The latest debacle between Britain and the Islamic world was, in my opinion, entirely avoidable. Awarding Salman Rushdie a knighthood at this particular time was one of the worst possible things we could have done, and has incensed an already angry Muslim population.
I support Salman Rushdie’s right to express himself freely, and the portray Islam in any way he likes. I find the death warrant placed on his head for many years outrageous, and I have no time for Muslims who wish him harm because of ‘The Satanic Verses’. I also support the British Governments right to award anyone they feel worthy of Knighthood with the title, and do not believe any other country or group has the right to stop it.
However, let us put this in perspective.
Imagine, if you will, that Ireland had been invaded by Iran and was now occupied by it’s government. Imagine Iran had killed hundreds of thousands of people, and was siphoning off Ireland’s natural resources to bankroll Iranian corporations. Imagine if Britain’s attempts to fund rebellions in its neighbouring country were denounced as ‘acts of terror’, and discussions about nuking Britain were common in Iranian politics.
Now imagine Iran held a big national award ceremony in the midst of all this and honoured a holocaust denier for his contributions to Iranian culture.
Do you think anyone in the West would mind?
I think so. Let us not forget that Britain has helped illegally invade two Muslim countries, and is funding an unnecessary and violent occupations in both. It has helped kill hundreds and thousands of innocent people, and has aided the outright robbery of its natural resources. Consequently, awarding a writer whom most Muslims find deeply offensive with a prestigious national award was probably not the brightest thing to do.
It is too easy to use the argument that they are angry because ‘they hate our freedom’. They hate us because we have arrogantly abused their lands for the best part of a century, and fail to see what benefits we have brought to them. Once we leave and pay reparations for the massive damage we have done, handing out Knighthoods to controversial writers might then be a little more palatable. For now, it might be an idea to be a little more sensitive.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.