"This material has not lost its ability to offend. But freedom of opinion and the arts is of a high value and most Muslims are against censorship," said Aiman Mazyek, general secretary of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany.
He was speaking about the opening of a dramatized, on stage version of author Salman Rushdie’s novel The Satanic Verses.
Those who remember all too well the "fatwa", the clerical order to assassinate Rushdie for his initial publication of the best-selling novel almost 20 years ago now, opine to this writer that these "tolerant" Muslims must be the European branch. These same wonder how Muslims around the world, especially those who have been brainwashed into radical Islam’s extremist worldviews, will react. They are anticipating hostility or even violence and terrorism in response to the play.
Rushdie was forced to live “underground” for nearly 10 years as the result of his book, which was based on the historical fact that there are certain Koranic writings that their author, Islam’s creator as well as greatest and final prophet Mohammed, later on edited from their original content because, according to the Prophet, they had actually been inspired not by Allah but Satan, who sought to deceive him and pervert God’s (Allah’s) work; hence the verses’ name. The Koran is the title of the Islamic bible.
Other close-to-source early Islamic authors, including those who wrote the Hadith, or commentaries upon the Koran’s revelations, testified that they knew the Prophet had received the “Satanic verses” and had had to re-think them later in order to weed-out Satan’s sly deceptions, which Mohammed was able to do with God’s help.
Mohammed received most of his holy words in a trance-like state which he said was put upon him by God.
Indeed, the president of the German Islamic Council, Ali Kizilkaya, said about the Berlin theatre’s staging of the play, "We regret that the religious sentiments of Muslims are being treated in a provocative manner."
When Salman Rusdhie was knighted by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II in 2007, the royal act set afire a whole new wave of protest throughout the Islamic world.
While urging Muslims to stay calm about the play’s production and engage in a "critical and constructive dialogue" about its potential meanings and ramifications, the general secretary of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany, Aiman Mazyek, says, "Freedom of expression and of art is important, but offenses against what is sacred in a religion is not something we value."