Salman Rushdie blir intervjuet av Der Spiegel. Intervjueren tråkker hele tiden i salaten. Det mest oppsiktsvekkende er hva han sier om autoritære trekk i USA:
I hadn’t thought it possible that the Bush administration would go about setting up the machinery of an authoritarian state.
SPIEGEL: Has it done that?
Rushdie: Oh yes. Over the past few years I’ve been the president of PEN in New York, the chairman of the American writers’ association. Again and again, we’ve had to deal with these far-reaching attacks on civil liberties. And most complaints have been justified, because it wasn’t even apparent in what way arrests and surveillance operations were connected with anti-terrorism. And I know what I’m talking about: From my own history of being threatened, I have indeed developed a sympathy for intelligence activities, my protectors enjoy my greatest respect.
SPIEGEL: So are Bush and Blair going too far?
Rushdie: This is the problem with politicians who by nature tend towards being authoritarian: When they are given the chance, they go too far. We have to watch out there. I find it deeply depressing that the Anglo-American politics and Arab politics are currently corroborating each other — that is: their worst prejudices. Take a look at Iraq, at Lebanon. There is no just side in either conflict. But at the same time we need moral clarity, something I have often missed recently in many liberally minded people — and I myself am liberal. We need clarity about what is right and wrong, the willingness to defend our values with clear words and to actually call the guilty persons guilty.
SPIEGEL: What do you mean by that?
Rushdie: I’ve always been strictly against blasphemy laws, which are supposed to protect religions against alleged defamation. It’s perfectly all right for Muslims to enjoy religious freedom like everyone else in a free society. It’s perfectly all right for them to protest against discrimination, whenever and wherever they are faced with it. And undoubtedly there are often reflexive reactions in the West, which lead to premature, anti-Islamic suspicions. What is not at all in order, on the other hand, is for Islamic leaders in our countries to demand that their faith be protected against criticism, disrespect, ridicule and disparagement. Even malicious criticism, even insulting caricatures — these are part of our freedom of speech, of pluralism, of our basic values, which they have got to bow down to if they want to live with us.
And yes, I think glamour plays a role too.
SPIEGEL: Do you seriously mean that terrorism is glamorous?
Rushdie: Yes. Terror is glamour — not only, but also. I am firmly convinced that there’s something like a fascination with death among suicide bombers. Many are influenced by the misdirected image of a kind of magic that is inherent in these insane acts. The suicide bomber’s imagination leads him to believe in a brilliant act of heroism, when in fact he is simply blowing himself up pointlessly and taking other peoples lives. There’s one thing you mustn’t forget here: the victims terrorized by radical Muslims are mostly other Muslims.
SPIEGEL: Of course there can be no justification for terrorism. But nevertheless there are various different starting points. There is the violence of groups who are pursuing nationalist, one might say comprehensible, goals using every means at their disposal …
Rushdie: … and there are others like al-Qaida which have taken up the cause of destroying the West and our entire way of life. This form of terrorism wraps itself up in the wrongs of this world in order to conceal its true motives — an attack on everything that ought to be sacred to us. It is not possible to discuss things with Osama bin Laden and his successors. You cannot conclude a peace treaty with them. They have to be fought with every available means.