Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


"Just the Standard Rhetoric"

…Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, told Muslims making the annual pilgrimage to Mecca that Rushdie was an apostate whose killing would be authorised by Islam, according to the Iranian media.

How very reassuring and level-headed of the British to respond by saying:

The Foreign Office said: “The key thing from our point of view is that the Iranian Government formally withdrew their support for the fatwa on Salman Rushdie in 1998 which is when Britain and Iran formally upgraded their relationship to the level of ambassador.”

“Almost every time that the current supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, gives a sermon he mentions Salman Rushdie in these terms and denounces him as a man who has insulted the name of the Prophet and who can therefore be killed. It’s just the standard rhetoric.”

Perhaps the Foreign Office ought to read up on the “big lie technique“, or other works on the effects of ongoing rhetoric on its listeners.
(Quotes are from The Times, via JihadWatch.) It’s a very sad day when no one speaks out for Mr. Rushdie’s right to free speech, without fear of reprisal.

3 comments on ""Just the Standard Rhetoric""

  • The Big Lie – does it apply to 2005’s security problems?

    I’ve been focussed on a big project that finally came together last night, so am now able to relax a little and post. Adam picked up this comment on hapless Salman Rushdie still suffering from his maybe-fatwa. Which lead to…

  • Tony says:

    Just because the foreign office didn’t get excited doesn’t mean “It’s a very sad day when no one speaks out for Mr. Rushdie’s right to free speech, without fear of reprisal.”. Plenty of people speak out for Rushdie (yourself included). The FO is just being practical and keeping perspective, and stating that there is nothing new under the sun, and that the Iranian government is still keeping whatever part of the deal they made when Britian gave them diplomatic relations. You may disagree with Britain giving them this level (although I doubt that you do), but the time for that apparently was 20 years ago. It’d be like the US deciding to get upset at China for pro-communist leanings in the latest speech by Ju.

  • adam says:

    Its unfortunate that you see death threats as equivallent to a form of government. Mr. Rushdie sure doesn’t, and it would be nice if those governments who believe that ‘constructive engagement’ is valueable would take up his cause.

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