‘Satanic Verses’: Islam’s Number One Banned Book
The number one religion that bans books in the 21st Century is Islam. And of course, leading their list of the number-one most hated, most forbidden book: Salman Rushdie’s ‘The Satanic Verses.’
For those who have forgotten, let’s review a brief history of this book. ‘The Satanic Verses’ was published in 1988, inspired by the life of Islam’s chief prophet, Mohammad. It’s a historical fact that early biographies of the prophet claimed that Mohammad was tricked by Satan into including certain verses in early copies of the Koran. It’s from these “verses” that Rushdie drew his inspiration, and where the book its name. In brief, a terrorist’s bomb destroys a jumbo jet high above the English Channel, and two passengers fall safely to earth: Gibreel, an Indian movie actor, and Saladin, star of the controversial British television program, The Alien Show. The near-death experience changes them into living symbols of good and evil. Saladin grows horns, Gibreel a halo. From this fantastic premise Rushdie spins a huge collection of loosely related subplots that combine mythology, folklore, and TV trivia. In the book, angels are seen as demonic, and demons are seen as angels. This, of course, flies in the face of Islam’s view of the spirit world.
Even though Rushdie’s main sources for his religious ideas in the book were those early “Satanic Verses” that Mohammad originally included in the Koran, the author’s book enraged many in the Muslim world. They accused Rushdie of blasphemy (although they withheld that accusation from Mohammad who predated Rushdie by many centuries in his embracing of the offending ‘verses’). The government of Iran offered a reward to anyone who killed Rushdie–a reward which still stands.
The effect of all of this was similar to the effect on most books that people try to ban: It became a bestseller, and is still in high demand on websites such as Amazon and Borders.com.