Paul Weller’s book, “ A mirror for our times- The Rushdie Affair and the Future of Multiculturalism ”, was written on the 20th anniversary of the author, Salman Rushdie’s controversially infamous book ‘ The Satanic Verses ’. Weller’s book solely aspires to investigate the repercussion of the ‘Rushdie Affair’, linking it to the modern era and thus helping in managing such contentious scenarios in regard to diverse, multicultural communities and minorities. The author himself points out,
 “Author’s evaluation of the principle issues at stake, the exploration of which is what the book as a whole is about”. Weller finds himself attached to this controversial affair since 1988 (‘ The Satanic Verse ’ Publishing year ) when he was employed at the Inter Faith Network for the United Kingdom. Later in 1990, he took up a post at the University of Derby along with a part time doctorial research at the University of Leeds on the ‘The Rushdie Affair’ and it’s consequences. Weller has in fact previously published some books, short works and papers on religious controversies including ‘The Rushdie Affair’. ‘ A mirror for our times ’ , is a perfect piece of writing that may attract a variety of individuals including scholarly critics, students and the general public living in the 21st century and facing the social dilemmas such as equality, freedom of religion, speech and expression.
Publication of ‘ The Satanic Verses ’ was foreseen to enrage Muslims globally. Those who warned were well aware of how certain Muslims in particular do not tolerate any insult on their Prophet. They were aware of how these Muslims were willing to go to any extent to deliver justice to the offender as per how they felt without the reference of law. This being the case resulted in the banning of the book, the book burning in Bradford, England and the declaration of Ayatollah Khomeini’s fatwa. The predicted reaction of the Muslims was deemed extreme by the western world. This particular event led to intense repercussions and gave rise to questions on the probable Muslim future reactions on such issues such as the 2006 Danish cartoon Affair. Further negative characterization of Muslims was imposed after the Muslim involvement in the 9/11 and the 7/7 events were confirmed. Such condemned events have been characterized as religion driven. This religion extremism, existing even outside Islam, is the reason why liberal, secular states in the west are sought. With the division of such diverse, multicultural communities and the presence of religious dichotomies with varying beliefs and practices, management has always been an issue of debate. Little has been done to improve the situation of co-existence of such communities. Weller’s book, as the title suggests , “ A mirror for our times- The Rushdie Affair and the Future of Multiculturalism ”, reflects upon the policy building and the recognition of such diverse societies and their management in terms of equality, judgment and accountability.
The book commences with the author’s acknowledgements describing the events that led to the successful publication of the book. Further, the book provides a timeline of the key events mentioned in the book and relating to ‘ The Rushdie Affair ’. These events provide the reader with a vivid image of the main and in turn consequential events at stake, helping the reader keep track of the chronology. The book additionally proceeds towards the introduction, giving a concise background of the author and his relation to the controversy. Weller even provides a very brief summary of ‘The Rushdie Affair’ and it’s immediate results to set the stage. In it’s introduction the book provides important contemporary sources; mainly newspaper articles, journals and book chapters. “ A mirror for our times ” is divided into four primary chapters, each including sections that relate to their primary chapter. Finally, the book ends with a bibliography and a very constructive and effective Index branched into topics, places, individuals and organizations all of which prove to be extremely efficient and useful for the reader.
Rushdie’s ‘ The Satanic Verses ’, the succinct explanation of its profanity, the spark, which ignited the fire, and the immediate probable dilemma that arose are all touched in the first chapter, “ The Contours of the Controversy ”. Weller in the chapter proceeds by building up a background and advances by giving a detailed outline of the developed ‘Affair’. Weller while trying to summarize the book, refers to its content as of having,  “ phantasmagoric flavor ”. Throughout neutral, the author finds Rushdie’s book eclectic and somewhat ‘dream-like’. The chapter goes on giving detailed, spell-by-spell insights of the resulting events and the individuals involved. Events such as, the book burning in Bradford, Ayatollah Khomeini’s fatwa, the response of the wider world and the violence that prevailed as a result have all been shed light on thoroughly in the chapter. Terminologies, such as a ‘Fatwa’, which may not be clear to the general reader, are briefly explained.
 A mirrorforour times'Introduction [p.2]
'A mirrorfor our times'', The Contours ofthe Controversy [p.15]
- Quote paper
- Sardar Imran Hussain Bali (Author), 2013, A Book Review of "A Mirror For Our Times" by Paul Weller, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/231799