Christopher Marlowe, you Islamophobe! Over 400 years ago, without the slightest regard for the sensitivities of the Muslim Council of Britain, you put these words into the mouth of your character Tamburlaine the Great (which character bears only a glancing resemblance to the actual Tamerlane — “Timur the Lame,” 1336-1405 — the bloody conqueror of Central Asia, who was actually a member of the allegedly peaceful Naqshbandi Sufi sect of Islam):
Now, Casane, where’s the Turkish Alcoran,
And all the heaps of superstitious books
Found in the temples of that Mahomet
Whom I have thought a god? they shall be burnt.
Here they are, my lord.
Well said! let there be a fire presently.
[They light a fire.]
Now, Mahomet, if thou have any power,
Come down thyself and work a miracle:
Thou art not worthy to be worshipped
That suffer’st flames of fire to burn the writ
Wherein the sum of thy religion rests:
Why send’st thou not a furious whirlwind down,
To blow thy Alcoran up to thy throne,
Where men report thou sitt’st by God himself?
Or vengeance on the head of Tamburlaine
That shakes his sword against thy majesty,
And spurns the abstracts of thy foolish laws?–
Well, soldiers, Mahomet remains in hell;
He cannot hear the voice of Tamburlaine:
Seek out another godhead to adore;
The God that sits in heaven, if any god,
For he is God alone, and none but he.
But lie quiet, Christopher. A new London production of your play has ensured that it is multicultural enough to suit the new dhimmi Britain.
From the TimesOnline, with thanks to Interested:
IT WAS the surprise hit of the autumn season, selling out for its entire run and inspiring rave reviews. But now the producers of Tamburlaine the Great have come under fire for censoring Christopher Marlowe’s 1580s masterpiece to avoid upsetting Muslims.
Audiences at the Barbican in London did not see the Koran being burnt, as Marlowe intended, because David Farr, who directed and adapted the classic play, feared that it would inflame passions in the light of the London bombings.
Simon Reade, artistic director of the Bristol Old Vic, said that if they had not altered the original it “would have unnecessarily raised the hackles of a significant proportion of one of the world’s great religions”.
The burning of the Koran was “smoothed over”, he said, so that it became just the destruction of “a load of books” relating to any culture or religion. That made it more powerful, they claimed.
Members of the audience also reported that key references to Muhammad had been dropped, particularly in the passage where Tamburlaine says that he is “not worthy to be worshipped”. In the original Marlowe writes that Muhammad “remains in hell”…
A minor point: someone should tell these modern-day Bowdlers that Muhammad is not actually worshipped in Islam. More importantly, they should be reminded that changing old texts to suit modern sensibilities sets a dangerous precedent, not only one of bowing to the specter of violence from angry Muslims but also of rewriting history to suit the present — a practice that supremacist jihadists who dismiss all that is not Islam as worthless “jahiliyya” will undoubtedly applaud.