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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 September 2005, 13:14 GMT 14:14 UK
'Speak up', Rushdie urges Muslims
Salman Rushdie
Mr Rushdie said terrorism made everyone a target
Salman Rushdie has urged a "silent majority" of UK Muslims to stop their culture being hijacked by extremists in the wake of the London bombings.

But the Muslim novelist said he saw evidence that there was a "great deal of soul-searching" going on.

Mr Rushdie was interviewed for the BBC World Service arts show The Ticket.

In 1989, a fatwa was issued ordering his execution for alleged blasphemy in the book The Satanic Verses.

Mr Rushdie's new novel, Shalimar the Clown, deals with a Muslim boy from a village in Kashmir who is guided to become an Islamic terrorist by a radical mullah.

The author said he was not worried the novel's subject might make him a target again.

"We are all targets now," he added. "After July 7, it doesn't matter who you are or what you've said or not said - that is the nature of the terrorist attack."

Breaking ranks

Mr Rushdie said the Muslim community in the UK needed to resolve "the problem" itself.

"If it goes on being silent, then its culture and religion will be hijacked by the extremists and it will be very difficult to go on saying 'that's not us... you've got to speak up'," Mr Rushdie said.

Being the target for that kind of deliberate political rage, I came to understand it rather well
Salman Rushdie

"I think they will," he said. "Maybe it takes something as horrifying as the bombings in London to make people break ranks.

"But I think there's a lot of evidence that there's a great deal of soul-searching and re-thinking going on."

Mr Rushdie told the programme the rhetoric of radical Islamic groups is not "judicious or analytical - it is purely a kind of bilious rage".

He said young men in particular could be seduced by a world where "you can just be angry for a living and your anger is its own justification".

"Being the target for that kind of deliberate political rage, I came to understand it rather well," he said.

The full interview with Salman Rushdie can be heard on The Ticket on BBC World Service on 24 September at 2006 BST and 25 September at 0906 BST.

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