Saturday, June 23, 2007

Our Shirl

Those of you who watched Shirley Williams' lamentable performance on Question Time might be interested to see this account of anti-Rushdie protesters in Kashmir from the Hindustan Times.

Scores of demonstrators on Thursday marched through the centre of this Jammu and Kashmir capital to protest India born author Salman Rushdie being knighted by the British government...

Syed Ali Geelani who heads the hardline faction of the separatist Hurriyat Conference said: "The award to Rushdie by the British government is a highly mischievous act as it hurts the sentiments of millions of Muslims across the world."

The line about offending millions of Muslims was the one that Williams trotted out (and that Christopher Hitchens rightly called 'contemptible') as the justification for calling Rushdie's knighthood a mistake. It puts her in some interesting company, but just read this account again. How many people turned out in this volatile region? Millions? Thousands? Hundreds? No. 'Scores'. My suspicion is that nobody gives much of a toss other than far-right Islamists and British 'liberals'. Contemptible gets it just about right.

(link from the incomparable Olly)

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