BERLIN: British author Salman Rushdie said the West had failed to grasp the extent to which Islamic extremism was rooted in men's fear of women's sexuality, in an interview to be published Thursday.
Why is this man smiling? A picture taken 16 May 2004 shows British-Indian author Salman Rushdie and his wife Padma Lakshmi arriving for the projection of a movie at the Cannes Film Festival. Rushdie said the West has failed to grasp how much of Islamic terror is rooted in men's fear of women's sexuality, in an interview to be published 19 January 2006 in German magazine "Stern". AFP PHOTO/BORIS HORVAT
Rushdie told German weekly magazine Stern that his latest novel, "Shalimar the Clown," dealt with the deep anxiety felt among many Islamic men about female sexual freedom and lost honor.
When asked if the book drew a link between "Islamic terror and damaged male honor," Rushdie said he saw it as a crucial, and often overlooked, point. "The Western-Christian world view deals with the issues of guilt and salvation, a concept that is completely unimportant in the East because there is no original sin and no savior," the author said, in comments printed in German.
"Instead, great importance is given to 'honor.' I consider that to be problematic. But of course it is underestimated how many Islamists consciously or unconsciously attempt to restore lost honor."
When asked why he probed the issues in his new novel in the context of a love triangle, he said: "It has a lot to do with sexual fear of women."
Rushdie, 58, said that much of the anger toward the West was provoked by that split on sexual issues. (cont'd),
Actually, now that I think about it . . . the link between a fear of womens' sexuality and terrorism really does makes a lot of sense.
It explains a lot about Muslims' often bizarre and strangely violent behaviour ("suicide bombings"; decapitations; beheadings; stoning to death; "female genital mutilation"; "honor killings"; pederasty . . . some really weird and perversely violent behaviors that are not all that unusual in Muslim countries).
Rushdie's ideas are a significant start toward understanding these strange behaviours.