Salman Rushdie- In Zadie Smith’s White Teeth, the character Millat ends up joining a militant Muslim fundamentalist group that protests against Salman Rushdie. After coming across Rushdie’s name in my Arabian Nights class this semester as well, I decided to look into Rushdie’s backstory to see how he could be a useful figure that ties themes together for me across classrooms.
Rushdie was a very controversial figure in this time period after the publishing of a work entitled “The Satanic Verses,” a novel that used magical realism and parts of the prophet Muhammed’s life. This book created a massive backlash from the Muslim world who claimed that Rushdie violated his use of free speech (whatever that means). Rushdie’s writing even earned him death threats from several Muslim leaders. It is very interesting that this figure has appeared in both this class and my Arabian Nights class, because many of the themes surrounding him in both classes are very similar.