Never in Doubt
Never in Doubt
Salman Rushdie's Deeper Challenge to Islam
Salman Rushdie will be forever remembered for the tribulations set in motion by his publication of The Satanic Verses. But if the questions of blasphemy and politics, of death threats and public book-burning can be set to the side and an effort made to return to the novel itself, some rather fundamental questions can be asked about the way in which the author has tried to cope with the question of doubt as it is posed to those who have crossed borders of nation, cultural context, and belief. Indeed, the issue of doubt can be seen to lie at the heart of his novel just as, in many respects, it lies at the heart of any cross-border experience. Rushdie's novel merges the implications of a Western literary form associated with the questioning of basic beliefs with the foundational claims of Islamic legitimacy, a tactic that seeks to force a conversation many are unwilling to entertain. The contrast between the role of doubt in the religious thought of the West and in the history of Islamic religious ideology could not be more striking.
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