The following piece appeared on Hindustan Times:
India-born author Salman Rushdie blames Pakistan for the 26/11 Mumbai terror strikes and has asked Britain to warn the country that “as long as Pakistan harbours terrorists it's not going to get any Western aid”.
The author of "Satanic Verses" told The Times in an interview: “There is no question that this was Pakistan. You could see it as an act of war. 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 Britain has been too complacent about the rise of extremism. “We just saw in Mumbai a demonstration of the extraordinary barbarism that people are prepared to unleash on the world. How many of these attacks do we need before we understand what's going on?”
At a personal level, Rushdie said he felt horrified watching the strikes on Mumbai, the city of his birth and one of the three cities after London and New York he loves.
“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.”
Referring to the fatwa against him following the publication of "Satanic Verses", he said it was "merely the prologue in a very long novel that is becoming ever more terrifying. The West should have realised 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 of something wider, to believe that it was all my fault,” he said.
Rushdie is currently working on his latest book. It is not about terrorism, but a children's book. “When I wrote my last children's book my oldest son was 11. He's 29 now. I have another 11-year-old now who wants a book. I read him the first 15 pages and he liked it.”
Rushdie is 61 and four times married and has no intention to marry again. “I'm not saying I am never going to fall in love again but there is no need to marry.”