident, recorded in Islamic tradition, in which Satan, not Allah, spoke through Muhammad’s mouth. The verses that the devil gave to the Prophet of Islam have been known thereafter as “the Satanic verses.” You can find the details in my Qur’an commentary here.
And remember today to send a valentine to the freedom of speech: fight to preserve and protect it.