NPR : News

Rushdie Decries 'Mindset Of The Fanatic' That Sparks Anti-American Protests

Play associated audio

Anti-American demonstrations tied to the film Innocence of Muslims spread to Afghanistan's capital today, where a thousand or so men and boys shouted "death to America!," burned cars and threw stones at police.

From Kabul, NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reported on Morning Edition that about 20 police officers were injured before authorities succeeded in breaking up the demonstration. The violence in Afghanistan was sparked in part, of course, by anger over the anti-Islam film, which was posted on YouTube this summer and sparked outrage after it was translated into Arabic. The filmmaker who has been linked to the video, 55-year-old Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, lives in Southern California.

Anger over a NATO airstrike that Afghan officials say killed eight women also may have played a role in the Kabul protest.

Other protests that some have tied to outrage over the film have turned deadly. In Libya last week, U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans died when the consulate in Benghazi was attacked.

While the protest in Kabul today was violent, NPR's Leila Fadel and Michele Kelemen spoke earlier on Morning Edition about howthe demonstrations seemed to subside over the weekend across the Middle East and Africa. Still, as they noted, tensions remain high. There's also this: "The influential leader of the Lebanon-based Shia Muslim militant group, Hezbollah, has called for fresh protests over an anti-Islam film," the BBC writes.

And also on Morning Edition, author Salman Rushdie — who for more than two decades has been a marked man because Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini declared that his book The Satanic Verses was "against Islam" and that Rushdie was therefore "sentenced to death" — shared his view about the people responsible for such violence.

It is the "mindset of the fanatic, mindset of the tyrant" to respond to an insult to one's religion with violence, Rushdie told host Steve Inskeep. "To murder people who had nothing to do with it," he added, is a "deeply uncivilized attitude."

"Something has gone wrong inside the Muslim world," Rushdie continued. Just a few decades ago, he said, major cities in the Arab and Muslim world were outward-looking. But "in the last half century, these cultures seem to have slid backwards into medievalism and represssion. ... It is one of the great self-inflicted wounds."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

A Biography Of Your Cubicle: How This Became The Modern Workplace

The office has long been seen as a symbol of boredom: It's a killer of spirits, a destroyer of spontaneity. But reviewer Rosecrans Baldwin says a new book brings out its entertaining side.
NPR

California Farmers Finagle A Fig For All Seasons

Two growers are competing to harvest fresh figs earlier and earlier in hopes of transforming the industry for year-round production. But some fig lovers say they can hold out for summer fruit.
WAMU 88.5

On National Mall, Native Americans Protest Keystone XL Pipeline

Native Americans from across the country are visiting Washington this week to protest the construction of a controversial pipeline in the Midwest.
NPR

Life Outside The Fast Lane: Startups Wary Of Web Traffic Plan

The Federal Communications Commission's proposal would let Web companies pay for faster access. But entrepreneurs, like Reddit's co-founder, are wondering how they would have fared with such rules.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.