Salman Rushdie: Iran Denies Blame for Attack

    Photo: Ritzau Scanpix/Reuters [via WSJ]

    The Facts

    • A spokesperson for the Iranian foreign ministry on Mon. denied that Iran had any role in the brutal attack against author Salman Rushdie that took place on Friday. The author sustained 10 knife injuries before spectators tackled his assailant during a discussion at the Chautauqua Institution in New York.

    • Nasser Kanaani said "we", meaning Iran, "do not consider that anyone deserves blame and accusations except him and his supporters." This comes in response to a statement issued on Sun. by US Sec. of State accusing Tehran of encouraging violence against him.

    The Spin

    Establishment-critical narrative

    Though nothing justifies this brutal attack, Rushdie as an author shouldn't be celebrated. A key condition of freedom is that it can be exercised only so long as it doesn't take away from the freedom of others. The double standard of liberal, Western democracy is blatant: while the American judicial system fiercely defends Rushdie's right to freedom of speech, there is never a place for the complaint of hundreds of millions of Muslims who have had their religious principles disrespected and insulted by his

    Pro-establishment narrative

    Salman Rushdie never planned to become a hero of free speech, yet he is now a martyr to it. Book-burning is a popular distraction technique for regimes under pressure and the Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran scapegoated Rushdie's exceptional writing to deflect attention from domestic troubles. There are no perfect victims, but pluralistic democracy necessarily means hearing opinions you don't like.

    Establishment split



    Sign up to our daily newsletter