26th September 2008 marks the twentieth anniversary of the beginning of The Satanic Verses controversy a controversy that in many ways became paradigmatic for the following two decades.
Taking as its starting-point the opening two years of the controversy, Paul Weller uses the events and arguments of those years as a lens through which to view what later developed, both in relation to the controversy itself, but also its wider entails, and the incidents and issues through which aspects of the original controversy were reprised. The anniversary of the controversy presents a good opportunity to review the incidents, issues and debates of the time in some historical perspective, while also connecting them with subsequent incidents that have reprised some of the key themes, such as the cartoons controversy, the terror attacks of 9/11 and 7/7, and the killing of the Dutch filmmaker, Theo Van Gogh. The book holds up a mirror for our times that will be of interest to academics, politicians, students, and religious believers, as well as to all who are engaged with the twenty-first century challenges posed by living with radical difference, freedom of expression, and mutual respect, with exploring the relationship between religion and secularity, and with overcoming the threats posed by religiously informed violence.
Introduction: A Look in the Mirror
Chronology of Key Events
1: The Contours of the Controversy
Salman Rushdie and The Satanic Verses
Literary and Critical Responses
From Lobbying to Book-Burning and Demonstrations
The Political and Legal Arenas
The Fatwa: Its International Context and Repercussions
The Continuing Controversy
2: Actions and Reactions in the Controversy
The Spectrum of Muslim Responses
Media and Social Reactions
Other Religious Reactions
Inter-Faith and Cross-Community Reactions
The Entails of the Controversy
3: Through the Looking Glass
The Controversy as Magnifying Glass
Believing and Belonging
Religion and the Secular
Religion, Art and Values in Contention
Law in Contention: Rights and Restraints
Political Representation and Participation in a Plural Society
4: Echoes, Reverberations and Social Policy Shock
On the Other Side of Terror/The War on Terror
Bombings and Hard Wars
Culture and Soft Wars (Continued)
Glocalism, Globalization and Media Age
Religious Radicalism, Otherness, Freedom, Terror and Public Policy
Incitement to Hatred, Conspiracy Theories and Islamophobia
Anti-Catholicism and Islamophobia, Past and Present
Social Policy Challenges, Legal Developments and Religious Responsibilities
Concluding Notes Towards a Common Future
A Wise Nation/World?
Paul Weller is Professor of Inter-Religious Relations at the University of Derby and Visiting Fellow in the Oxford Centre for Christianity and Culture at Regents Park College, University of Oxford, UK. He is author of Religious Diversity in the UK: Contours and Issues (Continuum, 2008) and of Time for a Change: Reconfiguring Religion, State and Society (T & T Clark, 2005), as well as editor of Religions in the UK: Directory, 2007-10 (Multi-Faith Centre at the University of Derby, 2007).
A Mirror For Our Times by Paul Weller was published by Continuum in February 2009. The ISBN for A Mirror For Our Times is 9780826451200.