irdc.ir: The publication of the book "Satanic Verses" publication angered the world of Islam. The first and most important reaction to the publication of this book was Imam Khomeini's statement on the apostasy of Salman Rushdie - the author of the book.
The important point is that the historic ruling of the Imam was exactly by the law. Not only Islamic law but also the written laws of Western countries such as France, Germany, England, America, and ...; which are considered the cradle of freedom and democracy, also have harsh restrictions on the publication of certain contexts.
In the German constitution, there are several laws that limit the principle of freedom of speech in order to maintain public discipline, peace and human dignity. Among other things, paragraph 131 of the Penal Code prohibits the publication of writings that cause racial hatred. And paragraph 166 of that law, declares legal measures to condemn any disrespect towards religious beliefs and communities plus followers of different global views and their unions.
On page 99 of the book Legacies of Hate, Richard Bester writes: "... according to article 166 of the Criminal Code in Germany, any publisher should have been prevented from publishing this book (Satanic Verses) by a court order. Article 166 of the law stipulates anyone who publicly or through the publication of letters that, insults the content of religious beliefs or global views of individuals in such a way as to cause a disturbance in public discipline, shall be deprived of freedom for up to three years. Or be fined."
In order to show that this law was not just a relic of the past and that there was a reason for its adaptation in this era, an incident happened in 1984, Germany; Brigitte Romermann in an article pointed out the involvement of the church throughout the past history and in killing people, in religious wars, especially crusades, as well as persecuting Jews and other crimes, as well as restricting sexual pleasures, calls the church "the criminal organization in the history of the world". In the trial that was held against her for this case, she was sentenced to twenty days in prison or an equivalent fine, citing Article 166 of the German Penalty Code.
There are similar laws in other European countries. In 1972, France enacted laws in accordance with the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights. On July the 1st of the same year, a law was approved, according to it any acts of violence, discrimination, malice, and hatred against people or social groups are prohibited for racial, national, and religious reasons, and any insulting, denying, and humiliating social groups, whether racially or religiously, it is considered as a crime which must definitely be punished and prosecuted.
In England, in accordance with the international agreement, a law was passed in 1965 under the title of Preventing racial discrimination, which was reassessed in 1976. According to this law, it is illegal to publish an article, any writing, or any speech or expressions that contain insults, threats, and causes hatred against any racial or religious group.
In the United States of America, in 1978, based on the decision of the Supreme Court, the publication of any content that leads to hatred based on racial or religious differences is declared unconstitutional and prohibited. According to this law, every American person is protected by the law from racial and religious discrimination. Of course, there are similar laws in Austria and Switzerland as well.
An example of these functions can be seen in the conflicting treatment of the case of "Salman Rushdi" and "Roger Garaudy". "Roger Garaudy" is a French Muslim philosopher who was prosecuted for the crime of a historical investigation and questioning Jewish legends about the rumor of the massacre of Jews, and was sentenced to pay a fine by the judgment of the French Administrative Court. In the second session of the Court of Appeal, Roger Garaudy, his defense lawyer, said: "You cannot use slogans and politicization to confront a completely scholarly and scientific work."
My client's trial is similar to Galileo's trial, both of which took place due to the expression of scientific opinions.
When a Danish filmmaker started to make a film "Sexual Life" for Jesus Christ, he was condemned by many centers, and after widespread protests, especially from the Vatican; the Prime Minister of England at the time, James Callahan, under the law of "prohibition of blaspheming the sacred"stopped the procedure of that film.
Imam Khomeini (may Allah be pleased with him) also points to this duality of the West's performance and believes that Salman Rushdie replaced "freedom of insult" with "freedom of expression" and insulted the beliefs of one and a half billion Muslims: "It is very interesting and surprising that these seemingly civilized and thinkers, when a mercenary writer hurts the feelings of more than a billion people with the bite of his poisonous pen, not forget to mention that some people are martyred because it; they don't care and this disaster is the actual democracy and civilization; but when it comes to execution and justice, they all cry out for kindness and philanthropy."
The Supreme Leader also says: "The Book of Satanic Verses is an ugly move that has two aspects: one is an insult to the beliefs of a billion people; the other is the support of some policies and governments of this ugly movement. Freedom of expression never includes insulting the prophets and people's sacred beliefs.”
According to the principles accepted in international covenants and obligations, the publication of the insulting book "Satanic Verses" by Salman Rushdie is not only condemned but requires punishment, and this responsibility comes from the clear violation of the accepted principles of these international covenants and obligations. In other words, the publication of this offensive book is a clear violation of the principles of the Universal Charter. For this reason, even in the liberal tradition, anyone can object to the Western government’s support of Salman Rushdie's novel.
Common law legal system
In the "Common Law" legal system, insulting holy things is known as "Blasphemy". According to the definition given by western jurists of this term, the mentioned rule does not only include insulting the holy things, but any denial of Christianity, or the Holy Bible, or denial of the existence of God is an example of this crime.
Examining the scope of the concept of "Blasphemy" in the Common Law with regard to its legal validity in the current laws of England, leads to a more important question, according to what criterion and logic in the country of England, according to the aforementioned rule, only the holy things of the Christian religion are considered It is supported and other divine religions do not have such support?! Doesn't this law clearly contradict the denial of discrimination based on religion, which has been accepted in many international documents related to human rights?
Because the insult to the beloved Prophet of Islam (PBUH) in the book "Satanic Verses" was committed in England, the court of this country argued that the law of "Blasphemy" only criminalizes insulting the holy things of Christianity and other religions; does not support other religions! Contrary to the opinion of the British courts, some fair Western lawyers have accepted the objection of Muslims and considered this exclusivity in religion as a form of discrimination based on religion, and as a result, they have considered the said law against Article 9 and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which declares that any kind of discrimination on the basis of religion is prohibited.
United Nations Charter, approved in 1945
The study of the goals and principles of the United Nations Charter shows that authoring, publishing and officially supporting a book such as the Satanic Verses is not only against the spirit of this universal charter but also violates several of its articles and clauses. It is also considered to include the principle of "consolidation of global peace and security" which is stated in the first article, and this point is emphasized as that the governments are committed not to hesitate on showing any kind of appropriate action in this way. It can be said that "causing convulsions and disrupting the international order" which is the result of authoring and publishing this book; has violated this article of the charter.
The second article in paragraph 4 stipulates: "Countries should avoid doing anything that is in any way related to the objectives of the United Nations in their international relations". Also, the principle of "understanding", which is emphasized in most of the articles of the United Nations Charter, has been violated by the writing and publication of the Satanic Verses book.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, approved in 1948
In the introduction of this declaration, "expansion of friendly international relations" is considered essential and it is referred to as "the way to realize human rights and fundamental freedoms", which is in no way compatible with the goals of preparing the “Satanic Verses” book. Another goal of the declaration of human rights, which is stated in the introduction, is: "Prevention of violent and hostile practices" which is always considered an insult to human conscience, an issue that was ignored in the process of writing, publishing, and promoting this book.
The first article of the declaration states: "All human beings are the same and should treat each other in a spirit of brotherhood." There is no doubt that this book is considered against the spirit of brotherhood among humans. Article seven of this declaration talks about "equality of all people in the court of law", it is clear that it contradicts with what happened in the case of this book. The purpose of this movement, which has been to prevent the nations from becoming more and more inclined toward Islam, is contrary to the "right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion" contained in Article 18 of the Declaration.
It is also contrary to Article 19, in which "interfering in the religion of others" is prohibited. Without a doubt, insulting the leaders of one and a half billion Muslims is a violation of these articles. In this regard, Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights also recognized and stipulated the right to freedom of expression as a human right: "No one can be harassed on the occasion of their opinions and everyone has the right to freedom of speech, but the exercise of said rights may be subject to certain restrictions that are specified in the law, such as that freedom of speech should not affect the rights and dignity of others; to harm public discipline or public morals".
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, approved in 1969
In this international agreement, in Article 1, paragraph 2, it is stipulated: "States that are parties to this agreement undertake to ensure the rights are recognized in this agreement for all people residing in the territory subject to their sovereignty, without any discrimination such as race, color, gender, language, religion, political opinion or other opinions, nationalities, social origins, wealth, relationships should all be respected and guaranteed to stay always respected." While during the writing and publication of the “Satanic Verses” book, at least the rights of Muslims living in England were violated.
Source: The book "The historical verdict (Satanic verses and the divine fatwa of Imam Khomeini)"; Publications office for Islamic Revolution Documents Center.