On CBS, Salman Rushdie Compares Kim Davis to Islamic Extremists

In an interview with author Salman Rushdie on Friday’s CBS This Morning, co-host Gayle King teed him up to bash Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis, imprisoned for refusing to issue gay marriage licenses: “What do you think about what's going on in Kentucky with Kim Davis, who’s standing up for her religious beliefs, when you were really the victim of religious beliefs, where they were trying to get you?”

Rushdie, who was once faced with death threats and had a fatwa declared against him by Iran over his criticism of Islam, ranted:

...enough with Kim Davis. I think, you know, really, she should go away if possible. If she wants to stay in jail, fine....back in the '90s when there was an attack on me, there were a few people in Britain saying things like, you know, they felt that the law of God was superior to the law of the land and so they would, you know, follow the religious principles and they were very heavily criticized. I mean, they were Muslims, but it’s the same thing.

Only seconds earlier, Rushdie lamented the “spirit of appeasement around” when it came to freedom of speech: “...this idea that, you know, if somebody says they're upset about something that's a good reason for not saying that thing, you know. Whereas actually, if that was a rule, then nobody could say anything. You know, I mean, I'm upset about plenty of things that people say every day.”

Reacting specifically to the Charlie Hebdo killings in Paris, he added:

And I think if people say they weren’t saying they were upset while they were pointing AK-47s at you, it would be a different conversation, you know. But because this so-called offendedness is being backed up by real threats of violence, people pretend that they have to be polite, whereas actually they’re being afraid.

Here is a transcript of the September 4 exchange:

8:33 AM ET

(...)

ANTHONY MASON: And you have a lot of experience dealing with this after what you went through back in the '80s and the '90s when there was a fatwa and you basically lived in hiding for ten years. I wanted to ask you something, because you told the French press, after what happened in Paris with Charlie Hebdo, you said, “The world has learned the wrong lessons about freedom of speech.” What did you mean?

SALMAN RUSHDIE: I mean that there's a kind of spirit of appeasement around, you know, that this idea that, you know, if somebody says they're upset about something that's a good reason for not saying that thing, you know. Whereas actually, if that was a rule, then nobody could say anything. You know, I mean, I'm upset about plenty of things that people say every day.

MASON: You said that fear is being disguised as respect.

RUSHDIE: Yes. And I think if people say they weren’t saying they were upset while they were pointing AK-47s at you, it would be a different conversation, you know. But because this so-called offendedness is being backed up by real threats of violence, people pretend that they have to be polite, whereas actually they’re being afraid.

GAYLE KING: What do you think about what's going on in Kentucky with Kim Davis, who’s standing up for her religious beliefs, when you were really the victim of religious beliefs, where they were trying to get you?

RUSHDIE: You know, I’m so – really, really, enough with Kim Davis. I think, you know, really, she should go away if possible. If she wants to stay in jail, fine, you know. I'm happy to see that the other clerks have said that they will issue the licenses from today. So, you know, that makes her irrelevant and that's the way she should be.

I mean, I think, I remember back – you were mentioning back in the '90s when there was an attack on me, there were a few people in Britain saying things like, you know, they felt that the law of God was superior to the law of the land and so they would, you know, follow the religious principles and they were very heavily criticized. I mean, they were Muslims, but it’s the same thing.

(...)

NB Daily Culture/Society Religion Christianity Same-sex marriage CBS CBS This Morning Video Gayle King Salman Rushdie

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