Department of English

English Undergraduate Student Publishes Article

Tue, November 20, 2007

We congratulate Sara Hakeem on her publication in The Undergraduate Research Journal, Volume VI, Number 1, Spring 2007, sponsored by the University of Texas at Austin, Senate of College Councils. Her faculty mentor on this project was Associate Professor Mia Carter.

An excerpt from Sara's The Veil of Belonging: Rushdie as Spokesperson for Islam: Silence the Subaltern by Talking Too Much follows:

Though Salman Rushdie has twice won the Booker Prize for his Midnight’s Children(1980), the majority of the world knows him for the infamous fatwa he incurred over his novel, The Satanic Verses (1988). The latter novel’s title refers to an unauthenticated legend that the Prophet Muhammad recited false verses legitimating the Meccans’ polytheistic worship of idols, which he later recanted as the work of Satan. The Satanic Verses as a whole treats Islam irreverently and, in certain key chapters, not only satirizes the Muslim belief in Muhammad’s divine inspiration, but also openly insults the Prophet, referring to him as Mahound (an epithet many of the Meccans used to slur the Prophet during his time).

On February 14, 1989, just a few months after The Satanic Verses was published, Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini called on Muslims worldwide to execute, not only Rushdie, but all those involved in the publication of the novel. In the years that followed, Muslim extremists wounded or killed several of the novel’s translators, and a number of people died in anti- Rushdie riots. The violence and uproar over the novel as a result of the Muslim world’s response to its publication led to Rushdie’s public image as the martyr of secularism.
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