Media Blog

The Satanic Verses Hits the Stage

The Guardian today posts an interesting story: the Hans Otto theater in Potsdam will lift the curtain on a staged version of Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses, which earned Mr. Rushdie a death sentence from none other than the Ayatollah Khomeini. 
“I wrote Salman Rushdie an in-depth letter a year ago to ask for the rights to stage the book, and it only took him until the following day to give us the go-ahead,” director Uwe Laufenberg tells the Guardian. “Die Satanischen Verse“ opens its eight-week run tomorrow — and one hopes that security will be tight.
I love these adjacent paragraphs in the Guardian’s write-up:

Turkish actor Oktay Khan, who was due to take part, withdrew his consent after receiving threats that he would be attacked if he took part.
But German Muslim leaders called for calm yesterday. “This material has not lost its ability to offend,” said Aiman Mazyek, general secretary of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany. “But freedom of opinion and the arts is of a high value and most Muslims are against censorship.”

They end the story with a little coverage of Fitna, and the demonstrations it has sparked in Pakistan and elsewhere. Doubtless those demonstrations will continue — and now with several new options for the inevitable “Death to [fill-in-the-blank]” chants from the assembled “Muslim religious students.” Variety is the spice of . . . er . . . never mind..

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