'Sanity' rally features 'Death to Salman Rushdie' fatwa endorser

Irony was lost on the organizers and most of the participants at yesterday's "Sanity" rally on the mall. In order to "get" irony, one must have an ability for introspection - a quality that does not emerge in abundance from the "hipsters" and nearly all white mass of cooler-than-you dudes and dudettes who demonstrated a cluelessness so profound, even liberal pundits didn't quote know what to make of the whole thing.

That cluelessness extended to their embrace of the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens (now Yusaf Islam) who, back in the day when these sort of things actually mattered, supported the call of Ayatollah Khomenei for the death of "Satanic Verses" author Salman Rushdie.

Lefties and organizers of the rally are defending Yusaf Islam, saying that he has since said that he was "joking" about wanting to see Rushdie die and that his words were taken out of context.

Here are his words - and context - during a 1989 panel discussion on the fatwa:

Robertson: You don't think that this man deserves to die?
Y. Islam: Who, Salman Rushdie?
Robertson: Yes.
Y. Islam: Yes, yes.
Robertson: And do you have a duty to be his executioner?
Y. Islam: Uh, no, not necessarily, unless we were in an Islamic state and I was ordered by a judge or by the authority to carry out such an act - perhaps, yes. ....

Robertson: Would you be part of that protest, Yusuf Islam, would you go to a demonstration where you knew that an effigy was going to be burned?
Y. Islam: I would have hoped that it'd be the real thing.

Later, the New York Times reported that Islam stood by those remarks (emphasis mine):

The musician known as Cat Stevens said in a British television program to be broadcast next week that rather than go to a demonstration to burn an effigy of the author Salman Rushdie, "I would have hoped that it'd be the real thing."

The singer, who adopted the name Yusuf Islam when he converted to Islam, made the remark during a panel discussion of British reactions to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's call for Mr. Rushdie to be killed for allegedly blaspheming Islam in his best-selling novel "The Satanic Verses." He also said that if Mr. Rushdie turned up at his doorstep looking for help, "I might ring somebody who might do more damage to him than he would like."

"I'd try to phone the Ayatollah Khomeini and tell him exactly where this man is," said Mr. Islam, who watched a preview of the program today and said in an interview that he stood by his comments.

A strange view of what constitutes "sanity," don't you think?

Hat Tip: Hot Air