Misunderstandings and Hurt: How Canadians Joined World-Wide Muslim Reactions to Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses

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This article examines reactions by Muslims across the world, but especially in Canada, to Salman Rushdie's novel The Satanic Verses. Beginning with some background information about the novel, I discuss some of the Islamic themes and allusions in the novel, including the incident of the Satanic verses recounted in Muslim history. I then move to a discussion of Muslim opposition to the novel, including reactions in India, Pakistan, Britain, and Iran. The next section of the article examines the responses of Muslims in Canada, specifically those in Toronto, which is the city with the largest population of Canada's Muslims and the headquarters for a number of Canadian Muslim organizations. I conclude with an analysis of the reactions and delineate five implications of those reactions. On the whole, their reactions revealed the distinctly Canadian identity of these Muslims.


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