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Rushdie tells Muslims to stand up against extremists

Hasan Suroor

LONDON: Salman Rushdie has said that the only way to defeat Muslim extremism is for the community itself to stand up and "do something'' about it.

"They're damn well going to have to (stand up). Because up to now they have been passive and that won't do,'' he told a British newspaper on Saturday following up his recent call for a "Muslim Reformation'' to bring Islam into the modern age.

In an interview to The Times weekend magazine, Mr. Rushdie acknowledged that for the first time — in the wake of the London bombings — Muslims had started speaking up and saying: "Yes, it is our problem and we've got to fix it.''

"It's the first time that they've been willing not to talk in paranoid language but to say: `These are our children who have done this, and we have to fix it''', he said.

But he wanted more Muslims to speak up and reject the "language'' that produced terrorists. "This sort of language — the language out of which these suicide bombers came — has been tolerated in many Muslim communities, not just in England, and people may have rejected it but nobody spoke up. And as there is a large majority who wants nothing to do with any of that, they're damn well going to have to stand up and do something. It is their children doing this and they need to know what their children are doing,'' the writer said.

Mr. Rushdie, who himself has been a victim of religious extremism, said there was no way to negotiate with those persons whose goal was the "Talibanisation of the planet''.

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