“Barbaric”, “despicable”, “intolerable”. These are the words of the French political class to qualify the aggression of the British writer Salman Rushdie, Friday August 12 in the State of New York. The author of satanic verses had been the target of a fatwa from the Iranian Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini for more than thirty years.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Twitter “appalled that Sir Salman Rushdie was stabbed while exercising a right we should never stop defending”referring to freedom of expression.
Appalled that Sir Salman Rushdie was stabbed while exercising a right we should never stop defending.
At this time, my thoughts are with his loved ones. We all hope he is well.
—Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) August 12, 2022
On the French side, Emmanuel Macron also reacted at the end of the evening on Friday. “For 33 years, Salman Rushdie has embodied freedom and the fight against obscurantism”the president wrote on Twitter. “Hate and barbarism have just struck him, cowardly. His fight is ours, universal. Today, more than ever, we are by his side.”
For 33 years, Salman Rushdie has embodied freedom and the fight against obscurantism. Hate and barbarism have just struck him, cowardly. His fight is ours, universal. Today, more than ever, we are at his side.
—Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) August 12, 2022
Within the government, the Minister of Culture, Rima Abdul Malak, denounced on Twitter a “barbaric act” and paid tribute to “33 years of courage”. The Minister of National Education, Pap Ndiaye, praised a writer “symbol of freedom and erudition, which no Islamist obscurantism will stop”.
All my thoughts to Salman Rushdie after this barbaric act. 33 years of threats. 33 years of courage to defend the right to irreverence and satire, “weapons of freedom against tyranny”. Freedom of thought, conscience and expression must remain a daily struggle.
— Rima Abdul Malak (@RimaAbdulMalak) August 12, 2022
The President of the National Assembly Yaël Braun-Pivet described a “committed thinker”, “victim today of an attack as cowardly as it is abominable”. For the leader of the Renaissance deputies in the Assembly Aurore Bergé, Salman Rushdie is “the very expression of freedom”.
“It is a symbol of resistance against Islamist totalitarianism that has been attacked”reacted for his part the president of the National Rally, Jordan Bardella. “This attack proves that the Islamists will never disarm”abounded the mayor of Perpignan Louis Aliot, candidate for the head of the National Rally.
“The religious fanatics who issued a fatwa against him are undoubtedly responsible for it”vilified the deputy Insoumis Alexis Corbière. “Stabbed by Islamist hatred”castigated the communist leader Fabien Roussel. Boris Vallaud, leader of the socialist deputies condemned an attack “serious and intolerable” while the president of the environmental group in the Assembly Julien Bayou castigated a “despicable fatwa”.
For former right-wing presidential candidate Valérie Pécresse, Salman Rushdie “embodies freedom of expression in the face of Islamist totalitarians”. The interim president of the Republicans, Annie Genevard, estimated that “the fight of our democracies must be without weakness against an enemy who plays for the long term to reduce our freedom”.