Butting Fundaments: Responses to the Rushdie Affair
The Rushdie affair has, since 1989 when the controversy was at its sharpest, been regarded as a central moment in the history of Muslim communities in Britain, and in British multiculturalism. More recent events, both in Britain and abroad, have provided more explosive images of violence and far more urgent concerns about national security, but the controversy over The Satanic Verses still looms large in scholarship and public discourse. There has always been disagreement about precise significance of the affair and what lessons, if any, can be drawn from it, but there is broad agreement amongst scholars that the controversy was indeed highly significant and about the general developments it stimulated. It is usually agreed that the affair created in Britain concern about “Islamic fundamentalism,” a social movement and political ideology that until then had been seen as an alien phenomenon confined to the Persian and Arab world.