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Demonizing Rushdie Disgraces Islam

I am writing as an Iranian and as someone who was raised in a Muslim community to protest the exclusive definition that has been given to Muslimhood, and to create a space for myself and others like me, in regards to Salman Rushdie and MIT's honoring of him.

As a Muslim, I find the intolerance and the sense of outrage of certain other Muslims in regards to this issue, both in private and public, as degrading to both Islam and the Muslim culture I have come to cherish as part of my identity.

Religions themselves have come about through dissenting people who have had the courage to claim a space of their own, no matter what the price. Islam is no different and it is this aspect of it that I take pride in. The community I was raised in also taught me to think before I react (hilm), to give room to different interpretations of reality (Sufism), and to empower myself not through silencing others, but through giving voice to myself. It is these qualities that as a Muslim, I appreciate in Rushdie's writings and applaud MIT for honoring.

Naghmeh Sohrabi '94