Sunday, June 11, 2017

"shake off the dust under your feet" - A 1991 Islamic Assassination


A 1991 Islamic Assassination

Once an Islamic leader of Iran ordered to assassinate an author who wrote a novel related to Islam.  He also ordered assassination of translators of the novel to different languages:
The Satanic Verses is Salman Rushdie's fourth novel, first published in 1988 and inspired in part by the life of Muhammad. As with his previous books, Rushdie used magical realism and relied on contemporary events and people to create his characters. The title refers to the satanic verses, a group of Quranic verses that allow intercessory prayers to be made to three Pagan Meccan goddesses: Allāt, Uzza, and Manāt.[1] The part of the story that deals with the "satanic verses" was based on accounts from the historians al-Waqidi and al-Tabari. 
The outrage among Muslims resulted in a fatwā calling for Rushdie's death issued by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, then Supreme Leader of Iran, on 14 February 1989. The result was several failed assassination attempts on Rushdie, who was placed under police protection, and attacks on several connected individuals such as translator Hitoshi Igarashi (leading, in Igarashi's case, to death). 
The book was banned in the Republic of India as hate speech directed towards a specific religious group.  
Hitoshi Igarashi was a Japanese associate professor who translated The Satanic Verses into Japanese.  He was killed by somebody, most likely a foreign Muslim, in the University of Tsukuba, north of Tokyo, in 1991.
Igarashi was born in 1947.[1] He completed his doctoral programme in Islamic art at the University of Tokyo in 1976, and was research fellow at the Royal Academy of Iran until the Islamic Revolution in 1979.
After Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa in 1989, calling for the death of "the author of the Satanic Verses book, which is against Islam, the Prophet and the Qur'an" and in March 1991 (3 months before Igarashi's death) issued a further fatwa and multimillion-dollar bounty for the death of "any of those involved in its publication who are aware of its content".[5] He was stabbed repeatedly in the face and arms by an unknown assailant and died. His body was found on 12 July 1991 in his office at the University of Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan. 
In 2006, the case was closed without having determined any individual suspects. Kenneth M. Pollack alleged in The Persian Puzzle that the attack was a covert operation by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. In 2010, Bungeishunjū reported a rumor circulating among the Japanese immigration authority that a young and wealthy Bangladeshi committed the murder then flew back to his home country the next day, before it was discovered. According to the unverified rumor, the Japanese government has refrained from applying for the extradition of the suspect from Bangladesh due to fears of inflaming anger over the Satanic Verses controversy.
After the death of her husband, Mrs. Igarashi started to study in a postgraduate course and became a successful educator.

And the Japanese version of The Satanic Verses is still sold in Amazon and kept in many public libraries in Japan.  (

As for the contents of the novel, it looks like a result of a kind of mental confusion of the author in the situation between India and Britain:
The work is an "albeit surreal, record of its own author's continuing identity crisis."[2] Ally said that the book reveals the author ultimately as "the victim of nineteenth-century British colonialism."  Rushdie himself spoke confirming this interpretation of his book, saying that it was not about Islam, "but about migration, metamorphosis, divided selves, love, death, London and Bombay."[2] He has also said "It's a novel which happened to contain a castigation of Western materialism. The tone is comic."  
The problem is that when Rushdie born in Bombay, then British India, into a Muslim family struggled to build his identity against Western materialism, he had to happen to undervalue Islam that could not defeat Western Civilization.

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Mar 6:11 And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.