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Pakistan behind the Mumbai attacks, says Rushdie

Source: PTI
January 03, 2009 17:24 IST
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There was no doubt about Pakistan's complicity in the Mumbai attacks, internationally acclaimed India-born author Salman Rushdie has said and urged Britain to stop aid to Islamabad for failing to act against terrorists operating from its soil.

"There is no question that this was Pakistan. You could see it as an act of war," the writer of 'Satanic Verses' and 'Midnight's Children' said in an interview to The Times.

"The West should be tougher on Pakistan. It is trying to play both ends against the middle -- to look like the friend of the revolutionaries on the one hand and a friend of the West in the fight against terrorism. It can't be both things," he said.

"This country should make clear that as long as Pakistan harbours terrorists it's not going to get any Western aid."

Mumbai saw a demonstration of the "extraordinary barbarism" that people are prepared to unleash on the world, the controversial author said. "How many of these attacks do we need before we understand what's going on?"

Recalling his days in Mumbai, Rushdie said he watched with horror as flames tore through the Taj Mahal Palace hotel in Mumbai.

"Those are the streets I grew up on. Two of the characters in my novel 'Midnight's Children' consummate their love affair in the Palace, as so many of us did."

Britain has in Rushdie's view been far too complacent about the rise of extremism. "Both (Margaret) Thatcher and (Tony) Blair made the same mistake, which was the so-called Londonistan policy where you allow these (Islamist) groups to set up shop here in the belief that if you do that they won't attack this country and that you can monitor them." "This country became the safe haven for every extremist group in the world. It was idiocy - idiocy," he said. On the fatwa issued against him by Ayatollah Khomeini for the 'Satanic Verses' on February 14, 1989, he said he realises the it was merely the "prologue" in a very long novel that is becoming ever more terrifying.

"On September 11, 2001, one of his three favourite cities, New York, was attacked, four years later his adopted home of London was targeted by suicide bombers and last year, Mumbai, the city of his birth, was overwhelmed by extremists intent on causing havoc," the report noted.

The West should, Rushdie felt, have realised that the fatwa was just the beginning of a new era.

"There was a tendency from everybody to believe that it was an isolated incident rather than an indicator or something wider, to believe that it was all my fault."

Rushdie, who is now portrayed as a party animal and a favourite for the paparazzi because he often has a beautiful woman on his arm, said after four failed marriages, he has no intention of tying the knot again.

"I'm not saying I am never going to fall in love again but there is no need to marry." Nor does he want any more children. "I'm 61, enough already," Rushdie said. 

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