Wednesday, August 17, 2022

‘Grand Orient condemns Rushdie attack’

Salman Rushdie

In a statement published yesterday, the Grand Orient of France denounced the vicious assault on author Salman Rushdie last Friday in western New York, labeling it “a crime against freedom.” The unsigned letter protests religious extremism, particularly the Islamist ideology that fomented the attempted murder of the 75-year-old.

According to reports, Rushdie is in critical condition, but is expected to survive multiple stab wounds, albeit at the cost of an eye and other damage.

After publication in 1988 of his novel The Satanic Verses, Rushdie was named the subject of a fatwa—an official ruling in Islamic jurisprudence—issued by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, then the theocratic ruler of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which demands Rushdie’s murder. Khomeini died in 1989, but the edict stands. The would-be killer is identified as 24-year-old Hadi Matar, who pleaded not guilty Saturday to charges of attempted murder and assault. (It means nothing in this Rushdie case, but Khomeini resided in France before returning to Iran and taking over the new revolutionary government after Freemason Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the shah, fled in 1979.)

“Religious extremists have always wanted to impose submission on all believers and unbelievers at all costs,” the GOF communiqué also says. “Today, it is political Islam that, to ensure its grip on consciences and the brigade of fanatical minds, wants to spread fear by intimidation, threats, imprisonment, torture, and killing women and men who refuse to submit.”

If you’re unacquainted, the Grand Orient of France leadership often opines publicly on social and political ideas and events.

“Freedom of conscience gives each and every one the right to believe or not believe; to practice a certain religion, to change, or have none; to be religious, atheistic, agnostic, or indifferent to religion,” the Masons’ statement also says. “Freedom of expression includes critical doubt and the right to disregard any power—political, religious, or otherwise.”

The Grand Orient of France is the eldest and largest of the Masonic orders in the French Republic, although it is not the one we Americans recognize. (We are in amity with the National Grand Lodge of France, created by the English in 1913.)

The entire message, in French, can be read on the Grand Orient’s website.

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